The word elite used to mean something in the NFL. Then Joe Flacco used it, talking about himself, and that word has lost all meaning ever since then. If you need any further proof, just check out what new Cincinnati Bengals quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt recently said about Andy Dalton.


Speaking about his new quarterback in an interview on the team’s website, Van Pelt said he thinks Dalton is “a very, very good quarterback and a playoff caliber quarterback.”

Of course, NFL playoff defenses have a different opinion about Dalton — career 55.7 percent postseason passer with one touchdown and six interceptions in four games (all losses) — but we digress.

Van Pelt then said, “He does a lot of really, really good things. The more tape I watched, the more excited I got. I think this guy has potential to be an elite player in the league. It’s our job to challenge him to get to that next level.”

There’s that word: elite.

In seven seasons as a pro, Dalton has been the definition of average. Anyone who thinks he’s got a monumental leap to “elite” needs to come see me about a humongous beachfront property I have for sale in North Dakota.

But, coming from a team that continues to hold onto Marvin Lewis like he’s the next coming of Vince Lombardi, this really shouldn’t shock anyone. Delusion is strong with this organization. An organization that should be closer to moving on from Dalton than declaring he has elite potential. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for that logic to sink in.