Bengals QB Dalton in step with new coordinator

Andy Dalton was enjoying the best season of his career when a broken thumb sent him to the sidelines for the remainder in December.

Now the sixth-year Cincinnati Bengals quarterback looks to build on his 2015 progress in a much different offense headed up by new coordinator Ken Zampese.

BENGALS NEWS NOW: Like our Facebook page to join the conversation

RELATED: Bernard sees contract as hefty reward from Bengals

<< PHOTOS from Bengals minicamp

Dalton came into the Bengals offseason program healthy and entered the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday anxious to get more work with the newcomers and young players who could play a big role in Zampese’s offense. The team has been together for voluntary workouts and OTAs, but minicamp is the last part of the offseason program before training camp opens in late July.

“Zamp’s personality is a little different than Hue (Jackson),” said Dalton, who threw for 3,250 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2015 with a quarterback rating of 106.3. “The offense as a whole, and schematically, is going to take on what he likes. … There are some things similar, and some things we’ll do different. For the most part, the new guys are starting to pick up on how we’ve done things for a while. It’s been a good, smooth transition. … As time goes on, we’ll continue to get better and understand more, but we’re in a good place now.”

Dalton has been working with Zampese, formerly the team’s quarterbacks coach, since his first season in 2011, but Zampese is expected to bring a different style to the offense than Hue Jackson’s creativity-infused playbook.

Still, Dalton doesn’t think the change in style will be an adjustment because he already understands Zampese’s thinking.

“The thing that’s different now is that I’m not learning a new person,” Dalton said. “Zamp’s been my quarterback coach since I’ve been here. We already have that great relationship. I understand how he thinks and does things.”

That relationship is equally important for Zampese, who is running an offense with little continuity on the receiving end. A.J. Green returns, but Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are gone and tight end Tyler Eifert is out with an ankle injury suffered in the Pro Bowl.

Newcomer Brandon LaFell, a seventh-year receiver, and Mario Alford, who had one catch last year as a rookie, are among those looking to factor in this season, and Dalton plays a key role in their development.

“This is a time where they’re learning a lot,” Dalton said. “… The more experience our guys get, the better feel our guys will have.”

Zampese said it helps greatly to have a quarterback that he’s worked with before leading the offense because “there are no rough edges” and anything he says to Dalton will be received the right way.

Dalton’s biggest strength, according to Zampese, is that he thrives in difficult situations. He’s been through seasons with new receivers before, but now being a more experienced leader, Dalton can better handle the adversity he could face while the offense develops chemistry.

“He fights through adversity very, very well, and he knows who he is and where he’s going in life, and that helps him be decisive and helps him be a leader and helps him fight through the hard situations that come up,” Zampese said.

The changes in the offense don’t change the expectations for Dalton’s year-to-year improvement, Zampese said, noting the system and schemes remain the same.

“The expectations are so high I don’t think those other moving parts make any difference,” Zampese said. “Our expectations are way up there. I don’t think there is a whole lot new or different to the offense. We got to this point finding out what our answers are, and we know what our answers are. We’ll find a couple new ones and away we’ll go.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Prep football: Fairfield rolls on in GMC, blanks Princeton 27-0
Prep football: Fairfield rolls on in GMC, blanks Princeton 27-0

The Fairfield High School football team extended the perfect start to its Greater Miami Conference schedule Friday night by going on the road and smothering Princeton 27-0. Taimar Boykin and Malik Vann notched rushing scores for the Indians (3-2 overall, 3-0 in the GMC), and Chico Robinson caught the lone touchdown pass on the evening to help Fairfield...
Week 5: Northmont, Wayne go OT; Valley View and Beavercreek still unbeaten; 200 more rushing yards for Bowser
Week 5: Northmont, Wayne go OT; Valley View and Beavercreek still unbeaten; 200 more rushing yards for Bowser

Northmont was down two touchdowns at halftime, but out-scored Wayne 21-7 in the second half, before falling to the Warriors 38-35 in double-overtime. The Thunderbolts were on the verge of winning when Wayne’s Justin Harris intercepted the ball on the 1 yard line, setting the Warriors up for the game-winning field goal. The game...
Prep football: Martin’s school-record rushing night leads Badin past RB
Prep football: Martin’s school-record rushing night leads Badin past RB

Led by a long list of great running backs, the Badin High School football team built a reputation over the years on being physical and rushing the football. Friday night in a rare home game for the Rams at Fairfield Stadium, Badin senior Lavassa Martin jumped to the top of that list. »PHOTOS: Nick Graham’s gallery from the game »RELATED...
Outdoors: Deer archery season opens Saturday

Deer hunting in Ohio officially opens 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday with the beginning of the archery season. The long season runs through Feb. 4, 2018. Hunters will find regulations are similar to last year, but they should pay close attention to county bag limits because some have changed. Most of the changes affect eastern and southeastern...
Golf: Shaker Run finally seems to be in good hands

When Armco Steel opened the Shaker Run Golf Club in Warren County for its employees in 1979, it had a beautiful course through a mostly-wooded area. When Shaker Run opens in 2018, parts of the course will resemble most other courses built in the last 40 years. Some of the fairways could be lined with condominiums. Preparation of the land is under way...
More Stories