Sports Today: Another dumb day in Bengaldom

Dec 12, 2017
  • By Marcus Hartman

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so: There’s a lot of stupidity in NFL media. 

Monday provided another example when Pro Football Talk “reported” the Bengals considered seeing what John Ross can do at cornerback last week before he ended up having to go on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. 

This was a pretty bizarre story because it made no mention of the pretty relevant fact Marvin Lewis publicly said — in a press conference attended by myself and a dozen or so other people — Ross could end up getting snaps at cornerback against the Bears

RELATED: Bengals give up the ghost

Now, at the time it was unclear if Lewis was being serious. He chuckled when he said it, though there was an understanding the team had a serious need at that position and since Ross had a least a little experience playing defense while he was at Washington it wasn’t the craziest thing in the world in an emergency situation. 

Then a week later PFT comes along and presents this as new information and sends fans into a tizzy and the people on the beat reap the “reward” of having to go ask people like Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther about it

“At the beginning of the week we only had a certain amount of DBs we were going to have available, so we tried to scour the roster and see if guys who may have played DB in college,” Guenther said.

“We had a couple other receivers we talked about taking reps at safety just in case in an emergency situation,” Guenther said. “You have to have your bases covered.”

Makes sense, right? 

Ross would not have been the first player to dabble on the other side of the ball when needed. In fact, you could make the case NOT exploring this possibility would have been negligent. 

RELATED: The John Ross to CB story explained

I guess the main reason the “report” got traction was that it left open the idea Ross could permanently move to cornerback. 

That took outsiders aback for an obvious reason: It’s a ridiculous notion, at this point in Ross’ career. 

Anyone with common sense should at least strongly suspect such a move wasn’t happening (unless they were specifically told otherwise, which doesn’t seem to be the case), and it should have prevented that “report” from being written, or at least presented in that way, but maybe I’m just old-fashioned… 

If my view of reporting standards is quaint, so is the one Marvin Lewis has taken to motivating his team. 

Asked about the lack of energy his team showed while getting waxed by the Bears on Sunday, the Bengals coach said, “Sometimes they got to make their own music.” 

I like that metaphor and the sentiment. 

However, it doesn’t seem to be a winning strategy, at least not for this team.

“We got to make some plays. You got to make some plays to turn the music up. Make some football plays that get everybody going. There were two teams out there fighting the same way. They (the Bears) made plays, and they got momentum from making those plays, and they started feeling good about themselves. That’s what you have to do.” 

Lewis is not the first old-school coach I’ve heard say he is counting on some guys to motivate themselves and then lose because they don’t. 

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this conundrum. 

Nobody likes a micromanager, but is he too hands off? 

It probably depends on the group. 

Regardless, figuring that out is pretty much the most important part of Lewis’ job, right? 

Reports of other teams being interested in Billy Hamilton had the anticipated effect on fans of our Reds Facebook page: Negative. 

My take continues to be the organization needs to be open to any and all options for making the team better now and in the future, but I agree with those expressing dismay over trading away popular players. 

Winning trumps all, but fan support is important. 

After all the time they’ve spent developing Hamilton, it would be a shame if he ended up going somewhere else and finally taking that last step as an offensive player. 

Dick Williams told MLB.com yesterday Hamilton “still has that offensive upside if we can unlock it.” 

I tend to think from this point he’s never going to suddenly become a .300 hitter, but he will gradually improve as he gets more experience. Baseball is a repetition game, and I don’t think everyone understands just how raw he was when he arrived in the majors. 

He was called up at least a year early, and there’s no telling how much that stunted his growth by forcing him to concentrate on what he could to survive rather than being able to foster strengths and attack weaknesses in his game. 

My sense is they will not trade Hamilton unless they get some insane offer for him. 

The best bet would seem to be they trade Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler, more likely Duvall because he’s more valuable, and Jesse Winker ends up batting leadoff with Hamilton down near the bottom of the lineup.