Thursday, January 29, 2009

Etch-A-Sketch Version 2.0

Here’s what’s making news this week…

As expected, within hours of my Monday post, Gary Etcheverry was named the Riders new Defensive Coordinator. Now this appointment is concerning to many given Etcheverry’s utter failure when he held the same position back in 2000. But let’s not forget that, at the time, Gary was blessed with a secondary comprised entirely of rookies (only a few of which ever turned out to be any good) and a front 7 that wouldn’t intimidate a peewee team. So all that 2000 proved is that implementing a complicated, borderline insane defense with a bunch of rookies and losers (George White not withstanding) is a really bad idea (go figure). This time around, Etcheverry has 8 years more experience and a far more talented group of players so I don’t foresee a return to the porous defense of 2000. While we are certain to see our fair share of Etcheverry’s patented crazy defensive schemes I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. At least his presence will guarantee some pressure on the QB next season… even if it means blitzing all 12 defenders.

In what’s starting to be a regular feature on the blog, the Toronto Argonauts have hired yet another former NFL Europe coach, the 4th one so far. This time it was Richard Kent who was hired as their Secondary Coach. Head coach Bart Andrus seems intent on reuniting the international force that was the Amsterdam Admirals. I wonder if Andrus’ next move will be to replace the current Argo mascot with Albert the Albatross who faithfully served the Admirals for 12 years. Seriously, how awesome a mascot is the albatross?

The Edmonton Eskimos have finalized their coaching staff. Joining the team this season will be former Rider coach Jim Daley (as Defensive Coordinator) and Jason Tucker (as receivers coach). This is despite the fact that as recently as a few days ago, Tucker publicly stated that any reports of him becoming a coach were completely false. Way to go Jason… don’t you know lies make baby Jesus cry? And to think I didn’t make fun of you when I could have. You should hang your head in shame. Oh wait… you can’t because you have a neck brace. HA!

John Murphy is leaving the Stampeders to become the new Director of Player Personnel for the Blue Bombers and he’s apparently going to have his work cut out for him. According to Mike Kelley, the Bombers currently have absolutely no scouting information to speak of thanks to his predecessors. I wonder if that is more a product of trading away all their draft picks for the last decade or of an import recruitment strategy that consisted of “sign whoever the other teams cut”.

The most entertaining bit of news this week came out of BC. Seems Buck Pierce is interested in trying his luck with the NFL. He has a workout scheduled with the Houston Texans and San Francisco, St Louis and Dallas have also expressed interest. Okay Buck… be honest with yourself for a second and tell me you honestly believe you can make it in the NFL. Your body has been blessed with the durability of soggy No Name toilet paper. Over your short CFL career you have piled up more distinct injuries than you can count on your fingers (well that is assuming they are not currently in a splint). And that was at the hands of CFL sized defenders. Seriously, I’m willing to bet if Jared Allen so much as sneezed in the direction of Buck Pierce, Pierce would instantaneously suffer 6 separate life threatening injuries.

CFL Ins and Outs

In: DB Derrick Johnson, LB Kye Stewart, DE Trumaine “Joe” Sykes (free agent signing)
While there’s a chance that one of these guys could turn out to a be great player, I find it hard to get excited about this group of signings when the best thing to be said about any of them was that Sykes was the best D-lineman in AF2. While I’m not questioning that he was indeed the best DL in that particular league, it’s just when your league consists of such reputable franchises as the Amarillo Dusters and the Charleston Swamp Foxes, I question level of play. I will rescind the previous statement if someone can find an encyclopedia with an entry on the swamp fox.

In: Ron Flemons, Cory Peoples (re-signed)
Out: Andrew Greene (cut), Byron Parker (signed with Philadelphia Eagles), PK Sam (signed with Buffalo Bills)
Apparently the Argos have entered into some sort of unofficial agreement with the NFL whereby they will take all the NFL’s washed up and otherwise rejected players and in exchange the NFL will take the few remotely talented Argo players. Another shrewd business move by Adam Rita. I’m guessing as a kid, when it came to trading sports cards, Rita got taken advantage of by the other neighbourhood children. Just a hunch.

In: Geroy Simon (signed extension), Kyle Mitchell (free agent signing)
Oh no! The mass exodus of Rider players leaving to follow Roy Shivers to BC is finally coming to fruition! Oh wait… it’s just Kyle Mitchell. I guess the exodus many predicted never materialized… unless you consider TJ Stancil and Kyle Mitchell an exodus.

