Paul Daugherty
Enquirer columnist files news and observations

Paul Daugherty
Paul Daugherty has been an Enquirer sports columnist since 1994 and has been chronicling Cincinnati sports since 1988. He has covered almost every major sporting event in America, as well as five Summer Olympics. Along the way, he has been named one of the country's top-5 sports columnists four times, and Ohio columnist of the year on seven different occasions. Last year, he was voted 2nd-best sports columnist in the country, by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mick and his men

The respect and appreciation they have for their coach was evident in their play and their words last night. They wanted to win for him, that much was obvious. It helped that WVU didnt shoot straight. Maybe the Mountaineers were blinded by Bob's suit. But UC was so much better than WVU in every phase, it's hard to say they won just because the other team couldnt hit the ocean from a boat.

Nice, validating win for a guy who shows every sign of being able to make UC basketball better than it has ever been. Some of us suggested that would be the case, the day they hired him. Even we didnt guess it would happen so quickly... 5-4 in the league, halfway through the schedule, which eases from here on.

I'm wondering if Mick has changed some minds in the last month.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Oh, sorry. I was just reading/listening to the latest 85 Trade Me rant. Dunno if he's putting us on. Dunno if he's serious. Dunno if he needs the attention. Dunno if the hand running up the back of his shirt and into his jaw belongs to D. Rosenhaus. Dunno why he has to keep saying this stuff. Message received, several messages ago.

Here's all I know:
He has a contract that keeps him here for several years.
Mike Brown loves him. Is not in favor of trading him.
Marvin has said 85 isnt going to be traded.
Which leads me to believe he'll be here next year, and so on.

Maybe he'll hold out. Maybe he'll ask for his deal to be re-done. Good luck.

Here's something else:
Receivers arent hard to find.
Receivers and running backs are often not much better than those throwing to them or blocking for them. How was Wes Welker pre-Tom Brady?

With 85 and TJ, the Bengals won 7 times playing an easy schedule. Unless 85 can rush the passer or be the next Ray Lewis, they'll probably win 7 with him again next year.

It's long past amusing listening to 85 bang the spoon on the high chair. If he stays, great. He's a lot of fun to watch. If he goes, well, whatever. It's the easiest position to fill in the league.

Find me some good TV

Because I'm cheap, I'm dumping HBO, which costs me $13 a month. Problem is, without it, TV stinks. I'm down to watching reruns of The Unit and Shark, and Nip/Tuck has gone way past rational, into really really stoopid. The Shield and Mad Men havent started, I refuse to watch reality TV, which is pure crud. I dont care about obese people losing truckloads of fat or bad singers in Omaha. Havent watched Survivor since Johnny Fairplay, Amazing Race no longer amazes.

I need some new TV.

No sports, OK? I'm not one of those sports guys who thinks it's great to hunker down in front of the tube for exciting Big 12 action. If I watch more than 2 minutes of Around The Horn, check my brain for waves.

I watch Bourdain occasionally, but food doesnt thrill me. I watch the Wandering Golfer, but it makes me sick with jealousy. I even watch those find-a-house shows on Fine Living, but the Gen-X whiners tick me off. If you don't like the colors in the bedroom, paint it, OK?

I'm even tired of my guy Bear Grylls, since I read some of his stuff is staged and he spends many nights in hotels. Plus, how many times can you see him eat a bug for protein and make that goofy face?

I got a few suggestions from radio callers last night, something about a guy with an incurable disease selling crack or meth or something to provide for his family after he's gone, some other show about a British guy who bumps his head or some such and travels back in time to 1973. What?

None of it sounded all that great.

I need your help. Thanks and a tip of the Keystone Light.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sonny Moorman

Every once in awhile in this space, I write about stuff that makes life good around here. This is one of those times.

Went with my bud Kincaid after the radio show last night, to see Sonny Moorman at one of the last, great dives on the East Side... Shady O'Grady's in Remington. To say the venue matched the performer would be too obvious. Let's just say, when you think of to-the-bone blues, you think of O'Grady's and Sonny up front...

What a great guitar player. I'm not sophisticated enough in the whys of professional music to understand why some guitarists make the Big Time and some play Shady's. I just know what my ears tell me. They say Sonny is as good as anyone I've heard.

