I took a bit of a break from blogging this past week, in part because it was an insanely busy week on and off air, and in part because, well, I just wasn't feeling well.
So much for my renewed commitment to writing, huh?
Had I had the time, and I had I been feeling well, there's be elaborate blogs on these takes, all of which were discussed extensively on various radio shows...
*Marvin Lewis' ridiculously stupid Wednesday press conference, and how he missed a chance to maybe build up John Ross' confidence, instead using the podium to talk about how the rookie let him, Andy, and everybody else down. The way Marvin uses John Ross and talks about him, we are left to conclude that Marvin simply didn't want the team to draft John Ross.
I look forward to his opinion no longer mattering.
*The FC Cincinnati stadium situation. I want FC Cincinnati to be invited to join Major League Soccer, but now that their proposed stadium has become a publicly kicked-around political soccer ball, I'm losing interest.
The second I get inundated with Todd Portune, John Cranley, Chris Monzel, etc., you lose me.
No one lost me last week more than Portune, who's press conference about the stadium bumped Marvin's earlier that day to the second-most inane press gathering of the day. He illustrated why I can't stand politicians. Instead of standing up and simply talking about how the County Commission doesn't want to invest in the new FC Cincinnati Stadium, he showed no regard or awareness of what a deadline means, needleessly dragged the Bengals into the converstation (attempting to capitalize of the public's dissatisfaction with them), and came off as painfully out of touch in continuing to emphasize his desire to have FCC play at Paul Brown Stadium.
Meanwhile, I'm left to wonder how this clown show is playing with the powers-that-be at MLS. If you're watching this process from afar, is this a city you want to set up shop in?
*Joey Votto's MVP runner-up. I wanted Joey to win the MVP Award, and if I was a voter, he'd have gotten my vote.
But I'm not as outraged as some Reds fans that Joey didn't win. It's not like Giancarlo Stanton didn't have an MVP-caliber season, posting numbers that we'd want Joey rewarded for with the hardware had he posted them.
I looked at the voting results as a good thing. There was a time, not long ago at all, when voters would've looked at Stanton's stats and not even considered anyone else. That enough assessed Votto v. Stanton and gave their vote to Joey is a very strong sign of the evolution of how this sport is being covered, and talked about. It's a positive sign for future MVP votes, and for future Hall of Fame voting. (Joey's getting to Cooperstown)
And for the Reds, the fact that their best and most expensive player just had what could be considered his best season during a year in which he turned 34 as the rebuild progresses, is the most important thing.
*JP Macura's Gator Chomp. If you have a problem with what JP did in Madison the other night, well then you and I just tend to view sports differently.
And if you're going to tell me that after an entire night of being chanted at by a few thousand people, you wouldn't do the same after victory had been clinched, well then, I think you're lying.
Also, that was a very good win the other night for the Muskies. Wisconsin was picked to finish seventh by the Big Ten's media. If the Badgers are the seventh-best team in that conference, well, then, the Big Ten is going to be very, very good.
*Jacob Evans made me want to barf. As he writhed in pain on the BB&T Arena floor the other night, I wanted to vomit. As he sat in the locker room for the rest of UC's blowout win over Coppin State, I held my breath. As Mick Cronin announced that Jacob was dealing with a hip issue, and came off as less than worried, I breathed a sigh of relief.
The only things that derail this team this season are injury, even as deep as they are. The Bearcats are deep enough that they could survive Evans being absent, but for UC to be as good as I think they can be this season, health is at a premium.
Speaking of the Bearcats, I'm writing this blog from the Cayman Islands, where they'll play Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. There's a beach with a bar on it about 100 yards from where I'm sitting. To say that my concentration is being challenged would be an understatement.
BENGALS v. BRONCOS
Goal number one was to find a place here that will show the game, because why stare at the ocean when you can watch two 3-6 teams with bad offenses?
As a sports fan, I want one of two things from my teams. Be good, or be interesting. Ideally, I get both, and I'd prefer the former, but if I can't have that, I'd rather have the latter.
The Bengals, right now, aren't interesting. I'm over the entire Marvin/Andy "thing," and little about this team right now is really all that compelling, especially since the head coach hates his team's 2017 first round pick.
Playing AJ McCarron would change that. AJ getting the start today, next week, and being the starter for the rest of the season would make me perk up, and I'd be very, very interested in how he did with a team that's a shell of the one he played with in 2015.
But it's not just my interest that the Bengals should be considering.
They've got decisions looming about what to do with AJ - let him walk in free agency, hold onto his rights if he loses his grievance against the team and them try to trade him, draft a quarterback next spring, etc. - why not base that decision on having the most information possible?
The Bengals are 3-6, and yes, still mathematically alive for the playoffs. But basing decisions on those slims hopes is like playing Blackjack and hitting on 18 just because, you know, there's a chance. They should make decisions based on most likely and least likely outcomes, and the most likely outcomes -regardless of who the quarterback is - involve the Bengals being home in January.
So play AJ, learn as much about him as possible, gather information, and make informed decisions about him, Andy, and what's ahead for the team at QB.
The Bengals won't do this, but they should.
Broncos 16 Bengals 13
THERE ARE OTHER GAMES
There's a beach, and a cup with something fruity in it calling my name...
I've come to paradise on a little bit of a roll, at 75-65-2 for the season....
Chicago (+3) over Detroit. LOL John Fox.
Giants (+10) over Kansas City. Can you imagine what it would look like if Andy Reid and Ben McAdoo had a baby?
Miami (+1.5) over Tampa Bay. Know how many Cincinnati bar workers saw this story and nodded along?
Green Bay (+2) over Baltimore. Meh.
Minnesota (-1.5) over the Rams. Would've thought two months ago that this would be the best game of the week?
Arizona (+2.5) over Houston. Meh.
Jacksonville (+7) over Cleveland. Cincinnati politics makes the Browns front office look functional.
Washington (+9.5) over New Orleans. Meh.
Chargers (-6.5) over Buffalo. No, we don't want the Bengals to be like the Bills.
New England (-7) over Oakland. This would've been a fun playoff game (with a healthy Derek Carr) last year.
Philly (-6) over Dallas. Owners want the focus to return to what's happening on the field, or so they say. But then the start a public battle for control of the league, with Roger Goodell's job twisting in the wind. I can't stand the NFL's Commissioner, but if you want people to direct their attention toward the actual games, then why give them a power struggle to pay attention to?
CINCINNATI v. EAST CAROLINA.
I saw most of UC's embarrassing blowout loss to ECU, yesterday. And I'm very, very happy that I wasn't in Greenville.
We know that Luke Fickell and his staff walked into a roster that was talent-deficient. We knew that the Bearcats wouldn't be very good this season. We know that the most important thing Fickell and this staff can do is recruit better players.
But the hope at the outset of the season was that by the end of it, we'd see a more competitive, better-disciplined team.
We are not seeing those things. The Bearcats aren't getting better. And as they did a year ago, they appear to be very poorly coached.
The current staff has at least come culpability.
And I'm glad the season has but one remaining game.
I'm going to the beach.