Dalton: 'I'm going to prepare myself like I'm going to be the starter'

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Former TCU quarterback Andy Dalton knows earning the starting job as the Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback is far from guaranteed.

But in the meantime, he's preparing like it's all his.

The Katy, Texas native said Monday his new team's starting quarterback job is there for the taking and he won't be caught off guard if he earns it by the Bengals' season opener in September.

"It's open competition," Dalton said. "If I get the opportunity to start week one then I get that opportunity. But if not I'm going to keep preparing and put myself in a position to be ready if the time comes."

Dalton, who was taken by the Bengals in the second round with the 35th overall pick of NFL Draft Friday night, enters a Bengals organization coming off a 4-12 season. Cincinnati has recently been mired in an array of off-the-field issues ranging from wide receiver Chad Ochocinco's open displeasure with head coach Marvin Lewis to quarterback Carson Palmer's threats to retire if not traded.

The recent controversy won't interfere with his day-to-day mindset and routine, though, Dalton said.

"Everyone knows Carson is saying he's not coming back," Dalton said. "I think they're preparing to move on so obviously the position is open… I'm going to go prepare myself like I'm going to be the starter."

Because of the lockout, though, Dalton's recent trip to Cincinnati to be introduced by Lewis was limited to the media side of the job only. He won't be able to talk football with any coaches, or look at a playbook, until the NFL labor issues are resolved.

He did, though, get the phone numbers of the Bengals' quarterbacks and receivers, including the team's first round pick receiver, A.J. Green from Georgia.

"I'm going to be seeing what they're doing and seeing what's going on and try to figure out what's best to do," Dalton said.

Dalton has already called Green and second-year receiver Jordan Shipley and he said the three of them are geared up and ready to reverse the recent fortunes of the team.

"We're ready to get going," Dalton said. "What we're going to be doing offensively we're really going to turn things around a little bit."

Green and himself, Dalton said, are just two of the changes the organization is making to better the product on the field.

"We got a new offensive coordinator and a couple new coaches and we're kind of getting these players in that are going to help this team out," Dalton said. "We're excited."

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