Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden talks about Andy Dalton's performance against the Eagles, calling it "a tough day."
There are those that fail to comprehend such an multi-tasking ability of being critical while being equally supportive. Sports fans sometimes are the bad in that regard, believing that criticism and support are mutually exclusive from each other. If you criticize, you either do not support or blindly hate. If you support, then you mustn't criticize. Politics is the absolute worst, but that's neither here nor there.
Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden hasn't been one to shy away from offering criticism, especially to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
Despite scoring an eventual game-winning touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night, Dalton completed a season-low 48.1 percent of his passes for 127 yards passing (second-lowest this season), losing two fumbles during quarterback sacks, averaging only 4.7 yards/passing (second-lowest in his career). Gruden said (per Bengals.com):
"It was very un-Andy-like last night," Gruden said Friday. "He missed some throws that he should make, he didn't throw some throws that he should throw, could have run for yards and tried to throw across his body and was almost intercepted. He made some plays that just weren't up to par. He missed (tight end Jermaine) Gresham on an out—he's 6-foot-5 for God's sakes and he throws it over his head—doesn't pull the trigger to (wide receiver Andrew Hawkins) twice (in the end zone). Just a tough day."
The miss to Gresham was a second quarter play where the tight end was matched up against safety Nate Allen, one of the worst safeties in coverage this year according to Pro Football Focus, allowing four touchdowns and an opposing passer rating of over 100.
"We expect to see progress and not regression, and he kind of took a step back last night. That's disappointing but in fairness to him, it's a road game, a Thursday night game against a pretty damn good defensive front and they have two good corners and they did a good job. Hats off to the defense over there. They played hard and spirited and took it to us. But we had some plays that should have been made that weren't."
Gruden also placed half of the sacks on Andy Dalton himself, saying:
At the same time everyone is reminded that he just completed his 31st NFL game in his career. He's going to have his fair share of bumps along the way and Thursday Night was one of them.