Through the first three games of the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 season, there is one huge factor that you can see immediately. Andy Dalton has progressed finally after 7 seasons.
When Andy Dalton came onto the scene in 2011 he had to start as a rookie with no one to follow and learn from. He was a 2nd round Qb from TCU and wasn’t really a Qb that looked like can start right away and gain success right away in the league. He accomplished something rookie Qbs barely do which is lead their team to the playoffs in the first five seasons. The thing is though he never had a chance to learn the whole game and he never really progressed as a player in areas he struggled in.
The biggest area he struggled in was pocket awareness. Yes we all know he found his success with A J Green and he will continue to do that. With a receiver like that a young Qb will never learn pocket awareness and checking off a couple of receivers to find the open man. This year he is doing this.
The last two years Dalton has been relying on his quick release to get as much protection as he can get with a horrible offensive line. This makes matters worse for progression and being aware of the pocket presence. This year with a better offensive line that has been giving Dalton more time, it gives him the chance to take more time to check off his primary and go to a second or even third outlet. This year in every game he has been able to hit seven to eight different receivers on average. He is able to hit every TE on a two TE set. He doesn’t even hit Green his primary target when he isn’t open causing a forced throw. He feels the pocket if it collapses.
Dalton still struggles with over throwing his receivers but that will in time rectify due to learning pocket awareness. He will learn not to hurry his throws with time in the pocket.
These are situations rookie Qbs learn from the Qbs over them but Dalton never had the chance to learn. The Bengals still have a window for success. With Dalton finally developing he can lead them into a post season victory. This was what Dalton sympathizers have been waiting for. Think about how dangerous Dalton can be when he develops a pocket presence.
Dalton needs to develop more during the Atlanta Falcon game this Sunday. With the time he should get with an injury filled defense the Falcons have, he should have time to check off and hit a secondary and third target. He will be unstoppable when he masters pocket presence.