Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Random Thoughts On The Last Random Tuesday Of 2010

OK 'men of a certain age', 2011 is hours away. Show of hands, who thought they'd make it this far? Liars....

Carson Palmer threw the ball so well Sunday because his offensive coordinator did NOT abandon the running game, despite averaging just 2.7 yards per rush. The Bengals ran the ball 38 times Sunday. Regardless of the yardage, when a team commits that much to the run, the safeties MUST come up for support. That left a lot of one on one coverage. And that's the reason why Palmer was so effective throwing. The Bengals are a team built to run the ball. Why it took them 13 games to figure that out, God only knows. But it's further proof that changes need to be made on the coaching staff. It lost its soul this season...

The Bengals OL had its best day in years, not allowing a sack to a team that came in with a league best 44. Again, that was because the Bengals RAN the ball for 38 snaps.

Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth deserves to go to the Pro Bowl. You can make a case that the other four spots on that OL need upgrades, in some instances serious upgrades.

Cedric Benson should be the Bengals number one target for signing team free agents this off season. I'd franchise tag him, except that would be a salary in excess of $10 million and the Bengals already are in dutch to Palmer for $11.5 million. But ask yourself, would the Patriots do it? Would the Colts do it? Would the Steelers do it?

Interesting that the Reds were pursuing RHP Brandon Webb. That would mean another 'shoe' would had to have dropped, with Arroyo, Cueto, Bailey, Wood, Volquez already penciled into the starting rotation in 2011. My guess is, there was another deal in the works. Maybe not so much now.

I still think the Reds pursue Scott Podsednik for at least a platoon in LF, maybe a bigger role.

I think Mick Cronin did the right thing by padding his early season schedule with patsies. Some of those teams, you couldn't find on a map if your name was Rand McNally. But the Bearcats better win at least 10 of their 18 Big East Conference games this season or they'll have no shot at making the NCAA Tournament, even with an expanded field. With one more out of conference game to play (the traditional in city Crosstown Shootout with Xavier) UC will need at least 22 wins and a better than .500 conference schedule. From what I've seen of this team, I think they can pull it off. They'll have to, with a strength of scheduling rating right now of 333rd among all Division I teams.

Best sports Christmas season story has to be the University of Albany offering Xavier guard, Mark Lyons a ride from Albany to Cincinnati on the team bus. Lyons, like a lot of Northeasterners, was stranded in his hometown of Albany by the blizzard that hit the East Coast. His flight was cancelled. He had no way to get back to Cincinnati in time for the game against the Great Danes. So graciously, the Albany head coach offered Lyons a seat on the bus, and the sophomore guard made the nine hour trip sitting with players he'll do his best to beat tonight at the Cintas Center. I couldn't tell you two things about University of Albany basketball, but now I'm a fan. Good stuff....

Heard this song the other day for the first time in a long time. Absolutely beautiful in its simplicity of chord structure and lyrics. Tom Springfield, the brother of the late Dusty Springfield and group leader wrote this for The Seekers. The female lead is Judith Durham, who is just terrific.

We'll see you tonight at 6p and 11p on News 5, right here in the greatest city in the world, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.

This blog may not be reproduced, re-transmitted or repurposed, in whole or in part or in any manner, without the written permission of Ken Broo

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jerome Simpson, Is That You?

He's been basically a rumor, since the Bengals drafted Jerome Simpson in the 2nd round back in the 2008 NFL draft. In fact, Simpson could walk through Fountain Square at high noon on any day of the week and chances are, no one would recognize him. If it wasn't for Andre Smith, Simpson would be considered the Bengals biggest draft day bust, in the last ten years.

Sunday might've changed some of that. Sunday, Simpson had his best day ever as a pro. That's not saying a lot, since Simpson hadn't been good enough, or smart enough, or just enough to get onto the field on Sundays in the fall. But against the Chargers, Simpson got his first start as a pro. He made the most of it, catching six passes for 124 yards and two touchdown receptions. To say the least, a lot of Cincinnati (at least the part of it that still pays attention to the Bengals) was shocked.

Simpson arrived in the spring of '08 from Obscure U, otherwise known as Coastal Carolina. He could leap, had big hands, but seemed to a lot of Bengal watchers are a 'stretch'. For almost three seasons, he struggled in practice, struggled to get onto the field, struggled to stay on the active roster on game days.

But Sunday, the Bengals were without their Dynamic Duo, the twin duds known a Ochocino and TO, who like to refer to themselves as "Batman and Robin". Both were hurt (TO done for the year and Ochocinco, like TO maybe done in Cincinnati). Simpson and his 2008 draft-mate, Andre Caldwell took over, catching 10 passes between them.

The few Bengals fans paying attention were just downright giddy after their performance. But don't count me in that crowd. I've seen it far too often around here: late season, contending team comes to town, Bengals stink, contending team thinks it just has to throw its collective helmets onto the field to get a win, contending team goes home beaten. The following year, the Bengals still stink. One game does not a season, nor a wide receiver make.