I only had time to stay for one set. Sonny ripped through four or five ZZ Top tunes right off the bat: Blue Jean Blues, Thunderbird, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Arrested For Driving While Blind among them. If genius is making the difficult look routine, Sonny qualifies. If you're a blues/R-and-B fan and havent heard Sonny, maybe you havent lived here very long. If you've never had the pleasure, I recommend it highly. What a player.

Friday, January 25, 2008

OJ and the silly NCAA

Just getting around to posting this. . . how silly is it that Mayo and USC could be in trouble because Carmelo Anthony gave the kid tickets to an NBA game? What "competitive advantage'' could possibly be gained by allowing Mayo to attend a game in a league where he should be playing already?

Do we see UC and XU deluged with blue-chip recruits hoping and praying that, some day, they can get to a Bengal game for free? I can see it now: "I narrowed my choices to Duke, Florida, Georgetown and Xavier. I chose Xavier because I hope to someday see the Cincinnati Bengals live at Paul Brown Stadium. In conclusion: Who-Dey.''

Mayo's only in college because the silly rule says he has to be. Now, he's being treated like a convict. Great. Doesnt the NCAA have anything better to do? Somewhere, a player is getting a free cheeseburger. Hop on that, sleuths.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why are they still messing with Sarasota?

The Sarasota county commissioners will vote in a few hours on whether to keep talking with the Reds about renovations to Ed Smith Stadium. Meantime, the folks in Goodyear, AZ are unspooling a red carpet from Second Street to Sky Harbor Airport.

Seems to me, the decision should be easy.

Florida is pushing teams out. Arizona is welcoming them. Florida towns havent rushed in to fill the potential breach if the Reds leave Sarasota. Goodyear has. In Sarasota, the Reds are willing to pay ($9 mil) to stay in a renovated facility. In Goodyear, they'd get a new place for free.


I dont often use this space (or any other) to suck up to the Reds. But the only reason they're even still discussing things with a place that is so obviously ambivalent about their presence is, the organization values its history (Fla. is where they've always trained) and its fans. But at some point, you say enough is enough, thank Sarasota for its time and move west.

Look, I love Sarasota. In March, it's a small slice of paradise. I couldnt care less about Arizona, especially the Phoenix area, which is flat, hot, scorched and ugly. But beyond PR and good feelings, there is no reason for them to stay on the Gulf. Time to move on.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Three-dot lounge returns

Reds acquire J. Affeldt. They're firmly committed to contending in 2009... likely starter has 5.41 ERA lifetime, in 42 starts...

Why sign B. Phillips long term? Nothing personal. Love BP, wrote last July he should be the face of the organization. But arbitration offers some cost control for 3 years. Why give it away when you don't have to? It's business. Keep him hungry, motivated... if he's the player everyone believes, he'll get his...

Amazing the progress UC basketball has made in a year... the patience yesterday of D. Vaughn, the stability of J. Warren, the overall confidence of the players. If M. Cronin gets them to the NIT, it's one of the better turnarounds in college basketball memory...

Why do we spend so much time taking XU basketball's emotional temperature? You're big time, OK? Play that way. Some swagger would be good, rather than the daily How-is-Stanley's-psyche...

Golf Show today, late afternoon. They slash prices, because they'd rather sell cheap than pack it all up again.

Since I'm cheap, this is music to my ears.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Shameless Friday show plug

Friday night is my favorite radio night... try to ease off the negativity pedal, figuratively put my feet up... have Sonny Lodder on tonight, of Lodder Marine... Sonny sells boats, some huge, some so huge he has to drive them (captain them?) to the buyers' choice of port, usually in Florida... he has great stories about Huck Finn-ing between here and Ft. Lauderdale...

Will have a golf guy on, to sucker me into thinking new equipment will help my bad game... we hackers seek the Magic Wand.. I have hundreds of Wands, rusting in the garage...

seeking an HDTV expert... if you dont have Hi-Def and love TV sports, run to an electronics place and spend... amazing, amazing, from NASCAR to Lambeau in the snow to the Masters... the picture is unlike anything you've seen.... warning: once you've got it, you just can't watch anything else...

also, will pose this question, on the eve of the NFL title games: who are 3 guys and situations that will always make you stop and watch? For example: Favre in the snow, Lawrence Taylor on the edge, Devin Hester, back deep... how many of those must-sees are playing this weekend? I'd say Favre, Brady, Rodney Harrison (receiver across the middle), Randy Moss, Antonio Gates..

Golfweek: Stupid? Or Overreaction?

