Before I get to this week’s game, I would like to start off today with the best news so far this year. No, they have not made liquor purchases tax deductible (that would be a close second to this news). Eric Tillman has signed an extension with the Roughriders!!!
Now I have heard a lot of misguided talk about the deal we signed Tillman to. With that in mind I would like to introduce a new feature to the blog called Addressing Uninformed Opinions where I set the record straight on some common misconceptions (I wanted to call this feature “Everyone Is Stupid But Me” but Media Consultant convinced me to go with something a bit less condescending). So without further adieu…
Addressing Uninformed Opinions: Eric Tillman’s Extension
Uninformed Opinion #1 – This provides the Riders with no long-term security
This is not just a 1 year extension, if ET keeps winning the contract keeps extending automatically. So this contract ensures that we have a GM who has to perform at a high level in order to stick around… sounds like security to me (as well as everything that all the fans were screaming for when our last GM was on the way out).
Uninformed Opinion #2 – We should have signed a long term deal as opposed to a 1 year extension.
So you’d rather that we guarantee Tillman boatloads of money for the next decade regardless of how the team performs as opposed to basing contract extensions on team performance?? I am a huge Tillman fan and have a ton of faith in him but I see nothing wrong with making him earn his paycheck. Personally, I blame the unions for the mass confusion regarding this subject - employment based on performance, what a concept! Besides, if Tillman is indeed as good as we all think he is, reaching his performance objectives will be easier than the time I beat Stevie Wonder at I Spy.
Uninformed Opinion #3 – This contract allows Tillman to weasel out whenever he wants.
There is a 6 figure penalty clause in this contract should Tillman decide to leave of his own accord. That can hardly be considered weaseling. In fact, such talk is insulting to weasels (those noble little creatures).
Hopefully that clears things up.
Now onto the game…
Tomorrow the 2-1 Alouettes roll into town to take on the 3-0 Roughriders in a battle of division leaders and the CFL’s two most potent offenses. For the 10th straight time at Mosaic Stadium, the game will be played in front of a sold-out crowd.
Darian Durant will once again get the start for the Riders as Marcus Crandell is still not 100%. This will be a big test for Durant. We will find out if he is indeed the bright young QB prospect we’ve been hoping for or if he’s just another Rocky Butler-type who only manages to look good when playing Hamilton. I’m thinking it’s the former but after watching Hamilton play last night, I’m taking a wait and see approach.
Injuries continue to be a big story. The Riders list of walking wounded seems to grow each week. We are currently without Crandell, Szarka, Flick, Dressler and Mitchell. I’m glad that we have so much depth on this team but I would be a lot happier if we weren’t testing the limits of that depth so early in the season. Can you imagine if we start 4-0 despite missing our starting QB, FB, kick returner and last year’s top receiver?
The Alouettes come into this game with some injuries of their own. OL Dave Mudge is sidelined with a knee injury. Despite a gruesome looking pinky dislocation last week, Anthony Calvillo will be playing. Calvillo must really be embracing life in Montreal because his pinky did its best impersonation of Quebec and tried unsuccessfully to separate from the rest of the hand.
What do Damien Anderson, Joe Smith and Jesse Lumsden have in common? All 3 are starting RBs who have played us and are no longer playing: Smith and Lumsden due to injury and Anderson due to being replaced. Warning to Avon Cobourne! I would not play on Saturday if I were you. We seem to be like the kiss of death for starting RBs.
Our defense has yet to allow a passing TD, though that is mainly because Hamilton has no passing game and Jarious Jackson sucks. They will be put to the test this week though. Calvillo has been paying well so far and has a dangerous group of receivers led by Kerry Watkins. They key to this game will be taking away the deep passes and forcing the Als to grind it out with us. The Als are such an old team that if we force them to fight for every inch and go toe to toe with them, by the start of the 4th quarter they will likely throw in the towel and head back to the locker room to apply bengay and watch Matlock.
Honestly the Riders have already outlasted the league’s best QB in Ricky Ray, the league’s best defense in BC and the league’s best RB in Jesse Lumsden, what more can you really throw at us?
Riders by 10.
That’s it for now. We'll see you in the stands. Don’t forget to bring a food donation to the game for Tackle Hunger Day and remember half eaten hot dogs from the practice field do not constitute a donation.