When Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson spoke with the media following Cincinnati's selection of Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron, he said two things.
"This is not about Andy Dalton."
"This is not about Katherine Webb."
Oh, yes. Hue. Yes.
This is and will remain Dalton's team for the foreseeable future. He is "our quarterback and we stand behind him 100 percent," said Jackson on Saturday. McCarron won't take snaps away from Dalton nor is the incumbent quarterback in danger of being demoted. When the Bengals take the field in the regular season opener, it will be Dalton that's under center.
The questions, however, meticulously rent space deep within the recesses of one's mind. Every so often, they will surface like the fin of a Great White. "Will you give A.J. McCarron more attempts," if Dalton struggles during the preseason... count on that. Dalton can ill-afford to struggle on a team aiming to reach their fourth consecutive postseason without a playoff win in the books. Again, these questions will claw to the surface when the lack of progression builds into frustration.
This is Andy Dalton's team. There is no quarterback controversy. We can't emphasize these points enough; nor can we guarantee the same perspective when the autumn months give way to a winter chill. But this is Dalton's team... and it's also his to lose. Once Cincinnati reaches a long-term agreement with Dalton (we're assuming it's more likely to happen than not this summer), these storylines will stabilize and the Bengals will be in a position to develop McCarron to use for a trade in a couple of years.
That said, Cincinnati continues to pace themselves in the 2014 NFL draft. McCarron brings a history of winning, a team-oriented perspective and physical tools that can be developed under Dalton and veteran quarterback Jason Campbell. McCarron, who has spent time working with legendary Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson, feels good about joining the Bengals and working with Dalton.
Feels good to be a part of Who Dey Nation. Can't wait to work with Andy, one of the best in the league.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) May 10, 2014
Congrats @10AJMcCarron! Welcome to Cincy! #WhoDey— Andy Dalton (@andydalton14) May 10, 2014