Despite Andy Dalton only throwing five passes in the Bengals' preseason opener on Friday against the Vikings, it was evident that the offense has not changed much after the losses of Hue Jackson, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
Dalton got the ball out of his hands quickly and threw to A.J. Green often in his lone drive. He took Cincinnati down to the 30 yard line before Mike Nugent missed a 48 yard field goal. But the majority of snaps at quarterback were taken by AJ McCarron, who will be featured in this week's Dalton Dispatch. While McCarron continues to impress, there is room for the third year signal caller to grow in terms of mechanics. Watch the following video for analysis of his play:
The four Bengals quarterbacks who played (Dalton, McCarron, Keith Wenning and Joe Licata) combined to go 21/36 for 267 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Dalton completed 4 of 5 passes for 32 yards and ended up with a QB rating of 93.3. McCarron was 11/16, for 125 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions and had a QB rating of 112.8.
The most encouraging play of the entire game was McCarron's deep throw to rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd, a 40 yard completion that set up his three yard touchdown pass to Alex Erickson. However, on a routine throw on 1st and 10, McCarron threw out of bounds, despite minimal pressure. The reason is his mechanics. McCarron fails to establish balance, and, as he throws, his drive foot is right of his target.
Fortunately, McCarron is still learning, and that is the kind of thing that can be corrected over time.
McCarron may see the majority of snaps again in the Bengals' next preseason game on Thursday, a matchup against the Detroit Lions. Last season, the Lions allowed opposing quarterbacks to notch a 100.9 QB rating, 28th in the league. But fourth year defensive back Darius Slay is emerging as a shutdown corner, so that number could improve this year. McCarron will look to avoid Slay and instead attack the mediocre members of Detroit's secondary.
No change. McCarron proved yet again that he could start in the NFL. He may never become the master of presnap reads that Dalton is, but he is more than competent in that regard. And while his mechanics could use improvement, he is strong on his intermediate throws, and has shown he can lead an offense.