You may have heard of a report here or there that the Cincinnati Bengals are toying around with the idea of putting quarterback Andy Dalton on the bench in favor of AJ McCarron, who started three games in 2015, throwing six touchdowns and two interception to go along with 854 passing yards.
Earlier this week, McCarron was asked about these reports, but he didn’t think much of them. “I wish people in this city would back him and go with it”, he told reporters. “Listen, I think I’m a great quarterback and I think he’s an unbelievable quarterback. I love him to death. But he’s our quarterback”.
He went on, saying, “stop making it into something else. It’s not into something else. Ride with him. Trust the team. Trust the process. And trust what we are trying to do. And be a fan of who is playing. We are all part of a team. It’s not we are divided”.
On the contrary, it was reported earlier that the ultimate firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was the byproduct of what was described as “a near mutiny”, and that part of the would-be mutiny also consisted of players growing weary of the offensive status quo. Evidently, some players even wanted the team to bring in Colin Kaepernick.
McCarron wasn’t hearing those stories, nor was he giving any credence to the idea that he was interested in taking over Dalton’s job as a sort of rival. “It’s not that way”, he said. “It’s tough for me, it really is. I love him I love our relationship. Been with him for a long time now. It sucks for me to see. For other people if we didn’t have such a close relationship things like that can make the process weird between quarterbacks on other teams if that starts happening”.
He went on to say that the two “have a great relationship”, adding, “I think we’ve both handled it really well. We know what nonsense is. We trust and love each other. He’s our quarterback and I’ll leave it at that. I trust him every time he steps out there and I think we are going to win every time he is under center”.
Over the course of the first two games of the season, Dalton has completed just 36 of 66 pass attempts for at 54.5 completion percentage, throwing for just 394 yards while averaging a mere six yards per pass attempt. He has thrown four interceptions and has yet to throw a touchdown. He has also been sacked eight times and lost a fumble.
Those are some riotously bad numbers, but I’m certainly not in the camp that believes swapping in McCarron or Kaepernick is actually going to improve their current position. The number on issue is that they last stability along the offensive line and among the skill positions. Dalton needs to play better, but he also needs help.