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Sports Today: At least Reds have some better problems to face this winter

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 10:02 AM
By: Marcus Hartman

Major League Baseball’s postseason starts Tuesday night. 

The Cincinnati Reds will not be part of it, as you’re probably aware. 

After three consecutive 90-plus-loss seasons, what do the Reds have to do to earn some October baseball in the future? 

The Hall of Farmer Hal McCoy laid out the offseason tasks for the Reds pretty well, and we’ve got all winter to debate what they should do. 

The good news is they have more knowns than they did this time a year ago, and many of their questions that remain have potentially exciting answers. 

Case in point: The outfield. 

I like Scott Schebler, but I’d trade him to make room for Jesse Winker to play every day along with Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall. That would also make more room for a utility guy who can play the infield or outfield and will need at-bats (more on this later). 

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I haven’t looked at the potential market, but I’d try to re-sign Zack Cozart if I can do it without breaking the bank. Will be interesting to see what he gets offered from elsewhere. 

Bringing him back would of course create other questions, like where to play Jose Peraza. After he took a step back this season and with the emergence of Scooter Gennett, I would tell Peraza the team still thinks he has a bright future but he should be happy as a utility player until he proves he is more than that. 

That worked out for Gennett in 2017 — at Peraza’s expense — and it made the team better in the long run. 

The presence of Gennett and Peraza makes moving an outfielder much more sensible, but that’s just the beginning. 

We’ll have time to dive deeper into this as the hot stove cranks up. 

Got suggestions for how what the Reds should do to move the team closer to contention? I want to hear ‘em! Email me at marcus.hartman@coxinc.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook… 

How about the Bengals? 

That whipping of Cleveland was nice, but now that the season is back on, there is more to worry about. 

First up: The Buffalo Bills. 

They present a chance for a promising defense to continue to build on a great start to the season. 

Jay Morrison notes coordinator Paul Guenther made a habit of heavily rotating in the first month of the season, good news for the plethora of talented but unproven young players on the roster. 

READ MORE: Bengals find success with deep rotation

One thing this team has done a great job of for a long time now is keep an eye on the future. 

The advantage of continuity is being able to groom players, though it doesn’t always work out like you want it. 

Take the offensive line for example… 

No, take them please! 

So, yeah, keeping an eye on the future has not always worked out in present, but overall it’s been an effective strategy… 

College basketball season is one day closer to starting than it was yesterday, but recruiting never stops. 

David Jablonski reports Flyers coach Anthony Grant and his staff a sophomore point guard from Northwest Ohio named Zeb Jackson. 

Grant has already signed point guard Jaylen Crutcher from the 2017 class while getting a verbal commitment from four-star lead guard Dwayne Cohill for 2018. 

Think this is a position the guy who used to coach Russell Westbrook values? 

MORE: 2019 class could be big one for UD

Also of note: The Flyers reportedly are trying to get in the mix for Anfernee Simons, a 2018 recruit who decommitted from soon-to-be-NCAA-sanctions-ravaged Louisville. Simmons, of Orlando, Fla., is the 12th-ranked recruit in the nation… 

Lastly we check in on Ohio State. 

Today’s print story on the Buckeye offense made me realize the offense has gotten better even as the competition has arguably improved (to some extent at least).

Rutgers, a 56-point loser at home to the Buckeyes, certainly has the most talented defense out of the trio of Army, UNLV and the Scarlet Knights. 

SPORTS TODAY: Hartman on Bengals, Browns, Buckeyes

Anyway, it also occurred to me we’ve been asking the wrong question when it comes to some of the new stuff Ohio State has done with screen passes and RPOs and whatnot: Will they work against better defenses? 

That’s not really the point of running those plays. 

The goal is not to dink and dunk Penn State to death with horizontal passes. 

It is to discourage the Nittany Lions from utilizing some of the defensive tactics that have given the Buckeyes problems over the past couple of years — strategies first proven effective by the Nittany Lions back in 2014, as a matter of fact. 

MORE COVERAGE: Four takeaways from college football on Saturday

Maryland is better overall than any of the teams Ohio State played the last three weeks, but not on defense. 

Despite hiring a defensive-minded coach in D.J. Durkin, the Terrapins are 113th in defensive S&P-plus and 53rd on the offensive side despite having to use three different quarterbacks already. 

But hey, like I said yesterday: Maybe it’s time for someone to push the OSU defense a little anyway.