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Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator: ‘Andy Dalton is our quarterback’

Posted May 12, 2014

ClevelandBrowns.com takes you around the NFL with the Daily Kickoff.

A.J. McCarron, Jeff Fisher, LeBron James

Sweeping conclusions are par for the course with any NFL Draft, and this year was no exception. 

Among the many that have been made since the weekend is that Andy Dalton’s job as the Cincinnati Bengals’ starting quarterback is in jeopardy because the team made former Alabama star A.J. McCarron a fifth-round draft pick on Saturday.

Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson insisted that wasn’t the case.

“This is not about Andy Dalton,” Jackson was quoted as saying in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Andy Dalton is our quarterback and we stand by him one hundred percent. And he has done a tremendous job during the offseason.

“I am so looking forward to working with all these guys, but obviously he is the leader of our football team. I think he has a bright, bright future ahead of him.”

JERRY JONES SAYS THERE’S ‘NO QUESTION’ DALLAS COWBOYS ARE BETTER

So is this the season the Dallas Cowboys finally break out of their perpetual .500 status and make some noise that comes from winning more than eight games?

If you listen to Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, that should, in fact, be the case this season.

“Yes, we are better,” Jones told DallasCowboys.com. “There’s no question about that. Relative to where we played last year, we’ve had a very impactful draft. We actually have had an impactful offseason, relative to the way we play.

“We’re better. And consequentially, when I look over at the offense, we haven’t taken a step back on offense at any place and matter of fact, without being trite, we’ve gained on it in my opinion.

“For me, I feel better tonight than I did when we quit playing last year. To me that isn’t just optimism for me. I do, factually, can look down here and say we’re a better team than we were this time last year as reality would have it.”

JOHNNY MANZIEL HAS A FAN AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATE IN LEBRON JAMES

LeBron James has found a reason to connect with the Cleveland Browns, and it isn’t merely because they are based near his hometown.

James is on board with the fact the Browns drafted Johnny Manziel, to the point where he was recently spotted wearing the Heisman Trophy winner’s jersey.

“It’s exciting,” James was quoted as saying on ESPN.com. “He’s going to get the opportunity to compete for the starting job, so it’s exciting for us, our family and his family. He’s been in pressure situations for a long time, that shouldn’t change now because he’s starting his NFL (career).”

James also has another connection to Manziel. The Miami Heat star’s business partner, Maverick Carter, represents Manziel. Additionally, James and Manziel have marketing deals with Nike and have appeared together in a McDonald’s television commercial.

James is a fan of the Cowboys, and had hoped Manziel would wind up there. However, the NBA star can envision what Manziel is capable of bringing to a franchise looking to make a turnaround.

“After I saw he didn’t go to Dallas, I figured he’d go to Cleveland,” James said. “He’s a smart kid and he relishes the opportunity to hopefully bring some great moments back to Cleveland as far as the football team.”

JEFF FISHER STRESSES ST. LOUIS RAMS WILL STAY TRUE TO NORMAL PROCESS WITH MICHAEL SAM

When the St. Louis Rams decided to make Michael Sam a seventh-round pick in the NFL Draft, they did not do so, coach Jeff Fisher said, because they wanted to make history by selecting the first openly gay player.

He said they did so because their evaluation guided them to the former Missouri standout defensive end at that point.

Fisher also said the decisions they make about Sam in the future will be consistent with that approach.

“We picked him within the process and we’re going to reduce this roster within the process,” Fisher told reporters in St. Louis. “So I don’t see that being an issue.

“It’s going to be very competitive for him, as it will be for some of the other guys, the later picks, because of the depth and the talent level at the position. He’s going to have to come in, and like the rest of his new teammates, these rookies, they’re not in shape. Not in the condition our veterans are in. He’s going to have to work to get in great shape and we’ll blend him in the offseason program and we’ll go.”

LONGHORNS EXPERIENCE FIRST NFL DRAFT SHUTOUT SINCE 1937

You normally expect a player from the University of Texas to be chosen in the NFL Draft. Not just chosen, but picked somewhere in the first round.

This year was different. The Longhorns didn’t have a single player drafted, which, according to ESPN.com, is something that last happened in 1937.

Texas was among four major-college programs that were shut out from the draft. The others were Illinois, Northwestern, and Kansas.

The encouraging part for the Longhorns, though, is that Louisville had three players taken in the first round. And that was the program formerly guided by new Texas coach Charlie Strong.

>>This Road to the Draft feature is driven by Liberty Ford.

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.