Monday, May 16, 2022

Monday Morning Senitimonies: Training Camp… Kinda

Well rookie camp was held last week and main camp was supposed to open yesterday. But the players are not participating as the ongoing drama surrounding the collective agreement negotiations ramps up.

Look, I could write pages on these negotiations. Human resources is what I do when I’m not wearing a robe (for some reason they frown on that) so I could bore you with the ins and outs of collective bargaining (this is all pretty standard tactics/process). I’ll boil it down to this: Both sides are playing a very obvious game of chicken. Everyone knows that neither side can afford to miss games. Even preseason games with their minimal attendance are a revenue source that the owners will not be passing on. So this will 100% be resolved prior to next Monday when the Riders and Bombers open the preseason. I don’t have the energy to wade into this conversation other than to say: The owners are negotiating like dicks. It’s their right to do so and they honestly hold all the power and know it. But the are still using 60s style bargaining tactics and wondering why the players don’t believe them when they say they want them to be partners. Want to use your power to strong arm a deal (as happens every time), go ahead but just remember that there may be longer term consequences to treating your employees as expendable numbers.

But since I much prefer talking actual football, let’s do that by taking a look at the offensive side of the ball and what we can expect to see in camp (when it does eventually get underway)

Quarterback

Projected starter: Cody Fajardo (honestly felt like typing another name here just to get a rise out of people. Only issue is I know someone would take me seriously and agree).

In the mix: Mason Fine, Jake Dolegala, Troy Williams

The only thing to watch here is Dolegala vs. Fine for back-up QB (or as its more popularly known in Saskatchewan “everyone’s favourite person”). Troy Williams is nothing more than an extra arm in training camp. Fine should have the leg up based on spending last year here and seeing the field but Dolegala will have a chance to unseat him.

Running Back

Projected Starter: Jamal Morrow or Shaq Cooper

In the mix: Trumaine Pope, Frankie Hickson

I was a bit surprised to see both Moreland and Covington released following rookie camp. What started as an open competition is looking more and more like Morrow vs. Cooper and the newcomers are competing for a PR spot. Honestly I think this will boil down more to who pass blocks best. We are a pass-based team so the majority of what the RB will do is block. Cooper has height but Morrow is pretty solid for a smaller guy. My gut says Cooper ends up starting and Morrow is the back-up/returner again. Either way, we won’t know anything about the RBs until preseason games.

O-Line

Projected starters: Terran Vaughn, Logan Ferland, Dan Clark, Evan Johnson, Jamal Campbell

In the mix: Josiah St John, Logan Bandy, Zach Fry, Diego Alatorre-Montoya (prepare to die), Andrew Lauderdale, Tommy Champion, Na’ty Rogers, Maurice Simba, Noah Johnson, Kooper Richardson

The single most important competition in camp. There are 2 distinct parts to watch. First and foremost, we need to find 2 mildly competent tackles (which would represent a massive upgrade over 2021). Second we need to establish some reliable depth in the interior. At tackle healthy Terran Vaughn will start. Campbell should be the leader for the other one. I see Rogers and Lauderdale as the main competitors as they have experience (though both were on lines that performed terribly last season). Would love one of the new Americans to be awesome but not holding my breath. The retirement of Reilly means that we need to find 2 viable back-ups out of St John, Bandy, Fry and Montoya. Fry (with the ability to play tackle) is the one we really need to pan out. Our Cdn OL depth has taken a hit over the years with the retirements of Reilly, Jake Bennett, Brendan Labatte and Braden Schram and the departure of Shepley to the NFL. We need to start developing the next generation of OL now.

Receiver

Project Starters: Duke Williams, Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore, Kian Shaefer-Baker, Justin McInnis

In the mix: Paul McRoberts, Xavier Ubosi, Jamal Custis, Jester Weah, Jeremiah Haydel, Jakob Prall, Tevin Jones, Jonathan Johnson, Dieuly Aristilde, Mitch Picton, Jake Harty, Wesley Lewis, Riley Boersma.

