Thursday, January 17, 2019

Chris Jones: He Gone

There are 5 stages of grief they say. Tuesday I had only two and I went through them in a matter of seconds: 1) shock and awe… as in aww S#&$!!!!! 2) grave concern… and by concern and mean we are screwed (only screwed wasn’t the word I was using).

It was a bomb that went off across the prairies when the news broke that Chris Jones was leaving to accept a coaching job with the Cleveland Browns. Look anyone who has paid any attention to Chris Jones’ career path cannot be completely surprised by his sudden departure. He bolted for Toronto while still under contract to Calgary. He bolted from Edmonton for the before the last speck of confetti had fallen in the Grey Cup. Deep down we all knew this wasn’t likely to be a long term relationship but the timing of this all is devastating. We just parted with our assistant GM (who would sure come in handy about now). We are now a month past when every other team was hiring coaches. We are month away from free agency with no GM, Head coach or defensive coordinator. Chris Jones leaving is a real steamer… a Cleveland steamer if you will (I’m sorry… I really that I was better than this but I’m not).

Many will point a finger at Craig Reynolds and blame him for the out clause in the most recent contract extension that allowed Jones to bolt. Look, the fact is that out clause was likely in his contract prior to the extension and is pretty standard. Side note: Chris Jones’ new title “Senior Defensive Specialist” is clearly a made up title meant to comply with the wording of the out clause. My guess is that the wording was such that he could have an out for a head coach, coordinator or other equivalent senior coaching opportunity. So I don’t fault Reynolds for the out clause. The lesson learned here though is that if one man is essentially 75% of your football operations that maybe there needs to be stricter parameters around the timing of exercising the out to avoid having to replace 3 key positions at a time when the best candidates have already been poached by your competitors. But its too late now. He gone. I don’t fault him for wanting to make a jump to the NFL and as much as some people love to hate him, he did a hell of lot to turn a shitty football team (circa 2015) into a contender during his tenure. Of all his roles I truly think we will miss Chris Jones the D Coordinator most. He’s one of the best in the league and won’t be easy to replace (plus its not like we can expect our offensive to compensate for a drop in defensive performance at this point).

Where too from here? Well that’s where it gets complicated.

At GM, likely O’Day gets promoted and with Paul Jones as assistant we are in pretty good hands. We could try to poach John Murphy back from the Argos before he officially inks his contract there but that’s highly unlikely at this point.

Coaching is complicated for 3 reasons. #1 the cap on coaching salary and positions. The max is 11 coaches and we have 10 on staff still. Short of additional firings at least one the HC or DC roles will need to be filled internally. #2 Timing. We missed the coaching hiring frenzy and this late in the offseason getting permission to speak to other coaches is no guarantee. #3 Current staff. Fact is Steve McAdoo is still here. Much to the chagrin of many he wasn’t a package deal with Jones to Cleveland. So hiring an offensive head coach (such as Marc Trestman and Paul LaPolice who top the speculation list) is difficult because they will bring their own offensive philosophies that likely won’t jive with McAdoo’s (whatever that is). So do you fire him and try and find an entire new coaching staff this late in the offseason? Can you afford it from a cap perspective?   So the general gist of all this is that we are screwed.

Here (in no particular order) are options out there for us to consider:
As head coach
·       Promote Craig Dickenson to Head Coach and hire a new DC. Dickenson has been in the consideration for other HC spots so its not a stretch. He brings continuity.
·       Marc Trestman. Obviously a multi-time Grey Cup champ who is currently unemployed should warrant consideration. But Trestman is currently on a paid vacation thanks to Argos and after a tough personal year may decide to stay that way. Plus the above mentioned complication regarding our current offensive staff.
·       Paul LaPolice. LaPo has been closely linked to O’Day as his candidate of choice if/when he becomes a GM. The Bombers have said they won’t stand in his way. He’d be a great choice but there would need to be some serious thought as to how our current offensive staff would fit into his philosophies and what he would do for a DC.
·       Noel Thorpe. Not sure if Ottawa would give permission but he’s a top tier D Coordinator and ready to be a head coach. It’s worth at least exploring.
·       Steve McAdoo. Can you imagine how much the province would explode?!? Can you imagine how much I would explode?!?! Seriously let’s all pray that despite him being the Assistant Head coach that he’s not even on the short list.

