After the 16-game pounding and the 24-hour flu bug before the playoff game shriveled Bengals QB Andy Dalton to 208 pounds, he felt like he needed to get stronger in the weight room.
But while Dalton lived with the weights he also watched tape of his rookie struggles with the long ball and he knew he needed to make putting more meat on his deep passes one of his offseason priorities.
Under the watchful eye of quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, Cincinnati's maven of mechanics, Dalton is reportedly going long better and easier than he did last year. No one, not Zampese, not offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, questions Dalton's arm strength. For Dalton, the long ball starts with the legs, not the arm.
In the games that have already begun, which are merely pitch-and-catch with his receivers, Dalton has reportedly looked sharp. His fastball seems to have more zip to some. Gruden isn't sure about all that but says Dalton looks stronger and in one throwing session this week word was he hit all but one deep "Go" route, with the only incompletion a drop.
Dalton's first year in the league was overshadowed by Cam Newton's historic rookie season. Dalton finished as fantasy's QB15 with 3,398 yards, 20 TDs versus 13 INTs, and also had the 11th-most rushing yards (152) by a QB. He is one of four rookie QBs (Newton, Peyton Manning and Jim Kelly) to throw for at least 3,000 yards and 20 TDs. He's currently the #18 QB off the board in the 11th round, and represents good value at that point in the draft. He doesn't have a ton of upside, but he'd be a good QBBC contributor or fantasy backup.