"This is too late. It's too late for probably most people, and that's my fault."
- Lance Armstrong on Oprah.
You're damned right, sir. Too late. You're fault.
Fact. You cheated competitors out of the Super Bowl of cycling, despite the sport dwarfing baseball's similarly-theme stories of writers subjecting wild accusations of careers denied into the Hall of Fame. Sad. An inspiration for millions, an American that did proud by his country, not for dominating the competitive world of cycling, but doing it with a story that represented the ideals of sports heroes. Failure to give in, motivated to live, to compete and win. He was Lance Armstrong, statuesque with the message that you if he can overcome it, anyone could.
Now he's a small man. Little. Insignificant. Maybe even smaller, considering the reasoning behind his admittance might be more legal, along the lines of reinstatement than actual conscious.
Yet. There is one positive legacy that will continue beyond the shame. Cheating, yes. Increased notoriety to the point of hero-worshiping. Absolutely.
Helping people fight cancer through the Livestrong Foundation, formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which has raised over $470 million and celebrated with 2.3 million cancer survivors? Without a doubt. We wouldn't have a problem with you calling Armstrong a phony, or that one might not even care. Personally, whatever. But through everything that's happened, the fights, the not-likeable picture draw of Armstrong, millions have benefited from a real-life perspective, beyond the trivial small-picture sports for a greater benefit for millions.
Less spread offense and better protection schemes. Rewatching this season's games you'll notice that Cincinnati's offense often failed to account to their personnel's strengths, especially on third downs. Often using a spread formation, leaving a running back for a chip block and delayed route (when he didn't block), appeared to stretch the offense too thin at times, generally causing pressure by default because few blockers remained. Compact the formations, leave room for defensive doubt. Will Andy Dalton pass or will they run? Lean back into the simplistic ideals of a West Coast offense and not the distant cousin of it.
It's not excuse for the offensive line's play, but considering that Andy Dalton completed only 38.5 percent of his passes with a 47.1 passer rating on third downs, it's not an option to run 4-5 man routes.
In a perfect world free agency is a minor hiccup. Would love to see Andre Smith mauling players on the right, with Trevor Robinson supplanting Kyle Cook at center. Bring back Terence Newman while you're at it. Michael Johnson, Adam Jones and Thomas Howard too. I'll accept Rey Maualuga's return if there's an honest training camp battle that forces him to earn his spot. But if the length of the contract is greater than one year to sign him, don't bother.
Dre Kirkpatrick's offseason surgery is the first step. It wasn't a major procedure last week. Just cleaned out his knee, giving him ample time to rehabilitate a troubling injury that stunted his rookie season. It's likely (and smart) that he doesn't contribute much during minicamp this year, despite the need to put time in on the field. If he can't remain healthy, he can't improve. However every indication is that he'll be ready for training camp.
+ There's something to be said for a good backup quarterback, developed from scratch that's immersed in the system with a forged relationship with starting quarterback Andy Dalton. Now it's time to break the rotating glass door for journeyman backup quarterbacks that the Bengals are fond of. Since Jon Kitna left after the 2005 season.
|Jordan Palmer||'08, '10||15||10||59||0||2||34.4|