As D Coordinator:
·       Promote Jason Shivers. No one is really able to fill the big shoes (and wide array of black Rider paraphernalia) left behind by Jones but Shivers would be the most logical if looking internally given how long he has been working under Jones. Jones himself thinks Shivers is ready.
·       Mike Benevides. You’ll note I did not mention him in the HC discussion despite his previous experience. That’s intentional. Benevides as HC would be a step back but in terms of a late hire, he’s a pretty good DC option. That said his D in Edmonton was not that good (hence his current availability). But beggars can’t be choosers at this point.
·       Jerry Glanville. Did good things in Hamilton. He makes Paul McCallum seem young by comparison but still seems to have the energy of a man half his age.

Regardless of how this all shakes out it seriously downgrades the Riders’ prospects for 2019. The only ones coming out ahead in this deal (aside from the other West division teams) will be alcohol companies. Might take a lot to drink this season pretty. The Riders will need to move fast so we should have an idea very soon about where we stand.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Los CFL Draft Mexicano

If you thought the CFL Draft was exciting just wait until you experience the CFL Mexican draft. Its 2… or 3… or 4… honestly they haven’t seemed to settled on a number yet and will probably just continue until every team passes or they realize they accidentally drafted a donkey (who I bet could be turned into the greatest kicker we’ve seen in years). I’m hoping the draft coverage is just all the regular panel in sombrero’s and fake moustaches with the Mexican hat dance song on repeat.

All jokes aside, I’m not as against this experiment as many are. Do I think there is an untapped plethora (big word for a Monday) of all-star calibre talent waiting there to be scooped up? No. Do I think the CFL will suddenly become the second biggest thing next to soccer in Mexico? No. But there may be handful of good players. And if even a couple make it an active roster (no guarantee) it could draw additional audience to the CFL… and that grows revenues. And isn’t that the commissioner’s job?

There is definitely risk here but its called a risk/reward scenario not super safe bet/huge payoff scenario. It may also take a few years for the full value of this experiment to be fully realized. But I like that the CFL is trying. Trying to grow the game, trying to expand its fan base, trying to make money. American expansion is widely acknowledged as a huge failure but it gave the league a much needed cash injection at a critical time. This experiment is far less risky and far less permanent that that was. So what’s the harm in trying? It may fail but it may not. Trying absolutely nothing new though, that is more likely to fail.  

Timing is far from ideal with the CBA still unsettled and the veteran players that are the core of this league still in limbo. I do think that should be a bigger priority. But while I will crack many a joke at this whole Mexican thing, I will not dismiss the idea completely. Just imagine the merchandising options if some dude named Paco makes the Riders. I mean Mexico seems to be all in on the Rider poncho thing already (those things are everywhere) but Rider sombreros, Rider tequila, 3 foot chimichangas at Rider games. Count me in.

I’ll have full draft results breakdown later in the week. The Rider pick 6th. The positive is that most people will know only slightly less about the Mexican prospects than the Canadian ones.

NFL Watch:
LB Sam Eguavoen (Ssk) – signed with Miami
WR Jordan Williams-Lambert (Ssk) – signed with TBD
LB Alex Singleton (Cal) – signed with Philadelphia
WR Bryant Mitchell (Edm) – signed with Arizona
OL Rykar Matthews (Ham) – signed with New England

K Lirim Hajrullahu (Ham) – tryout with Seattle

CFL Ins and Outs

In: K Justin Medlock, LS Chad Rempel (re-signed)
Out: DB Chris Randle (released)

In: DL Danny Mason (re-signed)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Heading South

While the fans (and players) wait for the new CBA to be signed and whatever Los CFL Mexicano turns into, the big CFL news over the past week has been the mass exodus of players heading south. Now this is nothing new, it happens every year. The top CFL players (and some who are far from it) get NFL interest and many end up signing a deal.  It just seems like this year there are more than usual. By my math (which is questionable at best so please don’t audit me) 9 CFL players signed in the NFL last year. This year 9 have already signed (10 if you include Eguavoen who we released to sign somewhere that has yet to be made official). And I expect more signings before its all said and done.