Starters are set so this is all about the competition for back-up. At American receiver, we have been searching for a reliable guy for a while. Been through Carlos Henderson, Ricardo, Louis and Paul McRoberts (who is vying to break Mitch Picton’s record for most years spent on the PR) and still looking. Canadian WR won’t really be a competition until 1st round pick Sam Emilus shows up. Picton and Harty are depth, not starters. Honestly don’t see Wesley Lewis doing much here. There is some early hype on Boersma but let’s see if that continues when he’s lining up against veterans and not just guys who have never played the Canadian game before.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Rookie Camp

Note: Today’s post intentionally ignores all the drama and posturing of CFLPA negotiations.  They will get a buzzer beater deal, they always do. So I’m assuming that in the analysis that is contained below.

Note 2: Use of the term “analysis” in the preceding paragraph intentionally glosses over the journalistic and grammatical shortcomings, legally I'm not even sure I can call it analysis.

Rookie camps open this week. Kicking of the start to another CFL season. I’m pretty pumped. My liver, vocal chords and family connections may not be. But I am.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the roster spots were those coming to rookie camp have a legit chance to make an impact.

Normally I would start with QB. In Saskatchewan, affection for the back-up QB falls only behind that for perogies and half tons in the ranking system. Problem is we have exactly 3 qbs on the roster. So the only thing to watch will be if Jake Dolegala can unseat Mason Fine for #2. I assume there will be at least one more QB in camp at some point.

The most wide open spot on the roster is RB. Its an open competition. While Morrow and Cooper certainly have the advantage, rookies like Shamar Moreland, Frankie Hickson and Justin Covington will be given every opportunity. Moreland is the one I’m most interested in. He’s the lightest and presumably the fastest of the bunch.

There will always be opportunity at American receiver. We need depth and last season showed that odds are good those depth guys get called on due to injury at some point. Guys like Paul McRoberts and Ricardo Louis have had moments but failed to lock down the spot with any certainty. The new recruits include Justin Weah, Darvin Kidsy, Xavier Ubosi, Jamal Custis, Jakob Prall, Tevin Jones and Jonathan Jonhson. At 6’4, Jamal Custis out of Syracuse is an intriguing prospect.

Sure be nice to find an offensive tackle or two… honestly half of one would be an improvement over last season. We do have veterans in Vaughn, Na’ty Rogers, Jamal Campbell and a returning Andrew Lauderdale but man would I love to see one Tommy Champion (he has to be good right?), Bryce Hargrove, Ka’John Armstrong (who spent time on the PR last season) or Kooper Richardson be awesome... or serviceable… or occasionally capable of blocking somebody. Also with rumours that Mattland Riley may be retiring, it will be important to see what we have in 2021 pick Logan Bandy and 2022 picks Fry and Aldo Montoya (prepare to die).

D-Line will be tough to crack as we had such a huge 2021 recruiting class with Marino, Robertson, Lanier and Adams. Also (fingers crossed), Jonathan Woodard was recently released by the KC Chiefs. We do need a D-tackle to replace Micah. Based purely on size and pedigree Miles Brown is the most intriguing. But I’m always skeptical when a DL with NFL size ends up here so quickly. Usually a good reason for that. Nick Coe spent some time on the PR so he’s another I have my eye on.

Linebackers should be a tough group to break. We have rock solid starters and guys like Gary Johnson and Nigel Harris looked decent in limited time last season so we should have depth. But both missed a lot of time due to injury so there is room for competition there. Luke Holloway and Jason Momoka (if the Riders are smart they keep this guy around. You can attract a lot of ladies to the game thinking they will be seeing Jason Momoa) are about the only “rookies” (plus our most recent draft picks).

