Somewhat lost in the Cam Newton hysteria: a superb rookie season from Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. Dalton finished the 2011 regular season with a passer rating only four points lower than that of Newton, who some think had the best rookie season a quarterback’s ever had. He also threw four fewer interceptions and won three more games than Newton, leading the Bengals to the playoffs. Now, if he wants to take the next step and actually win a playoff game or two, Dalton will have to avoid a sophomore slump. Andy Dalton joined WLW in Cincinnati to look back on his rookie season, look ahead to Year 2. He also admitted that teams wouldn’t sleep on the Bengals this time around, and opined in the team’s depth behind A.J. Green at wide receiver.
His reflections on his rookie season:
“We were able to accomplish a lot. And I think the biggest thing is, everybody was doubting us last year, and we really set out to prove everybody wrong. For us to make it to the playoffs last year I think was huge with no one giving us a chance for that. So I think we have a lot that we’re gonna build on this year.”
If he figures the Bengals will have more of a target on their back this year:
“I think so. I think nobody expected us to do that last year, where now they understand what kind of team we are and the kind of players that we have. So I think people won’t take us lightly.”
On improvements he’s looking to make prior to his second season:
“On some of the deep ball throws I struggled a little bit last year, where I could probably put a little bit more air under it and things like that. And I think it all comes down to footwork, top of my drop and things like that. So I’ve definitely watched a lot of tape and find areas that I can improve on from last year.”
On who might emerge as the No. 2 receiver:
“We’ve got a lot of guys that have played well and at the end of the year were kind of stepping up, so I wouldn’t say there’s one guy right now. I think once we start practicing again and get going, I think one guy will emerge. I think we’ve got a lot of options out there.