The Cincinnati Bengals had an amazing 2015 season. They came within a few seconds of winning that elusive playoff game head coach Marvin Lewis has been hunting. Much of the Bengals’ success was due to the play of Andy Dalton. He came of age and gave everyone quite a surprise performance. Now, the question is, can he repeat that breakout year?
No true Bengals fan can forget the January 9 meltdown at Paul Brown. The Bengals offense fell into the hands of AJ McCarron. He was able to guide Cincinnati to a late touchdown that almost iced the game. But it would have been good to see Dalton get the win. Being able to get the monkey off his back would have been incredible. Until Week 14, Dalton was wearing an “S” on his chest. A broken thumb ended his season.
Until that point, Dalton was incredible. His approach to the game changed and any devout fan or analyst could see it. His game had risen to another level. In other words, Dalton was truly off the chain.
Since the inception of the Dalton-Green era, there have been no playoff wins in the Queen City. There were numerous rumors floating about. Some felt like he wasn’t a true quarterback, he lacked the fiery attitude, and he was limited by the cast around him. But those were still excuses for his stunted personal growth.
That’s when Dalton and the Bengals sought the help of quarterback guru Tom House. House, a former MLB pitcher, has turned into the NFL’s most popular tutor. House’s baseball success is centered on his coaching of Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
After having huge success with the training, Dalton is making another House call. Per Cincy Jungle, the Ginger is hooking up with the mechanics man again. Two of the Bengals speedy wideouts are gone and so is Dalton’s mentor. Hue Jackson is now leading the Cleveland Browns into battle. But Dalton will be entering his sixth year as a starter. That’s also a sign of good things to come.
Ken Zampese will be the third offensive coordinator to call the shots. Bengals faithful should have nothing to worry about. The system is the same. Dalton proved that he had mastered the intricacies of audibling from the main plays. The scheme won’t be the problem. The only hindrance to Dalton will be himself. House has worked with a few familiar signal-callers. Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith, and Tim Tebow are on his list.
Dalton has already had a few sessions with House and his staff. Once training camp gets going, the results of those workouts should be evident. During minicamp, Dalton was zinging the ball with ease.
How effective was House’s methods on Dalton? Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson is having Robert Griffin III and the Browns’ backups study under the guru. Rookie quarterback Cody Kessler is drinking the Kool-Aid and getting ready.
“Coach Jackson is really close with Tom House and the way they do things,” Kessler said, via the Plain Dealer. “So for me too it’ll be cool to get a different perspective, kind of hear things and compare them and learn from everything he’s taught some of the great quarterbacks in the NFL.”
If Dalton can manage to stay healthy and avoid tackling 300-pound linemen, he could be an MVP candidate. With the help of House and his associates, the Red Rifle’s mechanics have improved. Could that also mean a return to the playoffs? Hopefully, this time, Dalton’s presence will provoke a different outcome. Lewis and Dalton may be able to bring that playoff win to life.
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