Dalton is 30-18 as a starter with the Bengals, who drafted the quarterback in the second round in 2011. Dalton is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson said Sunday that Dalton has been a different quarterback this summer.
“Very calm. Very assured of what he's doing and how he's doing it and where he needs to go with the ball,” Jackson said. “There's good communication when he comes off. Even when things didn't go right he could tell me why, what he felt. And that's what you've got to look for. A quarterback's got to be poised. He's been very in control of when things have gone really good and when things have gone really bad. That's a good sign.”
What Bengals fans are openly clamoring for is a different quarterback in the postseason, where Dalton is winless and has one touchdown and three interceptions in three one-and-done playoff games.
Dalton received assurances from coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown that he would continue as the face of the franchise in April with the 2014 NFL Draft approaching. Cincinnati drafted Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, but Lewis quickly defended the selection as a great value, not one made with need in mind.
“It's a quarterback-driven league, so quarterbacks get rewarded a lot of money,” Dalton said. “For a lot of these quarterbacks, if you're the quarterback of the team, you're the face of the franchise. So these teams obviously believe in their guy and they're going to pay him that way.”
Dalton set new franchise records for single-season passing yards and touchdowns in 2014.
Wide receiver A.J. Green, a first-round pick in 2011, said in June he wanted Dalton to be his quarterback for years to come. It's now up to the Bengals to keep the pitch-catch tandem intact.
Green is entering the final season of his deal and coming off a career campaign wit 1,426 yards, 98 receptions and 11 touchdowns.
“My body of work speaks for itself,” Green said.
Jackson said there is still enough for Dalton to prove to keep him focused.
“The key to being a quarterback in the National Football League: No. 1 is winning, and he has that trait,” Jackson said. “No. 2 is being able to win the big games. Obviously, that's the hump that we're trying to get over. The guy has the makeup to do it.”