Sports Today: Marvin Lewis puts Bengals on notice for a change

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Sports Today: Marvin Lewis puts Bengals on notice for a change

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Nick Graham
The Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis watches his team during their 20-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Sept. 10 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Something interesting happened Wednesday at Paul Brown Stadium: Marvin Lewis told us he let his players know it was their fault Ken Zampese was fired

Lewis, who didn’t want to talk about Zampese anymore than he had to but tolerated more questions than I thought he would, also warned the players they could be next if things don’t turn around. 

This is noteworthy because Lewis and the organization are often accused of not holding players accountable for their actions. 

This was a little stronger than the “Do your job” mantra. 

It also seems pretty accurate. 

Lewis talks about Zampese firing

While Zampese’s game plans and play calling left something to be desired, the team had plenty of opportunities to execute things and failed to do so. 

Tyler Eifert cost the team a touchdown when he stepped out of bounds for no reason against Houston, but Andy Dalton had A.J. Green open on that play and didn’t throw it to him. 

Dalton hasn’t been sharp in his throwing or decision making so far, and that has cost the team badly. 

So did John Ross’ fumble, but the list goes on, including an offensive line unable to protect the edges and too prone to allowing inside penetration. 

Meanwhile, sometimes the jokes just write themselves. 

Rookie Davis toed the Great American Ball Park rubber for the Cincinnati Reds against the Cardinals on Wednesday night and turned the clock back to April and May. 

That is, he didn't pitch very well as St. Louis won 9-2. 

After Matt Carpenter hit a middle-of-the-plate fastball into the moondeck, Davis retired six batters in a row. 

He needed quite a few pitches to do so, and ran into trouble immediately in the third inning with a leadoff double by Stephen Piscotty. 

After outdueling the pitcher, who was trying to bunt, and getting a groundout from Carpenter, the roof fell in. 

Tommy Pham rocked a double to left field Adam Duvall nearly caught, then Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong hit back-to-back home runs. 

A master class in damage control this was not. 

On the other hand, St. Louis starter Luke Weaver was very impressive, though he lasted only five innings. 

Meanwhile, Keury Mella replaced Davis in the fourth inning and retired the Cardinals in order while making his major-league debut. 

The righty had a lively fastball that was clocked in the high 90s, but he had more trouble in his second inning of work when they started to zero in on that pitch and touched him for two more runs. 

Mella was acquired in the Mike Leake trade (which also brought Adam Duvall). Perhaps the Reds should think about re-signing Leake so they can trade him again. 

They should definitely not do that with Aroldis Chapman… 

I missed Ohio State interviews Wednesday night because I was in Cincinnati for the Reds and Bengals, but here’s an interesting nugget from Urban Meyer’s Wednesday night presser (via Elevenwarriors): 

Meyer would like to eventually implement a two-back offensive package with Dobbins and Mike Weber

HOWEVER… 

Weber "hasn't been released to go play like he needs to go play."

They report Antonio Williams has also impressed Meyer and is a candidate for increased playing time, but how often do we hear that and never see it? 

Anyway, I am a big proponent of more two-back sets, and not just one type

We saw a glimpse of how it can benefit the offense Saturday when Parris Campbell (who is as much a running back as a receiver anyway) joined J.T. Barrett and Dobbins in the backfield a couple of times (including for a long TD run by Campbell that was called back on a sketchy downfield holding penalty). 

This is extra nice because it means the defense isn’t sure if it should treat that personnel grouping as three receivers, a tight end and a running back (“11” personnel) or two receivers, a tight end and two running backs (“21” personnel), but I’d like to see them also develop a package that has two receivers, a back and an H-back who can be a lead blocker or catch the ball out of the backfield. That’s an area many other spread offenses have expanded into but Ohio State hasn’t explored much… 

Lastly, big things keep going on over at the University of Dayton. 

The renovation of UD Arena continues, and coach Anthony Grant is swinging for another highly regarded recruit after getting a huge commit from 2018 four-star prospect Dwayne Cohill of Cleveland. 

This one, guard Kira Lewis, lives in Alabama, where Grant was the head coach from 2009-15. 

That’s all for this morning, but be sure to keep an eye out later this afternoon for our weekly Facebook Lives. 

Mike Hartsock and I will be talking Bengals at 1 o’clock and Ohio State football at 1:30. 

Have a great one! 

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