Secondary we have 2 needs and pressing and one that I am speculating. We need a halfback, open competition there. I also wonder, whether the movement of the hashmarks (and the added space on the short side) will impact Nick Marshall at all. Space is not his friend (as evidenced by his that time he was forced to play HB). Might be nothing but its certainly in the back of my mind. Names like Josh Nurse, Amari Henderson, Will Sunderland, Brian Cole, Stephen Denmark, CJ Reavis, TJ Morisson, Levonta Taylor, LeVonte Larry and Jermaine Kelly are the new recruits (though I expect a couple to be move to compete at cover LB). Stephen Denmark is fast and was a late NFL pick, so I’ll be watching him. Josh Nurse is another name on my radar. He was a Stamp recruit in 2021 and Hufnagel seems to know a thing or 2.

Really looking forward to actual football being back. There should really be prop bet on the 2022 Terrence Nunn. For those more recent fans, Terrence Nunn was a training camp phenom who had all the fans raving only to accomplish only slightly more than me in his CFL career. We will hype someone so much that would will think they are a surefire hall of famer, only for them to be cut really early. It’s what we do.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Friday Morning Sentimonies: 2022 Draft Class

After spending a couple months extremely sporadically posting, I’m going the opposite direction and posting twice in the same week. Don’t worry I’m sure I’ll compensate at some point by missing a Monday post. But the season is coming quick and so its time to get serious about this… I mean as serious as a dude in a robe who uses words like sentimonies can get.

The draft went down Thursday both the real one and the Global draft. I won’t say too much about the Global one, other than to say our first round pick LB Jordan Genmark Heath played at Notre Dame and UCLA and has been invited to camp with the KC Chiefs. We might actually me making progress in terms of quality from the glorified paperweight of a Mexican OL we took in the first global draft. I will also give the Riders credit for drafting zero kickers. To be fair, we do have 2 already on the roster but we do appear to be trying. 

In terms of the actual draft, I was not enamoured with our early round strategy. Look, Sam Emilus is a great prospect. He was expected to be a top 4 pick and is one of the top WR in the draft. The issue is not with him, he is a good prospect. The issue is one of need. Our OL was awful last year and other than Mattland Riley, our depth is questionable there. Our D-line had many loses this offseason. We only really have Charbel Dabire there for Canadians. If you aren’t good in the trenches you won’t win, its that simple and we have needs there. Yet we went receiver. A position where we have Baker, McInnis, Picton and Harty. A position that at best will be the #4 target in our offense. Emilus is good but I’m not sure he was so good that we couldn’t chance missing on him.

Obviously anyone who passed on the likes or Clermont or Fantuz thinking they didn’t need a receiver would have the regrets. But here is a list of first round WRs in the last 10 years:

·        Shamawd Chambers,  Devon Bailey, Nic Demski, Brian Jones, Tevaugn Smith, Danny Vandervoot, Nate Behar, Mark Chapman, Justin McInnis, Hergy Mayala, Dejon Brissett

Given that maybe 3 of those are what I would consider impact WRs, the odds would lean towards Emilus not being the next Clermont or Fantuz.

Time will tell if O’Day knows better than me. He did rightly use his 2nd and 3rd round picks on OL. So that was good to see. Zach Fry can play tackle which is a plus. The book on him is great technique, lacking in strength. That’s something that can be developed easier than technique. Diego Altore Montoya (or as I will be saying ad nauseum this season: My name is Diego Montoyo, you sacked my quarterback, prepare to die) is the opposite, strong nasty, maybe not as refined technically. He can play any position on the line which is always a plus.

Rounds 4 -7 were all about potential special teamers: LB Tommy Bringi, B Tristan Fleury, DB Jayden Dalke and DB Zach Herzog. Hopefully one of them can develop into something. A few years back 5th round pick Alex Chevrier became an excellent special teamer. Undrafted Jacob Dearborn managed to be a decent defensive player. So there’s a chance. Rounding out the draft class was Regina Ram WR Riley Boersma. He’s a longshot to make it out of camp, as any 8th rounder would be.