It’s a double edged sword for the CFL, the good news is that it means the talent level in the CFL is really good (many of us have know this for a while). Also the number of NFL deals should help attract other NFL hopefuls north. The bad news is that some of our best players will be gone for some or all of next season. The other good news though is that most of NFL signings are coming from the Stampeders. F&%& the Stamps (deep down I know that Hufnagel will find a way to carry on as if nothing happened but let me have this momentary joy for now).

Most of the signings so far have not been surprising. Eguavoen and Thurman are elite level LBs. Duke Williams is a talented receiver with NFL size. Ty Long has elite level diving skills. One name that surprised the hell out of me was Tevaughn Campbell. Look I get that he has top level speed which is likely what attracted NFL interest but I have yet to really see that he knows what to do with it. I mean as recently as last year he intercepted a pass and proceeded to give up a safety. As a U of R alumni I wish him well but colour me skeptical on this one.

One person who is most likely not headed south is Chris Jones. A report surfaced last week from Jason La Canfora that Chris Jones had been identified as a person of interest in 2 head coach searches… and you all know that Rider fans are known for dealing rationally with rumours. The reality is that while Jones may appear on a list of 10-20 people of interest, he has yet to be and is unlikely to be interviewed. The fact that he is on NFL radars may be worth monitoring in future years but for 2019 I think its much ado about nothing. Do you honestly think that an NFL team would hire a head coach with zero NFL experience and only position coach experience in college almost 20 years ago? People will draw the comparison to Trestman but he had an extensive NFL resume (including being a coordinator) prior to coming north. So while I might be jinxing things by doing this, I’m going to go ahead a say that Jones is safe.

NFL Watch:
LB Sam Eguavoen (Ssk) – will be signing shortly with someone
DL Jake Ceresna (Edm) – signed with NY Giants
WR Marken Michel (Cal) – signed with Philadelphia
DL James Vaughters (Cal) – signed with Chicago
DB Tevaughn Campbell (Mtl) – signed with NY Jets
WR Diontae Spencer (Ott) – signed with Pittsburgh
WR Duke Williams (Edm) – signed with Buffalo
LB Jameer Thurman (Cal) – signed with Chicago
K Ty Long (BC) – signed with LA Chargers
DB Mercy Maston (Edm) -  signed with Philadelphia

OL Dakota Shepley – tryout with Chicago, Indianapolis
DL Avery Ellis (Ott) – tryout with Detroit

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: WR Kenny Shaw (released)

Monday, December 31, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: New Year’s Resolutions

Hopefully you all had a good Christmas… or any other observance you may take part in such as the Feast of Maximum Occupancy. By this point I’m sure you have eaten too much, physically moved far too little and seen more than enough of your family (except of course mine, they are wonderful). The holiday season will officially start winding down after New Years but I thought we’d get an early start and talk some football to help transition you back to things like working and a diet not based on butter, chocolate or cheeses.

This is the time of year that many start making resolutions, ones that they will surely have given up on by week’s end. I personally don’t make resolutions but it seemed like a pretty good holiday tie in for a blog post and so I present to you 3 Resolutions I hope Chris Jones makes this year (spoiler alert, none involve his wardrobe).

