We already gave you three players that surpassed our expectations for the 2014 NFL season. Here are three Bengals that failed to meet them.
Hall used to be the Bengals’ most reliable defender. Or, at least close to it. This year, that title has drifted very far away from the slot cornerback nicknamed “The Technician.” Statistically, he had what was arguably his worst year since his rookie campaign in 2007, allowing an opposing quarterback rating of 104.9. He also graded a +0.4 in pass coverage, the worst of his career. And, let’s be honest – it showed. There were many play where we saw blown coverages over the middle, and it’s becoming clearer that Hall is not Superman. That is, the two blown achilles’ are catching up with the secondary veteran. It may be time to cut down on his more-than-generous contract as he enters the final year of it. Otherwise, it appears the youth movement for Cincinnati’s secondary could be coming sooner rather than later.
Why is he on this list!? You’re currently asking. Or maybe you’re not. It’s impossible to tell. The fact of the matter is that yes, he was injured for part of the year, and yes, he’s still one of the best receivers in the game as far as potential – but he didn’t do much to prove that this year. I’m sure it wasn’t just me that noticed the rising number of catchable balls that were given up on. I’m also sure it wasn’t just me that saw what appeared to be a fairly inconsistent chemistry between Dalton and Green this year. High passes, incorrect routes, and a sullen look following failed more than just a few plays. A.J. Green has become the player to watch for in terms of outright talent. However, he has not become the player to watch for in terms of effort. And it is that facet and only that facet of his play that will take him to the next level.
There is a large group of people that seem to think that Dalton has improved each year he has been in the league. To an extent, those people are correct…up until this past year. In a run-heavy offensive scheme that was designed to help Dalton turn into an opportunistic quarterback with quick throws in a West-Coast style, he failed to succeed by any normal set of NFL standards. His pocket presence was clearly lacking, as Dalton failed to show an enhanced ability to go through his progressions in any given play. With all the issues that the “Red Rifle” has, tunnel vision is perhaps the most prominent. Play-calls in a passing situation understandably include a No. 1, a No. 2, and often a No. 3/4 or a checkdown option for any given play. I’ve often seen Dalton’s tunnel vision in the pocket lead to forced balls to the No. 1 option that the play was designed for, regardless of the coverage, at times. Incompletions and turnovers led to what was, statistically and otherwise, the most disappointing season of Dalton’s career. Whereas most quarterbacks would have progressed in the given system with Hue Jackson, he noticeably regressed. And as someone who had the 25th best passer rating in the league this year, let us remember that he’s still making more money than Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Tom Brady. Two of those three are obviously still playing.
Let us know who failed to meet your expectation in the comment below!