Two months ago, when the Cincinnati Bengals' talented young offense was faltering, we asked whether they could succeed with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Then, when Dalton put together three stellar performances during a four-game winning streak, we asked whether this version of Dalton was the real one. In four games since then, Dalton has a league-high nine interceptions. He ranks 32nd out of 34 qualifying quarterbacks in yards per pass attempt, passer rating and Total QBR in that span.
These wild swings have marked Dalton's career through 46 starts spread across three NFL seasons. The Bengals may be 8-4 and closing in on their third successive playoff spot with Dalton behind center, but those erratic performances are precisely why Cincinnati should draft a quarterback in 2014.
The Bengals won't feel any pressure to select one if they claim a playoff victory for the first time since 1990. And if Dalton lights it up in the postseason, all the better. But Cincy and a few other teams with glass-half-full quarterback situations shouldn't settle for the status quo unconditionally. They need viable alternatives in case their current starters have plateaued and the glass is half-empty.