McCarron stays in charge
Bengals QB Dalton will be at best a backup against Steelers
cincinnati» Andy Dalton’s passing hand was finally free Tuesday, liberated from the black cast that has covered his right forearm and his spirits for the past three weeks.
And his coach held out the possibility he might have a backup role for the Cincinnati Bengals’ playoff game. Call it one for the thumb. Dalton ran a couple of plays early in practice Tuesday and threw a pass — with his left hand — before raising his arm in celebration and heading back to the sideline to continue his conditioning work.
What are the chances he could be on the active roster when the Bengals host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night?
“I’d love to be in there playing,” Dalton said.
His right thumb will probably prevent it.
Dalton broke the thumb on his passing hand while making a tackle during the Steelers’ 33-20 win over the Bengals on Dec. 13. AJ McCarron went 2-1 as a starter in the past three games.
Although Dalton got the cast removed Monday, he has to rebuild the strength in his hand.
Also, he hasn’t practiced in three weeks, leaving him rusty — a bad combination for playoff time. So the Bengals are heading into the playoffs with McCarron as the starter.
“This team’s built for this kind of stuff,” Dalton said. “AJ’s going to do a good job when things happen.”
Coach Marvin Lewis indicated Tuesday there’s a possibility Dalton could be active as a backup, depending upon how his hand feels.
The Bengals don’t have an experienced backup should McCarron get hurt. Receiver Mohamed Sanu has taken snaps in wildcat formations and could be an emergency quarterback.
So McCarron will get a chance to overturn a lot of bad history in his fourth NFL start.
The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in 25 years, the sixth-longest postseason drought in NFL history. They’re the only team in league history to lose an opening-round game four years in a row. And no quarterback with so little starting experience has won a playoff game since 1979, when Gifford Nielsen led the Houston Oilers to a win at San Diego.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron had a strong first half against the Broncos on Dec. 28 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High before Denver rallied for a 20-17 victory Eric Lutzens, The Denver Post