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Sports Today: Who wants to be a quarterback, anyway?

Published: Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 9:46 AM

Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton was asked about criticism of his play during the team's 0-2 start, and coach Marvin Lewis talked about his job security.

OK, so football turned out a little better in The Heart of It All this weekend, but not by much. 

Especially if you’re a quarterback. 

Andy Dalton kicked things off by getting outplayed on his home field by a rookie making his first start Thursday night. 

J.T. Barrett went next, playing a key role in Ohio State’s 38-7 win over Army on Saturday. The Buckeyes won comfortably — and Barrett was a big reason why — but that wasn't enough for everybody. Others were more enthralled by Dwayne Haskins’ four-pass debut than Barrett’s 302-total-yard, three-touchdown day. 

RELATED: 5 reasons to be encouraged and one for concern about Ohio State’s offense

Sunday it was DeShone Kizer’s turn. The Browns rookie quarterback completed less than 50 percent of his passes and was intercepted three times in a 24-10 loss to the Ravens in Cleveland. 

Of the three, Kizer would still seem to have the brightest future… but then again that might be mostly because we’ve seen the least of him. 

I wish that were a joke, but there’s undeniably some truth in it. 

Nobody knows if Kizer will ever accomplish what Dalton has (his college career was nothing compared to Barrett’s), but hope is a powerful thing. 

Barrett and Dalton enjoyed their time as the cool new guy, and they have suffered slings and arrows that go with fame since. (As Braxton Miller and Carson Palmer did before them.) 

Now both are in the odd situation of having strong resumes but uncertain futures. 

If Dalton and Barrett were stocks, the public would sell on both, but that’s not really how this works, at least for the people in those locker rooms who have to juggle competing interests. 

RELATED: What’s next for the Bengals after 0-2 start? | How was Marvin Lewis part of ESPN College GameDay?

Pro Football Talk reported “the leash isn’t quote so long” for Dalton and some Bengals players are interested in seeing the team sign Colin Kaepernick. 

The Kaepernick note should be taken with a grain of salt because PFT has been among the most egregious of his water carriers in the national media over the past year and there’s no indication how big a percentage “some” players might be. 

The suggestion Dalton is losing the locker room is noteworthy as benching him and replacing him with his younger, cheaper, perhaps more confident version wouldn’t be nearly as complicated as bringing in a guy who would necessitate changing the offense, turn off some fans and still might not be any better than what they’ve got. 

READ MORE: What’s next for Bengals, Dalton after another disappointing performance?

I’m inclined to think both Dalton and Barrett have carried their teams about as far as they can go. 

I’m less certain with Barrett, though neither of them have played their best recently. 

I think the ceiling is higher for the Ohio State offense with Dwayne Haskins or Joe Burrow at the controls, but the floor is lower, too. 

Which one is more preferable? 

On one hand, winning the national championship has become the only acceptable goal for a large swath of fandom ever since the BCS came into existence. 

On the other…. well maybe there’s not another. 

Meyer is in a tough spot because he no doubt wants to show loyalty to Barrett, the ultimate team guy who has had some big moments at important times, but he also owes the rest of the locker room the best chance to succeed. 

That might still be Barrett, of course. 

Either way, I guess that’s why the head coach gets the big bucks. 

The Ohio State offense still needs to do a better job adjusting to the style of quarterback they have in the game, but they’ve been stuck in between doing things to complement each, so they need to commit one way or another regardless of who is calling the signals. 

RELATED: Ohio State offense must decide what it wants to be to take next step

Were the Bengals to swap McCarron for Dalton, it would be more about restoring what has worked over the past six years and the possibility a different personality could provide a spark. 

As for Kizer? I love him as a prospect, and there’s not much worry about actually winning now in Cleveland, so it would stand to reason they will be plenty patient with him. 

There’s no sure thing in the NFL, but he’s got the ability to play the position and some swagger, too. 

