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Next step for QB Andy Dalton

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looked like a rookie making his first NFL start last week. His first pass was intercepted. His next two attempts to throw resulted in an incompletion and a sack.

The Bengals' offensive line didn't help. Dalton had pressure in his face often. Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh nearly ripped Dalton's head off on one play. Dalton finished 11 of 15 for 69 yards and an interception.

Week 2 of the preseason is important for Dalton. The Bengals now have tape to critique of Dalton's first game and need to see growth Sunday against the New York Jets.

Dalton's next step is to play with more poise. Detroit's pressure bothered him and forced several bad throws, including the interception. The Bengals' offensive line also has to block better.

Dalton has the tendency to float his deep balls. That needs to be corrected if the Bengals plan to take shots down the field with athletic receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson. Dalton didn't take many deep chances downfield against Detroit. The Bengals need to test his arm more against the Jets.

Finally, Dalton and the Bengals need to be more competitive. I know it's just the preseason. But a young team like the Bengals cannot afford to continue laying eggs. It's hard to lose a preseason game by 31 points. Effort was definitely an issue.