CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 16: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after a touchdown during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals won 27-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton did the unexpected in leading the Bengals to the playoffs during his rookie season.
Yet many are still eager to find a way to criticize the man. The latest criticism comes from CBSSPORTS and writer Ryan Wilson. Dalton came in number ten in the list of top ten players most likely to take a step back in 2012. Wilson wrote this about Dalton:
"If not for Cam Newton, Andy Dalton would've been the unanimous choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was that good. And unlike Newton, no one expected anything from Dalton, a second-round pick out of TCU. All he did was replace Carson Palmer and help lead the Bengals to the playoffs after a four-win effort the season before. Much of the credit has to go to offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who did a masterful job of putting the quarterback we affectionately call Ginger Power in positions to succeed. But now that opponents have a season's worth of tape on Dalton, they will try to take away what he does well (anticipation and accuracy, to quote NFL Films' Greg Cosell) and exploit his weaknesses (which Cosell identifies as "his inability to drive the ball with velocity"). Then the question becomes: is Dalton good enough to overcome schemes designed to make him uncomfortable? He wouldn't be the first NFL quarterback to experience growing pains in Year 2 after a stellar start to his career."
First of all, does anyone actually call Dalton "Ginger Power"? The writer does praise Dalton's rookie season and explains how unexpected his success was last season. But he brings up the dreaded topic of Dalton's arm strength again. Dalton struggled near the end of his rookie season, as the weather got colder and teams figured out what it took to make him uncomfortable. While teams will certainly make the adjustments on Dalton this year, the writer fails to mention that Dalton will also be making adjustments. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Dalton have likely been watching tape together, identifying every way possible to make sure that Dalton does not experience a sophomore slump. I would expect Gruden and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese to be coaching Dalton hard and making sure that he improves on last season. Dalton faced the Ravens,Steelers,and Texans defense twice last season. If anything, that helped him prepare for the tough schedule that he will face this season. Another thing that cannot hurt is the weapons that Dalton has added to his arsenal this season. They include Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Jordan Shipley, and Orson Charles.
For more on Dalton. check out Anthony Cosenza's preview on the quarterback position: Quarterback Training Camp Preview