Sports Today: Re-examining those Bengals-Browns personal fouls

Published: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26:  Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield against Jabrill Peppers #22 of the Cleveland Browns during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.   The Bengals defeated the Browns 30-16.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 26: Joe Mixon #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield against Jabrill Peppers #22 of the Cleveland Browns during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 30-16. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)(John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Whenever the Cincinnati Bengals play the Browns and Steelers in back-to-back weeks, you know there’s going to be lots of NFL talk around here. 

Looks like Marvin Lewis and I had the same view of the Jabrill Peppers hit on Josh Malone on Sunday. 

“My take on it is that there were still pictures of it that showed the helmet being hit — helmet-to-helmet (contact) — which is unfortunately the rule. It used to be a good football play, but it’s no longer a good football play. Jabrill has to come over and try to dislodge the ball from the receiver by keeping his hat out of it. That’s the way the rules are intended now. That’s part of playing defensive back in this era.”

I bolded “unfortunately” there because I agree. This was not an attempt at a Mike Mitchell-type kill shot. 

Yesterday I wrote Peppers probably couldn’t have aimed lower and still gotten there, but now I’m thinking that’s not true. 

Regardless, this looks more like a play in which the defender leads and makes initial contact with the shoulder. He’s not aiming for the head, but there is helmet-to-helmet contact that’s pretty incidental. Malone was stunned by the hit, but he also landed flat on his back, which has a tendency to shock the whole system. 

Maybe it’s impossible to split these hairs and the only way to get rid of the really dangerous and unnecessary head hits is to over-compensate, but I continue to think there’s got to be a better way. 

Lewis also pointed out the early personal foul on Vontaze Burfict was incorrect for multiple reasons: The player he hit was in the legal chuck zone, the quarterback still had the ball in the pocket and the contact wasn’t too high. 

“The guy is running at four (yards beyond the line of scrimmage), sees Vontaze running, alters to three, Vontaze hits him with the shoulder on the shoulder. That’s a legal football (play). The quarterback was in the pocket. Now, the quarterback then left the pocket — whether or not the referee deemed that (to be the reason), I don’t know. It’s unfortunate to have that penalty, because that led to the field (goal) position from there… 

If the ball was out and it’s on the other side of the field. That’s all judgement, the other part. (The intention of) the rule is that the receiver has the protection not to be hit in the head or by a head in the shoulder area, which he (Burfict) doesn’t do.” 

The TV broadcast dropped the ball here because it never showed the Burfict play in full context… 

A big theme of Monday interviews with University of Dayton basketball players and coach Anthony GrantThe intermingling of veterans and freshmen early. 

Grant is happy to have guys like Darrell Davis and Josh Cunningham to lead the way for Jalen Crutcher, Jordan Davis and the rest of the new guys. 

What we know for sure so far is these Flyers are better than the average MAC team. 

This week we get to see how they compare to average SEC teams. 

Since this UD team has a lot of size and length, I’ll be very curious to see how they match up athletically with Auburn and Mississippi State… 

Lastly, while people in Cincinnati debate wasting money on a soccer stadium they don’t need, we’ve got an update on the economic impact from one of Dayton’s true gems: Fifth Third Field.  

Last year, Palisades Arcadia Baseball hired the Applied Policy Research Institute to analyze the Dragons’ economic impact on the Dayton area.

“Production and employment on the Southwestern Ohio regional economy is estimated to generate a total of $27.6 million in sales, 297 permanent jobs, $10.5 million in labor income, and approximately $342,000 in state and local sales and income tax revenues,” the application said.

A study of the ball park found that it is in good shape but will need some typical wear-and-tear things fixed up. 

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Sports Today: Reds get some managerial magic for at least one night

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 23: Scott Schebler #43 of the Cincinnati Reds singles to drive in a run in the eighth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on April 23, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 10-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)(Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Chalk one up for Jim Riggleman. 

The interim manager of the Cincinnati Reds moved Scott Schebler up to the leadoff spot, and the offense promptly exploded for 10 runs in a victory over the Braves

Schebler was a big part of it, going 2 fo 5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. 

He hit the first Reds home run in a week and made Riggleman look pretty smart. 

Not that I get the impression that was what the skipper was really going for: 

“We’re 3-and-whatever we are,” Riggleman said before the game. “We’ve got to try anything.”

Sometimes managerial magic is interchangeable with luck, and I think we can all agree “anything” is better than the first three weeks of the season for the Reds. 

