Earlier this week during organized team activities, Jay Morrison of The Athletic described an event that could be easily overlooked, but it is a moment that Bengals fans should appreciate.
Andy Dalton is often criticized for not elevating the players around him, and sometimes for not being a good leader. This is mostly because he isn’t the kind to get fired up or chew someone out on the sidelines.
Here though, Dalton takes former first round pick John Ross aside and presumably has a teaching moment to help Ross get better. That is an effort to elevate the players around you. Then, Dalton goes right back to Ross to show confidence in him. That is leadership. There is more than one way to go about it.
This also isn’t the first time we have seen evidence that Dalton can be a good leader. One of last season’s highlights was the victory in Atlanta. There, Fox 19’s Joe Danneman captured an image of the embattled young receiver and his quarterback sharing a moment of triumph after a touchdown connection.
We have been hearing quotes all offseason from various players about how “different” things are under rookie head coach Zac Taylor and Taylor’s attention to detail. Also, Taylor has been praised by his players for staying calm when seeing, correcting, and explaining mistakes.
Judging by these two moments between Dalton and Ross, Taylor has a quarterback whose leadership style is in alignment with his own methodology as a coach. In an age where superstars are leaving their teams and citing a lack of personal relationship with their franchise quarterback, it is nice to see things appearing to mesh nicely in Cincinnati.
By no means should Dalton be given all the credit for developing players like Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Tyler Boyd. However, now that we know that Bengals players find having a head coach who is hands on different, perhaps more credit should be given to veterans who have been known to aide in the development of the younger players. Brandon LaFell for example, has been credited by Boyd in helping last year’s breakout star with his development.
It might be an over statement to say that the development of the offensive players was left mostly to the positional coaches and veteran players in the past. However, it is exciting to see a future where the Bengals head coach is invested in helping each individual player get better.