Friday, October 18, 2002

Bengals to review personnel department

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The Bengals have been widely criticized for having only two scouts and making their assistant coaches perform extensive scouting duties. But that area of the club could change in the offseason.

        "I think we have to evaluate the whole picture," Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn told the Enquirer on Thursday. "You can't just look at the coaches and players and not evaluate the personnel side of it, too. And I think it will get evaluated."

        The Bengals' personnel department has previously been largely ignored in the search to improve the team.

        "Perhaps now we are a little more open to examining that," Blackburn said.

        There are six employees, including a secretary, in the Bengals' player personnel department. Pete Brown, brother of team president Mike Brown, is senior vice president in charge of player personnel. Paul H..Brown, Mike Brown's son, is a vice president. Jim Lippincott is director of football operations. Duke Tobin is director of player personnel. Former Ohio State coach John Cooper is a part-time scouting consultant.

        Blackburn said she has few specific details. She wouldn't say whether personnel changes mean the Bengals would hire more scouts. She did say, "The bigger issue is how much responsibility the coaches are given."

        Blackburn deflected questions about rumors that her father, Mike Brown, is considering hiring a general manager for the first time in his 11-plus years of control.

        "The general manager position gets misconstrued," Blackburn said. "To use that title is misleading. You could hire someone to sweep floors and call that person the general manager. The important thing is we're going to look at the way we evaluate pro and college players."It's part of the whole equation. So I think it has to get weighed along with everything else."Blackburn is second in command with the Bengals, behind only her father.

        The Bengals are 0-6 this year, the NFL's only winless team, and are on pace to set franchise records for fewest points scored and most points allowed.

        They are off Sunday before playing host to the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 23.


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