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Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 2:40 PM
— First-year Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott spoke with members of the media who cover the Bengals on Wednesday.
Here are five highlights from that chat:
1. The Bengals do a great job utilizing their personnel on defense.
McDermott, who made his name as a defensive coordinator at Carolina, said Cincinnati DC Paul Guenther maximizes the players he has and gives teams a variety of things to prepare for.
“They certainly have a talented back end, a veteran back end, and led by Vontaze Burfict in the middle,” McDermott said. “A lot of it goes through No. 55 (Burfict) and his role in this defense is a big part of their success and I think the continuity they’ve had is key as well, in particular in the middle with Vontaze and some of the secondary positions also.
“They do a lot of really good things. This is a really, really salty defense.”
2. McDermott called communication key to his Bills defense’s hot start.
Buffalo enters the game first in the NFL in points allowed (13.5 per game) and ninth in total defense (306.5 yards per game.)
“I think the key has been communication and getting to know our players as well as we could have at this point. That’s been key. We still have a lot of work to do in regards to that as well.”
But he wasn’t in the mood to compare it to some of the strong units he has coached in the past, including a 2015 group that was the backbone of a Super Bowl run.
"Each team is different. I know what we’ve got here. I’m confident in the group we have here. This is the fourth or fifth week of the season so we’ve still go a lot of room to grow and get better and that’s what we’re really focused on right now.”
Ohio State, Cincinnati embrace fun, announce basketball series https://t.co/LYbznwoagS— Marcus Hartman (@marcushartman) October 3, 2017
3. He also wasn’t ready to hang any banners for Buffalo’s win at Atlanta in Week 4.
The Bills are not only a surprising 3-1, they have knocked off teams expected to be contenders the past two weeks.
Before bedeviling Matt Ryan and the defending NFC champion Falcons last week, they topped Denver 26-16 in Week 3.
“It was a good win, but it was the next team on the schedule,” McDermott said. “That’s how you have to approach it. We’ve got to continue to get better, continue to grow and keep our boots firmly planted on the ground so we can grow and get better.”
4. Buffalo won’t take the Bengals’ struggling running game for granted.
Cincinnati enters the game averaging 88.8 yards per game, 23rd in the league.
Meanwhile, the passing game is on the upswing with Andy Dalton having logged passer ratings of 124.1 and 146 the past week weeks.
The running back trio of Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill won’t get less attention because of that trend, though.
“In a lot of ways, stopping the run is about gap integrity and doing your job, knowing where your fit is and so that’s really the biggest focus on a week-to-week basis,” McDermott said. “They’ve got a good corps of running backs and are very talented so we’ve got to be aware of what they do with the run game.”
5. Buffalo enters the game tied for second in the NFL in turnover differential, and that’s no accident.
Not surprisingly, taking care of the ball and taking it away are two focuses of McDermott’s team.
“Yes sir it is. That’s something we’ve worked on since the start and we continue to work on,” McDermott said. “It’s similar to the culture. We have to continue to address it daily and weekly so we continue to do it, it’s such a critical part of the game.”Follow @marcushartman
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:11 AM
— Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games without pay, retroactive to May 8, for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, the New York Daily News reported.
Osuna, 23, an All-Star in 2017, was charged with one count of assault in Toronto and was put on administrative leave, the Daily News reported. The right-hander has not pitched since May 6.
Osuna has nine saves and a 2.93 ERA in 15 games.
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:41 AM
— Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them.
WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES?
Sixteen North American cities -- at least 10 in the United States -- will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.
The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.)
In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey).
"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”
Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico.
WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING?
It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city.
“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.”
Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:30 PM
CINCINNATI — While the 2018 season has been, at best, disappointing for the Reds, it has been disastrous when they were matched against their National League Central Division partners.
The Reds went into this weekend’s four-game series against the Chicago Cubs 8-23 against Central Division teams and 20-22 against the rest of their schedule.
»RELATED: MLB scoreboard, boxscores
“Our players look at it like a challenge and a hurdle we have to overcome,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said before Thursday’s series-opener. “We’ve got to start winning some of these games in our division against the Cubs and Cardinals. Milwaukee’s playing very good baseball. The Pirates we’ve held our own against, but we’ve got to step it up against these better Cubs.”
Cincinnati has gotten off to a good start on that quest. After coming from behind on Jesse Winker’s first career grand slam on the way to a 6-2 win on Thursday, the Reds got a go-ahead two-run home run from Eugenio Suarez in the fifth inning, helping them to a 6-3 win before a crowd of 25,885 at Great American Ball Park on Friday.
Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Alex Blandino also drove in runs to help Luis Castillo snap a four-start losing streak and earn his first win since May 24. Four Cincinnati pitchers limited Chicago to four hits as the Reds earned back-to-back wins over Chicago for the first time since June 30-July 1 of last season. They extended their current winning streak to five games, their longest since winning a season-high six straight from May 8 through May 13.
