A.J. McCarron: The Next Tom Brady?

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A.J. McCarron will step in as the Bengals’ starting quarterback after Andy Dalton suffered what could be a season-ending injury.

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Andy Dalton

is dealing with an injury to his right thumb that looks pretty serious, which leaves

A.J. McCarron

as the Bengals’ starting quarterback.

In today’s press conference, McCarron noted that he is in a similar situation of that which sparked Tom Brady‘s Hall of Fame-caliber career.

You gotta love pressured moments. That’s what makes you great, it’s when the great ones really shine. I guess Tom Brady was in the same situation when he had the opportunity,” McCarron said.

Now let’s not go as far as to say that A.J. McCarron is calling himself the next Tom Brady–he simply compared his circumstances to those of Brady’s when the latter first entered the league. But McCarron’s statement begs the question: Could he fill the void left by the injury to Andy Dalton?

Let’s get this out of the way: A.J. McCarron is not the next Tom Brady.

While he still has the potential to be a good, great or even legendary quarterback, it’s way too early to crown McCarron as anything more than what he is: an unknown.

But McCarron does share a couple of similarities with Brady. Both quarterbacks, great college players, had their draft stock fall due to injury concerns, and both players got their start in the NFL due to injuries.

McCarron has a chance to make his mark on the NFL, starting on Sunday in San Francisco as he takes on the 49ers.

So is McCarron the next Tom Brady? No. And it’s unreasonable to think that.

But McCarron can still make a difference for Cincinnati. Even for McCarron to have a Colin Kaepernick-like impact could be huge for the Bengals.

Back in 2012, Kaepernick came in for the San Francisco 49ers as a reliever for Alex Smith, racking up 1,725 passing yards, 304 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns in eight games (seven starts) after Smith went down with a concussion. Kap played so well that he took over as the 49ers’ long-term starter, leading the team to the Super Bowl where San Francisco ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens.

Next: Andy Dalton fractures thumb, will miss at least a week

If McCarron can be half as impactful of a quarterback in 2015 as Kaepernick was in 2012, the Bengals will have a good shot to compete throughout the rest of the season.

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