It's not much of a stretch to praise Andy Dalton as a potential MVP candidate... at least through eight games. During Cincinnati's franchise-best 8-0 start, Dalton is on pace to crush his career-best numbers in touchdowns (36), yards passing (4,452), completion percentage (67.4) and passer rating (111.0). He's also limited his interceptions to only four through eight games. Look at it this way... Dalton generated 19 passing touchdowns during the 2014 season -- he's one touchdown away from matching that total (of course, there's a laundry list of reasons why 2014 and 2015 are incomparable).
If you're examining reasons for Dalton's radical growth, there are many to draw from, the continued work with Tom House, the celebrity softball game where boos triggered something new, the return of Tyler EIfert, Marvin Jones and a healthy A.J. Green; all of these things are culminating into a dream season. Regardless, expending energy on a specific discovery is simply a waste of your time. There are many factors to consider.
All that matters is he's kicking ass.
And people are taking notice:
Andy Dalton is third in pro bowl balloting. pic.twitter.com/Ch5am48k0z— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) November 10, 2015
Naturally, no one is happier for Dalton's success than quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. "His success is my success," Zampese said via ESPN. "I don't have any success unless he does. So this has been very satisfying." Zampese, who joined Marvin Lewis during his inaugural season in Cincinnati, is now in his 13th season as the Bengals' quarterbacks coach. During his tenure in Cincinnati, he's sent two quarterbacks (Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton) to the Pro Bowl, but clearly Dalton is his greater accomplishment.
In addition to revising several franchise records, previously owned by Palmer, Boomer Esiason and Kenny Anderson, Dalton has helped lead Cincinnati to the postseason in each of his first four seasons with a fifth being all but inevitable.
It wasn't always smooth or favorable.
"Every quarterback gets [criticism]," Zampese said. "He gets more because there's been things that haven't happened to the extent that we've wanted them to, so it's easy to pile on. And every quarterback that comes in brand new and starts, it's geared up to break them down: you can't do this, you're not good enough, you're not this guy, you're not as good as that guy.
"Everything's coming to tear you down. There isn't anything that comes to build you up other than the people in the building. So keep your mind with the people that matter to you, which are in the building and in your own head. Listen to those guys, and try to keep all the other stuff where it's supposed to be -- outside the building."