Sports Today: Big questions for Bengals, Buckeyes after latest flops

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 05:  Jaydon Mickens #85 of the Jacksonville Jaguars scores a touchdown on a 63-yard punt return in the second half of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
Logan Bowles/Getty Images
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 05: Jaydon Mickens #85 of the Jacksonville Jaguars scores a touchdown on a 63-yard punt return in the second half of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)(Logan Bowles/Getty Images)

Well, we just finished a long and terrible weekend for football in Ohio — and the Browns didn’t even play! 

I figured the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t have much chance to win in Jacksonville, but their 23-7 loss was still disappointing

On the bright side, I don’t see that being possible again this season because all expectations for success are officially gone. 

This is a lost season for a flawed team that seems to have no direction. I doubt they are going to win as many games as the raw ability on the roster says they should. 

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There seems to be little doubt sometime between now and January, Marvin Lewis will cease being the Bengals’ coach, although it’s also fair to wonder if anyone was coaching them Sunday anyway. 

Jay Morrison pointed out Cincinnati has been badly outplayed after halftime this season, and frankly I’m surprised the point disparity isn’t worse. 

What a coaching change will mean for Andy Dalton is certainly intriguing, too. 

The Bengals ran the fewest plays in a game in franchise history, and Pro Football Weekly pointed out the record broken was set by an offense being run by replacement players. 

Does that mean Dalton is worse than three nobodies? 

He might as well be at this point. 

Of course he’s in a terrible situation with the offensive line, but Dalton’s toothless response continues to leave a lot to be desired considering his status on the team. 

He is doing nothing at this point to resemble a franchise quarterback. 

At least A.J. Green cares. 

Somebody needs to tell the Bengals’ best player not to punch someone wearing a helmet, but that was a pretty impressive takedown move he pulled on Jalen Ramsey. 

Of course, a veteran guy like that needs to keep his cool. There’s no excuse for fighting, and he deserved to be ejected. So did Ramsey, who I’m sure knows as well as anybody a punch is one of the likely responses to pushing someone like that. 

He started it. Green finished it. Now we’ll see what the league thinks about whether or not either of them should play next week. 

The Bengals would certainly miss Green if they had a competent offense. Fortunately, wins and losses don’t matter from here on out anyway… 

If you are still in disbelief Iowa whipped Ohio State so badly Saturday, you’re not alone. 

As much as there is to question about the Buckeyes’ performance, the Hawkeyes played an outstanding game in all three phases. 

I feel comfortable saying Iowa won’t play that well again for about another 50 years. The Hawkeyes might have beaten anybody in the country the way all cylinders were firing from the start. 

RELATED: Iowa shocks Ohio State in Iowa

Ohio State gave them some big boosts, though, beginning with the decision to drop J.T. Barrett back to pass on first down. 

No matter how well he played a week earlier, Barrett is not a drop-back passer. 

Ohio State is supposed to be a run-oriented team. Urban Meyer’s insistence on changing that despite his personnel has practically crippled the program

That is not hyperbole. The misguided offensive approach for the last 2 3/4 seasons has set up the whole team for failure now multiple times since the Buckeyes used a dominant running game and defense to steamroll to the 2014 national championship. 

And, yes, I realize the defense stunk on Saturday, too. 

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 5 takeaways from Week 10

That side of the ball hasn’t been the same for the majority of the Meyer era, either. 

Remember how it was bad for like half of 2012, all of 2013 and even the first part of ’14? 

I know, it’s easy to forget. 

That unit is young and rebuilding for the second year in a row. Some bumps in the road are understandable, although you’d like to think they would be in the past by now. 

Iowa was not the team anybody would have picked to tear them apart the way they did Saturday, but in today’s college football what the Hawkeyes do is unique and not something Ohio State had seen much of. 

Iowa exploited those advantages to the Nth degree, something Meyer teams used to be known for rather than simply out-talenting people, which is generally all they do now. 

What’s the answer in Columbus? 

Lots has changed over the past few years, but the same problems persist. 

The guy in charge obviously still knows how to set up a program. He’s not forgotten his ability to put a good culture in place — even if the Buckeyes weren’t ready mentally on Saturday, the fact is sometimes that just happens with human beings, especially teenagers — but he’s not getting the production he needs from some of those people who work for him. 

Some of that is probably his fault. All of it falls back on him. 

Can he get it fixed?… 

Our local big schools took some lumps in the high school football playoffs, too. 

In Division I, Wayne, Fairmont and Northmont all lost to suburban Columbus schools while top seed Centerville cruised into round two. 