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NBA Draft: Middletown’s Edwards selected in second round

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 11:48 PM

Purdue's Vincent Edwards shoots  during the first half against the Butler Bulldogs in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Purdue's Vincent Edwards shoots during the first half against the Butler Bulldogs in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Little Caesars Arena on March 18, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Middletown High School graduate Vincent Edwards was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 22nd pick in the second round of the NBA Draft on Thursday. He was the 52nd overall pick. The Utah Jazz traded the pick to the Rockets.

 

According to reports, in the weeks leading up to the draft, Edwards worked out for the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets. 

Edwards, a 6-foot-7 forward, scored 1,638 points in four seasons at Purdue. He made the All-Big Ten second team as a senior, averaging 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and made 39.8 percent of his 3-pointers.

Edwards is the son of Bill Edwards Sr., a Carlisle High School graduate who is the all-time leading scorer at Wright State (2,303 points). Edwards Sr. was undrafted but played in three games for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1994.

According to Basketball-Reference.com, four men born in Middletown have played in the NBA or ABA: Edwards Sr., Bill Hanzlik (Beloit Memorial High School in Wisconsin), Luke Kennard (Franklin High School) and Jerry Lucas. 

The elder Edwards played three games for the Phoenix Suns in the 1993-94 season. 

Along with Lucas, a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary team, Middletown High School also produced Butch Carter, who played in the NBA for six seasons and was head coach of the Toronto Raptors. 

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Landon Donovan's support for Mexico sparks pitched battle off the pitch

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 2:03 PM

Landon Donovan Causes Controversy With Mexico Fandom

Landon Donovan’s support for Mexico at the World Cup has sparked a pitched battle between the most recognizable name in American soccer and his peers, ESPN reported Sunday.

>> Read more trending news 

Donovan has been part of an advertising campaign for Wells Fargo to support Mexico, which opened its World Cup play in Russia with a stunning 1-0 victory against defending champion Germany on Sunday. Critics of the promotion have criticized Landon, calling his cheerleading inappropriate.

Donovan posted a photo on Twitter on Saturday holding a scarf that read “My other team is Mexico.”

Donovan played this spring for León, which is part of Mexico’s Primera Division. Still, some questioned Donovan’s motives.

“Watering it down for beer/banks won’t enrich the rivalry,” ESPN announcer Sebastian Salazar tweeted.

Carlos Bocanegra, the former captain of the U.S. national team, tweeted “Really?” 

Donovan tweeted back that Bocanegra should “remember where you came from.”

“Look around our country, are you happy with how we are treating Mexicans?” Donovan answered. “Open your mind, stand for something and remember where you came from.”

Donovan’s former teammate, Herculez Gomez, an ESPN analyst, criticized that exchange, ESPN reported, tweeting that it was “an incredibly terrible take.”

The History of the FIFA World Cup

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Middletown’s Kayla Harrison on winning MMA debut: ‘What a rush!’

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 1:33 PM

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28: Olympic gold medal Judoka Kayla Harrison is introduced before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28: Olympic gold medal Judoka Kayla Harrison is introduced before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch before a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Middletown native Kayla Harrison was understandably exhuberant after winning her professional mixed-martial arts debut Thursday night.

“Yeah, man what a rush, huh? Crazy,” she said in a post-fight press conference.

Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, submitted Brittney Elkin in a Professional Fighters League 155-pound lightweight bout in Chicago.

She got Elkin on the ground early and dominated the fight, finishing it off with an armbar 3 minutes, 18 seconds into round one.

>>MORE: Kayla Harrison shares inspiring message with Middletown crowd | Middletown cheers Harrison to another Olympic gold

“Have you ever stepped in the cage and let them lock the door behind you?” she asked a reporter, who replied he has not.

“I highly suggest it,” she said with a huge smile and a laugh.

Although she made fairly quick work of the more experienced Elkin (3-5), Harrison said she was far from being in a comfort zone in her first competition since she won her second Olympic gold medal almost two years ago.

