There’s been much debate over Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton over the course of this season, as it appears that the third-year man out of TCU has actually regressed, despite the addition of several dynamic rookies in Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard, as well as the maturation of second-year receivers Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones.
Oh, and that A.J. green guy isn’t exactly a pushover either. Not to mention Dalton is playing behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, but has still managed to play poorly enough that many are wondering what his issues are, and whether or not he can become a franchise QB.
Alen Dumonjic of the Score wrote one of the best in-depth breakdowns of Dalton’s issues, which he believe are due to his inability to adjust to an NFL-level passing offense:
In college, Dalton worked in a offense that was built upon the quick passing game. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it consists of quick one- and three-step drops that get the ball out in a hurry — hence the name. The route combinations are simple, featuring slant, stick, snag, shallow, hook, and flat routes. What this offense did was allow Dalton to rock back and throw the ball without being tested mentally. He made what many call “grass reads,” which can be summed up like this: if the defender is here, Dalton goes there. If the defender is there, Dalton goes here. As you can imagine, there’s little difficulty in making decisions this way.
But in the NFL, things are different. When 3rd-and-long settles in, the quick game is not an option. Decisions have to be made. Dalton’s not making the right ones, and if not for a dominant defense, it would be costing his team more ball-games than people think.