October 25, 2014

Gruden Expects Growth

Last year, Andy Dalton had the 5th best season for a rookie quarterback in NFL history. But yesterday on the Mothership, Geoff Hobson quoted Gruden as saying that he expects more from his gunslinger next year.

“He better get better or he won’t be good enough,” Gruden says. “You have to be great at that position…”

I love that.

Obviously Gruden believes that Andy is up to the challenge. With the bar set by last season’s performance, Gruden–like fans–want to raise it.

One of the keys to raising Andy’s level of play comes in improving the hands on the receiving end of the ball. Getting Jordan Shipley back to roam the middle with Gresham should help. So will getting a more productive receiver than the Incredible Disappearing Mr. Simpson.

In commenting on that strategy to do that very thing, Hobson said something that immediately caught my eye because it was not what I wanted to read.

Conventional wisdom is that the Bengals head to the combine seeking a running mate for Green at the other starting wide receiver and a No. 1 running back…

I steadfastly contend that free agency is the better way to fill the need for a #2 receiver. Even with Green and Shipley, the Bengals do not have time to wait for a rookie to develop and adjust to the speed of the pro level, which generally takes most of his first season.

But according to Hobson’s “conventional wisdom,” the front office is focused on finding that guy at the combine. Could it be that they are still haunted by the memory of Antonio Bryant and Laveranues Coles?