Dalton sees his own improvements, too

June, 12, 2014
Jun 12
4:30
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Yes, it's only June and the Cincinnati Bengals are only wearing shorts and helmets, but it still has been tough to ignore the sudden turnaround in Andy Dalton's throwing ability.

He had the right amount of zip on many of his shorter passes during this week's minicamp. His longer passes had the perfect touch at times, too, dropping easily into the hands of receivers sprinting out on deep "Go," "Post" and "Comeback" routes.

Whatever Tom House, the former major league baseball pitcher who now serves as a throwing instructor, taught Dalton during a session in Southern California earlier this offseason has paid off. The improvements are quite visible.

Which begs the question: Does Dalton see them, too?

"I can definitely tell the difference," Dalton said to ESPN.com following Wednesday's final minicamp practice. "I'm hitting the spots I want to hit and there's been a few tweaks here and there."

His offensive coordinator has certainly been able to see the fourth-year quarterback's improvements. Earlier this week Hue Jackson told reporters he liked the urgency and better mechanics that Dalton showed to that point in the minicamp.

"He's more compact. The ball comes out quicker. There's more urgency in his body," Jackson said. "All the way around he's improved."

Asked to put his finger on a few things that have led to the changes in his throwing ability, Dalton pointed out his mechanics.

"That's part of it," he said. "I feel like [the ball] is coming out very good."

In April, Dalton went to the West Coast to get guidance from House, a man viewed in some circles as a throwing guru. Where George Whitfield has been the quarterback whisper in the college ranks, House is slowly gaining notoriety for helping enhance the passing ability of NFL quarterbacks. Before Dalton, House had worked with quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Tom Brady, among others.

As passers go, you can't find many better than those three.

Statistically speaking, Dalton didn't show much last season that suggested he needed a passing overhaul. After all, he set career highs last season in yards per attempt (7.3), yards (4,293), touchdowns (33), passer rating (88.8) and total QBR (55.8). In addition to being career highs, his 4,293 passing yards and 33 touchdowns set single-season franchise records.

But it was his 20 interceptions that were a cause for concern. Some of them were the result of poor decision-making. Others were the product of poor mechanics.

Much of what Dalton and House worked on centered upon getting the right-handed quarterback to keep his left side tucked in close to his body as he threw, much like a baseball pitcher. Just as pitchers keep their front elbows tucked into the body to avoid flying open at the risk of sailing throws because they opened up too quickly, House wanted Dalton think of his throws, particularly the deep ones, the same way.

Dalton said having his receivers run crisp, exact routes at a fast practice pace also has helped.

"If we're all doing everything full speed and having that timing down then we're all on the same page," Dalton said. "Running routes all the same and things like that, that's kind of helped me with the timing of everything."

Yes, it's still early, but the rhythm the Bengals' offense has started getting into appears to be paying off. That certainly seems to be the case for the quarterback with better mechanics, at least.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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