Friday in Indianapolis was a State of the Union Address of sorts for Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis. He touched on many things when speaking to the media, including an injury update to wide receiver Jordan Shipley, as well as one for cornerback Leon Hall. Lewis also talked about his young, up-and-coming team, and how they could take big strides this offseason.
Echoing last week's sentiments from Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden, Lewis proclaimed this offseason a huge one for his young quarterback, Andy Dalton. His success as a rookie was surprising, given the hurdles that Dalton had to overcome both inside and outside of the organization. It's his experiences as a rookie that has Lewis believing that Dalton will benefit from a full offseason to apply what he learned in 2011.
In speaking to the media about this topic, Lewis had this to say:
"I think it’s going to be a huge thing for Andy to have, not only the offseason, but a resume of work, and something that he can build upon and improve upon with the rest of our players," Lewis said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He spoke so much about that, that he can’t wait to have the opportunity to get back to work and to be able to look at the different things and the different concepts that we do offensively."
There's no doubt that a full offseason of lockout-free work will help Dalton and the rest of the offensive unit's growth. And, with Gruden staying on board for at least another year, there's continuity to build on. The second year of an NFL quarterback's career is often very telling as more responsibility is given to them, an expanded playbook is expected to be digested, and other team's have a full year of tape to watch. But, with some new pieces around him, Dalton could continue to grow into one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Lewis' take on Dalton's personality makes us believe he'll get there:
"Nothing seemed to be too big," Lewis said. "He seems to take almost everything in stride, and his personality is one that’s very unassuming but yet very quiet — quiet demeanor, quiet determination and resolve."
It's not something we hadn't heard before, but it's evident that the coaching staff has their full confidence in the young man out of TCU. Let's hope he continues to embrace his role as a leader and continues to improve, as Lewis hopes, in 2012 and beyond.