You don't put a picture of a noose on the cover of your magazine, in reference to a stupid comment by a Golf Channel anchorwoman about "lynching'' Tiger Woods. That's not being PC. It's just common sense. While I'm entirely fed up with Political Correctness -- we shouldnt pay much attention to an athlete's political and/or social-cultural observations; to a cable anchorwoman's goof we should pay even less -- this magazine cover was entirely calculated to enrage, not inform. Either that, or the editors of Golfweek are just very, very dumb.

Kelly Tilghman apologized to Woods. He accepted it. For a guy with a good memory for slights, Woods has been remarkably charitable when it comes to this sort of thing. See: Zoeller, Fuzzy. But this one was different than some mindless John Rocker comment or Michael Irvin observation. We weren't lynching many white people in this country in the 20th century.

Golfweek perpetuated the hurt, for profit. Foolish.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bengals D. Coordinator

In a few hours, they'll introduce M. Zimmer as ML's 3rd DC in 5 years. Zimmer's resume suggests he's a solid choice. Hard to discount that he worked for Parcells in Dallas and the D there improved on his watch. A few things:

It's the players. Coaches w/o players are like gin w/o tonic. Do-able, but I wouldnt recommend it. Ask Lewis and B. Billick, defensive and offensive geniuses, respectively. Ask yourself: When was the last time the Bengals had enough good players on defense?

Zimmer can hold people accountable, he can scheme to his heart's content. Without players, improvement suffers.

Did Bresnahan suddenly get stupid? Was he smart enough to coach a Raiders D to a Super Bowl? Did D. LeBeau's IQ shoot up when he returned to Pittsburgh?


The Bengals need an identity on defense. They need to figure out who they want to be and acquire players to make that happen. Will they do that? Look at the track record for 17 years.

Injuries? Every team has 'em... Indy won w/o Harrison, Mathis and Freeney for stretches... Steelers won the division w/Polamalu hurt much of the year, Aaron Smith out. Redskins win their last 4 to make the playoffs w/half their starting OL out, their starting QB hurt and their best player murdered. And so on.

Thurman and Nicholson were the Bengals' fault. Pollack? A shame, but really didnt play enough to know how good he could have been. Geathers? We'll see. Ditto for White and Ndukwe. Corners seem solid.

Point is, Mike Zimmer could be named Vince Ryan Parcells and if he doesnt have the players, his impact will be muted. As long as the Bengals insist they draft well and evaluate well, the drive for the more perfect 8-8 will march on, unabated.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

For Golfers Only

The Golf Show part of the Travel, Sports and Boat Show isn this weekend downtown. I don't usually like giving away secrets, but I'm feeling charitable, so here's one. If you wait to go until Sunday afternoon, they have killer discounts. I'm guessing it's because the vendors don't relish packing up all that stuff again. Whatever the reason, you can usually do well on Sunday.

Now, a question. OK, two: I want to hear from someone who spends way too much money seeking the magic golf wand, the stick(s) he believes will make the difference in his game. If you have 16 putters stacked in the basement or the garage, if you'd putt with a length of tailpipe if you thought it'd improve your game, you're my guy.

Also: Could use some advice/suggestions on your best golf trips. Make 'em reasonable. Don't tell me about the trek to Scotland or stiffing a 3-iron off the Great Wall. I'm sure that was thrilling, but most of us won't be able to fulfill that corner of our wish list. Keep it simple and continental. Thanks. See you Sunday.

Live big, Odyssey putter from Play It Again Sports

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Mike Brown, to Mark Curnutte, re Bengals "personnel department":

"The product (is) not the number of employees, but what the group as a whole produces, AND I WOULD ARGUE THAT WE DO WELL.''

"We cover effectively. I think we're efficient. I don't apologize for that.''

"We have as much digestible information as other (teams) have.''

I don't know how people stay Bengals fans. I really don't.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wearing a Suit

One of the joys of this job is, I can go through an entire working career without having to dress like an adult. I can look like an unmade bed (or worse, like my bud Chip T. Rosecrans) and it doesnt matter. Which is a long way of saying I wore a suit yesterday for the first time in 20 years.

I emceed an awards function for the local realtors association, at Music Hall. I agreed to do it months ago. I got the script Monday... Bottom of Page 1: Attire: Suit and tie.


Not "business casual'' which for me means clean Levis and a T-shirt without holes. Not "jacket required'' meaning a Jack Nicklaus Golf windshirt. Suit and tie.