“Obviously my judo and my instincts from years of doing the same thing over and over again took over, but I don’t want to just be a judo player who gets in the cage,” she said. “I want to be the best MMA fighter in the world. I have a lot to work on. I already told my boxing coach, ‘We’re working every day. That’s it.’ I don’t care if he’s got plans. Forget about ‘em!

“It was a lot of fun. I”m just grateful to my team and everyone who has supported me along the way.”

She was also happy to have supporters in the Windy City from Middletown.

“I grew up in Ohio, so there were a lot of people here from my hometown,” Harrison said. “They like rented a bus or something from Middletown and drove over so this is awesome to fight here.”

As for when she might fight again, she replied, “The sooner the better.”

The Professional Fighters League is a new MMA promotion that held its first event earlier this month.

While a full season of competition is scheduled for men in the PFL, the promotion is still accumulating female fighters and Harrison is their marquee name.

“I think it’s in my contract to fight every four months so maybe October?” she said. “I’m ready. I don’t have time to mess around. I think the more I fight, the more experience I get the more comfortable I’m going to get inside that cage.”

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NBA Draft: Where 3 locals landed and what’s next for them

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:19 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

Following the NBA draft live doesn’t appeal to me much because so much changes from moment to moment. 

Of course there’s a great drama factor involved, but these days i don’t have much trouble finding that anywhere so I spent more time watching the Reds beat the Cubs and Kayla Harrison win her first MMA fight

Even if you watched the NBA draft for a while last night, there’s a decent chance some things changed after you went to bed. 

Here’s a look at what went down for Kostas Antetokounmpo (University of Dayton), Vincent Edwards (Middletown High School) and Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), all of whom were taken in the second round. 

Kostas Antetokounmpo, forward, Dayton 

The former Flyers reserve was the last pick in the draft, taken 60th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, who traded his rights to the Dallas Mavericks. 

Dallas has fallen on hard times in the Late Nowitzkian Period, missing the playoffs the last two seasons and failing to win a playoff series since upsetting LeBron James’ Miami Heat in the 2011 Finals. 

The Mavs got their point guard of the future last year in Dennis Smith Jr., acquired European star wing Luka Doncic on Thursday night (and picked another heady lead guard in Villanova’s Jalen Brunson) so athletic big guys like Antetokounmpo would seem to be a need. 

Conclusion: Anyone who watch UD last season knows Antetokounmpo has potential but is far from being ready to contribute to an NBA team. 

However, this is probably as good a situation as he could have landed in because the Mavs are considered an up-and-coming team with a winning coach (Rick Carlisle). 

Keita Bates-Diop, guard/forward, Ohio State 

The Big Ten Player of the Year was taken 48th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

After years of struggling following the Kevin Garnett era, the T-Wolves made the playoffs last season with a roster built around young stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and stalwart Jimmy Butler. 

NBA.com noted before the draft Minnesota badly needed to upgrade its bench, even suggesting Bates-Diop could be a good fit. 

He can back up both Butler and Wiggins as a “3 and D” wing now coveted throughout the league. 

Conclusion: This looks like a very good situation for KDB, who has an NBA-ready game and joins a good team in need of what he can do. He should not have too much put on his plate too soon, but there figure to be plenty of opportunities for him to do his thing. 

Vincent Edwards, forward, Purdue (Middletown High School) 

The second-team All-Big Ten pick was taken by the Utah Jazz with the No. 52 pick but traded to the Houston Rockets. 

Houston had the best record in the league last season and had the Warriors on the ropes in the Western Conference finals but couldn’t finish the job. With All-Star Chris Paul sidelined by injury, the Rockets saw Golden State rally to win the series before taking down Cleveland in the finals. 

They play a unique style that relies heavily on putting James Harden and Paul in pick-and-rolls that let them drive the basket, find a big guy for a lob or dish it out for 3-pointers. 

Conclusion: Edwards has a good face-up game and was a 39.2-percent 3-point shooter in college. If he can continue to stroke it from behind the pro line, he could be a valuable bench player right away for Houston, which needs depth to maintain a high pace of play. 

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