We kick off this year long study of the Bengals passing offense by taking a look at how Andy Dalton lead the offense through the air in preseason. The chart below shows the location of each ball thrown and the result of each. We're going to use these passing charts, All-22 film and other advanced statistics to try and understand Jay Gruden and the Bengals passing game much more by seasons end.
Here's what we found through four preseason games...
Dalton's Preseason Stats
20/45 (45.5%) for 245 yards (5.6 yards per attempt) - 1 TD = 70.3 QB Rating
Obviously these numbers aren't anything that will get our hopes up. It's preseason, but if anything, your quarterback has to still make the throws and make the correct reads. Dalton never seemed to get into a rhythm and the offense was hurt because of it.
Dalton's 3rd Down Stats
9/16 (56.3%) for 148 yards (9.25 YPA) - 1 TD = 108.3 QB Rating
This is the bright side of Dalton's preseason. If he can continue to play his best on 3rd downs, the offense will find success. These numbers are even more impressive when you consider the average distance to go was 7.4 yards on these 16 passing plays. Dalton's nine completions went for an average of 16.4 yards.
Dalton's Shotgun Stats
11/22 (50.0%) for 141 yards (6.4 YPA) - 1 TD = 85.6 QB Rating
Almost half of Andy Dalton's pass attempts this preseason came from the shotgun. That 50% completion rate may be misleading because the average pass traveled 13.6 yards out of Shotgun. As you can see in the diagram above, anything beyond 10-yards gets sketchy for Dalton. 50% isn't bad if he's taking shots down field.
Shotgun on 3rd Downs
8/14 (57.1%) for 148 yards (10.6 YPA) - 1 TD = 117.6 QB Rating
Almost every one of Dalton's 3rd down attempts came from the shotgun. Obviously this should continue. Dalton is at his best when his best is needed (3rd downs) and when he's working from the shotgun.
3/10 (30%) for 21 yards (2.1 YPA) = 39.6 QB Rating
You could directly result this to the complete dehydration of talent at running back and three new starters on the offensive line. If defenses aren't afraid of the Bengals running the ball, play-action becomes pointless; especially if the offense isn't trying to push the ball down field off of play-action. Their average distance was only 9.1 yards after a play-fake.
Top Two Targets; Green and Gresham
5/18 (27.8%) for 106 yards (5.9 YPA) - 1 TD = 70.1 QB Rating
Yikes! The offense needs to move the ball through A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. Completing only 28% of those passes won't cut it. Here's the catch, those five completions went for an average 21.2 yards per catch. Those are explosive plays. All the reason to make sure these throws are on target where our stars can make plays.