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Andy Dalton wants to improve Bengals' long-ball game

The Cincinnati Bengals' struggles with the vertical passing game are no secret. It was part of the focus of my Andy Dalton writeup in our Top 10 quarterbacks 25 and under series, and it has been a huge emphasis for the Bengals during organized team activities.

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"That's the big focal point coming into the OTAs," wide receiver A.J. Green told The Associated Press of the deep ball. "It's not just Andy. It's me, too. I can run them better, give him a better target to throw the ball. It's on my part, too. We're both trying to get better each practice."

Green is being mostly magnanimous here. There were occasional miscommunications between the duo, but often Green never had a chance to catch those deep passes.

"It's been emphasized, yeah," Dalton said. "Any chance we get, we're taking some deep shots, whether it be one-on-one (coverage) or just to let the receivers go up and get it. I think it's definitely helping us out and there will be room for improvement."

Dalton ranked No. 9 on our list and was asked about his placement during a segment on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

"It shows that there are a lot of young guys playing in this league, and a lot of guys playing well. No. 9 ... I'm on the list, but it's not where I want to be. I want to be towards the top of that. Not only players under 25, but players in this league. It's a big year for us, a big year for me, and we have a lot to prove," Dalton said.

Dalton and the Bengals are used to getting overlooked. They've exceeded expectations the last two seasons but taking the next step and becoming a true Super Bowl contender will be tougher.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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