In Division II, Sidney took out Belmont in a high-scoring affair and gets three-time defending state champ La Salle while Trotwood-Madison and Dunbar will square off in Division III… 

Hey, at least basketball provided some positive vibes.

Dayton sold out an exhibition game for the second year in a row, and the Flyers beat Ohio Dominican 79-61 in fans’ first chance to see Anthony Grant’s team against a live opponent. 

That fan turnout is obviously pretty impressive. 

So, too, is Kostas Antetokounmpo’s athletic ability, but that’s not a big surprise. 

It’s hard to draw too much from one game — especially an exhibition against a lower-division opponent — but we know the Flyers are big and athletic. 

They had a positive assist/turnover ratio but shot only 27 percent from three-point range. 

I suspect those will be key stats to watch this season. 

Ohio State took care of business easily, too, with an exhibition win over Wooster in Chris Holtmann’s first game of any sort leading the Buckeyes. 

Four Buckeyes scored in double figures, including Keita Bates-Diop, who had 17 to lead the way. 

A breakout campaign from Diop, a former five-star recruit who has never put it together in Columbus and was hurt last year, could change the profile of this season significantly for Ohio State much like getting four-star recruit Antetokounmpo on the floor after he had to sit out last season might mean big things for the Flyers. 

Maybe winter a surprisingly fun winter can make up for this disappointing fall. 

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Dragons first baseman delivers game winner for 8th straight win

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 11:45 PM

Dragons first baseman Montrell Marshall had the winning hit in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field on Thursday, April 19, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Always athletic and tall for his age, Montrell Marshall was a natural at football and basketball while growing up in Pinehurst, North Carolina. That’s also prime stick-and-ball country; golf.

“I’m not a good golfer, but I pass by it all the time,” the Dragons first baseman sheepishly admitted.

»RELATED: Another gem by Hunter Greene

A solid 6-feet-5 and 215 pounds, Marshall gave up football at his mom’s insistence. “I didn’t play after middle school,” he recalled. “My mom, she was terrified of it.”

Basketball, too, is a distant memory.

Apparently headed to Auburn University to play baseball, the Reds took a chance and drafted Marshall out of high school. The rest is developing minor-league baseball history.

“It was a tough decision to make,” said Marshall, who was drafted by the Reds in the 12th round of 2014 and spent the last two seasons in rookie ball at Billings, Mont.

“I really liked Auburn. They showed me a lot of love. That’s a fun atmosphere and my best friend was going there the year after. It was a tough decision.”

»RELATED: Adult beverages, rain delay and Dragons baseball

Marshall is among a core group who graduated from Billings last season to low Class A Dayton in the Midwest League. On Thursday night, his run-scoring single was the difference in a 3-2 defeat of visiting South Bend at Fifth Third Field. That was noteworthy for all the right reasons.

• It was the Dragons’ eighth straight win. The last time that happened was in May of 2011 when Billy Hamilton was setting stolen base records for the Dragons.

• The win streak has all played out at home. That’s just two wins shy of matching the home win streak of 10.

• The Dragons (8-3) previously swept home series from Bowling Green and Lake County, and now have rung up South Bend, a Chicago Cubs affiliate.

• The Dragons did not commit an error in the three-game series. It’s the first time since August of 2016 that has happened.

»RELATED: Dragons shortstop delivers a make-up play

Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary’s two-run single in the second inning evened it at 2-all. Dragons starting pitcher Packy Naughton (1-0) earned the win, going six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He also struck out four. Relievers Luis Alecis, Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel (third save) also pitched shutout innings.

“This is fun,” Marshall said. “I don’t think I’ve ever won eight in a row. It’s a fun team.”

Dragons catcher Mark Kolozsvary makes a putout. The Dragons defeated visiting South Bend 3-2 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thu., April 19, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

Dragons tales: Wednesday was shake-up day for the Reds with the firing of manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins. Dragons manager Luis Bolivar said that wasn’t a hot topic among players.

“We don’t address anything with them,” he said. “They’re aware of what’s going on, but it doesn’t affect us much of what’s going on here. I don’t want them thinking about stuff. I want them concentrating on games and to get better.”

Reds special assistant Eric Davis, with the Dragons for practice and the game, declined to address Price’s firing.

• The Dragons took a roster hit Wednesday when closer Sarkis Ohanian was promoted to high Class A Daytona. Taking his place was former Dragon Dauri Moreta, who had been in extended spring training.