But for about three hours Sunday, we got to see what the Bengals might've seen before they spent a high draft pick and a lot of time on Jerome Simpson. Whether or not he's the future is a matter of great debate. But at least after Sunday, Simpson has an immediate future in Cincinnati. And that's a lot more than what he's had up until now.

Should the Bengals bring Carson Palmer back for another season, even though he's due to make $11.5 million in 2011? That's the subject of today's Broo View Daily Podcast. You can find it on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com.

This blog may not be reproduced, re-transmitted or repurposed in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Ken Broo

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Pre-Christmas Eve Ramblings

While decking the halls, some things that are coming to mind.....

Aren't you about over the Marvin-Ochocinco marriage? And for Lewis to chastise media members on Thursday for reacting to him referring to Ochocinco as 'moping' is about as disingenuous a thing as I've heard in awhile. Lewis said it, Chad reacted to it. This is a 24/7 365 media and it became a rather large story. I'm wondering if, as a child, Marvin tried to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Further reason why Mike Brown should just blow this whole thing up after this season. They all need to go, Lewis, Ocho, TO, Palmer. Goodbye, thanks for playing. It didn't work out good luck in your next life....

But Brown won't....

I heard an interesting theory the other day that might be a good way for Brown to gracefully admit that his way of conducting a football team simply doesn't work. Rather than hiring a general manager (which he should do) and admitting that he's been an abject failure at that end of things, Brown could keep the title and simply hire a fleet of good, competent scouts. The theory being that Brown probably knows football but consistently operates with bad or insufficient information on players because he doesn't have enough eyeballs on the college game.

Think about this: is the reason why the Bengals take so many chances on players with character issues because the team doesn't draft well and, not being free spenders, chooses to fill in the holes with bargain basement guys who've washed up because of their off field indiscretions?

I think the answer to that question might be....yes.

I really don't want Carson Palmer to go. I want to see him resurrect his career here. But he's simply been polluted by the situation in Bengal-dom. I'm not exonerating him at all for this year's debacle. I just don't think he'll ever again be the quarterback he was before he got Von Oelhoffen'd. And with the Bengals looking at a rebuilding project for the next two seasons (don't kid yourself, that's what this thing is) Palmer at 33 years old when this team has a pulse again isn't so appealing.

The Texas Rangers have signed Arthur Rhodes. On one hand that's too bad. He gave the Reds some terrific work in his time here. But at his age, I wasn't one counting on much from him going forward. Dontrelle Willis? Your ball.

Mick Cronin's Bearcats unbeaten going into the Christmas break. No one not named Cronin would ever have predicted that, forget about the quality of teams that UC has played.

You can have every one of the bowl games that New Year's Day will offer. I'm watching the NHL's Winter Classic. It's Washington vs Pittsburgh outdoors at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The teams are meaningless. It's the spectacle of NHL hockey on an outdoor rink. Fabulous viewing on an HDTV.

If the NCAA had any real clout and, well you know, those other things, it would have suspended those five Ohio State players for their bowl game. I could care less that Terrell Pryor or any other Buckeye was trading tickets and game used jerseys for tatoos. They should be able to do whatever they want with that stuff, so long as it wasn't taken illegally. But don't make it sound like you're taking some high and mighty road by suspending the "Buckeye Five "for games next season. That may only hasten their road out of Columbus and into the NFL.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope you have a wonderful time. I know I will. And I know for me, it will be a helluva lot better than last Christmas. For background on that, go back about a year in the archives.


This blog may not be reproduced, re-purposed or re-transmitted, in whole or in part, in any manner without the written consent of Ken Broo

Monday, December 20, 2010

Losing your compass, then finding your soul

The best thing about the Bengals win Sunday over the Brown was also the worst. The Bengals showed us why they've been so awful, so unwatchable, or terrible this season on offense, while playing so well Sunday. They ran the football. A lot. And Cedric Benson looked like the 'horse' that the Bengals rode in 2009 to the AFC North championship. Benson carried the ball 31 times for 150 yards. His total pushed him over 1,000 yards with two games to play. The fact that he's gone over 1,000 yards this season has been no small trick. The Bengals, in particular offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and Marvin Lewis, seemed to have forgotten about Benson this season. And in doing so, they forgot what had them running away from the pack last season.

Think back to 2009. The Bengals swept the AFC North, going 6-0 in their division games, behind Benson's power running. 120 yards at Baltimore, the first running back to rush for over 100 yards against a Ravens team in 40 games. Then, 117 more against the Ravens in Cincinnati. He rushed for 1,251 yards last season. He rushed for 100 or more yards six times. And all of that, while missing three games with injuries. You'd think a team would fall in love with that kind of production, particularly when it led to a 10-6 record. But not the Bengals.

The Bengals decided to fall in love with diva wide receivers in the off season. It led to a lot of broken hearts among Bengals fans.

