The Cincinnati Bengals are open the 2016 preseason against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night and this week the team will be gearing up for their first matchup of the new league year. The team has experienced common bumps and bruises most teams deal with this time of year, and they have done what is needed to move forward. Today, a number of injured players returned to the field including Jake Kumerow, Ryan Hewitt and Derron Smith.
But, with those returns came an absence. A surprising issue creeped up on Monday, as backup quarterback AJ McCarron walked out with the team to practice, but then nearly immediately left the field.
It doesn’t appear to be a serious injury though, and according to Jim Owczarski, it’s believed McCarron had neck stiffness and will be ready for the team’s preseason opener.
Don't worry #Bengals fans - league source says AJ McCarron should be good to go for the #Vikings this week: couldn't loosen up a stiff neck.— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) August 8, 2016
While missing practice isn’t good news, the lack of severity on the issue definitely is. McCarron is viewed as one of the best and most valuable backup quarterbacks in the NFL, after his solid performances while stepping in for Andy Dalton when he broke his thumb last year. Cincinnati went 2-2, including the postseason, with McCarron as the starting quarterback in 2015.
Joe Licata, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Buffalo, and Keith Wenning will likely see an increase of snaps with McCarron sitting out. Wenning was promoted to the active roster in 2015 when Dalton was injured.