Updated: 10-25-12, 6:40 a.m.
Everybody talks about the book.
The second time around the league.
How the second year is tougher for an NFL quarterback rather than the rookie year because the teams now have him scouted thoroughly.
As he headed into the bye week Wednesday, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton wasn't buying the book.
"I feel like it would be easier from an understanding of everything that's going on," Dalton said of this season. "I feel like I'm more advanced in this offense than I was last year. I feel like I've got a better understanding of what's all going on.
"Everything's new (as a rookie). You're going against defenses and teams you've never seen before. It's going to be like that for me the first couple years going against some of these defenses and teams but I mean, obviously this year I'm a lot more comfortable and just know what to expect throughout the season."
But he hasn't expected to throw an interception in every game. He's got 10. Only Dalton and Browns rookie Brandon Weeden have thrown that many in the NFL.
"It's unacceptable. It's been crazy things that happen like this, but can't do it," he said.
Dalton says there has been no thread to the picks, no common denominator. But he's clearly frustrated by the killer Sunday night against the Steelers at the end of the half when the Bengals were driving, up 14-6. When the ball oddly popped out of his hand and off the helmet of Bengals right guard Kevin Zeitler into the arms of Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, the game turned.
"That sucked," Dalton admitted. "Especially in that situation where we are in full control. We are in control of the game at that point. I've got to do whatever I can to not have a play like that happen. It's unfortunate that the ball I tried to hold on to it hit off a helmet, the guy and Woodley got it."
He still can't believe the bounce.
"I was starting to throw and guy jumped the route so I tried to hold on to it; it's happened before," Dalton said. "Last year against Seattle I was throwing a screen and the same thing happened. The ball slipped out of the hand. It sucks when that happens."
Most young quarterbacks get ripped for holding the ball too long in the pocket before they get rid of it. But Dalton is supposed to have the quickest release in the league and it's probably his most important attribute. That may be an example where offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is wishing on some passes that Dalton wait just a beat or two as things develop and windows widen.
"There's times I wish I would have held on to it for a half-second longer, but it's a big part of my game is getting the ball out quick, getting the ball to our guys," Dalton said. "So, it's finding the balance of when you can hold on to it for a little bit longer and when you let it go.
"Sometimes I feel like I should slow down a little bit and let things happen."
Dalton says being able to move to the next window of options depends on so many things, such as the play, the defense, and his receivers' reactions.
"Depending on what plays are called," he said. "For the guys to have a feel of when to sit in holes and things like that. I think it's just something we will work on and get better at. "
With the No. 2 receiver still not settled and the Bengals running a revolving door of wideouts into the game, it would seem to be a difficult chore for a rhythm-timing passer like Dalton. In the seventh game of the year, Ryan Whalen and Mohamed Sanu were his leading receivers Sunday night with their first catches of the season.
But Dalton says that doesn't bother his timing.
"I feel comfortable with all the guys we've got," he said. "Last week Sanu had a flash quite a bit. We got Whalen in there some. We've got the guys. I feel comfortable with all of them."
He knows it's not getting easier. When Dalton comes back from the bye, he faces the Manning men back-to-back with their three Super Bowl titles.
"We're going to be playing some really good teams. For us, it's going to be a good test," he said. "We're really going to find out what this team's made of now. We've kind of dug ourselves in a little bit of a hole, and we've got to find a way to get out of it. It's going to be a good test, knowing the schedule we have. But we have to come out and play our best."
DRE HOPEFUL: Two rookies that were in third grade when Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made his NFL debut in 1998 know exactly what team is coming to Paul Brown Stadium to play the Bengals next Sunday after the bye week on Nov. 4 in a 1 p.m. game.
WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict divulged before Wednesday's practice that he has played as Manning many times in the Madden video games, and it could very well be the debut of first-round draft pick Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick, the Alabama cornerback iced by a bone spur near his knee, finishes his third week of practice full go Wednesday as the Bengals break for the bye and return Monday.
Kirkpatrick told play-by-man Dan Hoard of the Bengals Radio Network that he's hopeful he'll play for the first time next week. He says the only issue he has is soreness attributed to the extra work he's getting in order to catch up and he says the bye-week rest should take care of that.
He also says he fully expects that as a rookie, quarterbacks are going to take their shots at him.
"I know they will. I know they're going do it," Kirkpatrick said. "Especially when we come back (against) Peyton. He's going to introduce me right. I just have to be ready for it. I'm not going to be scared. I'm not going to shy away from it. I'll be ready to compete."
Kirkpatrick has plenty of Manning moments even before he plays him, if he does play him. He says he can always remember watching him: "Every Sunday, you've got to catch Peyton."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» Second-year wide receiver Ryan Whalen has impressed a lot of people with his route-running and practice habits, and one of the guys happiest for him getting activated for the first time this season on Sunday night was 10-year cornerback Terence Newman. Newman is appreciative of the looks Whalen gives him on the scout team and he thanked him after the week of preparing for the Dolphins a few weeks ago when Whalen played the role of Miami's leading receiver in practice, Brian Hartline.
» Burfict, coming off a 16-tackle game, hasn't had one of those since Centennial High School in Corona, Calif.: "I feel like I can do that every game if I run to the ball and do what the coaches ask me to do."
» While Kirkpatrick is full go, indications are running back Brian Leonard (rib) is going to take another day off. "I get a free one," Leonard said of the opportunity the bye gives him to rest. He says he feels good and is hopeful he can go against the Broncos.
» Dalton's brother-in-law had him and sister Jordan in mind when he planned his wedding. When the schedule came out in April, he booked the Bengals bye week and so the Daltons are headed to East Texas.
» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who surfaced on injury reports earlier in the season with a knee issue, had Wednesday off, as did center Jeff Faine (hamstring), as well as Leonard and wide receiver Marvin Jones (knee). That gives them five full days off before they return from the bye Monday.