This is this year's first Week in Review. This used to be a weekly thing back in 2006, somewhat in 2007. We totally eliminated it in 2008. We used this primarily for two things. A recap of the week (um, duh?) and a way to promote revised opinions after letting these "issues" sit in our stomachs for some time. This won't be a regular occurrence as of now, but after last week, it's time to run with one.
It wasn't one of our biggest stories this week, but it certainly introduced a lot of attention. WDR wrote a report that received a lot of play this week. From an unnamed high-level booster at UC, WDR claims that the Bengals are asking five-times the going rate against comparative markets in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay that allows their college counterparts to play in an NFL stadium. The report also said that UC "offered to pay in full for an indoor practice facility located at PBS (to be used by UC and the Bengals) if the Bengals offer the University a competitive lease offer." A "major UC booster" added to the report on Lance McAlister's blog, saying "I can't tell you if the asking price for UC to play a game at PBS is five times the rate that other Big East Schools are paying at NFL stadiums. I can tell you that from 2002 when UC hosted Ohio State at PBS to now, it's a significantly different contract presentation from the Bengals.....much more aggressive on the Bengals part."
However, later in the week a Bengals executive told Lance that discussions were only preliminary and that the Bengals have been proactively reaching out to UC.
UC's deputy director of athletics, Bob Arkeilpane, denied WDR's report, saying "whoever is putting that information out there obviously didn't have the facts." WDR responds to Arkeilpane's denials saying that they don't believe him, questioning whether he'd go on record about negotiations -- which, in fairness to WDR, is very unusual during high-dollar negotiations.
In the end, it's he said, he said. I believe in the phrase where there's smoke, there's fire. I've heard that precede truth during rumor enough to know that I shouldn't totally discount everything. I've also never believed that we should take rumor and run with it as fact. That's why they call it rumor. However, it would be a disservice to ourselves to completely wave it away, if for any reason, good conversation fodder. Typically our role at CJ is to sit back and enjoy our popcorn while waiting for the third-side to every argument to emerge.
Paul Daugherty, while observing, offers his opinion that the newspaper industry is still needed, so we're not left to internet-based sites to be unchecked.
Speaking of the Bengals, the internet "report'' that the club had rejected a huge offer from UC to play some of its games at PBS was entirely wrong. I got several e-mails assailing the Bengals and demanding I write something. So I checked it out. The Enquirer's UC beat guy Bill Koch did the same. All wrong. That's why, in this age of "dying'' newspapers, you still need newspapers. Or at least people who are paid and trained to find facts, not type rumors.
I love newspapers. But my response to this, every time, is that there's a reason internet sites have largely disrupted the newspaper industry. I don't pretend to know the industry, but you have to acknowledge the trends and conclude that there is a reason. Bill Simmons writes a good impression on the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, saying that beat writers, the middlemen, are quickly fading not just because of the internet, but because of the athletes. However, if people believe that sites like CJ are a disruption to beat writers, they have a severe misunderstanding of our role. We don't cover the beat; we highly depend on newspapers for the coverage of players and team. Without them, we'd have nothing but Jack Bauer stepping on crickets yelling "we're running out of time."
+ Oil Slick tweets that Chad Johnson is in the best shape of his career. Take caution with what he says (not like I need to advise you of that). It's not like Oil Slick, whose been working on finding trade partners for Johnson, will come out and say: Johnson is a fat slob with no motivation and will likely wait until the last possible second to get a procedure done that will slow regular season preparation, disrupt timing with the quarterback and saturate the lockerroom with pointless media attention. The best way to get paid as an agent in the NFL is talk your client up. On the other hand, if there's truth to this, the Bengals offense is instantly a big threat again. You can't dispute Johnson's talent and potential when he wants to play. At the same time, you can't dispute that his motivations and his will to perform at a high level is in question while he begs, pleads and "cries" about leaving Cincinnati. Again. Popcorn.
+ On Thursday, we threw a poll together asking what your impression was of the Bengals off-season. Of the 1,300-plus voters (you guys rock!), it broke down like this.
- 39% say it's the best off-season during the Marvin Lewis era.
- 34% say it's the best off-season they've seen in their lives.
- 19% say it's the best off-season during the Mike Brown era.
- 4% say the off-season is overblown
- 1% claimed to be a miserable person and hated internet polls.
+ The Bengals surprised everyone when they traded Orien Harris to the St. Louis Rams for running back Brian Leonard. No one really knows Leonard's role with the Bengals; though he claims he'll be the team's third-down running back. It would seem logical to conclude that the Bengals liked Leonard enough to actively seek a trade for him. If he keeps expectations, then we have no reason to believe he won't be with the team this year. On the other hand, the point that we only traded Harris, who wasn't likely to make the roster anyway, is a fair point to make.
+ We clarified a few points on Thursday about Quan Cosby on punt returns and why Levi Jones wouldn't have been traded, even if the Bengals tried harder.
+ I spent time recapping Wednesday, where the Bengals released Levi Jones and signed safety Roy Williams. Wednesday was hella-busy.
+ Tank Johnson's one-year deal is a veteran minimum $620,000. In other words, it's a "prove I belong in the NFL" deal with an uncapped year coming up next season.
+ Cornerback Rod Hood will (has) visit (visited) with the Bengals.
+ Chick Ludwig claims that Browns guard Eric Steinbach is in "deep trouble."