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I think the Bengal defense is vastly underrated and underappreciated. The single best in-game coaching adjustments I’ve seen throughout the playoffs were the ones that Cincy DC Lou Anarumo dialed up in the second half against the Chiefs.

Anarumo just quit trying to pressure Mahomes, and instead rushed three and dropped eight into zone coverage. It was brilliant. Mahomes had all day to throw, but no place to throw it. He got frustrated, and made some jaw-droppingly stupid mistakes. When Mahomes pulled it down and tried to run, there were eight guys in white jerseys squared up to him.

A few times Anarumo brought some very linebacker pressure up the middle, and Mahomes became even more befuddled.

I expect that the Bengal D will at least start out with a similar approach against the Rams.

Yes, Matthew Stafford has been solid in three straight playoff games (and brilliant in the last two), but let’s not forget that during the regular season he made a number of inexplicable, panicky gaffes. Stafford threw four pick-sixes, the most by any NFL quarterback.

It makes no sense to play man-to-man coverage against the Rams. You’re not going to get to Stafford (the Bucs’ vaunted front seven barely got a sniff) and you sure as heck don’t want to leave Cooper Cupp manned-up. Cupp runs the shallow cross better than any other receiver in football, a route that is much better defended in zone coverage.

Cupp is still gonna get ten catches or so, but the idea is to keep him from getting “explosive” plays of 20 yards or more.

Something tells me it may be an OBJ kinda day for the Rams, if he can remain cool and patient.

Cam Akers and Sony Michel are going to get a ton of catches out of the backfield, but their yards-after-catch will be limited because of that Bengal zone.

One more thing. Sean McVay, we all concede, is very innovative and creative as a play designer and play caller. And he does as good a job of scripting his first 15 plays as anyone ever not named Bill Walsh or Andy Reid. But many times when the Rams hit the end of the script, McVay seems to have no place to go from there.

I had the same impression when watching Sarkisian at Texas this season.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.