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Dalton And Gradkowski Helping Each Other Grow As Quarterbacks

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Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski was brought in by the Bengals this offseason to mentor rookie Andy Dalton as well as to have a capable backup that could run their new offensive system. He was an essential pickup at the time because the Bengals didn't (and still don't) have any other quarterbacks on the roster with much NFL game experience, if any at all. Gradkowski was especially valuable as he played in Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden's system back in their days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dalton was heralded as the most polished quarterback coming out of this year's draft and had a reputation for having a good head on his shoulders. Despite those accolades, it was widely known that Dalton would be relying on Gradkowski to learn the nuances of Gruden's offense. While that has been true, so has the opposite.


Both quarterbacks have been leaning on each other and using the other's sets of eyes and ears to grow in the system together:

 "He's helped me out a lot, just with little things, even handling this (a news conference). Going out and talking through all the walk-through reps and doing all the little things like that. He's just kind of talking through things. I can come on the sideline and he can tell me what he saw compared to what I saw, and it’s the same thing I was trying to do when he's in the game. He'd come in and ask me what I saw on certain things and I'd just tell him little things I saw from the sideline. That's one area where we really help each other out."

It's unlikely that this was reciprocated much until Dalton left the game against the Browns early and worked with Gradkowski on what he had been seeing out on the field. The cooperation by both players has paid off, as both quarterbacks fared well on Sunday. Neither quarterback turned the ball over and both did their jobs to win the game. 

This tidbit from Dalton is just a small example of the team cohesion that's been occurring in 2011 that didn't appear to be happening last season.