Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden speaks during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Earlier on Monday, a bit of a stir was created when famed NFL Films guru, Greg Cosell, claimed that the Bengals have internal concerns around quarterback Andy Dalton. These "concerns" were centered around a perceived lack of size and arm strength, as well as how close Dalton is to hitting his ceiling already. We kind of viewed the criticisms as a bit of a reach.
Apparently, we weren't alone. The man largely responsible for bringing Dalton to Cincinnati responded to Cosell's assertion that the team was concerned about their second-year quarterback. According to Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Gruden was quite candid about his opinion on the matter (as he usually is).
Gruden was quoted as saying:
"I don’t know where that came from and why he (Cosell) said it. If there were reservations about Andy Dalton there would be a lot more quarterbacks here right now. We know and he knows he has to get better and he is chomping at the bit to get going. I have no reservations about his arm strength. I think he can do it all. He might not run 4.3 in the 40 or be 6-6 but to play the position and what we need to do he can do everything we want.
"If you can throw it 62-63 yards that is pretty strong. He does have a long way to go to get better. We’re not putting his jersey or shoes in Canton right now but we have every reason to believe he will continue to improve."
Most would agree that the offensive systems and surrounding personnel have a lot to do with the success of a quarterback in the NFL. It also can be attributed to the "intangibles" that a quarterback has. For instance, former greats, Joe Montana and Ken Anderson, were subject to many of these same criticisms and they went on to have fantastic NFL careers. There's also the case of Drew Brees who has overcome his smallish stature to become one of the league's best players.
We were pretty certain that Gruden would "have the back" of Dalton here, but really it's Gruden's argument that makes sense over Cosell's. He is absolutely correct in noting that the important aspects of a quarterback is to do everything that they want/need him to do in their system. Dalton has already proven that he is a good player for the team's West Coast Offense philosophy and the coaches fought to draft him over the big, strong-armed Ryan Mallett. And, if that isn't enough to quell fear of Cosell's criticisms being true, Dalton himself is working on improving his strength and deep ball accuracy.