Analyst details biggest difference between Andy Dalton and Joe Burrow

Joe Burrow (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Analyst Cian Fahey broke down the biggest difference between Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals’ new man under center, Joe Burrow.

For the past nine seasons, fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have known very little at the quarterback position outside of Andy Dalton. Sure, there were a few stretches that saw A.J. McCarron and Ryan Finley take the reigns, but for the most part, it was always the red rifle under center. The orange and black faithful had grown accustomed to the strengths and weaknesses of the former TCU signal-caller, but with Joe Burrow now at the helm, they’ll quickly learn the differences between the two.

On the Bengals Booth Podcast, analyst Cian Fahey broke down the one aspect they differ in the most. On the surface, it may appear that the biggest difference is a physical trait or system preference, but it’s actually part of their post-snap mental processing.

As those in the Queen City are well aware, Dalton had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his tenure in stripes. One possible explanation for that, Fahey explains, is that the 9-year veteran was a very good “pre-snap” quarterback but struggled when defenses disguised their coverages,

"“Andy Dalton was a great pre-snap quarterback. If he figured out what you were doing before the ball was snapped, he was going to figure out where the open receiver was… Andy Dalton struggles to adjust when the look changed at the snap or when the defense shifted it’s coverage.”"

When you examine Dalton’s career with the Bengals, this evaluation certainly holds true and explains the roller coaster ride that fans experienced.

Joe Burrow, on the other hand, thrives when the play breaks down,

"“Joe Burrow is also a great pre-snap quarterback. If you give him a look, he’s going to know what to expect from that look and he’s going to know how to adjust off of that look. The last part of that sentence is the difference there.”"

Some of Burrow’s biggest plays came when things got chaotic after the snap and he had to make adjustments on the fly. It’s one of his strengths, and among the reasons that many believe he has what it takes to turn into a top-flight quarterback at the highest level. It’s a quality that all of the best signal-callers in the league today possess.

How this quality can help the offensive line

There’s no denying it, the Bengals had one of the worst offensive lines in the entire NFL last year. While the team will get back former first-round pick Jonah Williams, many aren’t convinced that it will be enough to get the unit up to par.

However, the aforementioned strength of Burrow could help mask some of the deficiencies along the trenches. At times, Dalton would struggle to know where to go with the ball, forcing the offensive line to hold blocks for longer. On the other side of the coin, Burrow excels in knowing how to quickly make adjustments to exploit the weaknesses in the coverage that the defense shifted to.

This will make the whole offensive line look better and open up the playbook. If the LSU product can get the defense on their heels, it will pave the way for the run game and even set up play-action plays.

Of course, Burrow will need time to adjust. It’s one thing to dissect a defense at the college level and another thing entirely to do so in the NFL. Plus, he’s dealing with less than ideal circumstances this offseason.

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Once the Heisman winner makes the leap though, his post-snap mental processing will raise the level of play of those around him and could take the Bengals’ offense to the next level.