Riggleman also sounds committed to batting Billy Hamilton ninth until he starts to look like a real major-league hitter, so I guess we can rule out the second coming of Dusty Baker here (old-school baseball man who insists on speed at the top of the lineup regardless of on-base percentage). 

It is amazing how quickly this became a put-up-or-ship-out season for Hamilton, who apparently could have been traded in December and now may have a lot less value after a bad spring and worse start to the regular season. 

Sal Romano pitched six good innings, striking out five and allowing only one earned run, to get his first win of the season. 

More good news: Eugenio Suarez should be back in a Reds uniform soon. The third baseman is scheduled to play in Triple-A for Louisville tonight on a rehab assignment for his fractured thumb. 

It’s probably too late to salvage a .500 record this season, but the Reds offense should look a heck of a lot better with Suarez and Schebler back in the lineup. 

At least management should still get a chance to sort out which of the guys in the majors deserve to be in Cincinnati long term and who can be moved out to make room for youngsters moving up in the improved farm system. 

There was some bad news, though. 

Hunter Greene was knocked around as the Dayton Dragons lost their third straight game. 

The Reds’ most-recent first-round pick took his first loss of the season after failing to get out of the first inning. 

He allowed seven runs, including a grand slam, and recorded only two outs. 

Greene walked three and gave up four hits. 

For what it’s worth, three of the runs charged to Greene scored with Austin Orewiler on the mound in relief. 

I mention that because Greene showed a knack for getting out of trouble in his first two starts. 

If you’re keeping score, he’s gone from great to average to pretty bad in three times out for Dayton. 

PREVIOUSLY: Greene battles elements in second start

Bumps in the road were always to be expected, of course, especially for such a young fella. 

It will be interesting to see how he bounces back and how quickly he can develop a game plan for hitters who are willing to wait for his fastball and can lay off his breaking stuff. 

The Dragons are the definition of streaky so far, having lost three in a row to start the season, won nine and now lost three more in a row… 

Dayton Flyers basketball made news Monday, too, as one player announced he is joining up and another announced where he is going next. 

Frank Policelli, a 6-foot-8 forward from Long Island, will be eligible to help Anthony Grant’s team this fall after verbally committed Monday

He is a three-star top 300 recruit in the 2018 class who played AAU ball with current Flyer Obadiah Toppin. 

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

Meanwhile, Xeyrius Williams revealed he plans to continue his college basketball career at Akron

The former Wayne High School star was a starter two seasons ago but opted to transfer after an injury-plagued junior season. 

At 6-9 with the ability to shoot the three, he could be a force in the MAC -- but not until 2019-20. 

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New Bengals linebacker gets his old jersey number at surprising cost

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 3:18 PM


            ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates stopping the Atlanta Falcons on fourth and one during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

When Preston Brown walked through the Bengals locker room for the first time after signing a one-year, $5 million contract, he noticed his number — 52 — already was assigned to Brandon Bell.

“I’ll have a talk with him and see what we can work out,” Brown said.

But that conversation never happened.

›› Bengals RB Mixon hoping Baker Mayfield doesn’t end up in Cleveland

“When I showed up last week (for the start of voluntary offseason workouts), I already had it,” Brown said.

Bell was just as surprised was Brown, but he said he understood.

“It’s a veteran thing,” Bell said. “I get it. They say we’re still rookies. I don’t mind it too much. It is what it is.”

›› RELATED: Cincinnati Bengals 7-round mock draft

Bell wore 11 in college so he didn’t have an attachment to 52. This year he will wear 51, which belonged to Kevin Minter last year.

Even though Bell didn’t have a say in the swap, Brown said he still plans to thank him.

“I’m going to have to take him out to dinner or something,” Brown said.

›› Bengals 2018 schedule features a number of franchise firsts

“I’ll take him up on that offer,” Bell said. “A nice steak would be great.”

Cordy Glenn, whom the Bengals obtained in a trade with Buffalo last month, also will wear the same No. 77 he wore with the Bills. That number, worn by Andrew Whitworth from 2008-2016, was not assigned to anyone last year.

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Five-run seventh inning carries Reds to fourth win

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 9:55 PM

The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
David Jablonski - Staff Writer
The Reds celebrate a victory against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

The Cincinnati Reds hit a home run for the first time in eight days. They grabbed a lead for the first time in 50 innings. They scored more than three runs for the first time in a week.

