We're not exactly sure if Andy Dalton's second-year can necessarily be called a "sophomore slump". No. He's not winning the games, but neither are a lot of guys. For example the starting center and No. 2 wide receiver have been downgraded due to injuries and free agency over the offseason -- pass protection and reliable receivers are somewhat critical in a quarterback's production.
Additionally the Bengals offense isn't generating the number of possessions like they did last year, which included a defense that forced as many three and outs as anyone. Finally Dalton is on pace to set several career highs, which also interceptions and, dare we say, pick-sixes. Let's call it a very Carsonian type of season.
That being said, Dalton isn't off the hook by any means from his coaching staff.
From Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes on Monday.
On Monday though when asked what was the one thing that stood out from watching the Week 8 games, Lewis said it was consistent QB play. During the losing streak, Dalton has thrown six interceptions.
Added Lewis: "You have to play good at quarterback in order to win. That stands out if you look at each and every game. If you look at the Giants-Cowboys game and Dallas didn’t get off to a good start. You have to take care of the ball on offense and play efficient at quarterback. Turnovers beat you and if you don’t make plays from that position you have a hard time."
Paul Dehner Jr. with CBSSports.com writes that Jay Gruden believes Dalton is holding onto the football too long.
"Sometimes he is," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "You don't have to be Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III. But Drew Brees and a lot of these great quarterbacks buy time in the pocket. He's just got to do a better job of that. Comes with time. He's still in his second year. He's programmed in to being such a great rhythm, timing quarterback, but sometimes defenses here they can take away initial reads. He's going to have to wait for somebody else."
Even Dalton agrees with Gruden's assessment.
"There's times I wish I would have held on to it for a half second longer (against Pittsburgh), but a big part of my game is getting the ball out quick, getting the ball to our guys," Dalton said. "So, it's finding the balance of when you can hold on to it for a little bit longer and when you let it go."