In: Gavin Walls, Chris Cvetkovic, Shawn Mayne (re-signed), Tyrone Williams (free agent signing)
So I love how Mike Kelley publicly criticizes Brendan Taman and then proceeds to do the exact same things Taman did (i.e. trade draft picks and sign aging veterans cut from other teams). It will be interesting to see how Williams does this season. The question is, is he really the all-star he’s been made out to be, or is he just a marginal player who’s benefited greatly from working alongside 3 of the top linemen in the league. I’m thinking it’s the latter but who am I to say? I mean they took a chance on Nate Davis and that worked out pretty good… oh wait… awkward.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The return of Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

Well nothing much happened over the weekend so I will once again be reduced to Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts after only a one post hiatus.

Let’s see what’s in the news…

· After 8 seasons as a defensive coach for the Riders, Ron Estay is retiring. Swamp Dog will be returning home to Louisiana to be a hunting and fishing guide. After enduring many health problems this past season, Estay’s cancer is in remission and he seems to be in good enough health to enjoy his retirement. Estay is a truly inspiring individual whose presence will be missed. We wish him all the best. Word is the Riders will replace Estay with a coach with the same intensity and incomprehensible southern accent…

… Farmer Fran

· We should hopefully have an announcement this week regarding the Rider coaching vacancies. It’s expected that Gary Etcheverry will be named D-Coordinator with Dave Ritchie and Kavis Reed being named assistants. Knowing my luck the announcement will come within hours of me making this post... and will completely contradict what I just wrote.

· The Toronto Argonauts are continuing their quest to eradicate unemployment among former NFL Europe coaches. Having already hired Bart Andrus (Amsterdam Admirals) and Peter Kuharchek (Rhein Fire), they added Ron Keller (no relation to Helen) as their O-line coach who used to coach for Amsterdam as well. In keeping with their recruitment strategy, Keller has no CFL experience. The only real upside to an entire coaching staff with no CFL experience is that, given their collective unfamiliarity with the 12 man game, the odds of taking a “too many men” penalty has gotta be close to 0.

· A while back I told you that Sandro DeAngeles’ attempts to catch on with an NFL team had netted him 0 interested calls. Well teammate Burke Dales is following in Sandro’s footsteps, as he too is trying to garner NFL interest but is also not getting any calls. Based on how well their NFL attempts are going, I can picture these 2 at a bar hitting on all the hot ladies and wondering why none of them are wooed by their kicking prowess.

· I made the mistake of tuning in to the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday. Honestly the only people who seemed less interested in the competition than me were the players themselves.

· Was I the only one who thought Evgeni Malkin did not go 4 for 4 in the Accuracy Challenge? Communist conspiracy anybody?

As you can tell by the fact that I’ve been reduced to commenting on the NHL, I am quickly running out of material. Hopefully something noteworthy happens over the next few days or I may be reduced to commenting on the Australian Open (though if Bosnian and Serbian fans keep fighting after matches it may prove to be a more interesting topic than anything I’ve got).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

May LeFors Be With You

In a surprising turn of events, there has actually been some Rider/CFL news over the past few days so my string of Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts is going to come to an end. Don’t get too excited though, as all this really means is that the following post will contain thoughts that are slightly less random and only moderately more coherent.

In Rider news, hometown product Neal Hughes has re-signed with the Riders (a 2 year extension). While Hughes has been a special teams monster for the past number of years, last season he added “versatile offensive weapon” to his resume, racking up 7 combined TDs on the ground and through the air. Tillman must love negotiating with Regina guys. I mean they clearly aren’t going anywhere and as long as they're offered a remotely fair contract, they’re gonna sign. And remotely fair contracts just happen to be ET’s specialty.

The Eskimos and Blue Bombers hooked up for the first trade of the offseason. The Esks sent QB Stefan LeFors to Winnipeg for a 2nd round pick in ’09 and a conditional pick in 2010. This is a steal of a deal for Winnipeg as LeFors is a very promising young QB and it really makes me question what the Esks are thinking. They used to have two of the most promising QB prospects in the league (Jyles and LeFors) and have now traded them both away leaving Jason Maas as their only back-up. Apparently Maciocia is betting on Ricky Ray playing forever.

I also find it ironic how Mike Kelley’s first roster move since taking over for Taman was to trade their highest remaining draft pick. It seems Mike Kelley will continue the Taman style of GM-manship (I’m fully aware that this isn’t a word). My running theory is the Bombers are so used to not having draft picks that they have no scouting information or draft strategy to speak of so rather than put the time into developing one, they decided it was just easier to trade the picks away. Currently the Bombers first pick in the upcoming draft won’t occur until the 3rd round (19th overall), but I’m guess Kelley is hard at work trying to trade that one too.

