Sports Today: Bengals, Browns ruin great weekend by being Bengals, Browns

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Head Coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Head Coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns shake hands after the completion of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Cleveland 31-17. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 23: Head Coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Head Coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns shake hands after the completion of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Cleveland 31-17. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)(John Grieshop/Getty Images)

I guess I should lead off with the Bengals today, but then again what’s the point? 

This team is dead in the water

If I put the over/under on the remainder of Marvin Lewis’ tenure at two weeks, which one are you taking? 

I’d go under. 

There’s one more game on this three-game road trip, and I think that will pretty much seal the deal. 

RELATED: 5 things to know about the Bengals’ loss in Tennessee

After the Bengals lose at Denver next week, they will come home 3-7 with no question there is nothing to play for and no reason for anyone to attend — unless someone new is leading things on the sideline and everyone is put on notice they’re playing for their jobs. 

Making a change then would be the sensible thing to do both from a football and business standpoint (to salvage attendance), which is why I think Mike Brown and his management team just might make that move. 

This is not a prediction, just something I see as plausible. 

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It actually worked twice before since Paul Brown left the team to his son, and I suspect this roster is a lot better than 1996 and 2000. 

There are two logical choices for an interim coach on the staff: Linebackers coach Jim Haslett, a former head coach, and Paul Guenther, an up-and-comer who’s done a pretty good job coordinating the defense. 

Seeing if Haslett can steady the ship and provide a presentable product for the second half of the season or giving Guenther a live audition are both sensible moves. 

Will they happen? Stay tuned… 

It’s kind of a shame the Bengals are in the midst of a lost season because Sunday’s 24-20 loss would have been a nice test otherwise. 

If you’re a real contender, there’s nothing wrong with losing on the road in the last minute to a division leader in the middle of the season. 

Plenty of time to fix the errors and be ready to be your best self in January. 

But this is who the Bengals are — an offense severely handicapped by a bad offensive line and inconsistent quarterback with a good defense that still needs a couple more pieces to become great. 

Cincinnati has a tendency to give up long drives at inopportune times because the Bengals cant’ stop the run, and the cornerbacks are inconsistent as a whole. 

The run defense can’t function without frequently unavailable Vontaze Burfict and the secondary drops off significantly when Adam Jones isn’t in there. 

»RELATED: Burfict ejected in first half of Bengals loss

Also here I guess it is appropriate to point out the fact Burfict just can’t be counted on. He’s being held to a standard that might be impossible, but it is the standard nonetheless. Lewis seemed to acknowledge this yesterday, though that felt like too little, too late. 

The good news for the Bengals is they don’t have any future money committed to Burfict or Andy Dalton, the alleged leaders of the defense and offense, respectively, so moving on from them wouldn’t hurt financially if the next coach chooses (and is allowed) to do so…. 

Meanwhile, things are STILL much worse up there by Lake Erie. 

I’ve been a Hue Jackson defender, but it’s hard to understand what happened with the Browns at the end of the second quarter in their loss at Detroit yesterday. 

Did I mention that next home game when the Bengals might (should) have a new coach is against this club?… 

In happier news, Ohio State bounced back by blasting Michigan State

Speaking of too little, too late, right? 

I am pledging not to talk playoffs until after Thanksgiving, but we’ll see if I can hold out. I made the decision before some more chaos hit college football in the afternoon and evening games. 

The ironic thing this year is the Buckeyes’ postseason plans might be dependent on the favorites taking care of business the rest of the way out… 

Of course I can’t go any farther without acknowledging the Anthony Grant era of Dayton Flyers basketball got off to a successful and thrilling start with a 78-77 win over Ball State

Josh Cunningham scored the go-ahead basket in the lane to win it for the Flyers, who would have had a long week to stew over that loss otherwise. They don’t play again until Thursday when they face Hofstra in the Charleston Classic in South Carolina. 

The Kostas Antetokounmpo ascendance did not begin, but John Crosby had nice stat line with 13 points, four assists and six rebounds with just two turnovers in his first game as the No. 1 point guard. 

And, oh yeah, that’s why Cunningham was a top 100 recruit coming out of high school. 

He has the type of skills to be a pretty dominant guy inside all year… 

The same night of Cunningham’s heroics, Archie Miller lost his first game as coach at Indiana. Not only that, the Hoosiers were blown out by Indiana State. (Larry Bird did not suit up for the Sycamores as near as I could tell.) 

They did bounce back for a win over Howard last night, though... 

Back in the Buckeye State, it is so far, so good for Christ Holtmann: Ohio State is 2-0 with the former Butler coach at the controls. 

The Buckeyes crushed Robert Morris on Friday night before beating Radford by 10 Sunday. 

Six Buckeyes are averaging at least 9.4 points per game so far... 

And finally there’s the high school scene. 

