Since being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2014 NFL Draft, AJ McCarron has never really been 100 percent healthy. Ever since training camp last year, he has struggled with a shoulder soreness, which limited his ability and playing time during 2014.
Now, McCarron appears to be on the top of his game, claiming his “body feels great and I feel like I’m slinging it better than I ever have, really”. This is great news for the Bengals. He seems fully ready to reclaim that backup quarterback role and even push Andy Dalton for the starting job.
Dalton is at a point in his Bengals career where every throw counts. This season could be the most pressure-ridden for him, with McCarron right on his heels, ready and willing to take over when his number is called.
Dalton signed a very lucrative six-year deal just a year ago, which says a lot about how much faith this Bengals organization has in him. But what happens after this year if his inconsistencies continue and he fails to get the Bengals to that next level in the playoffs yet again? When is the right time for the Bengals to hand the ball over to the next guy? These are thoughts that have to be running through Dalton’s mind, especially with McCarron’s strong desire to prove himself.
With OTAs beginning today, this is the perfect opportunity for Dalton to show once and for all that there is no doubt he deserves to be the guy behind center. While it’s pretty much guaranteed he will be starting come September, the competition is not one to take lightly. And let’s not forget the signing of Terrelle Pryor this offseason. This will provide even more motivation for both Dalton and especially McCarron to prove themselves heading into the start of the season.
McCarron is definitely one to watch over the next year. Depending on Dalton’s performance during the 2015 season, McCarron could become the Bengals’ starter sooner than one might think.
Regardless of how it all plays out, the Bengals have a great thing going at the quarterback position, with two guys they can feel confident in to get the job done.