Monday, February 4, 2008

CFL News – When the saints go marching… out

After one of the most memorable seasons ever, the Riders are currently experiencing one of the most gut-wrenching off-seasons in recent memory. Fresh off the sting of loosing Kent Austin to the NCAA, Rider fans faced another rough week.

Joseph has visions of Sainthood
Much to the surprise of Rider Nation, it was reported that last year’s most outstanding player Kerry Joseph was frustrated with contract talks with the Riders and is scheduled to work out for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. I can hear you screaming “Oh no! First the Coach of the Year, Now the league MVP! We’re screwed!!”… Calm down or I’ll be forced to slap you. Let’s look at this a little further. Joseph is 34 and has no NFL QB experience. The Saints already have Drew Brees, a Pro Bowl QB still in his 20s. Given that Joseph has played in the NFL before, the minimum salary the Saints would have to pay is pretty high for an unproven guy on the wrong side of 30. Joseph is currently trying to negotiate a pay raise with the Riders (one he is more than deserving of by the way). So a) this is probably just a way for Kerry to improve his bargaining position and b) the Saints aren’t likely to sign him. So I for one will not worry about Joseph going to the Saints… unless of course they try him out at safety.

Living Saint Released
In Saskatchewan, Corey Holmes was as close to sainthood has you can get. So it was a sad day when Tillman announced that “Mr. Everything” had been cut. While there’s no denying that this was a smart move for the Riders it sits about as well in my stomach as a cheeseburger in Corey’s belly on game day. I was really hoping I’d get to see Holmes do the Carlton instead of his patented TD dance just once. Oh well. Best of luck Corey!

St. Germain Retires
Okay, I’ll level with you; I don’t really consider this big Rider news. It just fit well with my saint theme. No disrespect to Val and his great CFL career but he was a Rider for half a season and his departure leaves us short an old back-up lineman… hardly a crushing blow. Though I’m sure the $100 in cap room this opens up would no doubt sway Joseph to re-sign here if added to our last contract offer.

Now to bring you up to speed on other news here’s a list of the Ins and Outs in the CFL

In: Dave Dickenson (signed by Calgary) – The Stamps decided that the best way to protect Henry Burris’ fragile ego was to sign a QB who (when healthy) is way better than Hank… Awesome! Even though Dickenson’s best days are behind him and he’ll be a back-up in Calgary, the mere fact that when Henry looks over his shoulder there will be something resembling a threat will be enough to make him choke like Tony Romo when dumb blonds that he’s sleeping with watch him play.
Out: Davin Bush (cut by Winnipeg along with 3 others) – I actually like Davin but last season he did not turn in a performance befitting his abilities or grossly inflated salary. He was once again held back by injuries, which he has been very prone to over the years. If he could ever get groin replacement surgery I think he'd be set. He pulls that thing more than ... well you know.
In: Milt Stegall (playing one more season in Winnipeg) – Sources say Stegall was leaning towards retirement but the news of Davin Bush being cut made him reconsider. The thought of once again being able to burn Bush repeatedly to pad his TD total was too much to resist.
Out: AJ Gass (retiring) – He may be retiring but you will still be seeing him on the Eskimo sidelines next season. Gass is making the jump from playing to coaching. I think this is a great move by the Eskimos. With a decade of experience under his belt, there is much that young players can learn from Gass such has how to effectively kick someone while they are down and how to remove an opponent’s helmet and hurl it downfield while avoiding suspension.
In: Jarious Jackson (resigned by BC) – Jarious might think his career got a boost now that he’ll be competing for the starting spot. Problem is, being one of the top QBs in B.C. only means that you’re guaranteed to get hurt and an unknown 3rd stringer will step up in your absence and steal your spot.
Out: Old Running Backs In Toronto (released) – Having already cut Troy Davis, the Argos completed their purge of old running backs Friday by releasing John Avery and Robert Edwards. Someone must have finally looked at the ‘07 stats and realized the Argos had the 2nd worst run game in the league. Besides if stockpiling former big-name stars that are now washed up was an effective way of building a successful franchise, the NY Rangers would have built an unstoppable NHL dynasty a long time ago.

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