Published: Thursday, October 05, 2017 @ 11:23 AM
By: Marcus Hartman
— Are we too obsessed with the Ohio State passing game?
This is football. That’s how it works.
One of several reasons the game became the preeminent spectator sport in America decades ago was that it provides not only a lot to talk about but a lot of time to do it.
Yeah, it’s a brutal ballet and all, but it’s also weekly like our other favorite TV shows.
Beyond that, building a winning team is complicated.
So is writing a winning game plan.
Even once those things are in place, success requires what many coaches like to call a winning effort.
Execution is essential, too.
Any number of things can cause the whole operation to break down, and that leads to even more questions.
So while I don’t blame J.T. Barrett if he is frustrated about how often he is asked about the status of the deep ball in the Buckeyes offense, I also don’t think this topic is quite played out yet.
The good news for the quarterback and his receivers: They can make all these questions go away with just a couple of big hits down the field.
Along those same lines, I got the impression yesterday Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor wasn’t very interested in hearing any more about the struggles of their running game.
Jay Morrison examined the issue in-depth, but at this point it’s not unlike the situation Ohio State faces.
They’ve fallen behind, and now there are only so many opportunities to show off however much improvement they can make.
And in both cases, the defense might not cooperate.
Opponents love to take away the deep ball from Ohio State, preferring to make them march down the field in small bursts. The Buckeyes’ early responses to this — forget the running game and try a precision passing approach — was doubly problematic because it short-circuited the offense as a whole.
Now they’ve come up with other ways to move the ball, but the deep ball still needs to be part of the equation.
Meanwhile, the Browns seemed intent on winning up front last Sunday even if that meant committing people to stopping the run and leaving the secondary out to dry.
Andy Dalton took proper advantage of that, leaving something new for us to focus on as Cincinnati tries to be a well-rounded offense again.
See how this works?
In other news, I am encouraged by some of the early Reds talk generated by Monday's column.
Bringing back Zack Cozart and making sure there is a spot for Scooter Gennett were suggested.
Someone mentioned trading Adam Duvall for an ace pitcher.
Others questioned if one more established pitcher would be enough.
This is good stuff, people. Let’s keep it up!
I don’t think Duvall is going to bring back a true ace, but there is a case to be made for selling him high. Would he bring back a guy as good as Mike Leake, for whom he was acquired in the first place?
Regardless, you have to feel good about the fact they can trade an outfielder without creating a hole. That says something about what better shape they are in this year compared to last even though they had the same record.
Of course the pitching discussion is still tricky because they might be set there with Homer Bailey and a plethora of young arms…. but we know how the best-laid plans of mice and GMs can quickly go awry.
At any rate, I think it’s going to be a fun October for MLB fans and an interesting hot stove season for Reds followers, too…
Also covered Monday but worth repeating because I have been critical of Ohio State and others for not playing more in-state games: Kudos to the OSU and Cincinnati for agreeing to a home-and-home series.
This is a fantastic chance for both teams to get attention during a time when football would otherwise be sucking most of the air out of the room.
The potential downsides are either inflated or nonexistent.
The only issue now is that the season starts too early, but maybe doing a marquee game like this will help alleviate some of the problems that come from that.
Namely that there’s less reason to pay attention when the first opponent is some team most fans have never heard of.