Trotwood-Madison ended Dunbar’s season emphatically while Chaminade Julienne rallied to beat New Richmond in the football playoffs Friday night. 

The Rams and Eagles square off this Friday night for a regional title. 

Michigan loses out on 4-star DL Tyler Friday

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:10 AM

Michigan has lost out on one of its top recruiting targets for the class of 2018 when 4-star defensive lineman Tyler Friday announced his commitment to Ohio State .

Friday made his announcement at a press conference on Friday. He chose Ohio State  over Michigan and Alabama .

Michigan had been recruiting Friday since he was a sophomore at Don Bosco Prep in northern New Jersey. It’s a recruiting loss in a state where the Wolverines have enjoyed much success the past four years.

There were 13 players from New Jersey on the Michigan roster in 2017, a pipeline of talent that began growing rapidly in 2014 with the recruitment of Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty from Paramus Catholic. That list of players includes defensive end Rashan Gary, who was the No. 1-ranked player in the country in the 2016 class, and offensive linemen Grant Newsome, Jon Runyan Jr., and Cesar Ruiz. Ruiz played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but is from Pennsauken, N.J.

Michigan linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Chris Partridge was the head coach at Paramus Catholic before joining the Wolverines in 2015 as the director of player personnel. He was moved to the coaching staff at the end of the 2015 season. Partridge has been named national recruiter of the year each of the last two years by major recruiting web sites.

Michigan has signed a player from New Jersey each of the last four recruiting cycles but that streak is likely to end this cycle.

Friday (6-foot-3, 263 pounds) is ranked as the No. 85 player overall in the country by the 247Sports composite, the No. 2 player in New Jersey and the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country. He has said that colleges have been recruiting him as a defensive end but he should have the versatility to play on the interior as well.

Ohio State and Alabama increased their recruitment of Friday late in the process. He visited all three schools, including Michigan on Nov. 25 for the Ohio State game.

While adding Friday would have definitely been a boost to the 2018 class, Michigan does have good depth on the defensive line.

Michigan has signed three defensive linemen to the 2018 class: Aidan Hutchinson of Dearborn, Mich., Taylor Upshaw of Bradenton, Fla., and Julius Welschof of Misebach, Bavaria, Germany. The Wolverines signed 10 defensive linemen in the previous two recruiting classes.

That position group will be led by Gary, who will be a junior next season, and fifth-year senior Chase Winovich. Winovich announced this month that he is returning for this final year of eligibility after contemplating declaring for the NFL Draft. He was named winner of the team’s Blue Collar award for 2017. Winovich made 77 tackles, led the team with 18 tackles for loss and tied with linebacker Khaleke Hudson for the team lead with 8 sacks.

It will also include sophomore Aubrey Solomon, the No. 2-ranked defensive tackle in the country in the 2017 class. Solomon played in all 13 games with four starts as a freshman.

Tyler Friday commits to Ohio State: Buckeyes land a top DL

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Tyler Friday brought some good news for Ohio State fans today. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive lineman committed to the Buckeyes over Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), and a slew of other offers during a ceremony at his high school on Friday afternoon, Jan. 19.

Friday has the potential to play several different positions at Ohio State, but seems most likely to excel as a strongside defensive end or defensive tackle. He’s been ranked by the 247Sports composite rankings as the country’s No. three defensive tackle and one of the top 100 players in America, regardless of position. The potential of Friday playing interior offensive line has been discussed, as he spent much of his high school career playing on the offensive line. However, Friday has the athleticism and explosion to be a force on the defensive line.

The Buckeyes had been trailing behind Michigan for much of the late stretch of Friday’s recruitment, but growing bonds with Ohio State and an in-home visit from defensive line coach Larry Johnson seemed to signal a major turn in the tide of this recruitment. Michigan seemed to fall behind both Alabama and Ohio State as time went on. All three programs received official visits from Friday in November and December.

Ohio State now holds six commitments from defensive linemen in the 2018 recruiting class as Friday joins one of the country’s most impressive position groups in any recruiting class. 5-star DT Taron Vincent headlines the current commit list, which also includes 4-star linemen like Tyreke Smith, Tommy Togiai, and Antwuan Jackson Jr. and local prospect Alex Williams.

Friday has not yet been reached for comment on his commitment. Stay tuned for further news and analysis on the New Jersey star’s commitment to Ohio State.

Tyler Friday’s commitment gives Ohio State football another blue-chip DL

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Ohio State boasts one of the nation’s strongest recruiting classes in 2018 and that group got even stronger with another commitment on Friday, Jan. 19. Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Tyler Friday pledged to the Buckeyes on Friday afternoon at a ceremony at his high school, choosing Ohio State over Michigan and Alabama. In the 247Sports composite rankings, Friday is regarded as the country’s No. 86 overall recruit, the No. 4 defensive tackle, and the No. 2 prospect in the state of New Jersey.

