AJ McCarron's Monday night NFL debut wasn't perfect; you can't necessarily even call it a good performance. But it did prove to the Bengals that McCarron is good enough to be the team's backup quarterback, and likely the only quarterback other than Andy Dalton on the Bengals' final roster.
Bengals quarterbacks coach, Ken Zampese liked what he saw on the field from McCarron on Monday night when the Bengals played the Buccaneers and McCarron played in his long-awaited NFL debut. Following the game, on Tuesday, the team cut quarterback Josh Johnson, which all but sealed the deal that the Bengals will have only two quarterbacks on their roster come final cuts on September 5.
AJ McCarron News
AJ McCarron News
"I liked it," Zampese said of McCarron’s decision-making after Monday night. "I like the way he stayed true to it. I liked the way he saw the field. The way he went through his progressions. It was a good start. A really good start."
This is true. Considering it was McCarron's first ever live NFL action, you couldn't have expected much better of a performance from the first year player. McCarron sat on the bench and on the team's injury list for the majority of the 2014 season. In the NFL's strange and complicated language, that deems him a first year player. So while McCarron's play on Monday night didn't stand out as something to cheer about, and certainly silenced some of the Dalton haters hoping McCarron could boost him out of his starting job, it was a good starting point for the young quarterback.
During an interview this week, McCarron commented on his performance and the shaky start. "We had some silly penalties, from the very first play, we were first and 20. We were always behind. I told them one positive play. It doesn't have to be a big play, have a positive play and keep that momentum going. And that 80-yard drive we had started with a big play and we never looked back."