While Andy Dalton appeared on the outside to improve from his rookie to sophomore seasons(7 more touchdowns, 4 points higher on completion percentage), one area he regressed badly in was the number of sacks he took in 2012 compared to 2011. He was sacked just 24 times in 2011, but went down 46 times in 2012, an increase that, according to Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus, was alarming to say the least:
Andy Dalton’s sack% increased from 4.6% in 2011 to 8.3% in 2012. 3.7% change is highest among rookies-to-sophomores over last 5 yrs #Bengals
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) February 25, 2013
Only six teams allowed more sacks last season, and far too often, it was Dalton holding the ball too long that resulted in a sack. He appeared to become more indecisive as the year went on, and must learn to “pull the trigger” better in 2013 if the Bengals want to avoid being one-and-done in the playoffs for the third year in a row.
To be fair to Dalton, having a consistent starting center, a defined #2 receiver, and a tight end who doesn’t disappear more than Manti Te’o’s girlfriend would help out.