Fresh off the news of this trade came word that Mike Kelley is actively trying to trade Kevin Glenn. The combination of a stable full of young QBs (including LeFors, Timmy Chang, Bryan Randall and Ryan “The Blue-Eyed Wonder” Dinwiddie) and a bad ’08 season for Glenn made this somewhat inevitable. Apparently they are working on a trade with Hamilton for Casey Printers (provided Printers agrees to a pay cut). If this trade does go through, Marcel Bellefeuille will have managed to amass a decent chunk of his old Rider offense (Kenton Keith, Charles Thomas, Kevin Glenn). I’m waiting for him to announce the signing of Jason French and Elijah Thurmon to round things out. And really, at that point, can the return of Dylan Ching be far behind?

Now on to Toronto where there never seems to be a dull day in Argo land. The logic they have shown in assembling their coaching staff is mind boggling. Now, I personally think hiring a head coach with zero CFL experience is a bit crazy but given the success Marc Trestman had last year, I won’t write off Bart Andrus just yet. However, Trestman was smart enough to surround himself with assistant coaches with considerable CFL experience. Andrus, by contrast, passed on defensive guru Dave Ritchie (and his 400+ years of experience) in favour of Peter Kuharchek (and his whopping 1 year CFL experience) as his D-coordinator. He followed that up by informing Special Teams Coach Marcello Simmons, who has been responsible for the most dangerous return game in the CFL for the past 5 years that he will not be a part of Andrus’ staff in ’09. But don’t worry because he’s keeping Offensive Coordinator Steve Buratto who has been responsible for a Toronto offense that has been terrible since… well actually it’s been terrible since they fired Kent Austin and replaced him with Buratto (go figure).

Also it seems as though Pinball Clemons days as CEO of the Argos are done. He is to be demoted to an ambassador role for the team. Basically this is a polite way for the Argos to say “You’re as popular as Paris Hilton but almost as stupid. Please go back to smiling for the cameras and selling tickets and leave the business decisions to us.” While Pinball may not have the best track record (the Joseph trade, the Stubler hiring), given how things are shaping up with Andrus calling the shots maybe Pinball wasn’t that bad after all.

Other CFL Ins and Outs

In: Barrin Simpson (re-signed)
So for the good of the team Simpson sucked it up and accepted a massive pay cut to remain employed. If a football player can grasp this concept why can’t auto workers?

In: Arland Bruce, Da’Shawn Thomas (re-signed)
Bonus points if you can name me the team that Bruce started his career with without looking it up.

*Note: Bonus points have no monetary value however the good news is this means despite the crumbling economy the points will never decrease in value.

In: QB Brad Roach, WR Marco Thomas, DT Josh Thompson (signed contracts for 2009)
Since I know nothing of either of these 3 I will continue informing you of who they are NOT related to. Brad is not related to nor associated with the band Papa Roach. Marco is not related to Marco Polo or Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas. And Josh is not related to Porl Thompson of The Cure. As far as I know.

In: Ray Mariuz, Prechae Rodriguez, Chris Davis (re-signed)
Did you realize that Rodriguez was Hamilton’s 3rd player to be the East nominee for Rookie of the Year in the past 6 years? It sure surprised me given how bad the team has been over that period. This could be a sign of strong scouting in Hamilton… or the more likely explanation is that it is a sign of a really weak East division.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Still More Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

As expected, virtually nothing is happening in the CFL, so the string of quasi coherent thoughts continues (and with free agency a month away things will get worse before they get better)

· Cameron Wake made his rumoured departure from the CFL official by signing a 4 year deal with the Miami Dolphins worth $4.9 million ($1M of which is guaranteed). The deal is the largest NFL contract ever offered to a CFL player. I guess when you’re offered a signing bonus worth more than what you’d make in the CFL over the rest of your career it’s a pretty easy decision to make.

· Barrin Simpson is apparently willing to take a pay cut to remain with the Blue Bombers. The reported deal would see Simpson have his current $180K contract cut by $65,000. The offer is essentially a choice between a pay cut and an outright cut… or as it’s more commonly referred to “the Kerry Joseph Special”

· Other players who may also be offered a Kerry Joseph Special this offseason include Casey Printers, numerous BC Lion veterans and Kerry Joseph (… Oh Why Me?!)

· According to the Prairie Dog, the definitive Rider book has yet to be written. This looks like a job for the Rider Prophet!

· Gene Makowsky and Matt Dominguez will make a guest appearance on Corner Gas tonight. By all accounts filming of their scene went well other than the fact that the production crew had to go out and buy bigger camera lenses so they could capture all of Makowsky’s massive head in one shot.

