Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wants to see his quarterback go from being “good” to “great.” So far, what Jackson has seen in offseason workouts ranks as better than great.
“Spectacular,” Jackson said of Dalton, via the team’s official website. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to work with him hands on. He has all the characteristics I like in a quarterback. He’s smart, he comes to work prepared and ready to go, and he comes to the practice field ready to compete. He can make all the necessary throws. I haven’t seen any throw he can’t make.”
And then came the “but.”
“That being said, he knows there are things that we talk about that he needs to get better at,” Jackson said. “I haven’t seen a deficiency in the young man yet. We haven’t played a game, but that’s where it starts. The consistency of how you do things in practice leads you to where you need to be once the real bullets start flying. I’ve been impressed with him. I’ve been very happy with him. But at the same time we know there’s a long way to go. There is still much work to do.”
Dalton has gotten to the playoffs in each three of his only NFL seasons. But Dalton is winless in the games that matter most, and the Bengals want to see him take it to the proverbial next level in 2014.
With Dalton entering the final year of his rookie contract, the team’s smartest move could be to wait and see whether he does.