Andy Dalton will be going into his next to last season of his six-year/$96 million contract in 2019, but the organization wants to see how he fairs this year in a new offensive scheme before extending him.
Dalton is looking to rebound from a fractured thumb, only starting 11 games in the 2018 season due to the injury. This was the second time Dalton suffered a fractured thumb, as the same injury occurred during the Bengals’ breakout 12-4 season in 2015.
With many curious if the organization would re-sign the veteran QB this off-season, owner Mike Brown told media that, “I think Andy is a good player, and that he will rebound off last year. He was hurt. We lost so many other pieces; it fell apart. But if he’s healthy and we stay healthy enough, I have confidence in him.”
The question is, what will it take for the organization to consider bringing Dalton back?
This will be Dalton’s first year in the league without Marvin Lewis as his head coach. His new head coach is only five years older than him, but has been attributed to the success of a lot of young quarterbacks in the past few years.
Taylor served as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins when Ryan Tannehill played at a very high level, as well as being the quarterbacks coach for Jared Goff in 2018. Goff was playing at an MVP level all season as he finished the regular season with 4,688 yards and 32 TD’s to 12 INT’s.
Now, Taylor will try to recreate the success he had with those QB’s with Dalton.
Although the new offensive scheme appears to be run heavy from what we’ve seen throughout training camp and preseason, this doesn’t mean that Dalton can be reliant on the running backs to carry the offense.
Coach Taylor will look for him to run the offense like how Jared Goff ran the L.A Rams offense in 2018, which is to sell the run and utilize all of his targets such as how Goff utilized Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, and Cooper Kupp. Although no one is expecting Dalton to play at an MVP caliber level like how Goff did in 2018, they will expect similar efficiency from the “Red Rifle”.
While it seems that there is a lot of pressure on Dalton’s shoulders to perform in 2019, he feels the complete opposite.
“I don’t feel like there’s any extra pressure,” Dalton said in the preseason. “I’m just worried about winning”.
This is reassuring for fans to know that their veteran quarterback has experience and knowledge in this league to hopefully lead this team toward Super Bowl contention.
CBS sports writer John Breech predicted that Dalton would top 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, adding that he believes the Bengals will finish over .500 in 2019. This would be huge, as many believe the Bengals are the frontrunners to finish dead last in the AFC North, especially after teams like the Browns and Ravens loaded up in the offseason with talent. The Steelers will be interesting to see how they fair with the departure of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but already have their replacements on the roster with guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner.
It will be interesting to see what happens in 2019 with Andy Dalton, but if he can play at the level we’ve seen him play before, then this team can make a deep playoff run.