· Would somebody cover Larry Fitzgerald?! While I realize he is arguably the best receiver in the NFL right now, you’d think someone would at least make an attempt to cover him. I mean he’s only accounted for over half the Cardinals passing game and 5 postseason TDs.

· Speaking of the NFL, how rank were the hits in the Ravens/Steelers game? I was pretty sure, given that the 2 hardest hitting defenses were going head to head, there was a good chance someone was going to die (especially given the presence of ol’ stabby himself Ray Lewis). I guess someone leaving on a stretcher is close enough.

As you can tell from the filler written above, I’m in dire need of material, so if there is a topic you’d like the Rider Prophet to discuss please let me know. From sports to dating advice to discussions on the cultural impact of Kids Street… no topic is too obscure or insignificant.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

Until something big happens in the CFL I will continue to post quasi coherent thoughts on quasi noteworthy news. Where’s Tillman with a highly controversial trade when I need him?

- The CFL salary cap will remain at $4.2 million for 2009 given the slumping world economy. This is in stark contrast to the MLB where their response to a slumping economy is to even further inflate the ridiculous contracts being offered to players

- Speaking of leagues making decisions that are devoid of logic, the NHL is considering Las Vegas and the Rose Bowl as possible sites for their next Outdoor Classic where the average temperatures in January are 14 and 19 degrees Celsius respectively. What, was everything in the Dominican already booked?

- After 10 years with the Blue Bombers, GM Brendan Taman has resigned. For Bomber fans this means that the years of recklessly trading away their 1st round draft picks are hopefully over… well starting in 2010 at least, Taman had already taken the liberty of trading this year’s first rounder (for Zeke Moreno). Guess he gets the last laugh after all.

- The Argos officially named Bart Andrus as their new Head Coach. Andrus was quick to address concerns with his lack of CFL experience: “I've always watched the game," he said. "I've got friends that coach in the league." That may be Mr. Andrus, but I have friends who are in the medical field and I have watched a few brain surgeries on TV but I don’t feel as though that qualifies me to do it myself.

- Cam Wake is continuing his circuit of NFL tryouts. This week he was in Miami adding the Dolphins to a list of interested suitors that already includes Tennessee, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Minnesota, and Denver. At this rate the odds of Wake returning to the CFL in 2009 are roughly equivalent to the odds of the Detroit Lions winning Super Bowl XLIV.

- One CFLer the NFL is apparently not interested in is Sandro DeAngeles. Despite making his interest in heading south quite well known, Sandro has yet to receive a single call from an NFL team. Part of me hopes the NFL spurns him completely so his ego can get taken down a peg or 2. Another part of me hopes someone does sign him only to issue a press release the next day saying the DeAngeles signing announcement was an error, they meant to say Luca Congi.

- Jason Tucker is set to become the new receivers coach in Edmonton. Media Consultant has advised me that any joke or irreverent comment about a broken neck would fall under the “too soon” category so I will limit my commentary on this story to “Congrats Jason” and move on.

- However since I can’t go a whole post without some irreverent commentary how about this one… Trevis Smith was granted full parole after serving just 2 years of his 6 year sentence. My only question is, since Canada is deporting a known spreader of HIV to the US, does this count as biological warfare?

CFL Ins and Outs

In: Johnny Quinn, Brandon “Bam” Childress (signed for 2009)
How exactly do you manage to get your nickname included in the official press release for your signing?

In: Kevin Eiben (re-signed), Jordan Younger (free agent signing)
So in the end Younger followed the exact same path as Omarr Morgan… put in an all-star caliber season with one team, follow it up with a mediocre at best season with the Eskimos, get released and return to the first team. This pattern certainly bodes well for the Eskimos future ability to recruit high profile DBs.

Out: Jeff Piercy (retired)
Piercy will be pursuing his MBA at Oxford. The man is clearly very intelligent, as evidenced by his unwillingness to return to the Hamilton Ti-Cats.

In: Daryl Stephenson (re-signed)
Daryl’s bio on is blank… if they can’t find something worth posting about him, why should I?

