Much has been made about Andy Dalton's progression in his third year. With the added weapons on offense and this Bengals team seemingly on the rise, a lot is resting on Dalton's right shoulder to bring this team a possible championship.
Some people love the ProFootballFocus website for its expansive data and measurements of player performance that a normal stat sheet doesn't show. Others find the website misleading and unable to show the whole picture when evaluating a player. Whatever your stance is, their data definitely brings up an interesting conversation.
Recently, the guys at PFF compiled an index that shows quarterback performance under pressure. It also breaks down their production by where the pressure came from on the line. More recently, they focused on the quarterbacks of the AFC North.
Predictably, Dalton was third of four in many of the categories that were listed in the division. Their findings showed that Dalton didn't do well under pressure (-15.8) and should be doing better when well-protected (+6.4). Here is their breakdown:
Dalton doesn’t have a glaring weakness as he struggles against all kinds of pressure, and he’s been responsible for nine sacks in a clean pocket in his two years in the league (including seven last season), leading to a -4.6 grade when pressure is brought upon himself. Though the raw numbers look ugly, Dalton has done his best work when pressure comes from right tackle at +1.3. For Dalton to take the next step in his third season he needs to show some improvement when under heat (-15.8) while taking better advantage of his opportunities when well-protected (+6.4).
His quarterback rating of 55.8 under pressure is far lower than that of Ben Roethlisberger's (77), yet he is quite a bit ahead of Brandon Weeden's rating of 38.5 while under pressure. You can also see that the majority of Dalton's touchdown passes come with a clean pocket (40 of 47), as do the majority of his interceptions (26 of 33). Roethlisberger has a staggering overall PFF grade of 109.4, while Dalton has an overall score of -9.4. Interestingly, Joe Flacco has a terrible score under pressure of -53.5.
The data also shows some aspects of the offensive line as well. The two positions on the line that are perceived as the weakest on the Bengals--center and left guard--have the highest percentage of quarterback knockdowns. Dalton's best PFF scores come from the right side of the line with both the guard and tackle.
There are some glaringly obvious signs that we knew about Dalton that are engrained in this data. However, it's also really interesting to see his performances behind each line position.