So overall I think we had a good night. We didn’t pull a Chris Jones and use a pick on a guy with one college game to his name. We didn’t overreach for a player. We did build depth. I think we are still lacking quality Canadian defensive depth but it wasn’t a very deep draft defensively.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: CFL Draft Preview 2022

Sorry for the lack of posting over the last few weeks. Life’s been a bit busy and I squeezed a vacation to Vegas in there as well. The fact that I am currently not showing off a diamond encrusted prophet staff tells you everything you need to know about whether I won big while in Sin City.

The CFL Draft goes down tomorrow and it will bring some much needed change to the CFL offseason. I think we are all tired of talking ratio and rules and such. It will be refreshing to talk about actual football players. Now, granted 90% of the players taken tomorrow, you will know nothing about, but it will be fun to discuss them endlessly and make cases for why the Riders 7th round draft pick was a waste of a pick (spoiler alert, all 7th round picks typically end up being a waste of a pick, getting mad over who we do or don’t take there is ridiculous).

I won’t spend any time on the Global Draft. I still think that there is logic to this initiative, it will just take a multiple year commitment to grow. But honestly, I know precious little about the Canadian players. Do you really think anyone is qualified to discus the merits of a Finnish receiver over a Uzbekistani safety? I will say this… I like our choice of Christopher N-Ezeala last year. The trendy thing to do is roster global kickers (which we do) but I think you should try and find guys who can play special teams. Let them take a few hits and bumps away from our Americans and Canadians if you have to roster one.  

Back to the Canadian Draft… Something that I don’t think has happened since I’ve been covering the Riders is set to occur other than 2021 which was a weird year coming off no season (at least until I post this and the Riders render the next sentence incorrect within minutes). The Riders have all their own picks. Between trades and supplemental draft we routinely are short a few of our own picks. This is good because despite a decent showing in 2021, we still have holes to fill.  

Picks: 8 picks, first selection is 7th Overall

Potential Pipeline: DL David Oneymata (New Orleans), TE Anthony Auclair (Houston), DL Neville Gallimore (Dallas), TE Bruno Labelle (free agent, was with Arizona Cardinals)

Current Strengths:

Despite the departure of Lenius (and to a lesser extend Jana), we remain strong at receiver. Schaefer-Baker leads the way (looking to take the next step in year 2) with McInnis and Picton for depth. Technically Harty is there as well but his contribution is on teams only at this point (not that that isn’t important).

I rarely had a positive thing to say about our OL in 2021 but I still believe in that interior. After a year learning the ropes I expect Logan Ferland to be rock solid this coming season. Evan Johnson should bounce back (assuming we have a mildly competent tackle lined up beside him). Clark is not the best centre but he’s been good enough in recent years. Jamal Campbell is a nice addition to the top end Canadian talent. Riley and St John are around for depth.

Defensively we have some impact starters in Edem and Teitz. Still find it weird describing Teitz as an impact starter but here we are. We will hopefully get to see what we have in 2021 2nd overall pick Nelson Lokombo. Godfrey Oneyka is a versatile guy capable of stepping in in multiple positions. I continue to be a founding member of the Charbel Dabire fan club. I also want to see what we have in Cimankinda. Just have a gut feel about him.

Guys like LaFrance, Awachie and Herdman will be unheralded but are important role players. Also no list of Canadian strengths is complete without a mention of Brett F’N Lauther.

Current Needs:

When I look at our roster I can clearly see solid Canadian starters. But outside of receiver, we are an injury away from trouble at most of those spots. Based on last season O’Day would be wise to continue to invest in the OL as we all saw how easily a bad one can sewer an otherwise good team. The other side of the trenches also need a boost. Dabire is a guy I hype but he’s not yet a bonafide starter and there is not much other than him.

In theory Oneyka and Lokombo give you the depth needed for Teitz and Edem but more would be nice.

