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Chad: give Dalton a break


Chad Johnson, here with his QB Carson Palmer, says critics are too harsh on current Bengals QB Andy Dalton.

Maybe it's the age thing.

Chad Johnson, 37, the most hyper player in Bengals history and the man who holds the club record for the most spur-of-the-moment moments, is counseling patience when it comes to one Andy Dalton.

"I'm sick of these (people) talking about Andy Dalton," says Johnson, still vacuuming every Twitter morsel.

"I know you want to win, now. Dude, he's young. Give me a break. You get to the playoffs every year. Wild card or not.  Going home or not. The fact is they're going to be there every year. And he's going to get it done. Trust me. Everybody is impatient. Oh, 'He's losing.' Or, 'He plays poorly.' With experience comes better decision making. And he will get (it) done. Wait. It's coming."

The invariable and inexhaustible Dalton debate begins again when the rookies, first-year players, rehabbers, and quarterbacks start to meet Tuesday. Everybody else reports Thursday for Friday's first practice, open to the public on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields at 3 p.m.

Johnson became the Bengals all-time leading receiver during 10 seasons, when he caught 751 balls for 10,783 yards during two play-off runs. He never caught a ball from Dalton, although they were teammates for three months in 2011 before the Bengals traded Johnson to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick the day after the lockout ended and the day before training camp started.

Since then, the Bengals are 40-23-1. Johnson's best four-year stretch was 35-29 from 2003-2006 with one post-season appearance. He got to the playoffs again 2009. He knows how hard it is.

"Being a Bengals fan right now, you know you're a lock for the playoffs every year. And that's a great feeling just coming in," Johnson says. "We're getting to the playoffs no matter what. Getting over that hump is the next step. I'm really content with knowing that come January we're going to have a game to play and we have a chance. That's great from before, knowing once December came you're going home. That's great."

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