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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. 

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See photos from Dalton Foundation’s Date Night

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 10:04 AM

The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation held its annual “Date Night” event Tuesday. SUBMITTED PHOTO
The Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation held its annual “Date Night” event Tuesday. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, played host to their annual “Date Night” on Tuesday, where they entertained seriously ill and special-needs children to a night of fun while treating their parents to a private dinner.

“Date Night” is one of five signature programs of the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, which is dedicated to providing opportunities, support and resources to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families in Greater Cincinnati.

Teaming with childcare partner Skidaddles, Andy and Jordan entertained the children with a visit from Newport Aquarium animals, a photo booth, gaming stations, balloon artists and a painting station while their parents enjoyed a meal at Orchids at Palm Court at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.

“This program is always special for us,” Andy said. “JJ and I make it a priority to have our own date night as often as we can, and we know that’s not always possible for these couples. This allows parents to have a much-needed night out while having peace of mind as their kids are right upstairs hanging out with us.”

>> Jay Morrison’s 7-round mock draft for the Bengals

The Date Night program is funded by the foundation’s Celebrity Waiter Night, which this year will be held June 1. For more information on the event, visit www.andydalton.org.

Here are some more photos from the foundation’s “Date Night.”

(AARON)

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Sports Today: Same old Marvin Lewis quells Bengals draft excitement

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 9:59 AM

Marvin Lewis pre-draft presser

Marvin Lewis spoke Tuesday in Cincinnati about the NFL draft. 

That’s it. 

That’s the update. 

Well, maybe that’s not all

While the final draft decision is his, the coach explained how the new assistants on his staff have their say and that could affect how they put together their board. 

He also assured everyone in the room that he did not negotiate for any more say in personnel decisions or anything else during that weird few days between the end of the 2017 season and the announcement he signed a new two-year contract to remain the coach of the Bengals. 

“I didn’t talk about anything in any contract negotiations. We knew we had to make changes. We’ve made changes. We’ve added new players. Those are the things that were important. Everybody (here) was on board and in line with the same things.”

That nothing of the sort would be discussed during contract negotiations seems far fetched, but he was pretty adamant — and unusually animated — about this point. 

RELATED: Marvin Lewis signs 2-year contract extension

The saying goes coaches and managers often get fired because that’s a quicker fix than turning over the whole roster. 

Owner Mike Brown apparently does not follow this logic. 

Plenty of players will be back from last season, of course, but there have been some significant changes to the staff, including a new defensive coordinator, new offensive line coach, new quarterbacks coach and essentially a new offensive coordinator. 

The team is pushing it hard as an overhaul motivated by a desire to win now. 

They may truly see it that way, but with the same coach, quarterback and of course same ownership in place that have never won in the postseason, it is hard to follow that logic all the way through. 

Maybe I’ll get there by the end of the summer, but I’m not there yet. 

›› Jay Morrison’s full 7-round mock draft for the Bengals

Hiring new assistants was probably a good idea. 

Bringing in new players certainly was. 

The draft is always fun because of the new possibilities it opens up. 

Having the same guy to put the spin on it at the end of the day — especially with Lewis being a guy who seems to hate actually doing that — makes it hard to escape the notion we’re all headed to the same place (home by the middle of January, if not before) when all is said and done… 

The team that plays just down the road did finally make a move with its manager, and the Reds’ results have been mixed so far. 

They are 2-3 under Jim Riggleman — yeah, yeah, but that’s a lot better than 3-15 — and he has had some adventures the last two nights. 

The offensive explosion Monday night made Riggleman look like a genius for tinkering with the lineup. 

Last night he appeared to be stung by waiting too long to replace Amir Garrett with Raisel Iglesias and the recurrence of the defensive problems than have plagued the team all season. 

But Scooter Gennett, whose error allowed the game-tying run to score in the ninth inning, went from goat to hero when he clubbed a walk-off two-run homer in the 12th inning, giving a team that hasn’t had much to feel good about this season a much-needed chance to celebrate at home plate with a 9-7 win. 

