In his return to action after three games on the bench, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is prepared to face a stern test against the New York Jets. The defense has been a big part of the suddenly hot Jets and their win streak. 

Last week in a blowout win over the Oakland Raiders, the Jets defense was borderline dominant. They allowed just 208 yards of total offense, only 10 first downs, no trips to the red zone – all of which resulted in a benching of starting quarterback Derek Carr midway through the third quarter.  Winners of three straight games, the Jets are ninth in the league in total defense. 

Against Carr, the Jets managed just one sack and the seven quarterback hits on the afternoon are nothing special. But the Jets were constantly in the backfield providing pressure and collapsing the pocket. The league’s top ranked run defense was effective in limiting the Raiders on the ground and the secondary had their most complete performance of the season. 

Welcome back, Dalton. 

“It’s a team that moves around a lot. They’re a defense, they’re not staying in one spot, there’s guys that are kind of all the place. There have some blitz schemes and different things,” Dalton said on Wednesday during a press conference with the local media

“You need to be prepared for all the different movements that they have and the things that they do. Gregg Williams, has been around for a long time, he’s been a very successful defensive coordinator and had a lot of really good defenses and this is one of them.” 

In Dalton’s last start, way back in Week 8, he was 32-for-52 for 329 yards and a touchdown in a 24-10 loss at the Los Angeles Rams. He had no interceptions but was sacked five times. 

The biggest issue here for Dalton might be time. While he obviously practiced with the team, he hasn’t played a game since before Halloween. Rust might be a bit of a concern for the veteran, at least at the start of the game. 

It has been three full games standing on the sideline, watching rookie Ryan Finley. That’s a lengthy absence, especially for a quarterback who depends on sharpness and rhythm.  

“I was taking all the scout team reps and stuff, obviously they weren’t our plays but I’ve still been playing football,” Dalton said. “I don’t think there will be any rust.” 

To watch Dalton’s complete press conference, including his discussion of winning back the starting job, click here