The article centers around an interview with NFL Films producer Greg Cosell. Cosell offered up this quote as a guest on a podcast for Yahoo! Sports:
“I think there’s a sense right now, for a lot of people, that Dalton’s on his way toward being a great quarterback. I can tell you that those in the Bengals’ organization have a few doubts as to what his true upside is. Because at the end of the day, while I think Dalton is a good player, I think — not I think, I know — that he’s got some arm strength limitations.“And there’s some things that they’re not comfortable doing with him.”
This should come as no big surprise to Bengals' coaches. Dalton was, after all, a second round draft choice. There were reasons why he wasn't selected at the top of the draft board along with Cam Newton, or even in the latter stages of the first round along with players like Christian Ponder or Blaine Gabbert.
Dalton isn't a physical specimen and his arm won't remind anyone of John Elway or Dan Marino. Then again, in Jay Gruden's offense, Dalton isn't being asked to be John Elway or Dan Marino.
Gruden was quick to defend his quarterback when questioned about the article by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy:
“I don’t know where that came from and why he (Cosell) said it. If there were reservations about Andy Dalton there would be a lot more quarterbacks here right now. We know and he knows he has to get better and he is chomping at the bit to get going. I have no reservations about his arm strength. I think he can do it all. He might not run 4.3 in the 40 or be 6-6 but to play the position and what we need to do he can do everything we want.“If you can throw it 62-63 yards that is pretty strong. He does have a long way to go to get better. We’re not putting his jersey or shoes in Canton right now but we have every reason to believe he will continue to improve.”
The big question mark surrounding Dalton was the way he finished the season. The numbers would appear to suggest that once NFL teams got some film on Dalton, he struggled, particularly in his rematches against AFC North teams. In the Bengals’ final nine games, including the playoffs, Dalton completed only 56 per cent of his passes and threw just seven touchdowns compared to 12 turnovers.
On the other side of the argument, it has to be noted that Dalton did all he did last year without the advantage of OTAs or mini-camp and under an extremely rushed training camp schedule. He also had the disadvantage of playing with an inexperienced receiving corps and an entire offense trying to quickly learn Gruden's new system.
With a full off season and training camp, what might Dalton be capable of? We'll know fairly quickly when the Bengals take the field the first Monday night of the season in Baltimore.