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Hue Jackson: McCarron not here to hand it off 70 times

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With Andy Dalton's (thumb) status up in the air for the next few weeks, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will be tasked with prepping backup quarterback AJ McCarron for a very serious final stretch featuring games that still matter.

His plan? Don't treat McCarron like a backup at all.

"Did he start out (Sunday) being a manager? He threw it all over the field, right?" Jackson said via The Enquirer. "That gave us the best chance to win. It didn't work. I'm not going to tell you I'm going to start with him being a manager. He's going to start off doing what we need him to do to win. That's what we pay him for. We pay him to win games. So whatever it takes for him to win, that's what he's going to do. If you guys think he's going to turn around and hand it off 70 times to win a game, then you guys are mistaken. That's not going to happen. That's not going to happen."

Once again, for emphasis, Jackson added: "That's not ... going ... to happen."

Because Dalton does not need surgery, the best-case scenario might be a Week 16 return on Monday Night Football against the Broncos. At the least, head coach Marvin Lewis can entertain the idea of McCarron only needing to make one start.

But kudos to Jackson for trying to make the most out of it. When McCarron entered the 2014 draft, there were a handful of analysts suggesting he was just a few steps below Oakland's Derek Carr and that McCarron and Zach Mettenberger were going to end up being the draft steals. While we haven't quite gotten the chance to see what Mettenberger could do over a full season, it will be interesting to at least get a window into McCarron's potential when he has a full week to game plan.

NFL teams needing a prospective head coach also will be watching. Jackson has been brilliant with Dalton, but as we know, bad teams needing head coaches don't often have great quarterbacks.

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