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A.J. McCarron Making Moves In Cincinnati

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McCarron has a firm lock on the No. 2 spot in Cincinnati, and could move to starter depending on the Bengal's growing impatience with Andy Dalton.

It wasn't just Amari Cooper -- this kid was pretty damned good.
It wasn't just Amari Cooper -- this kid was pretty damned good.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Interesting stuff coming down the pipe from Cincinnati. When A.J. McCarron was drafted last season, it seemed clear early on that he was the Bengals' heir apparent, but would not be rushed to the field (injuries aside.) Well, he won't be toting the clipboard this season, as it looks like the Bengals will just be riding two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.

Bengals release Terrelle Pryor; what's it mean for AJ McCarron? | AL.com

Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals writer Paul Dehner Jr., wrote that McCarron has taken the majority of snaps behind Dalton during offseason work and tweeted Thursday that Pryor's release after a mandatory three-day minicamp "all but awards the backup gig to AJ McCarron."

Pryor has been released; Jason Campbell is expected to retire. That leaves McCarron the sole (viable) backup for now.

Bengals believe AJ McCarron can be starting-caliber QB in NFL - Cincy Jungle

Hue Jackson has expressed his content with McCarron over the past few weeks saying, "He's done well. I've been really impressed with him. He's taken the challenge. He works hard at it." One of McCarron's Bengals teammates and fellow Alabama alum, Wallace Gilberry also talked up the young quarterback a few weeks ago. "The kid is doing awesome," Gilberry said. "When I say awesome, that's kind of an understatement."

and then this...

AJ McCarron can be starting-quality QB for Bengals - NFL.com

In addition to confirming multiple reports that McCarron is throwing the ball better than he ever has, Breer notes that the former Alabama star is also showcasing "top-notch pocket presence." Although McCarron is no threat to Andy Dalton's QB1 job this summer, his development could lead to a shorter leash should the starter continue to struggle in primetime and playoff games.

The NFL piece explores the dynamics of Dalton's contract as well: He makes $96m over the life of the deal, which is essentially year-to-year. Having never won a playoff game and being in the bottom ten in nearly every statistical efficiency category may mean the McCarron era arrives sooner rather than later.