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Bengals Backup Derby: Who will Take over If Andy Dalton goes Down?

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August 30, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Josh Johnson (1) carries the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the third quarter at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers 35-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Johnson played for the San Francisco 49ers last year in the preseason while backing up Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith, but was eventually cut and signed with the UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions.  Johnson spent his first four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and former Bengals wide receivers coach Steve Mooshagian had the opportunity to coach newly signed quarterback Josh Johnson while he was a senior at San Diego, and believes Johnson will be a perfect fit in Jay Gruden’s offense:

"He’s a special kid who is a student of the game and has worked with a lot of good coaches. He’ll understand his role as the No. 2 guy, but he’ll prepare like he’s the starter. He knows where to go with the ball and his escape dimension gives him a much different dynamic. He’s got a great arm. No question he’s a West Coast quarterback, but what separates him from the traditional quarterbacks is he also has the elements of a spread quarterback. He’s been in all forms of the West Coast with Harbaugh and the Grudens. I think he’s going to be more effective in the Bengals system than he was in Tampa. The guy really is a tremendous talent. I’m glad the Bengals got him because I think he’s a guy that can help them in that role."

For his career Johnson has completed just 54.2% of his throws for 1,1042 yards passing, five touchdowns and ten interceptions. With his prior experience with Gruden in Tampa, that gives him a slight edge right now given that no backup is getting more than 10% of the reps. Still, once all three backups are able to showcase their skills, I expect Johnson to find himself behind Skelton and firmly on the roster bubble.

Aug 30, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Zac Robinson (5) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts linebacker Mario Addison (97) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Cincinnati 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

And then there’s the relative unknown Zac Robinson. He was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh-round of the 2010 NFL Draft (250th overall). He was eventually cut and spent most of the season on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad before getting called up to the active roster in November, but was later waived and subsequently claimed by the Detroit Lions.

In 2011, he opened training camp with the Lions and played in all four preseason games, completing 9/15 (60%) passes for 91 yards with one TD and no INTs, but was ultimately waived by the Lions during final cuts. He was later signed to the Bengals practice squad, where he spent the entire regular season and postseason on the practice squad.

In 2012, Played in all four preseason games, passing 26/37, for 236 yards with one INT and no TDs. He was cut, but did manage to spend the whole season on the Bengals practice squad.

In college, he played four seasons at Oklahoma State (2006-09) and became the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (8317) and total offense (10,175). He accounted for 88 total TDs (66 passing, 22 rushing), so he clearly provides a dual-threat aspect to his game, but there’s probably a reason he’s never taken a regular season snap, and I don’t foresee him getting his first in 2013. His best hope of holding on to a roster spot is as the #3 QB if the Bengals decide to carry that many.

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