The NFL does sometimes truly stand for “Not For Long.”
After setting some single-season franchise passing records for the Cincinnati Bengals and leading the team to five straight playoff appearances, many folks have seen enough from quarterback Andy Dalton.
After an 0-2 start with Dalton turning the ball over five times and the offense failing to get into the end zone in either game, backup AJ McCarron’s name has been kicked around more frequently.
However, the former three-time collegiate national champion has rushed to Dalton’s defense in the wake of his 2017 struggles. He spoke with the Cincinnati media on Monday and took the “boo birds” to task.
“He’s our quarterback. It sucks to see for me, personally, because of my relationship with him,” McCarron told Dan Hoard of Bengals.com. “People booing him—I mean, like, do you think he wants to have tipped balls at the line that turn into interceptions? Has he worked his whole life for that? Has he worked all week for that? No.”
Being a Bengals fan brings an interesting dichotomy. Cincinnati has one of the most passionate fan bases in the country, yet the continuous losing ways of their professional franchises have bore short fuses at the first signs of more futility. It’s hard to blame the anger, but the constant booing seems to have an effect on the players.
“I wish people in this city would back him (Dalton) and go with it,” McCarron continued. “Listen, I think I’m a great quarterback and I think he’s an unbelievable quarterback—yeah, I love him to death—but, he’s our quarterback. Stop making it into something else—it isn’t something else.”
The “something else” that McCarron is likely speaking about is a possible quarterback controversy brewing in Cincinnati. Of course, if the Bengals made the unlikely decision to switch signal-callers in the near future, McCarron would take the opportunity and ride with it, but for now, he’s calling for the fans to back Dalton in this brief period of struggle.
“So, ride with him, trust the team, trust the process and trust what we’re trying to do. And, be a fan of who’s playing.”
While he might be calling for more patience from a fan base that has already shown a lot of it over the years, it’s still sound advice. The booing obviously isn’t helping Dalton, despite how poorly he might be playing. Remember, this is a fan base who ran Carson Palmer out of town and threw items in Week 1 at Dalton because of their frustration.