Greg Cosell of NFL Films on Bengals QB Andy Dalton:
He clearly played well; that’s inarguable. He was poised and composed in the pocket, threw with timing and anticipation and was consistently accurate. His quick, compact delivery, in tandem with his natural anticipation, compensated for his arm-strength limitations. It was evident breaking down the tape that Gruden did an outstanding job maximizing Dalton’s efficiency. The route combinations and reading progressions were more elementary than advanced. That played to Dalton’s strength as a timing and rhythm passer with touch and accuracy.
Yet, there were instances in which his inability to drive the ball with velocity was a negative factor. As is always the case, those situations tend to arise more frequently, and are magnified, in the more important late season and playoff games, against better defenses. When the 2011 season ended, I viewed Dalton as a good young quarterback with defined strengths and some limitations.
When I returned to Dalton last month and drilled down deeper, I was more impressed. Here’s why: Quarterbacks who are not strong, power throwers must have two attributes in order to compensate: anticipation and accuracy. And they must possess those traits to a highly refined degree to be top-level NFL signal callers. Dalton routinely displayed outstanding anticipation. There were many intermediate throws in which he pulled the trigger well before the receiver began his break. What must supplement that kind of anticipation is precise ball location. Dalton had it. Time and again, he hit the strike point, putting the ball right on his receivers’ hands.