Sunday, September 26, 2010

Concerned (Carson) and Encouraged (U.C.)

I'm concerned about the Bengals offense, specifically the passing offense, and perhaps more specifically, Carson Palmer.  I watched Sunday as Philip Rivers and Kyle Orton each threw for over 450 yards.  Heck, Ryan Fitzpatrick went 20 for 28 passing for 247 yards and 2 touchdowns against the New England Patriots.  I know, Carson had a big day throwing against New England too, but that was after the matter had been decided.  Fitzpatrick's Buffalo Bills didn't face a dire situation until late in the fourth quarter.  But statistics have nothing to do with my concern.  It's what I see that has me concerned.  I see no sure passes other than short ones.  Intermediate passes are an adventure, and the longer ones, forget it.  The Bengals had two passing plays over 20 yards on Sunday, none over 30.  I've heard enough about not being on the same page.  I've heard plenty on the pass protection too.  The protection could be better, but I'm not seeing that as the root cause.  I'm seeing passes not delivered with the same accuracy as Palmer used to display.  It didn't catch up to the Bengals on Sunday.  But it will.  Fortunately for Cincinnati, Carolina was awful.  Just as fortunate, Palmer gets another week to shake this slump, or whatever it is, and show he can still get it done at a high level.

U.C. still has a chance to shake things up.  The Big East title is up for grabs and the Bearcats were playing at a much higher level Saturday night against Oklahoma.  If they can bottle that up and use it in the Big East, U.C. has a chance.  They do have West Virginia on the road, and the Mountaineers appear to be the class of the league.  There's no shame in losing by 6 points at LSU on a Saturday night.

Just as big for U.C. was a crowd of over 58,000 for the game Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium.  Maybe this town can support the Bengals and big-time college football after all.  One or two games a year at PBS with a big time opponent and a big crowd would be a nice shot in the arm for the Bearcats program.  It would be a bigger boost if they get a sweet deal on the stadium.  I'm not sure what the precise deal is, but a publicly funded stadium should benefit as many teams as possible.  Not just one.  And not just one guaranteed to make a profit year in and year out because of a billion dollar television contract with the NFL.  U.C. needs to have a fighting chance to feed the beast that is big-time college football, and big-time college athletics.  Saturday night was good for the city, good for downtown businesses, good for the county, and good for the fans.  It should also be good for the people putting on the show.

What a bummer if the Reds clinch on an off day.  They would get the benefit of an extra day to set things up for the playoffs.  But don't you want to win Tuesday night and break out the champagne in the home clubhouse with dirty uniforms?  That's the way to celebrate in baseball.  

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