1 – Stop making acquisitions in Free Agency that you immediately regret.
Shawn Lemon, Justin Capicciotti, Kendial Lawrence, Travis Bond, Jerome Messam, Duron Carter. All big name free agency acquisitions. All gone by the middle of the season they were signed in (and this is not an exhaustive list). It honestly seems like some times Jones goes on out on the town on a signing spree, wakes up the next morning and has immediate remorse about what he sees lying next to him in bed. Jones has done many good things to improve the talent on the Riders’ roster but free agency is generally not one of them. Imagine if he had used the money spent on these players on players that actually were a fit for what he wanted.

2 – Suck Less Early In the Year
If you look that Chris Jones’ record as Rider coach broken down in thirds of the season a clear picture emerges
First 6 games: 6 and 12
Middle 6 games: 9 and 9
Last 6 games: 12 and 6
Jones always seems to start slow and improve as the season goes on. Even if you exclude 2016, the pattern holds:
First 6 games: 5 and 7
Middle 6 games: 8 and 4
Last 6 games: 9 and 3
While I’m glad Jones generally has the Riders playing their best ball late in the season, if he didn’t dig himself such a big early season hole the team would be way farther ahead. Hopefully 2019 is the year we find early season success.

3 – Find a QB
Just because it’s obvious doesn’t mean its not true. Jones has built a team with talent and depth across the board… with the exception of most important position. It’s the only place he hasn’t managed to recruit young talent and his free agent forays have brought us old man Glenn (arguably the best of the bunch), Zach “Buck Pierce in Training” Collaros and Brandon “My mother told me if you don’t haven anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” Bridge. Jones has returned the Riders to the post season, brought payoff football back to Mosaic. Taking that next step will require him to find a mildly competent QB. It’s hard to see 2019 being any different than 2018 if he can’t.

NFL Watch
CFL players will son be able to sign futures deals with NFL teams so here’s a listing of all the NFL Workouts for CFL players. Reported workouts are courtesy @HBalzer721 and @JDunk12 (you all know I’m far too lazy to do my own investigative reporting).

For context, last season every single player who had 4 or more tryouts got an NFL contract. So Sam Eguavoen is most likely gone, as are guys like Singleton, Thurman, Boateng and Bo Levi.

OL Dakota Shepley – tryouts with Denver, Cleveland, Tampa Bay
LB Samuel Eguavoen (Ssk) – tryouts with Miami, LA Rams, New England, Arizona, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, 3 more scheduled
DL Tobi Antigha (Ssk) – tryouts with Arizona, NY Giants, LA Chargers
WR Jordan Williams (Ssk) – tryouts with Chicago, Detroit, NY Giants, New England
QB Bo Levi Mitchell (Cal) – tryouts with Minnesota, Denver, Jacksonville, Chicago, Buffalo, NY Giants, Indianapolis
DB Winston Rose (BC) – tryout with Minnesota
DB Chris Ackie (Ott) – tryout with Minnesota
WR Diontae Spencer (Ott) – tryouts with Minnesota, Buffalo
LB Jameer Thurman (Cal) – tryouts with Minnesota, Chicago, NY Jets, Arizona, LA Chargers, Philadelphia, Cincinnati
DB Tevaughn Campbell (Mtl) – tryouts with Cleveland, Green Bay, Houston, Tampa Bay, NY Jets
DL Kwaku Boateng (Edm) – tryouts with NY Jets, LA Chargers, NY Giants, Washington
LB Alex Singleton (Cal) – tryouts with Cleveland, Minnesota, Arizona, Philadelphia, LA Chargers
DL Avery Ellis (Ott) – tryouts with NY Jets, LA Chargers, Philadelphia, Cincinnati
K Ty Long (BC) – tryout with NY Jets, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Arizona, Cincinnati
OL Rykar Matthews (Ham) – tryouts with NY Jets, New England, Arizona
WR Bryant Mitchell (Edm) – tryouts with NY Jets, Arizona, Detroit, NY Giants
WR Duke Williams (Edm) – tryouts with NY Jets, Buffalo, Detroit, Cincinnati
DL James Vaughters (Cal) - tryouts with Chicago, NY Jets
QB Mike Reilly (Edm) - tryout with Jacksonville
DB Chris Edwards (Edm) – tryout with LA Chargers
WR Marken Michel (Cal) – tryouts with Chicago, Philadelphia
LB Dexter McCoil – tryout with Washington
DB Mercy Maston (Edm) – tryout with Philadelphia
DL Jake Ceresna (Edm) – tryout with NY Giants
RB Terry Williams (Cal) – tryout with NY Giants
WR Dominque Rhymes (Ott) – tryout with Pittsburgh
DL Jackson Jeffcoat (Win) – tryout with Cincinnati
WR Derel Walker (Edm) – tryout with Oakland
QB Jonathan Jennings (BC) – tryout with Indianapolis

