Andy Dalton has been playing the best football of his career through the first six weeks of this NFL season, and he wants to make sure it continues after the Bengals' bye week.
That's why Dalton is meeting with one of quarterback guru Tom House's coaches this week to work on his mechanics and ensure he keeps playing like he has in the first six games, all of which have been Bengals wins. Dalton is now up to 16 total touchdowns (14 passing, 2 rushing) with just three turnovers through his first six games. His work with House and his staff has helped lead to that success.
Adam Dedeaux, one of House’s coaches at USC, came to Paul Brown Stadium Tuesday to meet with Dalton and told Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson that and there’s not much for him to do with Dalton with how well he's playing.
"The way he is preparing for games is showing up on the field. His body movements overall have been very clean," Dedeaux said via Bengals.com. "There were times last year he got out of mechanical efficiency and I haven’t seen that at all this year."
Dalton's history with House is well-documented, and it's safe to say the guru's impact on the Bengals' quarterback is very significant. The breakdowns in mechanical efficiency Dedeaux spoke of are right on point with Dalton's play toward the end of last season compared to how he was playing early on. Through his first six games in 2014, Dalton was completing 68-percent of his passes for 250 yards per game with a QB rating over 90 while also being ranked the No. 9 QB on Pro Football Focus (6.4), a mere .2 points behind Peyton Manning (6.6).
However, Dalton began regressing into bad habits, which caused him to be PFF's No. 28 QB the rest of the regular season after throwing just 19 touchdowns vs 17 interceptions. His 83.5 passer rating was also the second-worst mark in his career, a mere 2.9 points better than his rookie mark of 80.4.
"We haven’t seen what we saw last year and I think it comes from his attention to detail and sticking to the process," Dedeaux said.
For much of Dalton's first four seasons, he was as streaky of an NFL QB as there is. That was never more evident than his Week 10 showing vs the Browns last season, which was followed up with a masterful performance in a road win at New Orleans. We've seen nothing but the 'Good Andy' this season, which has never really been the case with him over a six-game stretch. In the past, Dalton may have made it through three or four games with good performances, but then he'd follow it up with a pair of stinkers as well.
We're not seeing the 'Bad Andy' this year, and it appears his technical mastery is the biggest reason why. It's not fair to expect him to keep playing at the level he's been playing for an entire season, but the fact that he's been able to do this for even a six-game stretch has to make the Bengals and fans far more confident this team can win 3-4 straight games in the postseason, which is all it takes to win a Super Bowl.
It may even be time to ditch the 'Bad Andy' moniker, because this year's Andy Dalton is a new and improved quarterback.