It’s incredibly difficult for a great coach to win if he doesn’t have the right quarterback. It’s incredibly difficult for a great quarterback to win if he doesn’t have the right coach. There are no two components more important to building success, less alone sustained success, than those two positions, and in how they work together. The New England Patriots have set up the blueprint for that over the past two decades.
The Cincinnati Bengals recently decided that Marvin Lewis is not the right coach after 16 seasons on the job, choosing to part ways with him and replacing him with Zac Taylor, the 30-something quarterbacks coach of the prolific Los Angeles Rams offense of this past season.
But the Bengals already have a quarterback. Is he the right one? Taylor and the coaching staff that he is in the process of assembling will have to make that decision, weighed against their opportunities for adding to the position through free agency and the draft.
The most important matter here is the fact that, while he has two years remaining on his contract, he can be released with no dead money, because they are now beyond the five-year point of his original extension, and signing bonus money can only be spread over five seasons. That makes Andy Dalton a lot more vulnerable than he would be otherwise.
Luckily for him, at least for the time being, Taylor sounds like he’s a Dalton fan. He talked up the veteran quarterback recently during his introductory press conference wherein the team officially announced him as their new head coach, saying that he “absolutely” fits the system he wants to bring to Cincinnati.
“I have a high opinion of Andy Dalton going back to 2010. I think I watched every snap he played at TCU his senior year when I was at Texas A&M”, he said. “It was an offense I really admired, and he executed it flawlessly, to be quite honest with you. I’ve been familiar with him. He’s from Katy, Texas, and I was in Texas for four years. I know all about his background. I probably never pictured I was going to coach him, but I’m very fortunate he’s the quarterback here and I’m excited to work with him. I think he’s a great fit for what we’re going to do offensively”.
Dalton had his best seasons with Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator, and has made the Pro Bowl a couple of times. He was having his best season in 2015 before he suffered a broken thumb 13 games in. He had thrown 25 touchdowns to seven interceptions at that point, averaging 8.4 yards per pass attempt.
For his career, Dalton has completed 2443 of 3921 pass attempts for 28100 yards wit h188 touchdowns and 104 interceptions, averaging 7.2 yards per attempt with a quarterback rating of 88.8. In 11 games last season, he threw for 2566 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.