Dalton is 'a pleasant surprise’ for Simms’ QB list

Chris Simms explains to Mike Florio how Andy Dalton looked like a new person last season, emerging as a fearless leader who made adjustments to his game, landing No. 28 on his Top 40 QB Countdown.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: And next up, at number 28, a guy who took the Bengals to five straight playoff appearances before bouncing around the League, he was a longtime Cincinnati quarterback. And now he's here, he's there, he's everywhere. He's in Carolina as number 28, Andy Dalton. Once again, backup higher than the guy who presumably will be the starter. And the signs in Carolina are clearly pointing to Bryce Young.

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MIKE FLORIO: But Andy Dalton, they could've done a lot worse, as the guy who's the fallback to Bryce Young.

CHRIS SIMMS: That's. Right I mean, he might be the best of all these kind of guy-- experience, you know, a B backup, could be starter, whatever there. Andy Dalton wasn't on my list last year. He was on the outside looking in. Andy Dalton, to me, was one of the pleasant surprises of all my studies of these top 40 quarterbacks. I got to give the guy a lot of credit.

I kind of went into this it's like, I kind of know what Andy Dalton is. I mean, come on, blah, blah, blah, like, whatever. Andy Dalton had a different year. Andy Dalton-- here's the first thing that I really noticed when I was breaking him down. He-- he, of course, is very accurate with intermediate throws. He knows where to go with the football, right? He's-- so he's always been good in that department.


But two things that popped out from last year, one, he changed his mechanics and shortened his motion a little bit, helped him get the ball out of his hand a little quicker, helped him to throw the ball with power throws more accurately. And that was-- you know, Andy Dalton threw his career, to me, a hair too conservative and a hair too, wait, that guy's open for a 60-yard bomb, and you threw a below-average pass, and now we only got 30 yards out of it. And we just got 30 yards, and we got a field goal that should've been a walk-in 60-yard touchdown.

Man, he was on the money last year with big time throws. And you know me, I put a little more stock in to that type of stuff, especially now, this day and age. You go to be aggressive, you got to make plays. And that's where, I feel like, he was a different guy last year. And I don't think I even gave it the credit it deserved during the season.

When I went back and watched, I just went, ooh, man, he was fearless, pushing the ball into tight windows down the field and not always having a full array of healthy receivers around him. But I thought he made some really nice adjustments to his game. And you know, that year in New Orleans, it catapulted him to maybe being the starter here in Carolina.

MIKE FLORIO: Well, Jameis Winston got injured Week 3 and we never saw him again.


CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, says a lot.

MIKE FLORIO: Even when he was healthy, Dalton took over.


MIKE FLORIO: And Dalton now, look, 2 years removed from signing with the Bears. And remember, the Bears put out the tweet, QB1, yeah, until he wasn't. That happens every year. Guys will sign somewhere and then they Draft someone. But he knew going in that this is what was potentially gonna happen in Carolina. Here's Andy Dalton from earlier in the week talking about helping Bryce Young become the best quarterback he can be.


ANDY DALTON: I mean, I know the situation that we're in here. I knew coming in that we were gonna have the first pick and we were going to take a quarterback. And for me, that doesn't change my mindset of how I'm going about every single day. You know, I know the reality that this thing is gonna be Bryce's at some point. And right now, it's-- for me, it's to go just be me out there, and to play like I can play, and practice how I expect to practice, and do things like that.


And, you know, I think with part of that, it's helping Bryce learn the NFL game and the mechanics of getting in and out of the huddle and all the little things that you need to learn going into it.


You know nothing makes me feel more old than anything else we've discussed today?

CHRIS SIMMS: What's that?

MIKE FLORIO: The fact that I vividly recall interviewing Andy Dalton when he was coming out of TCU. And now he has a patch of gray in his red beard.


MIKE FLORIO: He's been around a while.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yes, he has.

MIKE FLORIO: And I still vividly recall talking to him and going back and forth about TCU and West Virginia, back in 2011 when he was drafted. So newsflash, that was a long time ago.


CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, yeah. He's had a really good career. He really has. And he's, you know, been at the extremely good professional, says and does the right things, right? He can run an offense. He's not gonna be the guy that carries your team, right? Like I said, the one thing is he did more than run the offense last year. He made some throws where I went, ooh, that was, you know, a dicey or not a dicey, a daring decision. And what a great throw.

And he pushed the envelope a little bit more last year. And it's why the Saints kind of had a resurgence late in the year. And we'll see if he can continue to do that in Carolina. But-- and see how long he can kind of, you know, fight off Bryce Young before he takes over.

MIKE FLORIO: By the way, I mentioned Jameis Winston.



MIKE FLORIO: He has yet to make your list,

CHRIS SIMMS: He ain't gonna make it.

MIKE FLORIO: --be one specific individual in Indianapolis who is upset.


MIKE FLORIO: If you remember what happened when we were there with the Combine. He's gonna be very upset when we go back next year. He's gonna be waiting for us.


MIKE FLORIO: How dare you.

CHRIS SIMMS: Yeah, I know, right.

MIKE FLORIO: You did not put Jameis Winston. If only the Colts had Jameis Winston instead of Anthony Richardson, everything would've been different in 2023. Well, I'm waiting for that next year in Indianap--