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Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 10:28 AM
— Before we get started, let me say two things.
First: I doubt the Bengals will draft Lamar Jackson even though I believe it could make them better in the long run.
Second: I am always a proponent of sitting a quarterback early in his career. Perhaps that makes the Bengals and Jackson a more natural fit in my eyes than someone else’s.
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Admittedly, this is more a fun thought experiment than anything else, but I believe there is a case to be made for Cincinnati looking to Louisville for its quarterback for the future, especially if things break just right.
It could even be consistent with their general philosophy for drafting during the Marvin Lewis era, depending on what kind of grade they give Jackson after evaluating him.
1. Putting aside position, this is the kind of pick the Bengals love to make.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner has the physical tools, but they need some refining.
That means he won’t go No. 1 overall even though he might have top pick ability.
The Bengals are all about value picks like that for reasons both practical and monetary.
That’s certainly why they tabbed Joe Mixon with their No. 2 pick last year and probably why they picked John Ross even though receiver was low on their list of needs.
No question this inspired the selection of Cedric Ogbuehi a couple of years earlier as he had slid because of an injury, too, not to mention how they ended up with numerous other players both via the draft and free agency.
So Jackson could make some sense to them in real life along those lines.
2. The Bengals are in a great position to develop him.
They have a capable quarterback in Andy Dalton, but he is coming off a year in which he ranked in the bottom third of quarterbacks in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.
Even if you want to explain that away by saying he didn’t have enough help, I would counter it’s still fairly clear the position isn’t being maximized.
There are other quarterbacks who have played as long as he has who handled a lack of help better, Aaron Rodgers probably being the best example. Plus the Bengals collection of skill players is still pretty good.
Then you might say, “Well Andy Dalton isn’t Aaron Rodgers, but he can still be a productive player.”
That is true, but shouldn’t the team strive to have a quarterback as good as Aaron Rodgers as much as it reasonably can?
3. Their current starter has a team-friendly contract.
According to OverTheCap.com, Dalton is set to be the 18th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL this year (he will drop as more sign, too), and they aren’t on the hook for a lot of guaranteed money if they decide to release him before his contract is up.
Teams looking for stop-gap starters who also plan to draft a quarterback of the future are likely to end up paying more for the former than the Bengals are going to pay Dalton this year, so why shouldn’t the team consider taking a shot at a talent like Jackson?
The Bengals can hedge their bets on Dalton by drafting a high-ceiling quarterback who either A) Doesn’t work out, which also happens with a lot of other draft picks, B) Becomes a reliable backup, which is important, C) Ends up being better than what they have.
Those are pretty good options to me.
4. Jackson could learn a lot by watching.
At Louisville, Jackson did enough from a playbook perspective there is good reason to believe he can handle all the general things an NFL quarterback does, but like pretty much all young quarterbacks, it won’t come together for him overnight.
For as powerful as his arm is, he has some mechanical issues that need to be cleaned up, and that can be done on the practice field.
It will need to be because right now he is a big-play threat, but he needs to be able to take all the layups that will be presented to him in order to move the chains and be an efficient quarterback.
I don’t know if he can make enough precise throws from the pocket necessary to thrive in the NFL yet, but that should come with time and work on his lower body (many quarterbacks coaches would rather mess with this than the actual throwing motion).
Jackson is probably so explosive he can get by early in his career just on raw ability, a la Mike Vick, but I need more than that.
If he has complete mastery of the playbook and some of the more nuanced things that go into being a quarterback, he could be in position to excel as soon as he gets the job rather than having to do what he can just to survive, which inevitably also includes a high risk of injury if he has to scramble frequently.
5. The point of the draft is to get the most players with the most talent.
If the Bengals reach a point where Jackson is the most talented player on the board when they are picking, they should take him.
That would be consistent with the way they have drafted throughout the Marvin Lewis era, a philosophy of taking the best player available that has helped them at times and hurt them others.
At worst, Jackson could be a Kordell Stewart-like change-of-pace player even if he never evolves into Steve Young.