Since I’m pretty sure the point in changing managers was more to perk up the clubhouse than anything else, that resilience has to be considered a good sign. 

Getting another good start — this one from Tyler Mahle — and finally hitting some home runs certainly helps, too… 

More good news: Eugenio Suarez started at third base for the Louisville Bats on Tuesday night and went 1 for 2 with a double. He also walked twice. 

Nick Senzel started at second base and went 0 for 3 with a walk. He also reached base via a hit-by-pitch and is batting .246 on the season. 

Catcher Stuart Turner went 0 for 2 with a walk but made the SportsCenter Top 10…  

Ohio State basketball got a big boost Tuesday with the announcement Keyshawn Woods will join the team as a graduate transfer. 

Coach Chris Holtmann needed another experienced ball-handler to play with senior C.J. Jackson as youngsters Luther Muhammad, Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens of Versailles work their way into the rotation, and Woods is just that. 

A double-digit scorer at Wake Forest, Woods can play point guard or off the ball, versatility that should give Holtmann needed options in shaping a lineup next season… 

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Ending one-and-done rule one of recommendations of NCAA’s Commission on College Basketball

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 9:21 AM

UCLA practices Monday, March 12, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/STAFF
Contributing Writer
UCLA practices Monday, March 12, 2018, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/STAFF(Contributing Writer)

The NCAA’s Independent Commission on College Basketball recommends ending the one-and-done rule. That was one of the findings in its report released Wednesday morning.

The commission, chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, was established in October in response to the recruiting scandal that dominated the headlines last fall. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith is also part of the commission.

Here’s a quick glance at some of the recommendations:

1. One-and-done rule: “The Commission calls on the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) again to make 18-year-olds eligible for the NBA draft, so that high school players who are drafted may proceed to the NBA. The NCAA lacks the legal power to change one-and-done on its own; the power to make this change lies exclusively with the NBA and the NBPA.”

» RELATED: Dayton AD reacts to NCAA problems

2. Testing pro prospects: “The Commission recommends that high school and college players who declare for the draft and are not drafted remain eligible for college basketball unless and until they sign a professional contract. Specifically, players who are not drafted should be permitted to change their minds and attend college or return to college, provided they remain academically and otherwise eligible.”

3. Earlier professional assessment: “The Commission recommends that the NCAA and its member institutions develop strict standards for certifying agents and allow NCAA-certified agents to engage with student-athletes at an appropriate point in their high school careers to be determined by the NCAA.”

4. More resources for education: “The Commission recommends that the NCAA immediately establish a substantial fund and commit to paying for the degree completion of student-athletes with athletic scholarships who leave member institutions after progress of at least two years towards a degree. Colleges and universities must fulfll their commitments to student-athletes to provide not just a venue for athletic competition, but also an education.

» RELATED: Three changes that would help NCAA

5. Independent investigations: “The Commission recommends that the NCAA create independent investigative and adjudicative arms to address and resolve complex and serious cases (hereafter “complex cases”) involving violations of NCAA rules.

6. Harsher penalties: Among the changes the commission recommends is a five-year postseason ban for serious infractions and the loss of all revenue sharing from the NCAA tournament during the ban.

7. Reforming non-scholastic basketball: The commission addressed the influence of AAU basketball and other events recruits play in away from school.

“Virtually all of the top recruits for each collegiate recruiting class participate in non-scholastic basketball,” the report stated. “The Commission recommends that the NCAA take short and long-term actions to reform non-scholastic basketball and disassociate the NCAA and its member institutions from the aspects of non-scholastic basketball where transparency and ethical behavior cannot be assured.”

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Cincinnati Reds: Peraza more comfortable, confident at shortstop

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:24 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 8:24 PM


            Reds shortstop Jose Peraza throws to first base for an out against the Cardinals on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds shortstop Jose Peraza throws to first base for an out against the Cardinals on Thursday, April 12, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

One of the Reds’ many problems while losing 18 of their first 22 games was defense, especially around second base.

Jose Peraza, back at shortstop as the heir to 2017 All-Star Zack Cozart after losing his second base position to Scooter Gennett last season, had committed just one error in his first 21 games, but he seemed uncomfortable. Grounders that fans were used to see being caught instead were leaking through to the outfield.

