Updated May 13, 2019 07:17:50 NFL teams aren’t always as lucky as they once were.
And there are many reasons for that.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who had a strong rookie season, is a rookie again.
That doesn’t mean he’s any less of a prospect than he was last year, when he finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Teddy Bridgewater.
But Dalton, like many other rookie quarterbacks, will have to improve in the offseason and he’s going to need to learn to manage his workload more.
Dalton’s performance at training camp last season was impressive, and his early-season struggles were partially a product of his inexperience and his inexperition on the offensive side of the ball.
The Bengals were 4-2, with Dalton posting a passer rating of 98.1, a touchdown to interception ratio of 5.3, and a passer efficiency rating of 91.3.
The numbers weren’t bad, but the Bengals were 5-7 with Dalton throwing four interceptions.
The team’s biggest concern, of course, was Dalton’s injury history.
He missed most of the season because of a torn ACL.
His most productive stretch came during the team’s season opener, when Dalton threw for a season-high 662 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions.
He also had a season high four rushing touchdowns, but those came against Cleveland and New England.
The injury history aside, Dalton’s talent on the field was still apparent.
He threw for 2,817 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles, and he completed 72.9 percent of his passes.
The average passer rating for Dalton was 98.4.
Dalton completed 61.5 percent of the passes for 4,077 yards, 26 touchdowns, six interceptions, a passer improvement rating of 6.5, and 7.3 yards per attempt.
He completed 64.5 of his 64 passes for 3,631 yards, 23 touchdowns, four interceptions, 4.8 yards per pass attempt, and 2.9 yards per completion.
Dalton’s play was not great in Week 15, but it’s hard to argue with Dalton’s stats.
He was a better quarterback in a tough division than in the AFC South, and Dalton was not much better in the final weeks of the year.
For his career, Dalton has thrown for 469, 553, 597, and 1,903 yards, and has also thrown two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Dalton had an impressive season last year.
He started the year strong, completing 59.9 of his 65 passes for 6,092 yards and 13 touchdowns.
But he had to struggle with injuries to his knee and ankle in early December.
Dalton went down for the season with an ACL tear, and the Bengals went 1-4 after he returned.
He returned for the final three games of the regular season and was great for the Bengals, finishing as the team lead passer in both games with 4,944 yards, 11 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 8.4 yards per throw, and 4.5 yards per touchdown.
Dalton finished the season averaging 9.8 completions per game and completing 63.7 percent of those passes for 2.5 touchdowns per attempt, while he was also good for a 78.4 passer rating.
He didn’t finish with a Super Bowl ring.
He’s not the same player he was a year ago.
The Bengals are a rebuilding team.
They’re rebuilding by signing players to long-term deals, including Bengals outside linebacker Ryan Shazier.
They’ve signed players like Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who was the team MVP in 2017.
They also have an influx of draft picks, including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, linebacker Josh Boyd, and linebacker Kevin Zeitler.
There are also some promising rookies like defensive tackle Geno Atkins, safety Kevin Johnson, and tight end Kyle Juszczyk.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding this roster.
Will this roster be able to overcome its struggles in the preseason?
Will this team be able hold its own in a crowded NFC East?
If Dalton can’t find the rhythm that he had last year or the receivers can’t get open, it will be a difficult year for the team to overcome a poor start.
In the end, the Bengals will have a lot to work with.
They will be without a first-round pick since they acquired Sammie Coates in the Ryan Pickett trade.
And they’ll have to learn how to manage their injuries in a hurry.
A lot of things are up for grabs in the coming months.
Dalton is entering his age-27 season, and while he has the talent to be a top-five quarterback, he will be competing with his own health issues.
While it may not be easy, Dalton is the kind of player