Bengals draft spot, opponents finalized for 2018

Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 9:41 AM


            EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores on a fourth quarter touchdown reception against the Los Angeles Chargers during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the New York Giants 27-22. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08: Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants scores on a fourth quarter touchdown reception against the Los Angeles Chargers during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Los Angeles Chargers defeated the New York Giants 27-22. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Sunday’s 31-27 victory at Baltimore means the Cincinnati Bengals will pick 12th in the 2018 NFL Draft.

The last time the Bengals drafted 12th was 1990 when they selected linebacker James Francis. Looking at recent drafts to get an idea of the type of player that should be available to them, the last five players to go No. 12 overall are: Quarterback Deshaun Watson (Texans, 2017), defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (Saints, 2016), defensive tackle Danny Shelton (Browns, 2015), wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants, 2014) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (Raiders, 2013).

›› Marvin Lewis’ future with Bengals remains cloudy

Sunday’s results also finalized the Bengals’2018 opponents. Cincinnati went into the day locked into a third-place finish in the AFC North, but its final two opponents next year– the third-place finishers in the AFC East and AFC South – were dependent on other games.

The Colts’ win against the Texans means the Bengals will travel to Indianapolis in addition to Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta and Carolina.

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The Jets’ loss to the Patriots means the Bengals will play host to Miami in addition to Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver, Oakland, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

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Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s basketball program

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 12:49 PM

Dayton huddles with coach Shauna Green after practice on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Staff Writer
Dayton huddles with coach Shauna Green after practice on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.(Staff Writer)

Erin Whalen, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward from Charlotte, N.C., is transferring from Vanderbilt to the Dayton Flyers women’s basketball program.

Whalen said she told Dayton coach Shauna Green of her decision on Thursday. Dayton has not officially announced the news.

“I am super excited about the opportunity,” Whalen told the Dayton Daily News on Friday.

» RELATED: Green excited about Dayton’s future

Whalen will have to sit out the 2018-19 season. She has two seasons of eligibility remaining. She averaged 7.4 points and 1.8 rebounds last season at Vanderbilt. As a freshman, she averaged 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game and made the All-SEC freshman team.

Whalen started 10 games as a freshman and two as a sophomore. Vanderbilt finished 7-24 last season and 14-16 in Whalen’s freshman season.

» PHOTOS: Dayton vs. Marquette in NCAA tournament

Whalen was a five-star recruit in 2016, according to the ESPN HoopGurlz rankings. She ranked 46th overall in the class. She was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at the Providence Day School.

Whalen is the third player from a power-five conference to transfer to Dayton in the past 12 months. Julia Chandler (Syracuse) and Araion Bradshaw (South Carolina) transferred to Dayton last season and sat out the season. They will make their Dayton debuts in the 2018-19 season.

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Reds fire Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 8:41 AM

Reds manager Bryan Price motions to the umpires that he won't call for a review of a play at first base against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
Reds manager Bryan Price motions to the umpires that he won't call for a review of a play at first base against the Brewers on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff)

The Cincinnati Reds, who are off to their worst start through 18 games since 1931, fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins on Thursday.

“At this time, we felt a change needed to happen in order to begin the process of getting this team back on the right track,” said President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dick Williams in a statement. “We realize it is early in the season but feel it is important to be proactive. In addition to these staff changes, we will continue to examine all aspects of Baseball Operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to improve."

» COMMENTARY: Marcus Hartman: Firing Bryan Price shows winning might actually matter to Cincinnati Reds

» REACTION: Social media reacts to firing of Reds fire manager Bryan Price

Bench coach Jim Riggleman will serve as interim manager. He has managed 12 seasons in the big leagues with the San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals. His career record is 662-824.

Pat Kelly was promoted from Triple-A Louisville to serve as interim bench coach. Double-A Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin will be the Reds’ pitching coach.

The Reds announced they “will conduct a thorough managerial search for a permanent replacement.”

The Reds fell to 3-15 on Wednesday with a loss in Milwaukee. They are off today and start a three-game series in St. Louis on Friday. They have the worst record in baseball. This is their worst record through 18 games since they were 2-16 in 1931.

This was Price’s fifth season as Reds manager. His final record was 279-387. The Reds never had a winning record in his tenure, finishing 76-86 in his first season and then 64-98 in 2015, 68-94 in 2016 and 68-94 in 2017.