»RELATED: Garrett untouchable in bullpen

»RELATED: Reds hope win get them going

»MCCOY: What’s it like inside Reds clubhouse?

Recently, though, Peraza has shown signs that the more he plays, the more comfortable and confident he feels.

“I think he’s playing great,” Gennett said before Tuesday’s game against Atlanta. “He’s been playing that position with more confidence. After switching back and forth, I’m really impressed with how quickly he’s picked it back up again.”

Going into this season, Peraza had started 82 major league games at second back and 77 at shortstop.

Peraza, who turns only 24 on April 30, also was becoming more productive offensively. Going into Tuesday’s game, he had hit .292 since starting the season 0-for-12, pushing his overall average up to .247.

Interim manager Jim Riggleman credits Peraza’s defensive improvement to working with infield coach Freddie Benavides.

“He’s playing good,” Riggleman said of Peraza, acquired from the Dodgers as part of the December 2015 three-team trade in which third baseman Todd Frazier was sent to the White Sox. “He’s an extremely hard worker. I know Freddie’s had to tone him back a little bit. It’s a long season, but I think he’s played fine.”

Riggleman believes shortstops are at a disadvantage because they usually are compared to those who played at the highest level, such as Ozzie Smith or Omar Vizquel. In Cincinnati, shortstops follow in the footsteps of Roy McMillan and Leo Cardenas and Dave Concepcion and Barry Larkin.

“There’s such excellence that to call anybody average is an insult,” Riggleman said. “If you’re an average major league shortstop, you’re pretty good. He’s really swinging the bat and running the bases. He’s a baseball player.”

Deeper bench

Cincinnati’s five-man bench allowed Riggleman to make a move that proved decisive in Monday’s 10-4 win over the Braves.

With the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth inning of a tie game, he sent right-handed-hitting Phil Gosselin up to bat against left-hander Sam Freeman. Braves’ manager Brian Snitker replaced Freeman with right-hander Peter Moylan, prompting Riggleman to take down Gosselin and send up left-hander Jesse Winker, who delivered a tie-breaking, run-scoring single.

“The sixth inning is a little earlier than I’d like to do it, but with five players on the bench, it’s easier than with four,” Riggleman said. “With four players, it’s really tough, especially if one of them is a catcher. That makes it tough to maneuver for the rest of the game.”

New tools

Tucker Barnhart didn’t have anybody particular in mind as he banged a black Rawlings catcher’s mitt with a bat on the floor in front of his Great American Ball Park home clubhouse cubicle.

The Reds catcher simply was going through the process of breaking in a couple of new gloves. The process is lengthy.

“This one I started on in January and all through spring training,” he said, holding up a third black glove. “I’m hoping it’ll last me close to two years. Rawlings has pretty good leather.”

That means the new gloves might not see the field until 2019.

Barnhart uses a leather conditioner to help with the breaking in process, which also includes him flexing the glove with his hands.

“It’s getting there,” he said.

Bare hand

Sal Romano’s right hand was sore on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after he speared Ozzie Albies’ sharp one-hopper with his bare hand and threw him out at first.

Romano’s approach is not recommended.

“We literally talk about it in spring training,” Riggleman said. “The thing is, with the way shifts are, if you let it go, there’s probably going to be a middle infielder there, but its competition. It’s instinct. What you don’t want to have happen is he doesn’t get all of it and it dribbles off into no-man’s land.”

Trading Kevins: Before Tuesday’s game, the Reds reinstated right-hander Kevin Schackelford from the 10-day disabled list and designated right-hander Kevin Quackenbush for assignment, leaving the 40-man roster at 39. Schackelford was sidelined since March 29 with a right forearm strain. Quackenbush was 0-1 with an 11.00 earned-run average in 10 games.

Next up

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (0-2) is scheduled to make his third start since coming off the disabled list in Wednesday’s 6:40 p.m. game against Atlanta. Finnegan is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career games, both of them starts, against the Braves.

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