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I wonder...

...if excuses are reasonable for debate. Injury has hurt this team, no doubt. Is it an excuse? I don't know. To me, it's a matter of fact. Should we accept it as a reason that expectations haven't been fulfilled? Or should we complain about why the backups, who also get paid to play professional football, aren't doing as well? Is it the coaches game-plan (offense going pass happy, defense not being aggressive enough). Further more, the constant notice that Carson Palmer isn't 100% is understandable. So where are we today? The Bengals have players recovering from injury with a locker room that's full of egos. The injury is fact and Brian Simmons confirmed the selfishness in the locker-room. Does that sound about right? With all that known, are you disappointed, understanding or just down right pissed off?

...if I should weight an opinion on the SBNation mid-season awards. I was unable to participate in the football bloggers award debate for the mid-season due to email issues that's currently being resolved. I wanted to go through their thoughts.

Their awards:

The Studs:

NFL MVP: Peyton Manning, QB Colts
Offensive Player:
Peyton Manning, QB Colts
Defensive Player:
Champ Bailey, CB Broncos
Coach:
Sean Payton, Saints
Rookie: Marques Colston, WR Saints

The Duds:

Worst Player: Ben Roethlisberger, QB Steelers (Edgerrin James, RB Cardinals, pulled in a very close second) Worst Coach: Tie between Dennis Green (Arizona Cardinals) and Nick Saban (Miami Dolphins)
Worst Rookie: Reggie Bush, RB Saints. Somewhere, Stewart Scott at ESPN is crying.

O.K., granted I wasn't apart of the conditions of the debate, so I may be way off base. Anyway, I wanted to react to the awards handed out. I think the worst coach has been Art Shell. Granted, he was given a difficult situation (a late hire full of old guys), but he's shown zero results. I agree, Dennis Green should have the Cardinals clicking by now. But a rookie quarterback that shows potential (see: Paris Hilton) with arguably the league's best duo receivers, things will roll. If not, we always have the Bidwell family to blame (Google: Bengals, Mike Brown, 1990s). Nick Saban earns the horrifically disappointing award. After going 9-7 during his freshman campaign, the head coach denied President Bush a visit (The Tecumseh Curse?) and has been 2-6 since. Coincidence or right-wing conspiracy? You decide.

But I go back to Art Shell. The Oakland Raiders have been an embarrassment. They play horrific football offensively and the players seem divided, bitter and unconcerned about the team's welfare. If you were to ask me, Shell, coming into this season with a great track record, has been the worst coach. However, Tom Walsh got some love though. Thinking that's where I should direct my criticism.

Nor do I think Reggie Bush is the worst rookie. What about San Francisco's Vernon Davis (5 receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown)? Bush's stats crush Davis'. Granted, Davis is a backup tight-end -- hence my lack of understanding of the conditions in the debate. Jay Cutler hasn't played yet. Vince Young has a very impressive 53.3 passer rating and Matt Leinart isn't that much better -- 66.9.

The defensive player award is a tricky one. I'm not 100% that Ronde Barber shouldn't get some pub. Maybe not the award, but he's had a great season. Remember, he's a cornerback and doesn't play that middle-of-the-field roaming safety position. However, Barber, as a cornerback, leads all defensive backs with 55 tackles. He's the only defensive back with multiple touchdowns. I like Champ. I think the best parts about his game is that he's "shutdown" and divides the field in half -- no one throws to him!

...who will WLW hire for their evening Sports Talk program. Darryl Parks, the operations manager for Clear Channel on the A.M, is holding auditions. Since Andy Furman called T.J. Houshmandzadeh a racist, Sports Talk has been run by Seg Dennison -- who was the last guy Pete Rose gave a shower too (a WLW commercial reference). This week's audition? Tom Gamble. I think our area sports radio personalities are fabulous and diverse. Each has their own personality and philosophy they bring to the table. However, I will be disappointed if Gamble and Rich Skinner are split up. I don't care if they pick up Sports Talk or remain in their early morning slot on the Sports Animal. I don't think one radio personality is better or worse than the other, but I make it a point to tune into the Angry Guys in the morning. No, they didn't pay me to say that. I think they hate bloggers anyway.

...if political issues converged on your sports world. I make it a point to remain apolitical (yes, I ran an ad on an issue I fully support). But this may affect you in Ohio. On Tuesday, Ohio passed a law that would ban all forms of smoke in bars -- among other places. Yes, smoking is annoying (like drunks). Yes, smoking causes health risks (like drunks on the road). No, smokers don't hold you hostage. My point is that a lot of people smoke -- especially in social situations. A lot of people watch their football teams in bars... some smoke too. But the fact you can't smoke in a bar is an odd concept to me. Smoking, for centuries, has been associated with social gatherings. Being a cigar, pipe or cigarette; people tend to smoke more in social gathers -- especially where alcohol is served. It's still being discussed whether or not Paul Brown Stadium will go completely smokeless. No, you can't smoke in your seats and yes, you can still go onto the concourses... for now.. Will this effect you?

Note: if you want to read the entire mid-season awards, visit Stampede Blue (Colts), Windy City Gridiron (Bears), Pride of Detroit (Lions), Daily Norseman (Vikings), The Falcoholic (Falcons), Big Cat Country (Jags), Music City Miracle (Titans), Mile High Report (Broncos), Arrowhead Pride (Chiefs), Silver and Black Pride (Raiders).