» RELATED: Reds hope to ignite offense with lineup change

Most importantly, the Reds won a game, snapping a five-game losing streak by beating the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

With a 4-18 record, the Reds still have the worst record in baseball, and they are still off to their worst start through 22 games in franchise history. This was the first win for interim Reds manager Jim Riggleman, who took the reins after the firing of Bryan Price and was swept in his first series in St. Louis.

“I was involved in a situation in Chicago many years ago where we got off to a horrendous start,” Riggleman said before the game. “I’ve been through it. A great baseball man, Buddy Bell, went through that in Kansas City. I was able to say that to the players. We’ve been through it. We can handle this. You’ve got to handle it. The way to handle it is to get out of it. We’re going to get out of it. Our players are focused and will always be giving a great effort. The sooner the better, of course.”

Here’s a quick recap of the game:

Small crowd: The announced attendance was 9,463, though there were many fewer people in the stands. At the start of the game, there were only four people sitting in the upper deck in left field.

It was the smallest crowd at Great American Ball Park this season and the smallest since Aug. 31, 2009, when a crowd of 9,087 watched the Reds beat the Pirates 6-3. That was the last time the Reds had a crowd smaller than 10,000.

Drought ends: With the Reds down 2-0, Scott Schebler, hitting lead-off for the first time this season, hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning. It was the first home run for the Reds since their last home game on April 15 against the Cardinals. They didn’t hit a home run on the six-game road trip that concluded Sunday in St. Louis.

» RELATED: Price says he will keep pulling for Reds

Schebler hopes this victory eases the pressure on the offense, which ranks last in baseball in runs scored.

“It’s one of those things where the whole season it felt like we never had momentum,” Schebler said. “We were great offensively last year, and I full expect us to be like that the rest of the year.”

Big inning: The Reds scored five runs in the sixth. It was only the third time in 22 games they’ve led in the sixth.

Pinch hitter Jesse Winker drove in the go-ahead run with a single. Jose Peraza drove in the second run. Joey Votto walked with the bases loaded to drive in the third run. A single by Scooter Gennett drove in the final two runs.

“We’ve been having a hard time, and I was really proud of the guys,” Riggleman said. “We were down again after losing a lot of ballgames. Then we got it going. (Schebler) had a big hit for us.”

Costly mistake: The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to an error by the Reds. Left fielder Adam Duvall’s wild throw to third base got by Cliff Pennington, allowing Dansby Swanson to score with one out.

Power display: Nick Markakis hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the season for Markakis.

Missed chance: Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning.

Quality start: Reds starter Sal Romano (1-2) allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings, lowering his ERA from 5.75 to 4.78. He struck out five and walked one.

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Former Flyers forward Williams picks new school

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 5:02 PM

Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff
Staff Writer
Dayton’s Xeyrius Williams reacts after making the go-ahead 3-pointer against Rhode Island with 10 seconds left on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. David Jablonski/Staff(Staff Writer)

Former Dayton Flyers forward Xeyrius Williams will play his final season of college basketball at the University of Akron.

The Wayne High School graduate Williams announced his decision Monday. He will have to sit out the 2018-19 season and will finish his career with the Zips in the 2019-20 season. In posts to Twitter and Instagram, Williams thanked the Dayton fans who watched him play the last three seasons.

» RELATED: Transfer from Vanderbilt joining Dayton women’s program

“You guys have been there through the ups and downs,” Williams wrote. “I also want to thank all the people, managers, coaches and especially my teammates/brothers who I had the opportunity to play alongside. You guys have all influenced my life in a positive way, and I’ll always cherish the brotherhood and the memories we made as a team.”

Williams also visited Kent State, according to his Instagram account.

Williams announced March 13 he was leaving Dayton. He was one of five underclassmen to leave the program. He appeared in 18 games last season, averaging 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds as the Flyers finished 14-17. He had a breakout year as a sophomore, averaging 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds.

» RELATED: Josh Cunningham named Dayton’s MVP

The season did not go as planned. Williams started the season in the starting lineup and played 34-plus minutes in each of the first four games, averaging 11.3 points. Then he missed the next five games with a back injury.

Akron was 14-18 last season, the first for head coach John Groce. That ended a streak of 12 straight 20-win seasons. Trotwood-Madison grad Torrey Patton played for Akron last season as a freshman but announced he was transferring earlier this month.

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