At best, he becomes a star and they can release Dalton without a huge cap hit.
The 12th pick might be too high for the Bengals to select Jackson, but maybe they like him enough to trade back into the first round after grabbing a sorely needed offensive tackle. Maybe if he somehow slides to the second round, they decide that’s too good to be true and make the call then.
Maybe they don’t do any of those things… no matter how much sense it might make.Follow @marcushartman
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:19 PM
DAYTON — Casey Cathrall left the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball program after one season as the strength and conditioning coach for a dream job at the University of Miami. He has the same position with the Hurricanes men’s basketball team, and his first day was Monday.
» WATCH: Drone video of UD Arena renovations
Cathrall couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to Florida — he was a graduate assistant with the Hurricanes in 2013 when they won the ACC championship and earned his master’s degree in exercise physiology there in 2014 — in part because his wife Grace is from Vero Beach, Fla., two hours north of Miami, and her family still lives there.
“It’s just something we always dreamed about,” Cathrall said Monday night. “If they ever came calling, we couldn’t say no.”
» LOOKING BACK: Cathrall on his strength and conditioning philosophy
Dayton hired Cathrall in May 2017. He said it was bittersweet leaving the job.
“Dayton was awesome,” Cathrall said. “Obviously, the year didn’t go the way we would have hoped, but that really had no impact (on his decision). Grace had so many close friends (in Dayton). I really enjoyed working with the staff there. Coach (Anthony) Grant is a phenomenal guy. Everyone there was straight first class. Nothing but good things to say. It’s just bittersweet. I really feel we made some strides there in terms of trying to establish a culture and where the kids we’re at. I’m really excited for that program and where it’s headed.”
» GRANT WINS GOLD: Dayton coach helps lead USA U-18 team to title
In his final weeks on the job, Cathrall got to work with two of the newest Flyers: Michigan transfer Ibi Watson and Chattanooga transfer Rodney Chatman.
“Ibi got there the first week of summer school, somewhere around May 12 or 13th,” Cathrall said. “Rod was the week after or two weeks after. I spent a couple weeks with Ibi and at least two weeks with Rod. The takeaway from those two guys if the fans at Dayton are interested is they’re unbelievable people.”
Of Watson, Cathrall said, “Ibi, from day one, wants to win. He wants to be the best. Incredible competitiveness in him. He wants to do the extra miles, showing up early, staying after. Just very, very mature. What he brings to the program is more of what we need and more of where it’s going in terms of the culture and in terms of an unbelievable amount of discipline and habits and what it takes to be successful. He’s got a personality that he was able to mesh with the guys right away. I think the chemistry will show when he’s finally able to get out there on the floor.
Speaking of Chatman, Cathrall said, “Rod’s a softer-spoken guy. You can tell he’s a guy that’s played college basketball before. I think he’s adjusting to the physicality we have at Dayton, but in terms of his skill set, his basketball IQ, his unselfishness and his demeanor and habits, I just think he’s another home-run addition of what coach Grant and the staff are building.”
We'd like to welcome back Casey Cathrall to The U as the new strength and conditioning coach for men's basketball.— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) June 18, 2018
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 4:12 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer spoke about quarterback and a couple of changes to NCAA rules Friday night in Columbus.
The Buckeyes mentor confirmed in the clearest language yet Dwayne Haskins will be his starting quarterback when preseason camp commences in late summer.
“Dwayne is the starter and Tate (Martell) is in full competition mode,” Meyer told reporters at the annual Ohio State football job fair. “Matt Baldwin is our three and he’s doing very well now.”
Haskins, a sophomore from Maryland, became the assumed starter when Joe Burrow transferred to LSU last month.
Meyer told the Pro Football Hall of Fame luncheon crowd in Canton in mid-May Haskins would get “the first opportunity to be the starter,” and his latest comments further confirmed that intention.
In Columbus, Meyer also said he has maintained contact with Burrow, who graduated in May and is eligible for the Tigers right away.