Honestly, other than receiver and kicker, any pick would address an area of need.

Prediction:

It’s somewhat lazy mock drafting to always assume the Riders will take the hometown offensive lineman… but in this case all those mock drafts that have us taking U of S tackle Noah Zerr are onto something. We need all the help we can get at tackle and there is a reasonable chance Zerr falls to 7. If that happens we won’t let him slide any further. We may still be waiting on Mattland Riley to show his stuff but we’ve had pretty good success overall with linemen from Saskie Universities. If its not Zerr than it could be another OL (like Zach Pelehos or Gregory MacKellar) or a DL (if by some miracle Dionte Knight drops).

Second round will most likely be used on defense. A DB like Tyrell Ford, a DL like Nathan Cherry or a LB like Josiah Shackel. We need some more upper end Canadian defensive talent to boost our ranks and depth. 

Beyond that the Rider will draft the best player available regardless of position. It would really help to get a late round pick that at least develops into a contributor. Schaefer-Baker (4th rd) and Mitch Picton (5th rd) are the only 4th round or later picks in the last few years that I can recall doing anything.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

Here is a smattering of my football-related thoughts in no particular order other than what they came to me.

After an initial free-agency splash with Moncrief and Sankey, the Riders went deathly quiet. Primarily because they wisely chose to build from within. But quietly over the last couple weeks O’day has made some late stage signings that could offer great value to the team. First it was potential starting Canadian OL Jamal Campbell (who we got for less than his market value based on the timing of his release from the Argos). This past week it was RB Shaq Cooper. I really liked him in Edmonton in 2019 and thought he should be a starter. Then he went to BC last season with the chance to start and couldn’t even earn playing time on the worst rushing team in the CFL behind James Butler. Butler was not… what’s the word I’m looking for? …. Good. Hell Michael Reilly got more carries than Cooper. So there is certainly some risk. But for a late signing he is potentially a starter if he can recapture his 2019 form. At worst he is a low risk addition to the training camp battle to replace Powell.  Other than we now have one too many Shaq’s for me to keep straight, I’m all thumbs up on this one.

Speaking of the Riders, they released their “new fun and interactive themes” for 2022 (their words not mine). It includes such innovative themes as Home Opener, Canada Day, Labour Day, Family Day and Lights Out Game. Don’t get me wrong, I like Labour Day and the lights out game but copying and pasting the previous themes and trying to pass them off as “new” is laughable. While other teams are actually being innovative (i.e. the RedBlacks Behind the R series and the engagement that Victor Chui is leading for the Elks on social media) the Riders are showing all the creativity of that Simpsons where they gave Malibu Stacy a new hat. They don’t have to try and they know it. At some point this resting on their laurels will catch up with them. I just hope they don’t dig too big a hole before realizing it.

The term “nationalized Canadians” has been a big topic of conversation recently. For those who don’t know basically they are revisiting the idea of veteran Americans counting as Canadians if they stay with a team for a certain tenure. Now I am all for this in principle. Look, we awarded and celebrated “Canadians” like Ben Cahoon who is about as Canadian as an American dollar bill that happened to be in a Canadian’s wallet once. Compare that to a guy like Wes Cates who was American but chose to make his home here and remains a fixture in the community. If people will commit to this country and our game we can commit to them. My only ask is that the only way to qualify is staying with the same team for 3+ years. You leave the team it resets to 0. The original proposal said that vets of 4 years total counted and I hate that. This is about promoting and rewarding roster continuity. A guy who plays for 4 teams in 4 years adds nothing in terms of value.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts

I’m back. Sorry for essentially taking the month of March (or as I am petitioning it to be renamed Lousy Smarch) off. I decided to try and hold out for more money… which doesn’t work so well when you are your own employer. Anyway, I’m back and let’s get caught up on what’s happening.

