One of biggest winners among QBs in college history, McCarron took over No. 1 QB job after Andy Dalton suffered thumb fracture Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh ... Confident player who inspires respect from teammates, McCarron took sudden promotion and posted 97.1 season passer rating ... Logged 101.1 rating for three regular-season starts, a figure exceeded by only five qualifiers for NFL passing title ... First QB in Bengals history to have no INTs in first three starts ... In Wild Card playoff vs. Pittsburgh, led Bengals from 15-0 deficit after three quarters to 16-15 lead, only to see Steelers prevail 18-16 on late FG ... Joined 53-player roster late in 2014 after rehab from college shoulder injury ... Posted 36-4 record in three seasons as Crimson Tide starter, leading national championship teams in 2011 and ’12 ... Set Alabama records for TD passes (77), passing yards (9019) and completion percentage (66.9), and his INT percentage (1.46) was the lowest in NCAA annals (15 INTs in 1026 attempts) ... Finished second in 2013 Heisman Trophy voting behind Florida State QB Jameis Winston.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in fifth round of 2014 NFL Draft (164th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 5-22-14.
2015 highlights: Played in Games 8 and 11-16, with starts in place of injured Andy Dalton in Games 14-16, and also started Wild Card playoff ... Active-DNP for the other nine regular-season games ... Passed 79-for-119 for 854-6-2 in regular season ... His first three game appearances were late mop-up roles, but on Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh, he played the last three quarters following injury to Andy Dalton and passed 22-for-32 for 280 yards, with two TDs and two INTs ... Had a perfectly thrown 66-yard TD connection with WR A.J. Green in the Pittsburgh game, but also threw a pick-six ... On Dec. 20 at San Francisco, made his first career start, and posted a 115.6 passer rating, completing 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) for 192 yards, one TD and no INTs ... TD pass at San Francisco was 20 yards to TE Tyler Kroft ... On Dec. 28 at Denver, made his second career start and posted a 87.8 passer rating, completing 22-of-35 (62.9 percent) for 200 yards, one TD, and no INTs, but had a lost fumble in overtime that ended the game ... Efficient 17-for-27 for 160 yards and two TDs Jan. 3 vs. Baltimore, good for 103.9 passer rating ... In Wild Card playoff on 1-9-16 vs. Pittsburgh, passed 23-for-41 for 212-1-1, his TD pass going 25 yards to A.J. Green for 16-15 Bengals lead in fourth quarter ... Made NFL debut in Game 8, Nov. 5 vs. Cleveland, taking game’s final two snaps with kneel-downs as Bengals ran out clock ... Played final three Bengals snaps Nov. 29 vs. St. Louis, and completed first NFL pass on only attempt, a three-yarder to HB Rex Burkhead ... Appeared in three preseason games, passing 38-for-60 (63.3 percent) for 465-1-0.
2014: Missed entire preseason with shoulder injury that predated start of training camp, and was placed Aug. 30 on Reserve/Non-Football Injury list ... Cleared to practice on Nov. 18, and activated to roster on Dec. 9 ... Was game day Inactive (coaches’ decision) for Games 14-16 and for Wild Card playoff.
College: A multiple career-record holder at Alabama, played four seasons (2010-13), with a redshirt year in ’09 ... Played 53 games with 40 starts ... Posted a 36-4 record in three seasons as a Crimson Tide starter, leading national championship teams in 2011 and ’12 ... Only QB to win back-to-back BCS national championships ... Set school records for TD passes (77), passing yards (9019) and completion percentage (66.9), and his INT percentage (1.46) was the lowest in NCAA annals (15 INTs in 1026 attempts) ... In 2013, led Alabama to 11-2 record, and had team in position to reach a third straight BCS title game until Auburn used a 109-yard missed FG return to beat Tide 34-28 on final play of regular-season finale ... Finished second in ’13 Heisman Trophy voting behind Florida State QB Jameis Winston ... Also in ’13, won the Maxwell Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award ... Led 2012 Tide to 13-1 record and second straight BCS title, including 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in championship game ... His ’12 season INT percentage of 0.96 was the lowest ever for an SEC performer (minimum 200 completions) ... In 2011, won starting QB job as a sophomore and led team to a 12-1 record, with 21-0 conquest of LSU in BCS finale.
Personal: Hometown is Mobile, Ala. ... Attended St. Paul’s Episcopal School, where he led the team to a 14-1 record and a state championship as a junior ... Business major at Alabama ... Married (wife is model and television personality Katherine Webb).
Rookie defensive tackle Andrew Billings is putting up so much weight in a Cincinnati gym getting ready for training camp next week that they put a limit on him.
Training camp opens a week from Friday and the readers can't wait. One of the leading topics heading in is the roster joust at wide receiver as rookies like Cody Core try to get a foothold.