I wanted to go out Weds. night and look for one -- Men's Wearhouse, right? Dick's? Big Lots? -- but I didnt have time. So I went to the closet.

I own 2 suits, Weddings and Funerals. Weddings is tan. Funerals is Navy blue pinstripe. I won't say they're old, only that to discover their true ages, you'd have to carbon-date them. Thank god for neighbors. A few minutes before I had to leave, a couple buds came over with winches and crowbars and I got my 34-inch waist into my 30-inch suit pants. By the time I finished at the awards thing, the belly fat had been shoved up to my forehead and I looked like a lab experiment. When I finally took off the pants, I could feel the blood start circulating in my feet again.

Moral of the story: I do a lot of speaking. I'd be happy to speak to your group. If you need me in a suit, ask a TV guy instead. I think the sear marks on my waist are permanent.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I Don't Have the Fogg-iest

J. Fay says the Reds are interested in Josh Fogg, or a Fogg type. (Fogg-alike? Fogg-Man?) If that's the case, and I wonder if B. Castellini is up for throwing 4-mil at another retread (c'mon, down, C. Lidle and K. Lohse), here's what it says about 2008:

They think they can catch lightning in a bottle.
They hope you do, too.
They're waiting for next year, before this year begins.

It's easy to see where this is headed. Use '08 as an audition for Bailey, Cueto, Maloney and Volquez. Dump Junior's money after the year. Promote Bruce, play Votto all year, mix in a little Stubbs, hope you get lucky and keep fans compelled through Labor Day.

There is no push to add a proven guy with a future, a la Joe Blanton. Money for retreads would be money wasted. Hope springs infernal with our pro sports teams. The future awaits. And awaits...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


They lost composure, they didnt tackle, they didnt block. Todd Boeckmann had the sort of game the critics said he would. The Buckeyes were so hyped for this game, the first time something went wrong, they couldnt handle it. Every criticism leveled at them the past 12 months remains in play: Weak schedule, inferior conference, slow. All the usual suspects. All hail the smug SEC. Lots of crow chewed last night, mine included. Give it to me tonight on the radio. I deserve it.

Surprising that a Sweater Vest-coached team would get hit with 3 conduct penalties in 1 quarter and that players would lose their minds once they got behind. LSU, on the other hand, was accustomed to coming back this year, from deficits and injuries, and played like a champion.

Les Miles is a bit of wack-job, and you know he or his reps talked extensively with Michigan, denials aside. But the man is 3-0 in bowls at LSU, outscoring opponents, 119-41 in the process. Another long offseason for the Bucks, who for the 2nd straight year reinforced every stereotype about Big 10 football.

Maybe Sweater Vest should change the training facility combination to 3824.

Live Big, Billy Cannon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Clemens and Wallace

Not sure what I expected from the 60 Minutes interview. Mike Wallace was the pit bull of TV journalism, but the 60 Minutes bunch has been known to go Jell-O when jocks were their subjects. The late Ed Bradley did everything but carry T. Woods' bag. Plus, Wallace admits to being friends with Clemens, since their first interview in 2001, and Clemens hand-picked the old guy for this one.

It was OK. Wallace did get The Rocket to "swear'' he hadnt used steroids or HGH, but when he asked Clemens if he'd take a lie-detector test, Clemens hesitated.

Wallace could have asked Clemens what he got from the B-12 shots, which are intended for elderly folks with a lack of energy, not 40-year-old workout fanatics. Had Wallace done more homework, he might have known several cheaters claimed they used B-12, not steroids, including M. Tejada and R. Palmeiro. He might have noted that in bodybuilding circles, B-12 is known as a masking agent.

Wallace might have asked Clemens why in recent years he waited until after the season started to make his debut. Could it have been he was using in the offseason and might have failed a random test? Who knows? Wallace never asked the question.

Instead, he let Clemens ramble about how "pissed off'' he was because he'd been so great to McNamee the rat trainer, which is entirely irrelevant.

Clemens also said his body had always looked the way it has since 1999, which simply isn't true. A Before and After photo lineup would have been helpful. We do that w/Bonds all the time.

