Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Bengals' Andy Dalton off to slow start
By Jamison Hensley
It's been a slow start to training camp for quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals' passing attack. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, the Bengals had trouble with timing, dropped passes and balls tipped at the line of scrimmage.
There's no reason to push the panic button because it's only been three practices. It essentially amounts to a bad minicamp.
“It hasn’t been perfect but that’s what camp is for, trying to find the mistakes and correct them,” Dalton said.
This rough beginning to camp should also be expected. While the offense had a full offseason to work together, unlike last year with the lockout, Dalton still has to adjust to life without two of his top three wide receivers from last year. Jerome Simpson (Vikings) and Andre Caldwell (Broncos) both left in free agency.
Dalton needs time to work on his familiarity with Brandon Tate (who was more of a returner than receiver last season), Mohamed Sanu (a rookie third-round pick) and Armon Binns (a practice squad player last season). These receivers are currently the top candidates to take the No. 2 spot.
While all eyes are on the receivers to see who will step up, Dalton has to make progress in order for the Bengals to move forward. Dalton's surprising Pro Bowl season as a rookie was far from perfect. In four games against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, Dalton had an 0-4 record with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
A big focus this offseason has been to improve the Bengals' deep passing game. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden put together a tape of 15 errant deep passes that left points on the board, according to CBS Sports. So far, the only receiver that Dalton has shown any consistency with is A.J. Green.
"I have an understanding of what my drop needs to be, the trajectory of the ball," Dalton said. "Last year it was more of making sure I knew what I was doing.”