The Bengals finished last in the league in offensive yards and 26th in points scored during the 2017 season and those numbers make it clear that offensive improvement is one of the things needed for Cincinnati to make a move back into playoff contention next season.
There are plenty of things that need to happen for that to take place, including better play from the offensive line, but Andy Dalton is going to be in the spotlight as long as the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who took over from Ken Zampese after two games, outlined how he hopes to get more out of Dalton when he spoke to the media on Wednesday.
Dalton had his lowest completion percentage since his rookie season and dropped off from the last two seasons in many respects. Lazor said that he wants to make Dalton “uncomfortable” in practice in order to see better results.
“It’s how do you coach players?” Lazor said, via the team’s website. “You have to push him past his limitations. If you’re always practicing what he does well, then Andy will continue to be what he is. If I put him in tough situations [in practice], he can test his limits and grow as a player. I’ll be able to push him and I expect him to be up to the challenge.”
Dalton is seven seasons into his NFL career and it may be asking too much to see him take a leap over what he’s done to this point. Getting him back to where he was in 2015 probably isn’t asking too much, however, and doing so would make life easier for everyone on the Bengals offense in 2018.