While signing Terrell Owens and pairing him with the ultimate 'look at me' Ochocinco (whom we truly do like because of his infectous personality), the Bengals went high on the glitz meter. But the wins didn't come. Largely, that was because they have an offensive line that was built for run blocking and not so much pass protection. TO wasn't around in the off season to pick up the Bengals offense quickly. Ochocinco was away so much, he seemed to have forgotten the Bengals offense. Palmer, for all of those reason and the fact that he was not good himself, has had an horrendous season.

In two weeks, it will be over. Most probably, the Bengals will part ways with Lewis and a new staff (as new as Mike Brown will allow it to be considering assistant coaches are pass on to each incoming new head coach) will be charged with fixing this mess. Owens will command much more than the $2 million contract he had this season. The Bengals will probably let him find that money elsewhere. Ochocinco has a $6 million dollar option for 2011, Palmer a whopping $11.5 million. Most teams would let both of those players 'walk'. Maybe the Bengals will too.

Benson is a free agent as well. His NFL modest $3.5 million salary figures to get a sizeable bump. Maybe the Bengals will choose to let him go as well. But they should think long hard about that. They should consider what he offers more than Palmer, TO and Ochocinco. Benson was 'found money' when he washed up on the Bengals' shore in 2008. Sunday, he gave us a refresher course in what that meant to this team in 2009. 2011 will look a lot better, if the Bengals decide to keep Benson around.

This blog may not be reproduced, re-transmitted or repurposed in any manner, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Ken Broo

Monday, December 13, 2010

So money can't buy you a pennant? I guess you can make that argument, considering the millions of dollars free agent pitcher Cliff Lee left on the table late Monday night when he agreed to terms with the Philadelphia Phillies. Reports had the Yankees paying him $132 million. He reportedly will rejoin the Phillies for $120 million over the same six years the Yankees were willing to pay him $12 million dollars more.

Why don't we just hand the World Series trophy to the Phillies now? A rotation of Lee, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay could be the greatest four man rotation in the history of the game, better than that rotation of Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and Avery that Atlanta had back in the 90's.

But it begs the question: what exactly does this do for the betterment of baseball? How does this help the smaller market teams stay competitive with bigger market clubs?

For more on that, download my latest Broo View Daily Podcast on the front page of www.kenbroo.com. Will there ever be a salary cap in baseball like in football, basketball and hockey? ESPN's baseball insider Jerry Crasnick has an intriguing thought about that.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Just posted to the front page of my web site www.kenbroo.com is the latest Broo View Daily Podcast. The topic today, what should the Bengals do with their 1st round pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New Broo View Daily Podcast

My Broo View Dailey Podcast for December 8, 2010 is now posted on the front page of my web site: www.kenbroo.com. Thoughts on how the Reds can get better positioned for 2011 with one simple player acquisition. Download it and check it out. You can subscribe in iTunes
Who's Minding The Bengals Store?

I've said it a lot this season and I'll say it again: the Bengals will climb out of the abyss they seem to be consistently in ONLY when they hire a General Manager and give him total control of the on field product. Period.

Hockey in Hell will happen first.

You only have to look at the teams who consistently contend for playoff spots and Super Bowl titles to see that a lack of a GM and a legitimate front office is the most compelling thing that is holding this Bengals franchise back.

Mike Brown is both the team's principal owner and its GM. But in this day and age, can a team really win with one person holding down both jobs? Only the Dallas Cowboys, with Jerry Jones mimicking Brown, plays the game like the Bengals do. Unlike the Cowboys, the Bengals can't fix their problems by throwing a lot of money at them. Jones has always traveled that road.

There are some who believe that Brown has done a decent job in attracting talented players to Cincinnati by holding down both of those jobs. Hub Arkush, the editor and publisher of Pro Football Weekly certainly thinks so, and said so on one of my recent shows on 700 WLW.

But a lot of us think differently. Here is the most recent example. It's taken the Bengals more than $24 million dollars in just two year to try to replace departed wide receiver, TJ Houshmandzadeh. First, they spent two draft picks (and money) on Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell in the 2008 draft. They signed free agent Lavernious Coles in 2009, cut him after one season, but paid Coles $11 million in guaranteed money. In 2010, the Bengals signed free agent wide receiver, Antonio Bryant, cut him after just one training camp practice, and paid him a guaranteed $9.5 million. Then, came their one year deal, at $2 million with Terrell Owens. Total dollars, in excess of $24 million.

Now ponder this: Brown could have hired a GM and paid him a generous salary of $1 million per year. He could have hired ten scouts and paid each a generous salary of $100,000 per year. Added up, it would have taken 12 years to reach the $24 million price tag of their wide receiver search. Do you think with a competent, empowered GM and a fleet of ten scouts it would have taken $24 million to replace Houshmandzadeh? Me neither.

Brown could actually save money by hiring a legitimate front office. Maybe that will be impetus to get it done. But don't bet on it.

This blog may not be republished, re-purposed or re-transmitted, in whole or in part and in any form, without the written consent of Ken Broo.