So far he has delivered in the touchdown department, but he has showcased some troubling trends and the Bengals look much less formidable as a result.
Granted, Dalton has continued to build tremendous chemistry with wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham.
Green has 628 yards and six touchdowns to this point and Gresham has 306 yards and two scores. These three players will undoubtedly be cornerstones of the offense for the next decade; however, Dalton has struggled overall this season.
Yes, he has thrown 12 touchdowns this season and flashed brilliance, but with the lack of a quality running game to balance out the offense, more pressure has been placed on the second-year signal-caller and he has faltered.
Dalton's offensive line has not been perfect, but he has clearly been at fault of holding onto the ball far too long and inviting some of the 17 sacks already allowed by Cincinnati. He is not exactly a mobile quarterback that moves the pocket much, but standing back there like a pylon is not beneficial.
Dalton must get better at delivering the quick strike throws that are staples of the West Coast offense. He consistently waits for big plays to develop, and that habit is costing the Bengals.
It does not help when numerous of his interceptions are caused by tipped balls or poorly run routes, but at some point the blame falls on the QB.
That is simply the nature of today's NFL.
The former TCU Horned Frog has great potential and can be deadly accurate at times, but it seems the increasing pressure and diversified blitzing schemes are currently hurting his production. Bengals fans should definitely be concerned with his issues and inability to stop turning the ball over.
Cincinnati's defense, which ranks 17th against the pass and 20th against the run, is not good enough to consistently be thrust on the field on short notice and with short yardage behind them. Dalton must become smarter with his decisions and keep the Bengals offense on the field for longer periods of time.
Is he completely to blame?
No, it would be nice if Benjarvus Green-Ellis could figure out how to rush for more than 3.4 yards per carry and become a legitimate rushing threat. This would force defenses to respect the ground game and dedicate more defenders to playing the box and not spreading out against the pass.
However, Dalton is not always going to have the luxury of a perfectly constructed offense or a great line in front of him. He needs to quickly overcome the deficiencies around him and deliver intelligent, accurately thrown passes that keep his offense on the field.
There is obviously no threat to his job security as Bruce Gradkowski is never going to sneak up on the depth chart, but if the Bengals want to keep from becoming an AFC North afterthought once more, then it is essential that Dalton finds comfort in the pocket and avoids turnovers.
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