There is a lot of fuss being made about the Bengals’ offensive progression from last season.
There has been plenty of noise about the offensive line improving with new position coach Frank Pollack. Bill Lazor has created a new offense for the Bengals for the first time since Jay Gruden came to town, and there is plenty of excitement over the possibility that John Ross could be a productive member of this offense.
However, we haven’t heard much about Andy Dalton during this whole time. Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football recently said that Dalton is being “slept on.”
Slept on, meaning a guy we aren’t talking about... Andy Dalton hasn’t won crap in the NFL, but Andy Dalton is being slept on going into the season. I thought last year was a tough tough road for Dalton. They spent a top ten pick on John Ross and he doesn’t catch a single ball. They deplete their offensive line... Then they fire his offensive coordinator two weeks into the season, and what does he do to finish the year? They beat the Lions. They beat the Ravens. They knock both those teams out of the playoffs. They end on a good note. Dalton, for all his flaws for all his prime time inabilities whatever you want to say, has been to the playoffs five of the seven years in the NFL.
Schrager stuck up for Dalton in a big way. He also gave his reasoning for why he think this season will be better for Dalton.
Here is my big push for Andy Dalton this season. Bill Lazor filled in [last season] and their offense took off at the end. They now have an entire offseason [together]. The same way I feel about Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo having an entire offseason to work together. That is the same way I feel about Bill Lazor’s offense. He comes from like a Chip Kelly kind of scheme... He comes with a different view of this. I think Andy Dalton could be the benefactor of a whole offseason with this offensive coordinator saying “I can make the leap.” We saw him do it with Jay Gruden. We saw him do it with Hue Jackson. Now it is Bill Lazor’s time.
That is extremely high praise. It is hard to say Dalton has had a great couple of seasons, but last year he did throw 25 touchdowns. The two years before that he also had single-digit interceptions, and if you take out an outlier in Week 1 of 2017 he would have done the same last season.
It’s a stretch to say that Dalton is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL. However, he can produce when he has talent around him. That isn’t a knock either. Not every team can have a Tom Brady at quarterback who makes everyone around him better.
The faster-paced offense, the better offensive line and having someone aside from A.J. Green to throw the ball to next season should lead to a re-emergence from Dalton. He won’t have any excuses next season, and at least one national media member doesn’t think he will need it.
Personally, I don’t think he is flying under the radar or being slept on. People just know who he is. He is an average- to above-average quarterback depending on the talent around him, and with Dalton going into his eighth season it is hard to write that story any different. We should see an above-average Dalton next season though.
What do you think? Are people sleeping on Dalton?