Monday, December 17, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

After a 1 week absence I'm back! Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? No? Well it's not like I have fragile emotions and will spend the rest of the day crying in the shower.

We took the family down to Universal Studios Orlando... where I spent all lot of time looking down my nose at all the Harry Potter nerds and then turned around a geeked out when we got to Simpsons Land. I'm aware of my hypocrisy and perfectly okay with it.

But you probably didn't come here to hear about my emotional well being or my vacation (and if you did then that's pretty sad) so lets talk football. There isn't much to talk about. But the lack of material has never stopped me from drawing a couple coherent thoughts into a lengthy post.

Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts:
- Sad to see John Murphy go. I think he and Jones had just finally gotten our recruiting pipeline to where there wanted it to be (with the exception of QB). When your GM has as many roles as Chris Jones does he needs a strong right hand man. Hopefully Jeremy O'Day can step in fairly seamlessly. By the way the irony of a front office guy leaving because he was asked to take a pay cut should not be lost on anyone.

- Only other notable Rider news is that Sam Eguavoen is in the midst of a big time NFL tour. 3 confirmed tryouts so far (Miami, LA Rams, New England) with up to 7 more to come. Pretty safe bet he's heading south. I like his odds off sticking past training camp too. For one he's a damn good player. Also, as an LB he can contribute almost immediately on special teams. Bad for us, good for him.

- Coach vacancies have filled up Steinhauer to Hamilton, Chamblin to Toronto and Claybrooks to BC. That means that 5 of 9 teams have defensive guys as Head Coach. 6 if you count O'Shea though he's really more Special Teams. 

- Hopefully the next big news will be that a new agreement with the CFLPA is signed... given that that may take some time I'd settle for Brandon Bridge being released. I get that its unnecessary given that he's a pending FA but the symbolic significance would be appreciated. 

NFL Watch:
OL Dakota Shepley – tryouts with Denver, Cleveland
LB Samual Eguavoen (Ssk) – tryouts with Miami, LA Rams, New England, 7 more scheduled
QB Bo Levi Mitchell (Cal) – tryouts with Minnesota, Denver, Jacksonville, 2 more scheduled
DB Winston Rose (BC) – tryout with Minnesota
DB Chris Ackie (Ott) – tryout with Minnesota
WR Diontae Spencer (Ott) – tryout with Minnesota
LB Jameer Thurman (Cal) – tryout with Minnesota, Chicago
DB Tevaughn Campbell (Mtl) – tryouts with Cleveland, Green Bay
DL Kwaku Boateng (Edm) – tryout with NY Jets
LB Alex Singleton (Cal) – tryouts with Cleveland, Minnesota, Arizona, Philadelphia, LA Chargers
DL Avery Ellis (Ott) – tryout with NY Jets
K Ty Long (BC) – tryout with NY Jets
OL Rykar Matthews (Ham) – tryout with NY Jets, New England
WR Bryant Mitchell (Edm) – tryout with NY Jets
WR Duke Williams (Edm) – tryout with NY Jets
DL James Vaughters (Cal) - tryout with Chicago
QB Mike Reilly (Edm) - tryout with Jacksonville

Monday, December 3, 2018

11th Annual Rider Prophet Awards

These awards are fairly unique in terms of their set-up. While most sports awards recognize the best in their field (outstanding achievement in the field of excellence if you will), these awards recognize the rest in their field as well as things that I find generally entertaining. While most sports awards are voted on by a large contingent including media (only about half of whom actually know what the hell they are talking about), these awards are quite arbitrarily awarded based on my own whims with the exception of one award which is voted on by the fans. Lastly, while most sports awards are something recipients are proud to receive, these awards are something that most recipients would avoid acknowledging publicly.