“Joe did a lot for us, and we did a lot for Joe, so it was a very amicable relationship,” Meyer said.
The appearance was also the first for Meyer since the NCAA announced a pair of changes to player eligibility last week.
“It’s a good rule, and I’m glad they did that,” Meyer said. “It’s good for most importantly the student-athlete.”
Previously participating in one play meant a year of eligibility was used — unless that player later became injured and certain other specifications were met.
That is no longer the case.
“I think it’s just going to be easier (for coaches). Usually you play a guy early and then if they get hurt, you redshirt them,” Meyer said. “Now there is going to be, do you hold onto them until the stretch run when it gets really hard and you need them? Because usually when you get into the end of the season you’re dealing with injuries.”
Meyer also said the new rule preventing coaches from blocking transfers is good — as long as players still have to sit out a year before being eligible.
Ohio State football coaches bring passion, knowledge to clinic at Northmont https://t.co/FhNm9mzfiv— daytonsports (@daytonsports) May 11, 2018
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 1:47 PM
CINCINNATI — Scooter Gennett, of the Cincinnati Reds, remains ranked third among second basemen in voting for the National League All-Star team.
Gennett has received 743,979 votes, the league announced Monday in its second release of the voting results. He trails the Braves’ Ozzie Albies (915,736) and the Cubs’ Javier Baez (767,417). All three have a wide lead over the fourth-ranked second baseman: the Giants’ Joe Panik (194,634).
Joey Votto also remains fifth in voting among first basemen (189,364), well behind the league’s overall leader in votes, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman (1,433,140).
Eugenio Suarez, who ranked fourth last week, remains fourth this week among third basemen with 228,806 votes. He leads NL third basemen in RBIs (52) and ranks second in the league among all players. The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (1,124,563) has a wide lead among third basemen.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:19 AM
CINCINNATI — Joey Votto played in his 1,500th career game for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in an 8-6 victory at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Before the game, the Reds shared the numbers on how Votto compares to Hall of Fame first basemen from the last 50 years, including Jim Thome, who will be inducted this summer.
» DRAGONS: Dayton ends first half with loss
Here’s how Votto, at age 34, in his 12th season, stacks up against 12 of the greats through the first 1,500 games of their careers. In short, he compares well — especially in on-base percentage and walks, as you might expect.
Batting average: Rod Carew (.335); Frank Thomas (.321); Johnny Mize (.320); Joey Votto (.313); Jeff Bagwell (.305); Orlando Cepeda (.305); Eddie Murray (.299); George Kelly (.297); Jim Thome (.285); Tony Perez (.284); Ernie Banks (.283); Willie McCovey (.282); Harmon Killebrew (.262);
On-base percentage: Thomas (.441); Votto (.428); Bagwell (.418); Thome (.411); Mize (.406); Carew (.392); McCovey (.385); Killebrew (.375); Murray (.375); Cepeda (.355); Perez (.347); Banks (.344); Kelly (.343);
Slugging percentage: Mize (.580); Thomas (.580); Thome (.566); McCovey (.555); Bagwell (.553); Banks (.536); Votto (.536); Killebrew (.532); Cepeda (.517); Murray (.505); Perez (.484); Kelly (.455); Carew (.450);
Home runs: Killebrew (392); Thome (368); Ernie Banks (353); McCovey (347); Thomas (339); Bagwell (316); Mize (315); Cepeda (279); Murray (275); Votto (263); Perez (246); Kelly (137); Rod Carew (71).
Hits: Rod Carew (1,924); Mize (1,776); Thomas (1,721); Cepeda (1,714); Murray (1,680); Votto (1,662); Bagwell (1,657); Kelly (1,650); Banks (1,618); Perez (1,550); Thome (1,451); McCovey (1,375); Killebrew (1,354);
Walks: Thomas (1,172); Bagwell (1,012); Votto (1,046); Killebrew (919); McCovey (788); Mize (757); Murray (709); Carew (542); Perez (532); Banks (521); Cepeda (388); Kelly (358); Thome (108).