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Bengals AJ McCarron has distanced himself from other backups

AJ McCarron is locked into a backup quarterback competition with Terrelle Pryor and Josh Johnson. One observer thinks McCarron is distancing himself from the other backup quarterbacks.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The question about backup quarterbacks will be asked, asked, (slams fist on table) and asked again until decisions are made and the final roster is released.

  • Will the Bengals keep three quarterbacks or two?
  • If they keep two, is it AJ McCarron against Terrelle Pryor?
  • If they keep three, who wins the battle between Pryor and Josh Johnson?

NOTE: It feels like a foregone conclusion that Johnson is the forgotten entry in this.

How is the competition developing?

"So far in OTAs, (starting quarterback Andy) Dalton and McCarron have distanced themselves from the others, making strong, timely throws and heady decisions," writes ESPN's Coley Harvey in his weekend mailbag.

This isn't hard to fathom. We've insisted throughout the process that the primary backup job to Dalton is McCarron's to lose... what happens after that (will the Bengals keep three quarterbacks) is up for insignificant debate. As Coley notes, you should keep the door open for improbable changes -- McCarron dropping and Pryor rising -- but that files under the whole point about McCarron losing his spot on the 2015 roster.

"I’m excited to finally show them what I can do when healthy. How I can play the game," McCarron said last month. "They haven’t seen the guy they drafted. I feel like I’m a totally new person, even from the time they saw me at the end of last season. I feel like I’m throwing a much better ball. Quickness with pop on it."

The Bengals are excited to see what McCarron can do.

"I will tell you that we are excited about him for the future. He didn't get any opportunity to play at all this year. He didn't get to practice the last six weeks, including the playoff week," Lewis said of McCarron during the National Scouting Combine in February.

"I tried to do things in practice during the week to get AJ opportunity to do real football so he wasn't just working against our defense. I wanted him to have an opportunity to work within the game-plan and I think he has a great mind for football. We think he has the ability to be a good NFL quarterback and passer. Obviously he has the competition nature, the makeup of guys that have been very productive in the NFL. So I am excited about AJ and his future. He’s one of our reserve quarterbacks so hopefully the opportunity gets a little limited right now."

"It’s fun to have a bunch of guys working together because you can feel the Mojo of the unit working together," says quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese via "There are four guys out here all going at the same time all working and everybody wants to do it right and that’s fun. I think (Pryor’s signing) raised everybody’s (competitiveness). It’s not one or the other. It’s everybody’s. That’s good. It’s really good right now."