Sure, on paper it looks good. As mentioned, he went 2-1, and it’s not easy to be thrust into the top spot and make your first two professional starts across the country like McCarron did. He beat a poor Niners team and had a 14-point lead against the eventual Super Bowl-Champion Broncos at Sports Authority Field, easily one of the toughest spots to play in the conference.
Overall, in three regular-season starts, he completed 54 of 83 passes for 552 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His only turnover was a fumble that ended the game against Denver.
He was really just a game-manager. In the same offense that had Dalton drawing MVP nods, McCarron only cracked the 200-yard mark once in three starts.
Even in his collegiate glory years, McCarron only averaged 220.2 yards per game in his three seasons as the starter, where his main duty was handing off to the likes of Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry, and Kenyan Drake.
Same for the playoffs. Yes, he was closer than Dalton has ever been to breaking the NFL’s longest postseason drought. But, the offense under his command was shutout for three quarters while the defense finally put together a decent postseason game.
The poor statistical games are not used to say he’s a below-average quarterback. He was essentially a rookie at the time. They are just there to show the McCarron-Dalton debaters why Dalton is the better option at the moment.