Commentary

Rookie Watch: Dalton learning quickly

Originally Published: November 2, 2011
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.

With every rookie signal-caller, there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road.

Week 8 in Seattle was far from perfect for Andy Dalton, but he did his job and left a hostile environment with a win. And his Bengals are looking quite good right now.

Overall, Dalton has clearly exceeded expectations, especially my own. When he came out of TCU, I saw a cerebral quarterback with a very weak arm who was lacking the physical qualities to really excel at this level. Although he still has yet to prove to me that he can drive the ball through the elements he will face in the area of the country and division in which he plays, Dalton so far has thrown the football with better velocity at the NFL level than I envisioned.

And although fellow rookie A.J. Green is obviously a terrific deep threat, the Bengals' coaching staff has managed Dalton extremely well -- playing to his strengths and taking only a few calculated shots deep per game.

Dalton's strengths are evident, though. He is an excellent anticipatory passer who is quick to decipher information while getting the ball to the correct target on time and accurately. That is a lot more than many quarterbacks in this league can say for themselves.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.