Jamal Campbell is a big time signing. The Argos, in their infinite wisdom, decided that spending on an aging Andrew Harris was a priority over a 28 year old starting Canadian OL. Their questionable decision making is our win as we not only scooped up a solid player but also got him cheaper than he would normally go for. Brett Boyko was employed purely because he happened to play tackle and happened to be Canadian. Jamal Campbell is actually good at the playing part, his passport is a bonus not the only redeeming quality. With Vaughn, Na’ty Rogers and Campbell we are looking to have an actually competition at training camp and possibly some depth… as opposed to that garbage the fans, and Fajardo, were forced to endure.

Speaking of Fajardo. I recently discovered that he blocked me on Twitter. Not really sure when that happened, and definitely not sure why. I like Fajardo and have certainly not been hating on him… and I’m a guy who doesn’t shy away from hating on people. Had this been Dan Clark, Brett Boyko, Jon Ryan, etc... I’d completely understand. Kinda like the time I made a joke about Luca Congi being pro-cancer and his girlfriend ripped me a new one. Cause and effect, I understood that one. But for whatever reason, Fajardo has blocked me (maybe he doesn’t like my “I have a Fajardon” t-shirts?). I find it amusing, though would like to know what my transgression was.

Most of this past month has been spent rehashing the 3 vs. 4 down conversation. Which is stupid and I’m not wading into it. Lots of potential rule changes are also being chatted about. Refs riding trained ostriches still doesn’t get the traction is deserves as a suggestion.

Any conversation about rules needs to be rooted in this principle: encourage/incentivize exciting plays and discourage/disincentivize boring plays. Best example of this was the tweak to converts to encourage going for 2 (more exciting play) and discourage settling for 1 (boring play). The one that tops my list of suggested tweaks has to do with punting. Simply put any punt that does not land in the field of play should be a penalty. A while back they added the penalty for it going out between the 20’s (which was a good start) but it needs to go farther. Even though directional punting has been an endangered species in Saskatchewan for the last couple years, I still respect the skill of the actual good punters who can coffin corner. But Richie Leone just punting it straight out of bounds without even trying to have it land in bounds is a super boring play. Not to mention that its counter to all football logic that being in bounds just doesn’t matter in that situation. Land 6 inches in bounds and bounce out? Great play. Not land in bounds at all, even if it “goes out” past the 20? Should be penalized.

Tied to that, while I am a diehard fan and lifelong supporter of the rouge. I would be in favour of a minor tweak to that rule in the interest of not rewarding boring plays. Simply expand the rule on kickoffs, to punts and FG. The ball must be downed in the endzone to get the single point. If it goes straight out of bounds, no point. Still keeps the best part of the rouge (encouraging returns, plus the extremely Canadian punt it back and forth out of the endzone to end a close game play) while still not incentivizing boring plays.

I would also make challenges illegal in the following 2 scenarios: preseason games and in the final 8 minutes of any game where a team leads by 3 scores or more. The penalty would not be yards, but the opposing QB would get to throw a football at the groin of the offending coach as hard as he can from close distance.  

Monday, February 28, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Marketing

I am of course primarily a Rider fan but I love the CFL as a whole. So I find it great to see other teams doing such awesome things. Ottawa is doing the Behind the R series which is giving an incredible view behind the scenes (much watch if you haven't checked it out). Edmonton ran a promotion for $99 season tickets targeting families. BC has a family zone with $10 tickets and $85 for the season and is starting to hype a big party for the season opener. The more each time succeeds, the more the league succeeds and I think that is great.

It got me thinking about what the Riders are doing from a marketing perspective to keep pace with their competitors and attract new interest and fans. The answer is unfortunately nothing.

As is too often the case in Riderville since 2007, the Riders are resting on their laurels and adopting a “if you build it, they will come” approach. Take a look at what percentage of games have sold out since the new stadium opened and you’ll see how well that approach is working. I would describe it the way Chris Jones describes Darian Durant… moderately successful. Sure we are doing above average in terms of CFL teams but we have sold out 2 games in the past 2 seasons… seasons that featured us fishing 1st and 2nd and earning home playoff games. And that’s “announced” sellouts by the team. Actual butts in the seats are always much less that what ticket sales are.

