CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals takes the field for the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Calvin Watkins, from ESPNDallas.com, recently compiled a list of five players from the opposition that the Dallas Cowboys should worry about next season. His list does not include the obvious players like Eli Manning, Michael Vick, or Ben Roethlisberger. However, it does include Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals host the Cowboys on Sunday, December 9th at 1 PM ET.
Watkins is likely expecting progression, rather than regression, from Dalton after his rookie season. Watkins writes:
"The former TCU standout proved last year he can play in this league. When the Cowboys visit Cincinnati on Dec. 9, they will take on the second-year quarterback who compiled a 78.1 quarterback rating but threw eight touchdowns and six interceptions in home games in 2011. NFL teams aren't waiting on quarterbacks to develop, they're playing them now and getting results. Dalton is another example of this."
While Watkins does not exactly explain why he thinks Dalton will pose a problem for the Cowboys, he does provide statistics that show how successful Dalton was as a rookie quarterback. It is possible that Watkins expects Jermaine Gresham to be a breakout performer and help Dalton out. He could also be assuming that one of the rookie receivers will come in and become a legitimate number two receiver opposite of A.J. Green.
Many often talk about how to avoid sophomore slumps as a quarterback and the best way to do that is to provide the quarterback with as many weapons as possible. Whether or not the Bengals have provided Dalton with enough weapons to avoid that sophomore slump remains to be seen. Watkins seems to think that Dalton has what it takes to provide a headache or two for NFL teams next fall--particularly the Cowboys.