The Cincinnati Bengals traditionally keep only two quarterbacks, and that may not be changing in 2015.
Though veterans Terrelle Pryor and Josh Johnson were added this offseason, it's been AJ McCarron who has been the talk of OTAs. He's not only put himself in position to open 2015 as Dalton's backup, but he's done well enough that the Bengals may feel confident enough in him to release the two vets during final roster cuts.
As Geoff Hobson writes, McCarron is clearly ahead of Johnson and Pryor for the No. 2 spot, which could make it easy for Cincinnati to once again stick to two QBs on the 53-man roster.
Yes, they like McCarron and he’s had a good enough spring that he’s most likely ahead of Terrelle Pryor and Josh Johnson and if they had to make a call now they’d probably keep only two quarterbacks and they would be Dalton and McCarron.
As good as McCarron has been, don't expect to see him taking Dalton's job anytime soon, as Hobson writes:
But McCarron isn’t going to play ahead of Dalton. At least in the foreseeable future. Dalton would have to have a month of Clevelands for that to even be discussed.
And, don’t get me wrong. I like McCarron. He’s poised, football is important to him, he’s got a good work ethic, he’s obviously a winner and he’s got an edge to him. But never mind he’s never thrown an NFL regular-season pass. He’s never thrown a pre-season pass. Let him develop.
McCarron simply isn’t in position to push Dalton this season and that’s no reflection on him, that’s just the way it is.
As good as McCarron has looked in the padless practices, let's see how he looks once training camp opens and the pads come on. If he continues to perform well during camp and in preseason games, then there really is no point in keeping Pryor or Johnson.
While McCarron didn't throw a pass last year, he was cleared to practice beginning Nov. 18 after a stint on PUP while rehabbing his shoulder injury. He was then activated to the Bengals' 53-man roster on Dec. 9, which was a bit of a surprise. The Bengals could have placed him on season-ending I.R. and used that roster spot for a receiver or linebacker.
Instead, they opted to keep McCarron, which in turn allowed him to keep practicing and developing, despite being a gameday inactive the rest of the season. That little experience appears to have helped springboard him into a great offseason so far, which now has him looking to lock down the No. 2 quarterback spot.