Let’s get to the awards. This year’s winners will receive the chance to host the 2026 Olympics… since no one else seems to want to.

Best Player Name
Honourable mentions to Wil Likely and Boobie Hobbs but this year’s winner is Montreal DB Armagedon Draughns. Seriously, how cool a name is Armagedon? With a name like that he pretty much had to go into professional sports or security. I just can’t see a guy named Armegedon doing my taxes attending to my medical needs.

Previous Winners: Rakeem Cox, Akawasi Owusu-Ansah, Lirim Hajrullahu, SirVincent Rogers, Drew Willy, Bear Woods, Solomon Elimimian, Craphonso Thorpe, Charleston Hughes, Chijioke Onyenegecha

Quote of the Year
I almost hesitated in naming this quote the winner. I love the quote and most people like me found it entertaining. But a vocal contingent blew this completely out of proportion with feigned outrage. What cinched it for me was when the Bombers embraced it and started selling shirts.

Your winner is Dave Dickenson for "F'ing Canadians"

Previous Winners: Kavis Reed/Jacques Chapdelaine, Greg Quick, Solomon Elimimian, Ed Hervey, Joe Mack, Henry Burris, Eddie Johnson, Jason Clermont, Mike Abou-Mechrek x2

Play of the Year
Two of the best moments from this season were not actually eligible for this award as they were not actual plays. I still feel they deserve special mention. I’m talking about the Mike Sherman striptease and Jason Maas vs. the Gatorade jug.

With those 2 out of contention, one remaining play stood out among all the others. There is an old adage that if you are going to run your mouth, you better be prepared to back it up. The Lions’ Gary Peters learned this lesson the hard way when he decided to call on Duke Williams. This is what we call a natural consequence. 

Botched Call of the Year
I briefly considered going in a different direction with this award because there were certainly some doozies to chose from. The botched chain measurement from Labour Day certainly comes to mind. But I know my readers and I know there would have been outcry if I didn’t mention headshots here. This is what we in the business call blatant pandering.

Rather than one play I will give this award to the collective inability for the refs to call headshots on QBs. Obviously the Collaros and Bridge one’s are the most talked about but Lulay took an uncalled headshot early in the season and there were probably others I’m forgetting.

It’s ridiculous that these keep going uncalled. It’s ridiculous that the replay official can correct an offside call but not headshot. The official can remove a player whose brains have been scrambled by a headshot (usually many plays later in the game) but they can’t assess a penalty. Fixing this needs to be an offseason priority.

I will add in that rather than just complaining about how little the league is doing, the CFLPA could maybe tell their members to stop trying to kill other members and agree to harsher penalties for those that do. That is if they are really serious about player safety and not just grand standing against the League. (end rant).

The Commercial I Didn’t Get Sick of Seeing Even Though TSN Made Me Watch It 54,297 Times Award
I’ll tell you what commercial I did get sick of seeing… that damn Nissan commercial that played roughly 100 times per game. Note to Nissan: I’m glad you are a proud sponsor of the CFL but that ad on endless repeat made me less likely to ever consider purchasing that vehicle.

Honourable mention to Fountain Tire for their “Nan’s smile is nice, but useless” ad but this year’s winner is Belair Direct for their series of  Football Simplified quick ads. Simple, quick, funny.

See a bunch here:

Most Insulted Sports Figure
While there were times that it looked like Steve McAdoo was destined to repeat here, a new front runner emerged. It proved to be the only thing his person would excel at. I'm talking of course about Brandon Bridge. By far he led the pact in terms of me insulting him in this space. Brandon Bridge. Joins the like of Sunseri, Bishop and Dinwiddie in terms of Rider QBs I have loathed. I’m sure he’s a nice guy off the field but he is utterly useless on it.

