Bengals’ A.J. McCarron: Making A Statement
It is no shocker to Bengals Nation to find out who A.J. McCarron is. The Alabama product did not play or practice much last year. Instead, the Cincinnati Bengals allowed McCarron to rehabilitate his throwing shoulder after experiencing soreness. After winning three BCS championships, going into the NFL Draft, McCarron’s throwing arm needed rest and it got just that last year.
“I will tell you that we are excited about him for the future. He didn’t get any opportunity to play at all this year. He didn’t get to practice the last six weeks, including the playoff week,” Lewis said of McCarron
This offseason is McCarron’s for the taking. The Bengals drafted McCarron with the hope of him being Andy Dalton‘s backup, and to add competition. When Cincinnati realized McCarron’s throwing arm wasn’t ready, they signed long time backup Jason Campbell.
This offseason, the Bengals elected to sign former Bengal (and now San Diego State Hall of Famer) Josh Johnson with the uncertainty surrounding A.J. McCarron’s development. Also during rookie mini camp, the Bengals brought in former Hue Jackson quarterback Terrelle Pryor for a workout. McCarron has a lot of competition for the back up job, but it seems like he is making a statement.
It started with his confidence level. A.J. McCarron has stated multiple times that he feels great and is very positive about his future. It didn’t take long for his teammates to take notice. Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry has stated that “the kid is doing awesome“
“So far in OTAs, (starting quarterback Andy) Dalton and McCarron have distanced themselves from the others, making strong, timely throws and heady decisions,” writes ESPN’s Coley Harvey
A.J. McCarron is in a perfect position. He is making the appropriate throws and the correct reads, but that is not the only reason why he is in a perfect position. Another reason is simple; Cincinnati will not cut him. He is drawing the attention of his coaches and fellow teammates. Therefore, if McCarron can prove to the coaches he is capable of fulfilling the backup duties, the job is all his.
The need for Terrelle Pryor and Josh Johnson will disintegrate, and the lack of a need for a third quarterback makes it easier on the coaches to create a 53-man roster as well, i.e. keeping five defensive tackles. It is safe to say the coaching staff is hoping McCarron proves to be a capable backup.
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The other reason why this is a great position for McCarron is because Andy Dalton will likely falter at some point in the season. But will his faltering be enough to pull him from a game? If so, McCarron is the next guy up, the only guy up. It only takes one chance and if McCarron keeps doing the right thing, we could see a new quarterback under center this year.
A.J. McCarron is making a statement, but we will have to wait and see how much he has improved at the end of training camp while also finding out whether Andy Dalton has improved. If he plays like “Bad Andy”, then anything could be possible going forward.