Clemens got off 1 especially good sound bite -- something about being able to pull a truck with his teeth -- that you had to feel had been rehearsed. You'd give him the benefit of the doubt -- as he requested early in the interview --if so many before him hadnt come off the same way -- shocked, aggrieved, defiantly denying everything. See: Palmeiro, Marion Jones, Floyd Landis, Martina Hingis, Bonds. The evidence against each was overwhelming.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Why not let them score?

With 1:56 left in Pittsburgh, Jags QB David Garrard runs 32 yards on 4th and 2, to the Steelers 11. Jags trail 29-28. Pittsburgh has 2 timeouts. Conventional wisdom says you play it out and hope the Jags turn it over or mess up the short FG try. CW almost never works.

Why not let Jax score?

The Jags go up 34-29 or 36-29, B. Roethlisberger has 90 seconds and 2 timeouts, Wouldnt you rather be in that situation about 95 percent of the time? Tony Romo isnt going to flub that snap very often. Let them score, the game is back in your hands. As it was, the Steelers used their TOs and got the ball back with less than 30 seconds. Impossible situation.

Let the Jags score. You with me?

Other stuff:

Got an e-mail from a Reds insider yesterday, encouraging me to "write something'' urging Wayne Krivsky to deal for Oakland pitcher Joe Blanton. The club says it's still seeking a starter, but it probably won't be Blanton, even though he'd put them in the Central mix. Seems to me there's a philosophical split in the ranks down there, between those who want to win now and those who see '09 as more likely. Here's for certain: With M. Belisle as your #3, say hello to 3rd or 4th place.

If you can stay, um, patient 1 more year, Griffey comes off the books, everyone will know more about the potential of Bailey, Cueto, Maloney, Votto, Bruce etc. and everything should be humming for '09... I see the thinking there. I'm just tired of it. It's a little like having Christmas on Dec. 32.

I love S. Burrell's thinking and attitude at X this year. Seniors who believe they can play aren't normally so unselfish. Stan seems to enjoy being unburdened as The Man. He's just having fun and enjoying his senior year which, ideally, is what being a senior in quasi-amateur hoops is all about...

My beloved Redskins played their guts out yesterday and would have won in Seattle, save fore 2 plays, the choke-job missed 30-yard FG that would have put them up 17-13. . . and the incredibly stupid play call with 6 mins left, when off. coord. Al Saunders asked weak-armed QB Todd Collins to throw 40 yards into the wind on 1st down from the Skins 46... it wasnt enough that it took Saunders an entire half to figure out Collins couldnt drop 5 and 7 steps and needed to go 3 steps and run some screens and draws, to keep the rush off him... Saunders, who makes lots of money, thought it was a great idea to go deep into the wind... ball was picked off, returned for a TD and that was that...

Dude should give back his game check... as for Suisham the kicker, I'd have cut him right before he got on the plane.

Damn, now I sound like you guys.

Live big, John Riggins.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Clemens and Kids

Would you be OK with Roger Clemens talking to your kid about "working out'' to help his baseball performance? The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association is. The group is welcoming Clemens to speak on the topic at its annual gathering next week.

I don't want to sound self righteous here. But why would you bring in a guy fingered by his trainer as a steroid and HGH user, to talk to impressionable kids? Of course, Clemens has denied it. They all do. To now, they're all members of the Raffy Palmeiro/Marion Jones Club. "Swear?'' Mike Wallace asked The Rocket about his denial, in an interview to air on 60 Minutes Sunday. "Swear,'' Clemens said. Maybe he secretly had his fingers crossed.

He said his trainer injected him with flaxseed oil, er, Lidocaine and B-12. The former is a painkiller, the latter a vitamin usually given old people who are chronically tired. Make sense to you?

Point is, if you are an association charged with showing kids the right ways for doing things, why would you be OK with having Clemens talk to them?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Bengals, circa now, er, 1993

A reader e-mailed me this story, which I wrote for the Sporting News, in 1993... nothing changes but the calendar...

