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Sports Today: Marvin Lewis’ predictably uninspiring prescription for a Bengals turnaround

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 10:20 AM
By: Marcus Hartman

Marvin Lewis met with the media in Cincinnati yesterday and confirmed there’s not much reason to be excited about the rest of the Bengals season. 

“We’ve got enough ability to get it done, but we got to go do it,” he said when asked why he believes this team has what it needs to make a run in the second half of the season. 

Well, glad that’s settled! 

But there’s more: 

“They’re going to work. We just need to continue to work smarter, play smarter, and eliminate the errors and the things that occur that we (have to overcome) in the scope of the game. We just need to get on the right track. We have to make things happen.”

That all sounds great — which is why he said it — but what reason is there to believe it really comes true? 

Unfortunately, there’s no more benefit of the doubt with this team or this coach. 

The Bengals have issues, but they also have enough talent to win more games than they lose. 

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I don’t blame Lewis for all of the Bengals’ problems, but I don’t get the impression he knows how to fix many, if any of them

He’s a leader of men, not boys, and it would be nice if they would just go out and do their jobs. Maybe eventually they will, though only if they decide to on their own. 

Seems like they need more than being told, “Be better.”… 

I guess there was a similar tone to Urban Meyer’s Ohio State press conference Monday, too. 

The questions in Columbus really ran the gamut, as they tend to do more after a loss than a win. 

He brushed aside a question about the direction of his program, but he acknowledged a variety of issues added up to being embarrassed at Iowa. 

“I think Iowa played well and we didn’t play very well. Turnovers. Not being able to get off the field on defense caused that game to turn out the way it did.” 

That’s not a bad summation if you’re trying to keep it simple. 

The defense couldn’t get off the field because it didn’t seem to know what it was doing. 

The offense was inconsistent because the coaches still don’t seem to know what their players should be doing. 

How long will that continue? 

RELATED: 5 things Urban Meyer said about the Iowa game

At least with college guys, there’s more mystery and thus more reason to think something might change in the locker room or position group as they gain experience. 

Just look at Iowa — or this week’s opponent, Michigan State. 

The Hawkeyes just played their best game of the season, and so, too, did the Spartans, who knocked off Penn State to give themselves a shot to make another surprising run to the Big Ten East title…. 

In related news, Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith made it official Monday: He is going to play basketball for the Warriors this season instead of enroll early at Ohio State... 

In case you missed it, Joey Votto is among the finalists for the National League MVP Award

Now I guess we’ll find out just how dominant the nerds have become in the BBWAA, but they’ve already scored a major victory considering two of the three finalists — Votto and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins — play for teams that did not make the playoffs. 

Maybe that makes Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt the compromise candidate? He was a step below both Votto and Stanton (not to mention a half-dozen or so other guys) statistically, but his team got a wild card. 

We shall see. 

My vote would go to Stanton, who had eye-popping traditional numbers (59 homers, 132 RBIs) but also had a higher WAR (wins above replacement) than Votto and Goldschmidt whether you go by Fangraphs or Baseball Reference

I still say if we’re calling it “most valuable,” team success matters

“Most outstanding player” of 2017? That’s Votto. 

But, hey, if he wins there’s no reason for any Reds fan to apologize. 

Maybe it would help make up for his getting robbed for Rookie of the Year… 

The drumbeat for some kind of in-state college basketball showcase for Ohio is getting louder. 

Some things just make too much sense not to do, right? 

In this day and age with so much sports on TV and so many games going on at once, you need to give networks something to promote and something for casual fans to be able to grab onto. 

Hardcore fans are in anyway, but this also serves as a reward to them for enduring so many crappy matchups over the years... 

Unqualified Cleveland Browns general manager Sashi Brown held a press conference Monday to talk about all of that team’s issues. 

I didn’t get the impression anyone was too satisfied with the results.

You’ve got to feel good about a situation in which real reporters found the idea someone sabotaged the A.J. McCarron trade credible enough to ask about it in a press conference. 

›› Browns GM says it’s “wholly untrue” he sabotaged AJ McCarron trade

Definitely a sign things are going well. 

But, hey, there’s this: 

Brown also accepted responsibility for not doing a better job in acquiring talent for Jackson.

“It’s my responsibility to deliver a roster here that is talented enough to win week in, week out,” he said. “And we haven’t done that, yet. We have a very aggressive plan as we move forward to bolster this roster in a huge offseason, probably the most important we have coming up.

“We’ll plan to execute on it.”

It’s nice to see the Browns will finally be treating an offseason seriously, although they did sign away one of the Bengals’ best players last winter, so maybe that says something about Cincinnati, too…