A big offseason is in store for Andy Dalton, and for good reason.
With just three years left on his current contract, it’s getting close to being time for a new extension with the Bengals. These days, most NFL quarterbacks sign extensions with one or two years left on their deal, so Dalton could be cashing in on a big payday soon.
However, two straight so-so seasons with the Bengals has caused his stock to dip quite a bit. After playing at an MVP-level in 2015, Dalton’s play has regressed in each of the past two seasons, and it’s been part of why the Bengals are coming off back-to-back losing seasons.
Dalton began the season at home against the Ravens with one of the worst games of his career, as he completed just 16 of 31 passes for 170 yards and four interceptions. His overall passer rating was a mere 28.4.
His QBR, which factors things like down and distance, strength of opposing defenses and the strength of the offensive line, was 0.6 in that game. It was the third-worst performance in the history of the statistic, which began in 2006.
Late in the season against the Vikings, Dalton went 11 of 22 for 113 yards with two interceptions and an overall rating of 27.3 and a QBR of 2.5.
For the season, Dalton completed just 59.9-percent of his passes, the second-lowest mark of his career, and the worst since his rookie season.
Needless to say, Dalton and the Bengals have a lot of work to do this offseason to ensure he gets back to his 2015 form in 2018.
New quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt has been very pleased with what he’s seen from Dalton this offseason, particularly his fundamentals.
“As good as I’ve been around,” Van Pelt told Bengals.com. “A 10. Mechanically he’s sound. He’s always in a good position to throw the ball as far as his release. Everything is very clean. Very accurate and he’s always in great position with his feet. How they’re aligned and always pointed at the target.”
Another thing that’s stood out to Van Pelt is how high Dalton’s football IQ is.
“He’s a very smart guy. Very smart,” Van Pelt said. “A lot of times when you change offenses, it takes a little while to get the verbiage down. But he puts a lot of work in. He studies. Not once have I had to really catch him with a formation that was wrong or a play call that didn’t come out the right way.”
It’s great to see Dalton has been doing well in the eyes of his new position coach this offseason. Van Pelt was brought over from the Packers this offseason after Bill Lazor, who previously was the quarterbacks coach, became the full-time offensive coordinator.
And a big reason why Dalton has regressed recently was having to play under then-offensive coordinator Ken Zampese, who clearly was nowhere close to being a suitable play-caller in the NFL. It was a tragedy he was ever allowed to call plays for the Bengals, and they paid dearly for it.
Now that Dalton has Lazor running the offense and Van Pelt working directly with the quarterbacks, along with a revamped offensive line, expect big improvements in 2018.