Bengals preparing as if AJ McCarron is the starting QB
January 5, 2016 12:00 AM
Gary Landers/Associated Press
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron looks to pass in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Cincinnati.
By The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton met with doctors Monday for another evaluation of the fracture in his right thumb. While Dalton, 28, hoped the cast immobilizing that finger would be removed, coach Marvin Lewis said he would not share the results of that evaluation.
So, the Bengals are preparing for the Steelers as if AJ McCarron will start the wild-card round Saturday night against the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium.
“We have to go into the week, obviously, regardless of Andy’s status, right now we’re going to into at least the early part of the week preparing with AJ,” Lewis said. “It’s important for the football team.”
Sunday marked the three-week point since Dalton’s thumb was fractured Dec. 13 against the Steelers. But even Dalton wasn’t sure how long it would take him to feel comfortable gripping and throwing a ball after having his hand in a cast for about a month.
“I’m doing more strengthening and making sure my conditioning’s there, running and cardio and things like that,” Dalton said Friday. “The footwork and stuff I should have down by now. That’s muscle memory. But I’m just trying to keep doing whatever I can.”
The Bengals will start the week thinking McCarron will have to lead the franchise to its first playoff victory since the 1990 season. McCarron will be making his fourth start in a row and second appearance against the Steelers.
“I think the whole team, the whole offense, is going to step up for this challenge and really prepare hard this week,” McCarron said Sunday. “This is a great group of guys we have; guys want to win games. They want to work hard. It’s been a fun year. We definitely come to work this week and get ready to go.”