Oozing failure - Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Daugherty
The Bengals are paying the price for not having paid what it takes

There are some things to remember when you're talking about the Cincinnati Bengals:
* In the years when they win more than they lose, they are not "cheap." They are "frugal." In the Super Bowl year of 1988, the Bengals soared all the way to "thrifty."
*The milky, white stuff oozing from pores in the ancient viaduct that hovers over the team's practice field has never been analyzed. Probably, it is no more lethal than the air, which has such a tang, it is listed in the local "Dining Out" guide.
* If you visit Riverfront Stadium, don't eat the Ultimate Death Dogs in the press dining area. Don't try to decipher the team's media guide or the weekly press notes that once paid tribute to the fine Buffalo Bills head coach "Carv" Levy. Don't sit in the first row of the overflow press box without a parachute; the floor is plywood.
* And, absolutely, positively do not marvel at the carpet in the Spinney Field dressing room or the honest-to-gosh color TV in the lounge.
While welcoming me to Cincinnati in the spring of 1988, Bengals founder Paul Brown offered a tour of the Spinney Field facility. A $1 million refurbishing had just been completed. Though Spinney remained the Bates Motel with a weight room, Brown wasn't happy. "I don't know why we need all this carpeting," he said. "And why do we need TV? We're here to work."
Brown was satisfied with the fresh paint covering the chain-link locker stalls and that enough new stalls had been built that every single player would actually get his own chain-link habitat. But he had a really hard time with the new rug.
"New carpet," Brown said, "never won a damned football game."
That's pretty much where we are with the Bengals, now and forever. New carpet never won a damned football game.
These days, when the Bengals jam their leather helmets into their back pockets and head for home, a few questions remain. Fans wonder if the organization will compete in this new era of kind-of-free free agency.
History says no. The Bengals ignored the Plan B system until its final season. In the first winter of free agency, the Bengals walked lightly. They signed three unrestricted free agents: quarterback Jay Schroeder and cornerbacks Mike Brim and Sheldon White. None made the team significantly better.
The team's grand plan, as outlined by General Manager Mike Brown, was to slash the payroll in '93. Then, when the salary cap arrives in '94 and teams discover themselves uncomfortably above it, the Bengals would swoop in, checkbooks in hand, offering 50 cents on the dollar.
"If there is an opportunity for us, it's next year," Brown said last spring. "We're going to be sitting there, vulture-like. The worm will turn."
As the talent-poor Bengals have slipped to 0-9, fans in Cincinnati have not been willing to let the G.M. slide on that statement.
You could question Brown's willingness to buy big-time talent. You could say, as former Bengals tight end Bob Trumpy, now an NBC analyst, has, that the Bengals' perfect season will always be 8-8: Good enough to keep the stadium filled, not so good that salaries will soar.
You could even say that Brown is cheap and greedy and terribly afraid that the NFL's new method for re-routing its mountains of swag will cut sharply into his own considerable cash pile.
That is a vicious lie. Mike Brown is not cheap and greedy.
One thing is certain: The Bengals have never embraced change, unless it made them money. Free agency won't do that. It's sort of the '90s version of new, damned carpet.
Cris Collinsworth is a former Bengals All-Pro who hosts a sports talk show in Cincinnati. He has been in town since 1981. He says, "That franchise started to go down with the advent of Plan B (in February 1989). Now that free agency is here, they haven't won a game."
The loss of free agents "has been a constant drain on them," Collinsworth says. "They've never gotten back more than they've lost."
There is no denying that this year. Free-agent defections and questionable personnel moves, especially on the offensive line, have hurt the Bengals. At various points in this Hindenburg season, the offensive line has been manned by three free agents (two of them rookies) and one veteran, Joe Walter, playing out of position.
Fans have questioned the futures of Coach Dave Shula and second-year quarterback David Klingler. Shula is 5-20 as Cincinnati's coach; Klingler is 0-11 as a starter. Suggestions have been made that neither will ever be successful. A better question might be: How can you tell?
Because of the bad line and mediocre receivers, it's no longer a question of which quarterback - Klingler or Schroeder - gives Cincinnati a better chance to win. It is deciding which guy is better able to take the pounding.
Klingler admitted as much after the Schroeder-led Bengals lost to Pittsburgh November 7. "It doesn't matter who's back there," he said. "If we play like we did today, Clark Kent couldn't quarterback this football team." Shula says, "I couldn't say right now that (Klingler) has had a square deal with the people we have."
All that could be remedied, perhaps, if the team chooses to spend more money. The Bengals will be better if Mike Brown chooses to approach the top of the salary cap.
But Collinsworth predicts the cap will not affect the Bengals: "They've had their own salary cap for years. I don't think they're going to approach the league's cap. It's going to be $35 million or $40 million per team. They didn't pay that when there wasn't a cap. Why would they pay it when there is one?"
There is also the question of recruiting. A free agent might like to play in a place where he isn't ducking a white, milky substance. He also might enjoy going where winning is important and a recent phenomenon.
This is not the old NFL, where if a guy was drafted by the Bengals, the best he could do was sign his contract and get his full set of booster shots.
This is the new NFL, where teams will try to show themselves off like new cars. The Bengals' showroom won't set off sparks. As Collinsworth puts it, "Some of these guys will look at Spinney Field and say, That's it? We're out of here. What time does the flight leave?'"
Add that to the team's record the past three seasons (8-33), and the leaguewide perception among players that Cincinnati is a budget store in a Neiman-Marcus world, and the question is pretty plain: Given a choice why would anyone choose the Bengals?
