The right arm of the red-headed Bengals quarterback has been treated like the proverbial red-headed stepchild this offseason.
Debate about the strength of Andy Dalton’s arm has been a recurring theme, even though Bengals coaches and players all express confidence that Dalton has enough oomph to make every throw he needs to make in the Cincinnati offense. All of the conversation is interesting up to a point, but we’ll need to see Dalton on the field to know if he can improve on 19 of 49 for 558 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions on throws outside the numbers in his second season.
Arm strength isn’t everything for a quarterback, though, and Dalton is trying to make sure there won’t be any deficiencies in other areas. Leadership is one area where Dalton feels like he’s making strides this season.
“I think I’ve done a better job this spring,” Dalton said, via the Sports Xchange. “If a guy runs a route a little differently, instead of letting a coach do it, I’m going to go over there and talk to him. Last year I was trying to get the next play or trying to do things like that and let the coach handle it. Right now, I feel like I can go over there and say something, because getting the next play is second nature.”
A.J. Green, the other big 2011 addition to the offense, has also talked about being more of a leader on the team this season. It seems odd to have two second-year players serving as the wise old sages of the offense, but the Bengals don’t have much choice. With BenJarvus Green-Ellis replacing Cedric Benson and a blank slate at receiver behind Green, the Bengals will need all the leadership they can get from the two young guns.