Quarterback Controversy? Cincinnati Bengals Clear AJ McCarron for Practice


Jun 11, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, Andy Dalton was Public Enemy Number One among most fans of the Cincinnati Bengals after a humiliating performance at home against the Cleveland Browns on November 6.  Good thing for all of us that rookie AJ McCarron was not cleared to practice until today, or we might have had a quarterback controversy brewing.   

More from Cincinnati Bengals

We still might, but it likely won’t involve Dalton, who signed a juicy new contract before the season and bounced back very well against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

As of now, the Bengals have two quarterbacks on the active roster: Dalton and veteran Jason Campbell, who sports a nifty 3.8 yards per pass attempts in three games this season. Campbell aslo handled most of the load during the preseason and fared much better at 5.8 ypa.  Yeah, it was pretty bad.

Campbell is the type of quarterback that might have worked OK in Indianapolis when Peyton Manning was in his first prime, or in New England when Tom Brady didn’t have a knee injury. As long as Dalton is the starter, though, the Bengals need a backup QB who can step in should Red Rifle get injured or just have another historically bad day.

Enter McCarron, who slid all the way to the fifth round in the draft, but had some teams who liked him better than Teddy Bridgewater.  McCarron often gets the dreaded “game manager” label, but that might be all the Bengals need on a day when one of their running backs, Jeremy Hill or Giovani Bernard, is on a tear and the defense is playing well.

McCarron probably doesn’t have a future as an NFL starter, but Jason Campbell definitely does not.  If McCarron is healthy at all, Campbell will likely be gone in three weeks.