So if moderately successful is what you want then by all means, continue resting on your laurels. But the fan base is not getting younger so at some point it will become a big enough problem to matter financially. Do you want to be proactive about that? Or wait until its too late?

Here are my thoughts on what the Riders should be doing to help market the team.

 Hook The Kids

Any moderately useful marketer knows the power of a child nagging their parents. To grow the next generation of football fans you gotta get them hooked at a young age. Its clear that the new leadership in BC and Edmonton have clued into this. But as it stands the Riders don’t seem to care. Its expensive to go to games. Its expensive to feed them even the lowest grade popcorn and hotdogs. Also, how prominent are kids during the in game entertainment? Not very. Go to a Regina Pats game and they get it. Every break kids are plastered on the jumbotron. That is crack to a child. My son has been coming to games with me since the new stadium opened. You know how often in that time the cameras or prize giveaways have come to the second deck in that time? Once. It used to be a regular thing in the old stadium but now the Riders rest on their laurels and put in minimal effort. And given the high price of seats, where do lots of non-season ticket holding kids sit? The second deck. Make kids (all kids) the focal point of the game day experience and it will pay dividends both in long term fans and short term ticket/food sales. My kid would damn near pay for a chance to dance on the Jumbotron. 

Also don’t limit it to game day. If you are from Regina you know the massive success of Flag football. The spring league is one of the biggest on the continent. You know what all those kids are walking around wearing as living billboards? NFL logos.  Guarantee most kids could name more NFL teams/players than CFL ones. The CFL used to sponsor fall flag and my kids used to have CFL gear to wear around. But they pulled out of that a few years back for reasons I don’t understand.

Affordability

This is tied to getting kids/families in the stadium. Its bloody expensive to go to a game. To get into a game is $60-100 easy and that only gets you the right to buy insanely expensive booze and food.  Any time you don’t sell out it’s a wasted opportunity (and as mentioned, we are not selling out). Much like other teams are doing we need a set of really cheap tickets (like $10) to get people in the door. We also need a value menu. I’m totally cool with high priced options (I mean occasionally a guy just wants a 2 foot hotdog) but have a small value menu: $1 pop, $2 popcorn, $3 hotdog $5 draft beer. Not only will this make the games more affordable for new fans, it would also suck more money out of existing guys like me. Most games I spend $0 on food (mostly out of principle). Give me a value menu and you would bleed my dry toonies at a time.

Market your stars

I want you to honestly think about which Rider players have been the most hyped. Its Dan Clark and Jon Ryan. Now I get the hometown connection but can you imagine an NFL team with their centre and punter as the most hyped guys? 

Who should we be hyping? Obviously Fajardo. Dude is not only the face of the franchise he’s immensely likeable. When “Sprinkles of Jesus” became a thing it wasn’t the Riders who seized on the marketing gold, it was a local podcast, Piffle Podcast, that made shirts for charity. Guys like Leonard, Shaq, Moore, Duke, Moncrief their faces should be plastered around. These are the playmakers that people will notice when they come to the game. Whatever happened to Fantuz Flakes, All-Dressler chips, or the infamous Dressler teaser-pleaser Humpty's commercial… hell look at how iconic the Jurasin bandana was (the fact that I can’t buy one today at the Rider store boggles my mind).

Yet we have spent too much of our efforts hyping the likes of a fullback called the Canuck Truck, 4th string receiver Jason Clermont in addition to the aforementioned mediocre punter and moderate liability of a centre.  

Not going to go too far down this rabbit hole but you have to admit that for a sport that is predominately played by African Americans, we sure give a disproportionate amount of marketing attention to white players in Saskatchewan.

 So there you have it. What are your ideas for the Riders to better market themselves?