“We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Suarz said. “When you play like that, good things can happen.”
Cincinnati’s three relievers – Kyle Crockett, David Hernandez and Raisel Iglesias – teamed up to retire the last 10 Cubs batters.
“That was one of our cleaner ballgames of the season,” Riggleman said. “We played a good ballgame – offensively, defensively, ran the bases well, timely hitting.”
Castillo (5-8) faced one batter over the minimum through three hitless innings before the Cubs reached him for three runs with two outs in the fourth. Javier Baez drove in Ben Zobrist from third with a squeeze bunt, and Middletown-native Kyle Schwarber smacked Castillo’s next pitch into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center field for his team-leading 15thhomer of the season and third in four games.
»RELATED: Winker talks batting gloves, spikes
The homer was the eighth allowed by Castillo in his last six games and 18thof the season. He went into the game having given up a National League-leading 17 home runs.
The Cubs got runners to first and second with two outs in the sixth, but the left-handed Crockett – promoted from Triple-A Louisville before Thursday’s game – came in to get Schwarber looking to end the inning. Hernandez posted three strikeouts in two perfect relief innings, setting up Raisel Iglesias’s 12thsave in 14 opportunities.
“Castillo did a nice job,” Riggleman said. “In the sixth, we wanted nothing more with Schwarber than to keep him in the ballpark. Crockett was able to come in and strike him out, and that might be as good a two innings from Hernandez this season.”
“We’re a family,” Castillo said of the rejuvenated pitching staff, which has allowed a combined 4.23 earned-run average in June after figures of 5.32 in April and 4.64 in May. “Starters, relievers, we’re all a family. When somebody does good, we’re happy for him. When somebody isn’t as good, we have his back.”
Jose Peraza, who has reached base at least once in 22 consecutive games, started the three-run fifth with a single and stolen base, setting up Votto’s one-out RBI single. Suarez, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single, followed with a two-run shot to center field, his 16thhomer of the season.
“I put a good swing on a changeup,” Suarez said. “In my first at bat, he threw me a changeup and I rolled it over to the shortstop. After that, I said, ‘I have to be ready for anything.’”
Peraza tied Jesse Winker for Cincinnati’s longest on-base streak of the season. He also stole second base three times, his third one in the ninth setting up Blandino’s RBI single.
The bottom of the Reds order produced a 1-0 lead in the second against Cubs’ starter Jose Quintana (6-6) on Curt Casali’s one-out double, Castillo’s single up the middle – his fifth hit of the season – and Hamilton’s opposite-field single to right, extending his hitting streak to five games.
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:09 PM
COLUMBUS — The Ohio House of Representatives honored the Chaminade Julienne High School baseball team on Wednesday, 18 days after the Eagles won the program’s first state championship in 48 years.
Chaminade Julienne beat Wapakoneta 3-1 in the title game June 2 at Huntington Park in Columbus.
» CJ COVERAGE: Wissman stars in title game
Jack Huffman, the son of state representative Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, started for the Eagles. He was the designated hitter during the two state tournament games and drove in a run in a 2-1 victory against Tallmadge in the state semifinals.
Yesterday I honored the @cjeagles baseball team on the House Floor for being the 2018 Division II State Champs! Especially proud since my youngest son, Jack, is on the team #GoEagles #StateChamps pic.twitter.com/AW0YEYMTwh— Steve Huffman For Ohio (@SteveHuffmanOH) June 21, 2018
The state champions were back in Columbus today to receive resolutions from the Ohio House of Representatives pic.twitter.com/mprxUt7bC9— CJ Baseball (@cjeaglesBB) June 20, 2018
Here’s the full text of the resolution honoring the team:
“WHEREAS, Known as a driven and spirited squad, the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team has developed into an efficient group of athletes whose skill on the diamond is equaled only by their astounding display of teamwork. Through their rigorous preparation in pursuit of the title, the Eagles admirably overpowered a formidable Wapakoneta squad with a score of 3-1 to win this year’s Division II State Championship crown; and
WHEREAS, Under the astute guidance of Coach Mike Barhorst, the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team has set a remarkable precedent with its state championship victory. By collaborating to best a rigorous schedule, the members of the squad have prevailed over numerous adversaries and have learned much about dedication, self-discipline, leadership, and perseverance, and their first-place finish reflects their strong commitment to the sport; and
WHEREAS, The unparalleled achievements attributable to the athletic prowess of the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team are a justifiable source of pride not only for its members but also for their families, their coaches, and their community. The journey to securing the state title has been a valuable experience that is sure to benefit the players as they follow in the tradition of excellence that has been established by their school’s athletic programs; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the 132nd General Assembly of Ohio, in adopting this Resolution, look with optimism to a promising future for the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball program and salute the members and coach of the 2018 team on its Division II State Championship; and be it further