Bill Lazor, Andy Dalton can salvage Bengals offense

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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks to the huddle against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks to the huddle against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Bill Lazor becomes the fourth offensive coordinator to lay claim to Andy Dalton. The Bengals are in need of a quick fix to salvage the offense.

No, it’s not time to burn jerseys, put paper bags over your head or get out the pitchforks and torches. But, it is time to see this Bengals offense get turned around. With the ouster of Ken Zampese, Bill Lazor will be calling the plays from the air or on the sidelines. Two games don’t make a season. There’s tons of football to be played. But, the salvage mission starts now. Andy Dalton can be saved and so can the offense.

Frankly, it’s hard to believe that the Dalton under center is the same player who pushed the envelope in 2015. Right now, there are tons of fans calling for him to be dumped and AJ McCarron tossed into the mix. Unfortunately, with the play of the O-line, McCarron could see the same results. There was a time when both signal-callers had some mobility. Time and opportunity tend to change those parameters. However, the offense and the season aren’t lost. It’s not time to throw Andy on the junk heap…yet.

What Has To Happen

It’s obvious what has happened to Dalton. In both games, he’s been either too high with his passes or just plain short and out of the receiver’s range. What’s causing it? First off, he’s scared out of his mind. The O-line is not giving him the time he needs to stand in the pocket to go through his progressions. But, that was never a problem in the past. Dalton was once heralded as having one of the quickest release times in the league. 

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With a faster release comes less burden on the offensive line. From 2013 to his peak in 2015, Dalton’s accuracy went up, partly from working with quarterback guru Tom House. Last season, The Ginger was sacked 41 times, according to Sporting Charts. During his MVP run two years ago, that number was 32. That isn’t a huge difference. But, Andy wasn’t hesitant in getting rid of the ball.

Lazor will have to remind Dalton of the benefits that come with getting that release time up. If Lazor can get a faster thought process from the Bengals’ point man, fans should see a more confident and “clean” game from the seventh-year veteran.

"“As a coordinator, two of the most important things that you have to do is to get the quarterback in rhythm and get the running back in rhythm,” Lazor said, per Bengals.com. “We’ve got a good number of running backs that will share that right now, but when we have some time this evening and tomorrow to think about that, and specifically on questions with Andy, I think a lot of that responsibility will be mine to make sure we get him going.”"

All About Refining

If you’re looking for one of the changes to be Dalton riding the bench, get a life. That ain’t gonna happen until he completely loses his mechanics. At this point, he’s shaky and looks horrific. But, all of the problems can be refined and repaired.

His job is safe and he’s being paid like this is his team…which it is. With the exception of the offensive line being addressed, the offseason moves in the draft were made for Dalton. The staff has total confidence in his abilities.

In essence, Lazor’s responsibility will be to help Dalton stop thinking too much and use his athletic ability. Plays will be scaled down and most of the motion will be to confuse the defense as opposed to a trillion plays from each shift. Lazor had a 4,000-yard passer in Ryan Tannehill and a 1,000-yard rusher in Lamar Miller, while at Miami. In short,  I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten those OC skills in three years. Things should start to look up.

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