Thanks to a budding connection with Andy Dalton, the Bengals may finally get a breakout season from third year receiver Tyler Boyd.
For veterans, one of the most important aspects of training camp is establishing rapport with other players. This year in particular for the Bengals, it’s important that the offense gels together. Aside from Andy Dalton and AJ Green, most of the offensive pieces are on their rookie deals. So far, Dalton looks like he’s building connections with his young pass catchers.
Noticeably, there is strong chemistry between Dalton and Tyler Boyd. Boyd is now entering his third season, so he has a slight advantage over players like John Ross, Josh Malone, and Auden Tate. However, the Bengals have used Boyd sparingly over the past couple years, so the rapport between him and Dalton may not have set in yet.
Now, it looks like the two are finally firing on all cylinders. Boyd has been all over the field during camp this year, making catch after catch. Yesterday, Boyd made what many reporters are calling the play of the day. In the red zone, absolutely smothered by Darqueze Dennard, Boyd made an incredible twisting, contested catch for a touchdown. Dalton put it just where he knew Boyd could get it, and Boyd wrestled it down (bottom right photo).
The most telling part of that play was how Dalton described it later. Dalton scanned the field and saw Dennard in great position on Boyd. He knew that Boyd wouldn’t be able to shake Dennard with a post or a fade, but he still had confidence that Boyd could go up and get it. Dalton gave him a perfect 50-50 ball, and Boyd got to his spot. That’s the kind of mental connection these Bengals need to click on offense.
Last year, we got a small taste of the Dalton-Boyd connection. The Bengals finally started to play Boyd a little more frequently after he came back form his mid-season injury. Boyd’s best games were at the end of the season, most notably in Week 17. Playing the Ravens, the Bengals needed a touchdown on fourth down late in the 4th quarter. Dalton hit Boyd on a crossing route over the middle and Boyd took it for a touchdown, leading the Bengals to a season-ending victory.
That play was the highlight of the season for the Bengals, but that’s the kind of play we may get a lot more often. This Dalton to Boyd connection should last into the regular season.