Three Things: The Trade Deadline That Didn't Matter.

Every day there are three things, here are those three things.

1) A Reds deadline dud.  After two consecutive years of the trade deadline being a focal point of the season, this season's deadline came without much fanfare and passed with most of us kinda shrugging our shoulders.  The Reds, of course, did make a move, sending Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers for two human beings, one of whom might add some bench depth, and the other of whom won't be a big leaguer for years.

Let's just say that the foundation of the sport won't shake with Tony Cingrani changing teams.

This isn't a criticism of the Reds. The market for Zack Cozart, limited in the first place, had to shrink when he went on the disabled list, and it's far from stunning that teams weren't falling over themselves to snatch up Blake Wood or Drew Storen.

And no, I didn't want the Reds to move Adam Duvall or Raisel Iglesias.  At some point, you have to have a core, and those two guys are a part of it.

This season, unlike the previous two, was never going to be about trades or the trade deadline.  If the Reds are going to get substantially better in the next year and a half - enough to put them in position to contend in 2019 - then those upgrades are going to come from within.  Do players who've been at the Major League level improve enough to help them win? Do players just now getting their shot here develo rapidly? Does the farm system yield big league-ready talent? Do draft picks pay off? 

If the answer to these questions ultimately play in the Reds' favor, then they'll smooth out the roster's rough edges by obtaining players from elsewhere. If a year from now, the rebuild hasn't significantly progressed, the Reds could be big sellers in late July. Until one of those things happen, what happens inside the organization is much, much more important than any deal for a player from the outside.

2) Secondary concerns.  On the list of big Bengals questions as we head toward the opener is how the pieces fall in the secondary, a question with added urgency since George Iloka's injury that will sideline him for a couple of weeks.

Can the pieces fall into place, especially at corner? Can Dre Kirkpatrick, who's pretty established for being a good, but far from great player, be your best guy?  If no, can someone leapfrog him on the depth chart?  (This is no knock on Dre, by the way.  I'm glad he's here. He's a good player. But there are better corners. I'd like for the Bengals to develop one.)

If the answer is no, then who's their top corner?  Soon-to-be 34 year-old Adam Jones, who understandably slipped from his spectacular 2015 last season?  Does an offseason of criticism about his play on the field and his behavior on it lead to an exceptionally motivated, out-to-prove-something Pacman this year? (Don't count this out.) 

Is it Darqueze Dennard, who played in less than a third of the team's defensive snaps last season?

Is it William Jackson, who played in no defensive snaps last season? 

Keivarae Russell, he of one NFL defensive snap?

Josh Shaw?

This is almost as pressing as the big question about the offensive line, especially given how today's NFL works, and more so given the uncertainties at pass rusher.  The Bengals have some options - there are a lot of teams that'd like to sort through a former Pro Bowler and two former first round picks while trying to find out who can play at a high enough level - but they have a lot of questions as well.

Enough to make me pay close attention to that group during these next few weeks.

I'll be honest with you, I don't have a lot today. If I did, I wouldn't be writing about camp battles.  I am going to practice today, so there's that. Maybe that'll jog my brain. Probably not. 

3) Hard Knocks from 2009!  See, I told you I don't have much. Enjoy...


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Mo Egger

Mo Egger

Mo Egger delivers his unique take on sports on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530! Read more


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