» MCCOY: Groundhog day for Reds, who lose 2-0 again

Price, 55, replaced Dusty Baker after the Reds won the wild card in 2013. Price served as Reds pitching coach from 2010-13.

On Sunday at Great American Ball Park after the team fell to 2-12 with a loss to the Cardinals the previous day, Price expressed confidence the Reds would turn the season around.

“It’s not fun,” Price said. “It’s not comfortable. It always turns; it will turn. When you’re in it, you feel, ‘When is it going to turn?’ You get impatient. We’re all impatient and frustrated, but inevitably, it will turn.”

Last September, Price talked about his job prospects, knowing the Reds would have to improve if he wanted to remain manager.

“You should get what you earned,” he said. “Since I’ve been the manager here we haven’t been real competitive. That shouldn’t put me on sound footing as the manager. What should is that from 2017 to 2018 we make significant improvements or they’re going to have to look at the direction of the club. One thing we do is we play hard. I don’t feel like I’m getting questioned a ton about managerial decisions, bullpen usage, lineup issues, etc. The last thing I’m going to worry about is the contract, because All-Star break 2015, the baseball community had me out of here – but I’m still here, and that’s really a credit to our ownership and front office to understand what we’re doing and what’s ahead of us. You get what you earn here. Until we show signs of great improvement, I’m in exactly the position I should be in.”

Reds bench coach Jim Riggleman, center, and manager Bryan Price, left, watch a game against the Cardinals on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)
Reds manager Bryan Price calls a sign during a game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

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Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce dies at 87

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:57 AM

Earle Bruce at Ohio State Skull Session in 2016

Former Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Earle Bruce, the man who succeeded Woody Hayes and served as a mentor for Urban Meyer, died early Friday at 87 at his home in Powell, Ohio State announced.

Bruce, who was hired in January 1979 after Hayes was fired, coached the Buckeyes from 1979-87 and had a record of 81-26-1 in nine seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

“He was a great man, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a respected coach to many,” a statement by his daughters (Lynn, Michele, Aimee and Noel) read. “Our family will miss him dearly, but we take solace in the belief that he is in a better place and reunited with his beloved wife, Jean. We thank you for your prayers and good wishes.”

» HARTMAN: Bruce one of most influential Buckeyes ever

Bruce won four Big Ten championships (1979, 1981, 1984, 1986). He won his first 11 games in 1979 and was named national coach of the year. Only a 17-16 loss to Southern California in the Rose Bowl kept him from winning a national championship in his first season.

Bruce was 5-4 against Michigan in his career and 5-3 in bowl games. He began his coaching career at Iowa State (1973-78) and coached four seasons at Colorado State (1989-92) after he was fired by Ohio State in 1988. His career record in 19 seasons was 139-82-2.

“I’m proud of about three things in my career,” Bruce said in 2001. “One is the Michigan record: 5-4. And the only games they won were because there wasn’t a fifth quarter. If there had been a fifth quarter, we would have kicked their butts. We just ran out of time, that’s how I look at it. And I went against Bo Schembechler, the best coach they ever had, no question.”

Bruce remained close to the program. In 2016, he dotted the “I’ in Script Ohio before a game against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. He attended Ohio State’s spring practice on March 8, the day he turned 87.

Meyer was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Bruce’s final two years with the program, and often credited Bruce for teaching him about the importance of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.

“I’ve made it clear many times that, other than my father, coach Bruce was the most influential man in my life,” Meyer said in a press release. “Every significant decision I’ve made growing up in this profession was with him involved in it. His wife (Jean) and he were the role models for Shelley and me. They did everything with class. He was not afraid to show how much he loved his family and cared for his family.”

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Sports Today: Sorting out reactions to the Reds’ firing Bryan Price

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 11:09 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 06: Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts as he is taken out of the game by manager Bryan Price in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on August 6, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 06: Homer Bailey #34 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts as he is taken out of the game by manager Bryan Price in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on August 6, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

For the second day in a row, we had some breaking news first thing in the morning. Here is my tribute to Earle Bruce, who passed away this morning after 87 years of filling the world with passion and energy for football and Ohio State. 

Here’s what else is going on… 

Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams said pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear in regards to the firing of Bryan Price. 

“We’re very focused on creating a sense of urgency for these guys to perform now,” Williams said yesterday. “We talk about rebuilding, and there’s things going on away from the field and in the farm system and investments in the franchise that are part of that rebuilding process, but when guys show up to work every day, they need to have a sense of urgency to win that day. They need to take care of the details on the field. They need to play hard. They need to play smart. They need to play it right. That we can control, and we need to get this team playing that way because we know they have the ability to do it. That is the short-team immediate focus.”

