Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
I'm off to a late start today. I filled in on ESPN Radio very, very early this morning, turned in the worst on-air performance of my life, and spent the morning pondering a career change.
I'm told I should be revealing more about myself. That's not often going to be pleasant for the audience.
OK, fine. Sometimes, I do shows that I'm marginally satisfied with. Occasionally, I'll turn in an effort that makes me think "huh, I can do this for a living." Often, there are broadcast performances that I lose sleep over. And every great once in a while, I turn in a total clunker that makes my wonder why anyone would put me on a radio station, much less hundreds of them at the same time.
Damn, I sucked this morning.
There. That was cathartic. Thanks for listening now, even if I hope you weren't early this morning.
1) Fake football. Real disappointment. Somewhere in between not caring in the least and wanting to jump off a bridge the way I will after I go back and listen to myself from early this morning is how I feel about what I watched in person on Saturday night at PBS.
The Bengals were disappointing.
Now, that doesn't mean the Bengals will be disappointing, but in looked at in a vacuum, Saturday night's performance was a little deflating.
Not because they lost. Not even because they lost badly. But because some of the same themes that dominated 2016 were evident against the Chiefs. The defense - all units of it - looked slow to the ball, was pushed around, and really failed to make any kind of play. There was a lot of tackling that looked like this...
(Photo: Getty Images)
The offense - near the NFL's middle of the pack in both TD percentage in the red zone and third down conversion rate last season - failed to sustain and finish drives. The overall vibe - similar to last year - was of staleness.
Add to it the fact that there was Shawn Williams injury that could - temporarily, at least - reveal a lack of depth in the secondary, and it was hard to feel that great about pretend game number two.
That doesn't mean we should make more of what happened, or try to find any deeper meaning into what a poor performance in a preseason game will mean when the score starts to matter. It does mean that what was on display against a good Kansas City team and their running backs that looked like Hall of Famers against Cincinnati, looked just a little too familiar.
That's a problem for a team that would like to look very unlike the team we had to endure last season.
It wasn't all bad. Nick Vigil is starting to stand out, even if he left some plays unfinished on Saturday. Chris Smith should be getting more snaps than Michael Johnson at this point. Jordan Willis continues to impress. Alex Erickson made a case to stay on the roster with sold work on both special teams and offense. Joe Mixon caught a pass and turned a meager gain into 15 yards. Jeremy Hill continues to have a nice preseason. The ushers pretty much allowed us to sit where were wanted.
But while making any grand assumptions based on a poor performance in a game that'll be long forgotten in a month would be a foolish exercise, it was also very hard to not think about how last year's team often looked while the current version of this one flopped around on Saturday night.
I believe the Bengals can be a lot better than they were last season, which was very, very forgettable.
Unfortunately, Saturday night made me remember it.
2) Saturday's disappointment wasn't limited to just American football. FC Cincinnati was drilled by the New York Red Bulls 2, 4-zip.
Bracketing their gut-wrenching loss in the US Open Cup semis six days ago are two road USL losses that came by a combined score of 9-nil.
And a look at the league standings would see FCC currently out of the playoffs.
Time to panic? Maybe not. There's still a fourth of the league regular season still on the horizon, and with the Cup run over, the schedule will settle a little, perhaps allowing some batteries to re-charge. And three of the next games are at Nippert, where FC Cincinnati has only lost twice in 13 tries.
But the final four are on the road, where they've been pretty abysmal. And they have gone a month without winning in league play.
Missing the playoffs might not take away from what the club was able to do during its Cup run, and again, they may still make the playoffs, advance in them, and FC Cincinnati's second season will go down as a major success.
But more performances like the last two in USL play, and it'll be hard to feel major disappointment.
3) But hey, the Reds had a nice weekend. They went two for three in Atlanta, losing yesterday in a game that felt much like the football game I attended on Saturday. We've arrived at the point of the season when I mention the Reds and someone asks in return "who cares"
So do many others.
This is always interesting to me...
Team is bad. I'm told no one cares.
Team gets good. I'm asked where all the bandwagons fans came from.
Team is bad. We mock diehard fan for caring about a lost cause.
Team gets good. We applaud that fan for being there during the tough times.
I hope you're applauding me soon.
Thanks for putting up with the self-loathing from before. Enjoy the eclipse.
Radio Show: I move to 700WLW filling in for Lance, tonight at 6:05. God help me if I sound at all tonight the way I did this morning. We'll have a new Reds Hall of Fame ballot, and plenty of Bengals stuff to sort through.
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