So what will Friday’s commitment mean for Ohio State? Let’s break it down.

What does Friday bring to the table on the field?

At 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, Friday is considered to be somewhat of a tweener. Although he’s rated by 247Sports and ESPN as a defensive tackle prospect, Rivals regards the 4-star prospect as a strongside defensive end. At Don Bosco, Friday has played nearly every role on both sides of the line, repping at left tackle, defensive end, defensive tackle, and offensive guard. I’d expect that Friday will begin his career at defensive end, but defensive tackle and interior offensive line are both real possibilities as he grows into his body and goes through Mick Marotti’s strength and conditioning program.

Friday is skilled at understanding how to win leverage battles and is rarely blown off of the football, a function of knowing how to utilize that leverage and impressive lower body strength. Friday also shows impressive ability to use his hands violently and discard blockers when needed, filling gaps as a defensive lineman. On the offensive line, his leg drive and aggression in finishing blocks are good signs.

He doesn’t fit the image of some of the prototypical defensive ends that Ohio State as recruited. Friday is more stockily built than players like Chase Young, Jalyn Holmes, or Joey Bosa, lacking their lanky frame and wide wingspan. He’s a plus athlete who shows more than enough agility and explosion to play effectively at defensive tackle, but he’s not in the elite echelons of athleticism at his position group.

What Friday means for Ohio State’s recruiting

Friday is yet another addition to Ohio State’s dominant recruiting class, particularly adding to an already-impressive defensive line group. The Buckeyes will remain second in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings with 308.99 points, trailing just behind Georgia’s top-ranked class nationally (309.15 points). For reference’s sake, Texas’ third-place recruiting class has 292.11 points and Penn State’s fourth-place class has 278.88 points.

Ohio State now holds commitments from six defensive linemen in this 2018 recruiting class, as Friday joins 5-star DT Taron Vincent, DE Tyreke Smith, DT Tommy Togiai, DT Antwuan Jackson Jr., and DE Alex Williams. Although Williams may not ultimately end up at defensive end, the group is nonetheless filled with talent and provides an immediate boost to defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s position group.

The Buckeyes now hold 11 commitments from prospects in the 247Sports composite top 100, good for best in the country by a fairly safe margin. Friday is Ohio State’s 23rd commitment overall in this 2018 recruiting class, 20 of whom are regarded as composite 4 or 5-star prospects. Georgia holds commitments from 18 such prospects and Auburn and Texas each hold 17 commits meeting those criteria.

I expect Ohio State to take only one more defensive lineman at most, likely Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic product Javontae Jean-Baptiste. Jean-Baptiste, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound 4-star defensive end, is currently on Ohio State’s campus for his official visit during the Jan. 19 weekend. The overall numbers for the Buckeyes are more fluid. Ohio State is still pursuing prospects at offensive tackle, wide receiver, running back, linebacker, and defensive back and the Buckeyes will likely have a strong finish to their 2018 recruiting class.

It goes nearly without saying that any opportunity to defeat programs like Michigan and Alabama on the recruiting trail is a significant one for Ohio State. Urban Meyer and his coaching staff enjoy to note that they keep score in everything that they do and yet another victory over Jim Harbaugh’s program to the north will surely warm hearts around Columbus.

Check out Friday’s highlights

Friday has not yet made his senior year highlights available to view. However, check out highlights from his junior season below.

Tyler Friday commits to Ohio State: Buckeyes land a top DL

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 9:08 AM

Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Tyler Friday brought some good news for Ohio State fans today. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound defensive lineman committed to the Buckeyes over Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Miami (Fla.), and a slew of other offers during a ceremony at his high school on Friday afternoon, Jan. 19.

Friday has the potential to play several different positions at Ohio State, but seems most likely to excel as a strongside defensive end or defensive tackle. He’s been ranked by the 247Sports composite rankings as the country’s No. three defensive tackle and one of the top 100 players in America, regardless of position. The potential of Friday playing interior offensive line has been discussed, as he spent much of his high school career playing on the offensive line. However, Friday has the athleticism and explosion to be a force on the defensive line.

The Buckeyes had been trailing behind Michigan for much of the late stretch of Friday’s recruitment, but growing bonds with Ohio State and an in-home visit from defensive line coach Larry Johnson seemed to signal a major turn in the tide of this recruitment. Michigan seemed to fall behind both Alabama and Ohio State as time went on. All three programs received official visits from Friday in November and December.

Ohio State now holds six commitments from defensive linemen in the 2018 recruiting class as Friday joins one of the country’s most impressive position groups in any recruiting class. 5-star DT Taron Vincent headlines the current commit list, which also includes 4-star linemen like Tyreke Smith, Tommy Togiai, and Antwuan Jackson Jr. and local prospect Alex Williams.

Friday has not yet been reached for comment on his commitment. Stay tuned for further news and analysis on the New Jersey star’s commitment to Ohio State.