It is doubtful that Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will ever earn a nickname like “The Mad Bomber” or anything similar. But Jay Gruden’s quarterback went deep more than any other quarterback in the NFL last year.
According to ESPN, Gruden’s Bengals led the league in passes that traveled 20 yards or more past the line of scrimmage. They went deep 83 times last year. The Redskins, by comparison, threw 60 such passes.
Cincinnati was not as efficient on the long passes as other teams. ESPN tells us that the Bengals were 16th in completion percentage at 37.3 percent) and 13th in yards per attempt (12.83). When you get to the bottom line, the Bengals were eighth in the NFL in pass plays that gained more than 20 yards (regardless of how far the ball traveled in the air) with 56.
The Redskins tied for 30th with 39 pass plays that gained 20+ yards. The team that led the league in such plays was the Eagles, who had 80. The Philly team leader was DeSean Jackson, who had 25.
Jackson, of course, is now playing for Gruden and the Redskins. When Jackson became a free agent after the Eagles cut him, Washington scooped him up in what many called a “typical Redskins move”. But actually it wasn’t so much a Redskins move as it was a Gruden move. There wasn’t enough speed in the receiving corps for Gruden to utilize the deep passing game as often as he would like. With the Redskins signing Jackson they got the needed boost of speed with on stroke of the pen.
Earlier, we looked at whether or not Gruden would have a tendency to get pass happy. We found that in the three years he was in Cincinnati that the Bengals were 19th in pass attempts (tied, coincidentally, with the Redskins). So the Redskins may not throw the ball significantly more than the average team but with Jackson they may throw it deeper than the average team.