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Confident McCarron Ready To Take The Reins Of Bengals' Offense

Opportunity awaits the Bengals' A.J. McCarron, who draws his first NFL start Sunday at San Francisco. What's he thinking?

Newly anointed Bengals starting quarterback AJ McCarron met the local media this week and shared some thoughts about his new gig.

It was his first practice-week news conference, which usually features Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton, who is out and week-to-week with a broken right thumb after playing in 77 consecutive games to start his career.

The first question McCarron was asked was how many hours he's been at Paul Brown Stadium the last two days?

“A ton," he said. "Myself and Keith (Wenning) have been up here a lot, putting in a lot of work, and we just want to show the guys we're here and we're going to work our tails off. Like I said after the Steelers game, I want to show the guys that they can depend on me, that I'm here and I'm ready to play.”

McCarron said he expects to be in sync with receivers even though he hasn't had the week-after-week reps with the first team offense that have been going to Dalton. McCarron was questioned if it's asking too much that he be timed up with everybody in one week of practice after being on the field for so few snaps with the No. 1 unit.

“No, you can," McCarron said. "I think it's not just when you're out on the practice field. I think it rolls over to the film room. I was really proud: I had a bunch of receivers up here yesterday watching film with us, and guys really sat in there for a while and took notes and took notice of what I was saying and what I wanted on certain plays. Guys are dedicated. We'll definitely work our tails off. I felt like we had pretty good chemistry during the game, just to be thrown in like I was. I thought we threw the ball pretty well on them, and it's a pretty good defense. We just have to build off that and keep progressing, and we'll be fine.”

McCarron said he and receiver A.J. Green have spoken "and just talked about certain things, what I'm looking for and hey, ‘This is where I'll put the ball.’. I think we're just really ready to get out there, myself and the whole offensive group.”

Regarding the San Francisco defense that he'll be facing Sunday on the road, McCarron said, "San Fran's been playing a lot of great teams really tough at home. They have a really good group of defensive guys, and they fly around the ball and make plays. The schemes are a little different (than Pittsburgh's). But, from a personnel standpoint, because we're in the NFL, you know they can play. I don't know any teams I've watched this year that don't have guys that can play. So we have a challenge, and this team is ready for it come Sunday.”

The AJ to A.J. connection seems to be working, so far. “I feel good. We hit on my first two passes in the game, and then we hit a lot of deep ins during the game on them (the Steelers)," McCarron said of his connections with Green. "I think it's just him knowing where he needs to be and me knowing where he's going to be. I don't see any problems. I feel like all year long, we've had good chemistry when I've been thrown in, whether it's in practice or in the games. I'm excited about the challenge.”

The man who helped lead Alabama to a national championship does not lack for confidence. "...I have confidence I can play at this level...," McCarron said. "To do it in a game is totally different; to get in there and to see it happening, and see the throws that you always dreamed of, and always pictured yourself doing. To see them actually being real throws was definitely a confidence booster for me. It’s just to say, ‘Hey, not only do you think you can play this game at this level.’ I feel like ever since then, we've been fine with that.”


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