Beyond that, I have seen the argument made that firing Price was pointless because the team wasn’t really good enough to win. 

That’s a pretty dumb way to look at it. 

For one thing, it ignores just how terrible the Reds have been since the start of the season. 

It’s not as if we’re talking about a squad that is a few games under .500. 

They have not been below average. 

They have been dreadful — historically bad. 

Cincinnati’s record is 3-15, and there’s no reason to think the Reds should have many, if any, more wins the way they have played… except if like me you think Price botched a handful of chances to win games with head-scratching late-game decisions. 

I’ve also seen it suggested the whole organization is rotten and they need to start over. 

This isn’t completely out of the question, but it’s a pretty big overreaction at this point. 

Yes multiple people — players, managers, management, ownership, etc — had to make mistakes for the team to be in this predicament, but many of them are already gone. 

Walt Jocketty blew the end of the last era of good times with help from Dusty Baker, his scouting department and at least some on the development side. 

Several years of terrible drafts and an inability to find cheap options to fill out the bench and the bullpen at the major-league level were major issues, and Baker’s attempts to maximize a flawed roster were generally inept. 

RELATED: Barry Larkin on deck?

Jocketty badly misplayed the start of the rebuild, perhaps because ownership wouldn’t let hims start it as soon as he needed to. 

Whatever the reason, the Reds waited too long to start the rebuild at the major-league level. 

That prevented them from maximizing the return on players like Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Jay Bruce and exacerbated the effect of those bad drafts. 

(They were able to sell high on Todd Frazier and got surprisingly good returns on some other players who weren’t as high-profile, like Mike Leake, Alfredo Simon and Dan Straily.) 

More recently, they seem to have figured out a few things in the draft. The past two efforts have been rated very highly. 

Help is on the way, and there are good pieces in place already. 

Health remains an issue, of course. Figuring out if anything can be done about that is not easy. 

Williams has only been in the big chair for about a year and a half, and I’m willing to see how his early moves play out. 

Waiting on young pitchers to develop can be maddening, but it is also pretty clearly their best option given their market and the ballpark. 

They talked about accountability when Baker was fired. 

Price never answered that bell. 

As he was shown the door, a need to create a winning culture was identified. 

Will anything change? 

We’ll see. 

It couldn’t have gotten much worse… 

Meanwhile, the firing of Price yesterday morning obscured a few other noteworthy items. 

Chief among them was Hunter Greene’s second start

Watching this talented young guy develop is already fascinating. 

The South Bend Cubs were clearly sitting on his fastball, and they hit it hard a few times. 

He didn’t hesitate to go to his secondary pitches, working curves and changes to varying degrees of success. 

Having to pitch through a pretty hard rain for 10 minutes or so seemed to frustrate him, but that’s understandable. 

He still hung in there and showed his competitiveness. 

It was less than three innings, but it was encouraging to see his mental makeup and tools despite his inexperience… 

Dragons pitcher Hunter Greene went 2.1 innings in a rain-delayed second start, a 4-1 defeat of the visiting South Bend Cubs at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Wed., April 18, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Ohio State held spring exit interviews with its assistant coaches Wednesday, and the most noteworthy local development regarded Josh Myers

Coach Greg Studrawa revealed the Miamisburg product overcame some struggles early in the spring to turn in a strong final two weeks as he learns to play center. 

He might have to settle for the backup job to fifth-year senior Brady Taylor, but that’s not a bad place to be for an offensive lineman still only a year out of high school. 

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson also had great things to say about Wayne grad Robert Landers, a tackle who has shown a lot of growth as a leader...

Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa breaks down the competition between Brady Taylor and Miamisburg grad Josh Myers to be the starting center this fall.

Finally we have the Cincinnati Bengals schedule

This slate looks tougher to me than the NFL’s calculation of last year’s winning percentages indicates it should be. 

Maybe that’s just a function of being unsure of how good the Bengals will actually be. 

 

The Browns and Colts are rebuilding, but those AFC West teams and the Dolphins all have the potential to be playoff contenders with the right moves so there is a high potential for variance. 

Of course, last season I was incorrectly optimistic about the Bengals based in large part because I thought their schedule was pretty easy. 

That’s not exactly how it worked out. 

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