A.J. McCarron: The Bengals’ Backup Quarterback?

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May 26, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron (5) looks to pass during OTAs at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Bengals finished up spring workouts yesterday, it seems they were also finished with veteran quarterback and former Ohio State standout Terrelle Pryor.  As of yesterday evening, Pryor rejoined the free agent pool when the team decided to release him after he failed to impress when juxtaposed to the other quarterbacks.

As pointed out by several pundits yesterday, the move likely means that A.J. McCarron will be the team’s reserve quarterback in the coming season, and depending on what happens, maybe for the foreseeable future.

Several of McCarron’s teammates have lauded his offseason thus far.  Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry said McCarron is “doing awesome” while cornerback Adam Jones offered much praise of the second-year quarterback.

"“McCarron looks really good. The other guys have their spurts, but he’s got the ‘It,’ factor. The kid’s a winner. You can tell he’s been working on his ball strength from last year and this year. You can never underestimate the ‘It,’ factor regardless of what anybody says. It’s the difference between winning some games and being champion. That’s my opinion.”"

Jones may not be the foremost expert on what it takes to be a champion and an NFL quarterback, but such praise says a lot regardless of where it comes from in the NFL.

The rise of A.J. McCarron likely means Cincinnati is secure at quarterback.  They drafted McCarron as a potential long-term backup behind starter Andy Dalton, but it goes without saying that McCarron will push Dalton, and especially if the fifth-year starter’s effectiveness wanes in the coming year.  Veteran Josh Johnson remains on the roster, but he’ll likely be there to simply offer the team another thrower during training camp so they don’t wear out Dalton’s or McCarron’s arm prior to the season.

Next: A.J. McCarron Standing Out this Offseason

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