You have to admit: Professional sports in Cincinnati is riding a high we haven't seen in some time. Last night, the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros (god love'em) shutout the St. Louis Cardinals in consecutive nights, giving the Reds a seven-game lead in the division with 30 games remaining; their magic number is 25. Not only that, but the Reds have the best record in the entire National League. The CIFL's Cincinnati Commandos, a professional indoor football league, finished 2010 with an 11-1 record and the CIFL title. And while the season hasn't started, expectations are very high for the Cincinnati Bengals this year.
And did you see Aroldis Chapman last night, reaching 100 MPH (103 on a ground out to Craig Counsell) four times? Of course you did. It's not like you were watching Teen Mom, right? The Reds are playing inspired baseball, causing this old football junkie to tune into Fox Sports Ohio every night, eagerly anticipating that Joey Votto will reach out from the television screen and steal all of our wives.
Will the Bengals do it this year? Who knows. All I know is that it's a great time to be a Cincinnati fan.
With one preseason game remaining, the essence of the season's kickoff is drawing so much closer. In fact, you've probably seen all you're going to see with our starters. They might play two possessions this Thursday against the Indianapolis Colts. Based on last year against the same team, everyone that started the season started the preseason finale, save for Carson Palmer who spent most of the preseason resting a sprained ankle. The Bengals would go on to record 296 yards rushing in last year's preseason finale; mostly from the scrubs (a term of an endearment).
Along with Cincinnati sports, football is heavy in the air, like a thick fog after a three-day long rainstorm. Ranging from the NFL's final preseason game, to college football kicking off on Thursday, the time of year we've been waiting for approaches with the warm embrace of an autumn wind. Don't forget Buckeye fans, the Ohio State University plays Marshall Thursday night on the Big Ten Network.
SOMETIMES YOU MISS ONE. I was scouting the internet, checking out the opinions and insights from the many good writers out there. I especially like the insight. So I clicked on Jack Bechta's August 26 piece headlined "How an agent can define a career."
When 6th round pick DT Kelly Gregg was cut by the Bengals in 1999, they signed him to the practice squad. The personnel director emphatically told me, “Kelly will never play in the League, and he is lucky to have a practice roster spot.”
Gregg thus goes on to have somewhat of a successful NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, recording 19.5 quarterback sacks and five straight seasons with 60 tackles or more between 2003 and 2007. Sometimes you find the diamonds in the rough, sometimes you simply miss one. And the Bengals missed that one.
+ Geoff Hobson doesn't call safety Kyries Hebert a lock this year. I have to disagree. While the depth might be good on special teams, it's terrible at safety, easily considered one of the weakest positions on the team in terms of depth.
+ While they're not reportedly involved, should the Bengals think about trading for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart to backup Carson Palmer?
Lewis and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons have mentioned that change in Simpson this week. Simpson has played on both kickoff and punt coverage.
+ The battle between place kickers is still up in the air.
+ Fox Sports' John Czarnecki suggests that Mike Brown should fire himself.
Bengals owner Mike Brown should fire himself from all personnel decisions. The Bucs knew that receiver Antonio Bryant had a serious knee problem, but Brown, who detests having lots of scouts and personnel men, gave Bryant a huge free-agent contract worth $7 million in bonus money already paid and the kid still wants his $1.95 million salary even though he hasn’t practiced all summer. The best thing about having scouts is maybe one or two of them could have found out how much of a risk Bryant was. Those weren’t fantasy dollars that Brown tossed away. They are like some teams that fill needs with poor risks – they pass guys that others wanto to flunk and see what they want to see.
+ Of the 14 teams CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco saw during training camp, the Bengals were within his top-five of the best teams he saw.
+ While it doesn't seem likely that the Seahawks will release T.J. Houshmandzadeh, there are some in Seattle's media talking about it.
+ ESPN.com's Jeff Chadiha lists the top-ten young indispensable players. None were Bengals.
+ NFL Network's Bucky Brooks believes that Marvin Lewis has a shot at repeating as the coach of the year in 2010.