Ravens To Face An Improved Andy Dalton


Head Coach John Harbaugh knows a thing or two about young quarterbacks. He started Joe Flacco as a rookie in 2008.

Cincinnati did the same thing with quarterback Andy Dalton last year, and the second-round pick threw for nearly 3,400 yards, went to the Pro Bowl and led his team to the playoffs.

So what does Harbaugh see in Dalton as he enters his second year?

"Looks like the same guy, but better," Harbaugh said.

"He makes very few mistakes. He's a very accurate passer, gets the ball out in time, very durable, and he can scramble. He's a sneaky scrambler."

A better Dalton isn't a good thing for the Ravens on Monday Night Football.

Dalton had one of the best games of his rookie season at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 20 last year. Dalton threw for 373 yards and attempted a season-high 45 passes.

He did make* *big mistakes, however. Dalton tossed three interceptions, which played a large part in a 31-24 Ravens win in Week 11.

The TCU product was a different quarterback after that game.

Dalton only threw one more interception the rest of the season. His yardage trailed off too. Dalton threw for fewer than 200 yards in four of his final five games, with the season-finale in Baltimore being the only exception.

The second time Dalton faced the Ravens, he threw for 232 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was a more cautious, smarter Dalton the second time around.

"He picks up on pretty much all your movements, and he knows where he wants to go with the ball," safety Ed Reed said.

"I think he understood the game way faster than a lot of other people thought he would understand the game," linebacker Ray Lewis added. "I think he is just growing into really mastering his craft now."

Dalton was asked whether the Bengals' offense is ahead of where it was last year going into the opener when it had a rookie under center, as well as wide out* *with A.J. Green.

"We're so prepared," Dalton told Cincinnati reporters. "We've got such a good understanding of what we're doing. So we expect to be better than we were last year, just having another year in the offense. We feel like we can do a lot of good things."

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