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Notes: Dalton gets spring check; Lawson draws raves

Posted May 31, 2017

Andy Dalton: passing inspection.

The Eagles may not be happy that their franchise quarterback went to Dr. Tom House’s QB school during the offseason. But the Bengals continue to welcome the input with Andy Dalton now going on his third season working with 3DQB out of Los Angeles.

House and Adam Dedeaux, the former pro baseball pitchers who have turned working with such NFL quarterbacks as Hall-of-Famers Tom Brady and Drew Brees into a cottage industry, were at the Bengals’ voluntary practice on Tuesday. After the workout House headed to the airport and Dedeaux stayed behind to work with Dalton in a welcoming enough environment that Dedeaux stowed his bag in the office of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese.

Zampese, the only NFL quarterbacks coach Dalton had until he replaced Hue Jackson last year, has an easy relationship with House and Dedeaux. After the 2014 season Jackson and Zampese were all in on getting Dalton out to USC where House, the former big-league pitcher and pitching coach, had put his multiple college degrees to work to train quarterbacks via computer and analytics. Even though Jackson became the head coach of the Browns last season Dalton went back.

He couldn’t get out there this offseason because he was expecting his second child, but Dedeaux visited him in Dallas last month and expects to see him one more time before training camp starts the last week in July.

“He was throwing the ball as well, if not better, than he ever has,” Dedeaux said of the Dallas trip. “Right now he’s in the prime of his career.  I just wanted to see him with more variables and more randomness going on, making sure he’s staying true to form and he is, he looks great. We’re just looking for that one percent of what we’re always working on, but one percent better every  time.  Arm strength. Getting rid of the ball faster. Good feet. Sound mechanics. Similar themes, just taking it to the next level.”

Remember, oh about three year or four years ago, when Dalton would routinely get ripped for his arm strength? Haven’t heard that much lately about that, have you?

“His arm is as strong as ever right now,” Dedeaux said. “The jump from two years ago to last year, we’ve seen a pretty big jump in his arm strength. We test for velocity, and test for distance and I think he’s even probably surprised himself some times. For every one mile an hour he can be pretty close to a yard.”

He says Dalton has recently thrown a couple of balls more than 75 yards in the air.

“Some guys struggle to get it there to the sideline not always as accurately. He’s getting it there pretty easily,” Dedeaux said. “The chances of it when he wants it to be there where he wants it is better. He could make that throw back then. I just think it’s gotten easier for him.”

He just has to look at last year’s long ball in front of Jackson here at Paul Brown Stadium in the win over Cleveland.

“Last year he threw a Hail Mary from the opposite 45 five or six yard into the end zone and on tape it looked like he just flicked it,” Dedeaux said of Dalton’s throw at the end of the half. “It looked easy for him.”

LAWSON  GETTING RAVES: The Bengals really think they have something in their fourth-round pick Carl Lawson, the pass rusher from Auburn. They’re seeing why they had him rated as their top player left after the first two days of the draft. Veteran WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict says he reminds him of a couple of guys.

“The dude in “The Longest Yard,” (who says), ‘you brok-ed my nose,” Burfict said. “He’s strong as hell. He’s fast as hell. He gets to the corner. Really, he can kind of be like a Von Miller off the edge type guy. He never gets tired. He has a great pass rushing ability. I’m excited to see him play in the preseason.”

Kevin Minter, another veteran backer, says simply, “He’s all about getting to the passer. He gets there.”

And Lawson is opening up eyes even though he’s making a position switch. They still envision him rushing the passer with his hand on the ground on third down, but they’ve got him working with the linebackers so they can get him on the field on first and second down.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther also says it simply. “I think he’s going to be a damn good player,” and says Lawson has made the transition faster than most guys that he’s coached coming out of college trying to move from the D-Line to backer. Lawson played some backer at Auburn, but he was known for going forward to rush the quarterback.

“He’s smart. A real smart guy. Picks it up. Studies. He’s always up watching tape,” Guenther said. “He’s going to be good … We know he can go forward. (Dropping into coverage) he’s going to have to work on. Down the road  you can do a whole bunch of things with him once he understands the schematics of the defense. It’s a whole new chess piece for us.”

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