Look at what others are doing. The Browns, the Bengals' chief rival, have 14 people in their player personnel department. Eleven are scouts. The Bengals have four and two. The Browns have a practice facility, finished in 1991, that includes five grass fields, a 6,000-square-foot weight room, a basketball court, racquetball courts, a pool and a TV studio.
The Browns are shifting their scouting emphasis from college to pro. "That's where you're going to be spending your money," says Mike Lombardi, Browns player personnel director. "The key to free agency is to know your team. It's called scouting inside-out as opposed to scouting outside-in. We have to be able to find players that fit our philosophy, then grow with them from within. Continuity is the key. If you're changing systems every year, it's hard to develop players that fit what you want to do.
"We have an assistant offensive-fine coach who scouts offensive linemen for the draft but also helps develop offensive linemen. We were the worst team in the league at developing offensive linemen. We learned from that. We knew we'd need to start developing our own players, because not every year are you going to be able to spend $1.2 million on a Houston Hoover." Hoover was signed as a free agent the last offseason.
"The bottom line is, we all have to change the way we run our business," Lombardi says. "We have to adapt to the new system."
The Bengals have the smallest front office in the league. The Dolphins have more full-time publicists (three) than the Bengals have scouts. At the 1988 Super Bowl, quarterback Boomer Esiason, enjoying an MVP season, had to bring his own masseuse to Miami to rub out his aches and those of his teammates.
And there is Spinney Field, located in a neighborhood just south of downtown. Esiason once called it "the hellhole of the world." Two years ago, a local TV station did a series of reports on the learning difficulties of young children in the area, speculating that the bad air was the cause.
More recently, NBC broadcasters Marv Albert and Paul Maguire poked fun of Spinney during their telecast of a Browns-Bengals game. They noted that a few players, upon arriving at Spinney for the first time, believed they were the victims of a practical joke.
Given the money and the opportunity to play, maybe some free agents might overlook the rest of the equation in Cincinnati. Will the Bengals bulk up their personnel department to find the players they need?
Bengals coaches do the bulk of the team's scouting. "Coaches can do it, but they don't have the time," says Bob Ferguson, Broncos director of football operations. "If you're spending all week putting a game plan together, you don't have time to scout players."
Ferguson adds, "There are going to be very few teams that can fit free agents under the cap. I would think the Bengals have an opportunity. If they're interested."
The teams that do the best scouting and wooing will be the most successful; not necessarily the ones who spend to the limit of the cap. Money doesn't buy brains. That's why we have Madonna and George Steinbrenner.
But are the Bengals interested? The local belief is that Paul Brown invented football and spent his life perfecting it. He cared about winning. But you wonder now what he would think of the money required in the exchange.
You don't wonder that with his son, Mike. Mike has accepted the torch from his father. Mike's unofficial motto is "Make Money Or Die." Metaphorically, Mike's still fussing about the damned carpet.
His latest move to keep the family checkbook humming in the eight-figure zone is a threat to leave Cincinnati, to Baltimore or Memphis or anywhere else that will supply him with a stadium and luxury boxes, gratis. Brown's contention is that the Bengals can't compete financially if they have to play at Riverfront Stadium.
They have a bad lease with the city, no luxury boxes and a stadium capacity (60,389) Brown says is insufficient. He wants a new, 70,000-seat playpen, with 100 luxury boxes.
The question is, would the Bengals use the added swag to pay players? Or would they donate it to the stockholders' Christmas Club accounts?
You have to believe things are a whole lot nicer for the shareholders than the fans. The rich get richer. The fans get milky white stuff.
It's easy to get a line on Bengals
The decline of the Bengals' offense can be traced to the organization's neglect of the offensive line. Cincinnati has selected only one offensive lineman in the first three rounds of its last nine drafts. The only high pick (Freddie Childress, second round, 1989) was a bust.
Line coach Jim McNally had success building the line of the 1980s with late-round picks, but his bosses let themselves become too convinced he could consistently turn water into wine.
The draft error were compounded in 1993 when the Bengals failed to pursue linemen in free agency and released several journeymen in training camp in favor of youngsters too green to cope.
"If I could live my life over, would I handle the line differently? The answer is yes," General Manager Mike Brown says.
Line problems clearly have hampered the development of David Klingler. In his first 12 games as No. 1 quarterback, he missed all or part of six games with injuries.
The offensive coaching staff has been subpar since coordinator Bruce Coslet left to become the Jets' head coach in 1990. Its schemes just haven't gotten the job done. To stem the decline, Mike Pope added the job of coordinator to his coaching of tight ends - he is the first coordinator since '90 - and former player Ken Anderson was hired as quarterbacks coach. But to date, Pope and Anderson have no results to show for their efforts, and still must be considered question marks in their new roles.
After gaining only 165 yards in a 38-3 loss last Sunday to Houston - tied for the second-worst defeat in team history - the Bengals remained last in the NFL in points scored and near the bottom in many categories. A look at the Bengals' decline since 1988: Rushing Passing Total Sacks
Year Record yards yards yards allowed Points
1988 12-4 x-2,710 3,347 x-6,057 30 x-448
1989 8-8 x-2,483 3,618 6,101 41 404
1990 9-7 2,120 2,943 5,063 33 360
1991 3-13 1,811 3,158 4,969 33 263
1992 5-11 1,976 1,943 3,919 45 274
1993 0-9 708 1,485 2,193 35 100
x - led league.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Sporting News Publishing Co.COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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All That Matters

