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5 things Titans coach Mike Mularkey said about the Cincinnati Bengals

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 4:18 PM

NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Mike Mularkey of the Tennessee Titans looks on during action against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Mike Mularkey of the Tennessee Titans looks on during action against the Oakland Raiders in the first half at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals head to Tennessee this week to take on a Titans team that has won three in a row. 

Here are some of the highlights from Titans coach Mike Mularkey’s conference call with media in Cincinnati: 

1. The Bengals defense looks as good as its numbers. 

“They’re a veteran group,” Mularkey said of the team that ranks 11th in the NFL in scoring and sixth in total yards allowed per game. 

“A lot of those guys have been playing together a long time in same system. There’s not a lot of mistakes being made. It’s evident on tape. But that’s really it. The rotation that they’re using in the front keeps those guys fresh. Those numbers support a group that is playing well.”

2. The Bengals offense looks better than its numbers. 

This seems hard to believe, but he said it. 

“I’ve seen improvement,” Mularkey said. “They’ve obviously had some changes with the coordinator and had some guys hurt. As they’re getting healthier and more familiar with new coordinator I’ve seen improvement over that time.”

Cincinnati ranks tied for 28th in the league in scoring while having gained the fewest yards per game in the NFL. The Bengals sport the worst running game in the league and were held to just seven points on a franchise-low 37 plays last week at Jacksonville. 

3. Dick LeBeau is still the man. 

The Titans defensive coordinator spent 18 seasons on staff with the Bengals, including time as defensive coordinator and head coach. 

“Very, very blessed I’d say to be around an individual like him,” Mularkey said of the Ohio State grad. “He’s a great coach, but he’s a great man. Players love him. Coaches love him. He loves life. That’s the No. 1 thing he does. He cares about the players. They know that. He’s still still very, very smart. He’s still coming up with ideas that are disruptive every week.”

Including his time as a Hall of Fame cornerback for the Lions, LeBeau has spent 59 seasons in the NFL. 

“He hasn’t missed a beat since I’ve been here. I’ve worked with Dick before, and he’s still going strong.”

4. Mularkey is not apologizing for his team’s record. 

The Titans are 5-3 despite not really standing out in many areas and having to deal with an injury to quarterback Marcus Mariota for multiple weeks. 

Football Outsiders rank them 18th overall in the league, five spots ahead of the Bengals. 

“I feel really good about us,” Mularkey said. "I think the bottom line is wins and that’s what we’re in the business for. You can take all those stats and I can find something with everybody’s stats, a fault somewhere that really doesn’t matter. What matters is wins and losses. Our guys are finding ways to win.” 

5. The Titans are still bringing a rookie receiver along, too. 

The Bengals are not the only team in the league still looking to get more production out of a rookie first-round receiver who has been limited by injuries and inexperience so far. 

Corey Davis has played in three games for Tennessee, including two starts. The fifth overall pick in the draft has nine catches for 101 yards. 

Meanwhile, John Ross — taken by the Bengals three spots after Davis in the draft — is still looking for his first career NFL catch. 

“Certainly it’s much better for you if you can practice with the game plan and rep it,” Mularkey said of the effect of missed time on young receivers. “Some of the mental errors (Davis) had probably are attributed to missing all that practice time and game time. Mentally they can sit in on all the meetings, take all the notes they want but if you’re really not doing it, it’s very difficult to come in there and not have some mistakes.” 

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Reds top prospect will miss rest of season

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

2018 Cincinnati Reds: 10 things to know

Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel will miss the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his right index finger Friday, the Reds announced Saturday.

Senzel will undergo surgery Tuesday.

»PROSPECT WATCH: How the top Reds minor leaguers are doing

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel was hitting .310 with six home runs and 25 RBIs with Triple-A Louisville.

Senzel’s 2017 season was also cut short as he battled vertigo late last season. The same condition cost him time this spring.

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Dayton draft drought ends as Antetokounmpo chosen with last pick

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

A 28-year drought ended for the Dayton Flyers on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 forward, with the 30th and last pick of the second round in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the 60th player chosen overall.

» FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo?

Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Dayton player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990. The Phoenix Suns drafted Knight in the second round.

Dayton had 38 players drafted between 1952 and 1990. Twenty Flyers have played in the NBA, including four undrafted players (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) since Knight was drafted.

Antetokounmpo seeks to become the third member of his family to play in the NBA. His brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, was the 15th pick of the first round in 2013 and now is one of the top players in the league. He averaged 26.9 points per game last season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 25, played in two games in 2016 for the New York Knicks. He was a second-round pick in 2014.

» KOSTAS STORIES: High ceilingTrying to live up to his name | A star in victory over Saint Louis

The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton in June 2016 but sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier.

Antetokounmpo debuted in the 2017-18 season and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He appeared in 29 of 32 games and started six games.

» RELATED: Grant talks about Dayton’s offseason | Knight last Dayton player to be drafted

In late March, weeks after the end of a 14-17 season, Antetokounmpo left the program and the university.

“His mindset was he wants to test the waters to see what his prospects are for being in the NBA,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “And he felt it was in his best interest to leave school to do it. I’m not trying to judge his decision in terms of basketball, but the timing of his leaving did surprise me with just six weeks of school left.”

     

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Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna suspended 75 games 

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:11 AM

Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

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.

>> Read more trending news 

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.

The suspension will cost Osuna $2.54 million of his annual $5.3 million salary, the Daily News reported. He will participate in an evaluation and treatment program, which is confidential and supervised by the joint policy board of Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the newspaper reported.

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Sorting through some 2026 World Cup questions

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:41 AM

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

>> Read more trending news

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.” 

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