Every time Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton makes a pass in his first days at training camp at Georgetown College, he probably has three or four guys telling him what he did right and what he did wrong. The quarterback coach, Ken Zampese, is likely breathing down his neck. The new offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, is probably explaining the fine print of his playbook to him. When Dalton goes to the sidelines, it's likely that any quarterback on the team, whether they're practicing or not, is giving him pointers.
It must be nice to have all of that help.
There's another guy, though, that is helping Dalton get ready for the real thing and he likely has barely talked to the young quarterback. That guy is defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
There aren't many defensive coordinators out there that are better at their jobs than Zimmer is and there aren't many defensive coordinators that could get a rookie quarterback ready to face an NFL defense. As Zimmer sends one blitz package after another towards Dalton, the young quarterback is going to learn to read defenses quickly and get rid of the ball even quicker, and it's better that he learn it in Georgetown than on the field at Paul Brown Stadium when it counts.
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy wrote that during practice on Tuesday evening, Dalton struggled against Zimmer's blitzing defense.
Welcome to the NFL and going against Mike Zimmer's defense. Zimmer threw plenty of blitz packages at the rookie and he struggled, often holding on to the ball too long.
But struggling against Zimmer's defense now is a good thing. The more Dalton struggles and learns now, the less he'll have to struggle during the regular season. Hopefully.
Dalton's quarterback coach, Zampese, also believes it's a good thing because Dalton is now seeing what he'll face throughout the year. He also believes that the defense doesn't necessarily have Dalton's number all the time.
"No question about it and we got ours too (the 40-yard pass to Simpson). It's a good back and forth. What we're seeing now are things we will see throughout the year."
So, when Dalton is out on the field this year and recognizes that the defense is about to bring some extra pressure and he burns them with a quick pass to Jermaine Gresham or Jordan Shipley or any of the other extremely talented receivers on the team, maybe he'll give a quick thanks to Zimmer for beating the crap out of him all summer.
Insert randon Rocky quote about needing to train with the best to beat the best here.