Hire a GM, Mike.
Let go of the fear that your power will somehow be lessened. Give up the notion you know how to run a winning football operation. Stop holding the incredibly loyal fans hostage to your fears and ego. Join the 21st century. Hire a GM.

Bresnahan and Hunley were fired. It won't matter much. Players win games. You don't have enough good ones, especially on defense. M. Lewis was great in Baltimore because he had half the Pro Bowl on his side. Bresnahan coached a defense in Oakland that was good enough to make the Super Bowl. Did he get dumb all the sudden?

Hire a GM, Mike. Spend some money on the personnel dept. Stop trotting out the same old line about having as much information as everyone else. Don't ask your head coach to double as a pro personnel guy. Don't expect your assistant coaches to run themselves ragged looking at college players. M. Lewis said he wants to change completely the way things are done. That would involve lots of face time with his assistants. Time he won't get if they're all over the country working players out.

There isnt enough space here to document the mediocre drafts and the unfortunate, half-assed forays into the free-agent market. Everyone has seen Sam Adams and Ed Hartwell and Keiwan Ratliff and on and on. Wouldnt several more sets of bright eyes be a remedy? Could we at least consider the possibility?

In places like New England and Baltimore, they hire young 20-somethings, for next to nothing but an opportunity to learn the game. They start them out breaking down film. They train them
in the team's Way. If they're smart and tireless, they become scouts. They know what works for their club and what doesn't, and can be called upon on a moment's notice to provide an informed opinion on a player. Belichick started that way. So did Scott Pioli, Belichick's right hand. It seems to be working fairly well for them.

The Steelers dont have the biggest personnel dept in the NFL. But they have smart people trained in the Way. And they have an owner who lets them work, who knows what he doesnt know. Why is this so hard to grasp here?

It's so tiring, week after month after year after decade, making the same request. It's so obvious what needs to be done. How-To manuals are so readily available. Pick up your copy in Foxboro or Indy or Pittsburgh.

Hire a GM, Mike. One reason you hired M. Lewis and made him the organizational face was, you had wearied of the daily pounding you were taking. Doesnt it make sense to hire a GM, if only for that same reason?

You might know football. You don't know winning. I could sit in the operating room every day for 40 years, watching surgery. That doesnt make me a surgeon.

We're approaching that time w/M. Lewis we've reached with all your coaches, starting with when Sam was fired/quit. The good ones get frustrated with their lack of control. Happened with Sam and Coslet and now, Marvin. Hire a GM and see what Marvin can do with him.

The rest is smoke and mirrors, deck chairs, Groundhog Decades. No one wants to be having this discussion 10 years from now. We've had it already for going on 20. Changes are needed, obviously. Only one matters.

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