I have never been a Bridge fan. I've long contended that if he wasn't Canadian no one would care about him. But this year he took things to a new level. He managed to look awful in an offense that allowed him only to hand off and throw screens. He runs like a baby deer learning to walk and still thinks that his horrible attempts at huddling are a good idea (they are not). He is so inaccurate in his passes that fans in the front row are more likely to catch his pass attempts than our receivers. I could maybe be more forgiving if he was a developing QB but he's a 4 year vet. This is as good as it gets.

Previous Winners: Steve McAdoo, The Riders Secondary, Any Rider QB not named Durant, Pat Neufeld, Chris Getzlaf, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jim Daley, Michael Bishop x 2, Marcel Bellefeuille

Fans’ Choice Douche-Bag of the Year
You the fans have spoken yet again… and in record number. A total of 163 votes were received including an amazing 8 write in votes for the likes of Odell Willis, Duron Carter, Chris Jones, Jackson Jeffcoat, Jonathan Rose, Blue Bomber fans and my personal favourite the media who pretended the Riders' O wasn't awful.

The voting was way closer than I expected. I underestimated how much you people hate Dave Dickenson. Personally I think he's an angel compared to other nominees but this is a fan vote and he came in 2nd. 

You the fans have decided that with 45% (74 out of a possible 163 votes) Jason Maas is your Douche Bag of the Year for the second year in a row.

I doubt this will shock anyone. Between his yelling, his tantrums and his assaults on innocent sideline objects he's an easy choice. Used to be that pretty much anyone outside of Edmonton hated him but now his support even in Edmonton is slipping after missing the playoffs despite fielding the top QB in the league. It will take something pretty douchy to keep Maas from three-peating in 2019.

Previous Winners: Jason Maas, Cory Chamblin, Chris Jones, Jon Cornish x2, Henry Burris, Dwight Anderson, Mike Kelly, Jason Jimenez, Rob Murphy

Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday Morning Sentimonies: That's A Wrap

Unless you happen to be a fan of the Stampeders (and therefore a terrible person with questionable decision making for spending this morning reading a Rider blog) its the saddest Monday on the calendar. It signifies no more Canadian football until May. For Montreal and Toronto fans its a bit easier to take because they've been dealing with this feeling since the early fall. 

Sunday all the collective "anybody but Calgary" wishing in Canada was not enough to keep Calgary away from the Cup for a third straight year... mainly because Ottawa seemed intent on making sure that didn't happen. Calgary played a decent (not great) game but won the ever important "screw up the least" battle. And its not like they didn't screw up. For a while it looked like no one wanted to win the game. 

Ottawa just made too many mistakes. Punting to the middle of the field in the dying seconds of the half. Fumbling. Passing the bulk of their second half offense on failed attempts to chuck it deep.  They also sent three man rush far too much (god I'm even stuck saying this in games not involving Chris Jones). The book on Bo is you need to pressure him to fluster him. Sending minimal pressure is curiously deciding to play into his strengths.

Credit to the Stamps (pauses to vomit). They was likely the least stacked roster they had in the past 3 Cups but it was the one that made enough plays to get it done. It is reassuring that the "weaker" East division finally didn't win the Cup.

The offseason may be upon us but don't go anywhere. I will have insight, analysis and a bunch of filler that may of may not be funny to help get you through the long months ahead. It all starts next Monday with the Annual Rider Prophet Awards

Other random thoughts:
- The dude in the Reklaws' pants were tighter than the chicks... by a wide margin.

- Shame that the biggest game of the year was  played on such a crappy field surface. I hope future Grey Cup bids require a contingency plan to ensure the big game showcases the best of Canadian football not Ice-capades. 

- I thought the half time show was pretty solid given that I'd never heard the performer before. 

- Trevor Harris apparently used up all his good play last week.