The Cincinnati Bengals will begin the Andy Dalton era Friday night against the Detroit Lions. The AFC North blog spent this week in Georgetown, Ky., to monitor Dalton and the Bengals in preparation for this game.
What can you expect from Dalton tonight?
Here is an early scouting report:
Dalton and the first-team offense will play longer than usual, according to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. Starters in the first preseason game typically play a series or two. But Cincinnati's coaching staff wants to get its young players like Dalton and receivers Jerome Simpson and rookie A.J. Green used to playing together. Don't be surprised if Dalton gets at least three series against Detroit.
Green and Simpson are doing well in training camp. That's a good sign for Dalton. The rookie quarterback already established a good rapport with his starting receivers. Expect Dalton to give Green and Simpson several opportunities to make plays.
Dalton is a better athlete than advertised. I was surprised how well he moves out of the pocket. Dalton also is thicker in the upper and lower body than Cleveland Browns counterpart Colt McCoy. Dalton may get a chance to show his surprising athleticism.
The challenge for Dalton is not to make rookie mistakes. He threw a few interceptions in practice this week, which is expected. Most were because of poor reads or miscommunications with receivers. Dalton has to eliminate those mistakes in game situations.