Alabama Football News

Alabama in the NFL: AJ McCarron’s preseason debut

Reinhold Matay- USA TODAY Sports

Week two of NFL preseason came to end Monday night in Cincinnati’s matchup with Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla.

The game featured two of the 2013 Heisman frontrunners, Jameis Winston and AJ McCarron.

Winston guided the Buccaneers to a 25-11 win, but McCarron put together some great throws and a huge scoring drive in the fourth quarter. The former Alabama standout is pushing Andy Dalton for the starting job in Cincinnati. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 95 yards.

McCarron led a 12-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter that ended on a 5-yard rushing touchdown from James Wilder, Jr. It was the lone touchdown drive for Cincinnati’s offense.

Shoulder ailments (tendinitis) caused him to not play last season, but McCarron looked pretty sharp in first taste of action, since Alabama’s 2014 Sugar Bowl meeting against Oklahoma.

He will only improve by getting more reps.

McCarron had a higher completion percentage (73.3 percent) and more passing yards than Winston (61.5 percent, 90 yards) and Dalton (46.2 percent, 46 yards, two interceptions).

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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