Late in Monday afternoon's practice, on one goal-line exercise, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton stepped up in the pocket, then stepped back, rolled to his right away from more pressure, and threw the ball to an empty space well beyond the back corner of the end zone.
The play resulted in an incompletion. And his offensive coordinator couldn't have been happier.
Indeed, it was good recognition by the long-embattled quarterback who has struggled in the past with deciding in similar scenarios of good defensive coverage and pressure whether he wants to tuck the ball and run, take a sack, throw it away or still try to complete the pass.
More often than not, his instinct in the past was to make the play work anyway. The end result of those decisions? Typically wobbly passes that fluttered into the hands of a defensive back who greedily picked off the pass that shouldn't have been attempted. A number of Dalton's 20 interceptions last season came when he tried to force a pass.
This was one of the big things the Bengals wanted to work on with Dalton before the season. Simply getting rid of the ball and not forcing a play is something that plagues the most veteran of NFL QBs. Many feel the Bengals are going to throw the ball a little less this season with Hue Jackson running the offense, and as a result Dalton is ranked 17th among our QBs. He's still a quality QB2 option in certain matchups.