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

Ohanian (1-0) had four appearances, collecting two saves and a 5.40 ERA. Moreta was at his best during the Dragons’ postseason last year. In his final 16 appearances he had a 1.85 ERA and earned a save in two playoff wins. He didn’t allow a run in four playoff games.

• The Dragons are at Fort Wayne for a three-game series beginning Friday, then at Lansing for a four-game series. Their next home game is Friday, April 27 to start a three-game series against Fort Wayne.

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

FRIDAY’S GAME

Dayton at Fort Wayne, 7 p.m.

WONE-AM (980)

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

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

Bryan Price reacts to loss to Cubs

Turns out losing games actually does have consequences in Cincinnati. 

That’s reassuring, I guess. 

RELATED: What’s a manager worth, anyway?

The Cincinnati Reds firing Bryan Price might not make them better, but at least he will no longer be able to make them worse. 

I wanted Price to work out as the team’s manager, and I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job. 

He seems like a good man who knows baseball. I hope he lands on his feet, and I believe he will. 

But he had to go. 

Dusty Baker (Price’s predecessor) did some great things to help close the door on a decade-plus of losing, but he had taken the Reds as far as he could with his managerial style (good) and lineup-building foibles (bad).

Price, the architect of a great pitching staff under Baker, made as much sense as anyone to get the job four years ago. 

He stumbled out of the gate with a flawed team, but he showed some progress as the manager even as the roster got worse and injuries multiplied. 

Certainly making a change after last season would have been justified, but sticking with him wasn’t the worst idea, either, considering he had not really had much to work with and there was reason to think the Reds would be better this season. 

With a 3-15 record, they are not, of course. 

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

So far, this has looked like one of the worst Cincinnati teams ever, in fact, and Price blew multiple games last week with bizarre late-inning decisions. 

The manager doesn’t swing the bat and he doesn’t make the pitches (or throw the ball over Joey Votto’s head), but he’s in there for some reason, right? 

This team needs new direction. 

They needed to do something to shake up the clubhouse before losing became a way of life for another summer on the riverfront. 

After players’ managers like Baker and Price, perhaps a good ol’ fashioned butt kicker could do some good. 

We shall see if Jim Riggleman is that man. 

If not, well, we’ll see next year if it’s someone else. 

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Cincinnati Reds fire manager Bryan Price: Social media reacts

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:41 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Reds manager Bryan Price calls a play during a game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff
Reds manager Bryan Price calls a play during a game against the Cardinals on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(HANDOUT/David Jablonski/Staff)

The Reds on Thursday fired manager Bryan Price and pitching coach Mack Jenkins after the team got off to a disastrous 3-15 start to the season.

Here’s a sampling of reaction to the news on social media:

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Bengals open, close 2018 season on the road

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 7:59 PM


            INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 31: Jarveon Williams #39 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 31: Jarveon Williams #39 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals will open the 2018 season at Indianapolis and end it at Pittsburgh.

The schedule, which the NFL announced tonight, has the Bengals playing three of their first four and three of their final four on the road. That means the team will play six of eight at home from Week 5 through Week 13.

The Bengals only have one primetime game, which comes in Week 2 on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium.

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The league also finalized the dates and times for the preseason games.

The Bengals will play host to the Chicago Bears at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 before playing back-to-back road games at Dallas at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, and at Buffalo at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26. They close the preseason at home against Indianapolis on at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30.

Fourteen of the 16 regular-season games begin at 1 p.m. The two exceptions are the Thursday game against Baltimore in Week 2 (8:20 p.m.) and the Week 14 road game at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 p.m.).

Here is the complete 2018 regular-season schedule:

Sept. 9: at Indianapolis

Sept. 13: BALTIMORE (Thursday night)

›› See who Jay Morrison has the Bengals taking in his latest mock draft

Sept. 23: at Carolina

Sept. 30: at Atlanta

Oct. 7: MIAMI

Oct. 14: PITTSBURGH

›› Dalton says Bengals in for ‘complete change’ in 2018

Oct. 21: at Kansas City

Oct. 28: TAMPA BAY

Nov. 4: Bye week

Nov. 11: NEW ORLEANS

›› Alter grad Zaire throws alongside OSU’s Barrett at Bengals local workout

Nov. 18: at Baltimore

Nov. 25: CLEVELAND

Dec. 2: DENVER

Dec. 9: at Los Angeles Chargers

Follow Jay Morrison on Twitter

Dec. 16: OAKLAND

Dec. 23: at Cleveland

Dec. 30: at Pittsburgh

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