Sports Today: The 0-2 Bengals are saying the right things

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: AJ McCarron #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals on the bench during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Credit: Tim Warner

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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: AJ McCarron #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals on the bench during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Credit: Tim Warner

Credit: Tim Warner

Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron said all the right things yesterday when asked about the ProFootballTalk.com report about the state of their position group.

Dalton rightfully dismissed the very sketchy part about a teammate or teammates being interested in bringing in Collin Kaepernick and brushed aside the idea he could be replaced by McCarron, the backup the team has been grooming since 2014.

›› Dalton on PFT report: "Anybody can create a headline"

McCarron passed on the chance to make waves, throwing his support behind Dalton in no uncertain terms and referencing the perceived lack of support Dalton has within the fanbase.

"I wish people in this city would back him and go with it," McCarron said. "Listen, I think I'm a great quarterback, and I think he's an unbelievable quarterback. I love him to death. He's our quarterback. Stop making it into something else. It's not into something else. Ride with him. Trust the team. Trust the process. And trust what we are trying to do."

Obviously, McCarron is in a no-win situation here because he would get roasted if he campaigned for the job publicly, but it’s surprising how often pro athletes forget that.

The Alabama grad also could have shied away from saying anything at all, but went into pretty good detail about what he wants to see.

READ MORE: McCarron speaks on the quarterback situation

I am still of the belief it is worth taking a larger look at McCarron if Dalton continues to struggle, but hopefully new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will be able to construct a manageable game plan for the veteran…

Lazor says he wants to focus on Dalton and the running backs. 

That seems like a good place to start, as it has been in football for about 70 years or so.

It’s also a reminder they should have probably done something other than use their first two picks in the last draft on offensive skill players.

RELATED: Looking beyond Bengals’ 0-2 start

That’s nothing against the very talented John Ross and Joe Mixon, but doesn’t it say something if a team has too many playmakers for the offensive coordinator to know what to do with while the offensive line continues to struggle?

Meanwhile, Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham said last night on WLW that Mixon might end up being the best running back in the league if they give him a bigger role…

As for the other major football team in Ohio that expects to be good but has questions on offense, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer implied the Buckeyes will do a better job of taking what the defense gives them after succeeding with more screens and run-pass options against Army.

"If you remember how the way Army was playing, they played it smart, tried to keep everything in front of you. Don't let anything over the top.

"We knew that. And I thought J.T. and everybody managed it very well, which means it's going to be a lot of horizontal passing.

"If it's the tighter the defense, you'll see more vertical passing." 

This is supposed to be a fairly basic tenet of his (and any) offense, but they seem to have gotten away from it over the past few years.

Sticking with it could pay major dividends down the road without requiring any other major changes…

Who will be better this season: Archie Miller’s past team or his current team? 

At least one website (CollegeSportsMadness.com) came down on the side of the Dayton Flyers this week, ranking UD No. 53 in the country, two spots ahead of Indiana, where Miller took over late last spring.

The Hoosiers lost three key players from last year’s team, but Miller is bringing in a top 20 recruiting class.

New Dayton coach Anthony Grant signed the No. 90 recruiting class in the country but also must deal with some key losses from a team that made the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season and won the Atlantic 10.

RELATED: Grant hits it big with latest verbal commitment

Ohio State is No. 76 on the CollegeSportsMadness.com list.

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