In: CB Blue Adams, LB Ramon Guzman, WR Frantz Hardy, DT Martavius Prince (signed for 2009)
Prince is clearly wasting a quality name on football when it is better suited for life as a gladiator or Roman conqueror. Also, upon some research, Ramon Guzman is not related to former Blue Jay pitcher Juan Guzman, nor is he related to former wrestler Razor Ramon, Spanish con conquistador Leo Guzman, Dutch muay thai fighter Ramon Dekker or any of the Ramones (you know, in case you were wondering).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The Dreaded Lull

As expected, last week's flurry of CFL activity has led to an inevitable lull this week. As such I present a series of Random Quasi-Coherent Thoughts
  • Dave Ritchie is apparently meeting with the Riders today to discuss our vacant D Coordinator position. While I would love to have Ritchie on our team, the combination of him, Ken Miller and Alex Smith would give our coaching staff an average age that would put most nursing homes to shame. When reading next’s year’s annual statement expect an increase in operating expense that can be attributed to increased spending on Geritol, prune juice and seasons of Matlock on DVD.
  • Richie Hall has offered Alex Smith a coaching job in Edmonton. Now before you all start volunteering to pay for his airfare, remember that our highly regarded linebackers are coached by… Alex Smith. While I admit his special teams blocking schemes show the imagination of a can of pickled beets, Smith is still a valued member of our coaching staff (is that statement as awkward to read as it was to write?).
  • While many consider the CFL a “joke league”, a quick look around the sporting world shows that comparatively speaking we’re not that bad. I mean we could have the biting and Friday Night Sissy Fights of the NHL, the self inflicted gun wounds of the NFL or the contract offers larger than the GDP of most industrialized nations of the MLB.
  • Word is Eric Tillman is poised to offer Kavis Reed a job as our DB coach. Eric Tillman has a very unique recruiting strategy… look for really crappy teams and swoop the few decent people they have. He started with Hamilton (Flick, Boreham, Justin, Smith) and has now moved in to Toronto (Miller, LaPolice, Morley, January, Mitchell). ET’s like the vulture of the CFL, he waits until he see’s a fellow creature in peril and then swoops in and picks off anything that might be useful to him.
  • Speaking of coaches, the Oakland Raiders are interested in Marc Trestman for their vacant head coaching spot. Trestman was the offensive coordinator in Oakland during their last Super Bowl appearance… while you have to respect Trestman’s coaching ability after his success last season, I hope the Raiders do hire him… if for no other reason so that I no longer have to look at his creepy alien-like face.
  • Tennessee Titans offensive coach Bart Andrus is now rumoured to be the front runner to be the Argos next head coach. Andrus (unlike pretty much all other potential candidates) seems to be interested in the position and the terms of the deal need to be reached. In laymen’s terms, that means Andrus knows he’s in a strong bargaining position and has informed the Argos they need to pay up.
  • Was there a more disgraceful display this weekend than that of the Carolina Panthers? After watching Jake Delhomme utterly self destruct all I can say to Panther fans is I know your pain.
  • In the least surprising news of the offseason, defensive beast Cam Wake is poised to jump to the NFL. In all, 12 teams have expressed interest with the Tennessee Titans offering the most lucrative deal to date (310K per season plus a signing bonus in excess of $500K). I think O-linemen from around the league will join in my rejoice at Wake’s eventual departure.
  • Other CFLers trying their luck down south include Fred Stamps (Houston), Maurice Mann, and Jermaine McElveen (Tampa Bay). There is also rumoured to be interest in Brandon Browner, Sandro DeAngeles and Dominique Dorsey. The one thing all these names have in common… none of them are Riders!

CFL Ins and Outs


In: Kelly Malveaux (re-signed)

Out: Anthony Malbrough (released)

I’m glad they are getting rid of one of them. Given how similar their names sound, it got hard to figure out which grossly overrated defensive back the commentators were referring to.


Out: Kenny Wheaton (released)

The Argos released Wheaton only a few weeks after sending him a letter saying they would honour his 2009 contract… and yet they wonder why they are having so many problems finding people interested in working for their organization.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rider Prophet Exclusive!

Take this for what it’s worth but my sources indicate that Anton McKenzie has verbally agreed to a new deal with the Riders.

I’m not sure when this will be made official, but just remember: you heard it here first (...unless for some reason this turns out to be false in which case forget you ever heard it here)

CFL News – Coaching and Signings

Since coming back from the Christmas break there has been a flurry of Rider and CFL news. I personally wish they’d spread things out a bit more, as I’m sure the large amount of news now is a sign of a very slow few weeks in the near future. Ah well, I'm not above posting meaningless crap to fill the gaps.

There is no more comedic saga than the Argos search for a new head coach. The normal process for filling a coaching vacancy is to create a shortlist of potential candidates who are interested in the job, interview those candidates, and hire the best one. The Argos, however, have taken a much different approach. They started by creating a shortlist not of people who were interested but rather people who were either out of their league or just generally not interested in coaching in Toronto (i.e. Packers QB coach Tom Clements, former Giants coach Jim Fassel and former Rider coach Danny Barrett). When they realized that no one on their shortlist wanted the job (nor had they even applied), they actually took a step in the right direction by interviewing BC defensive coordinator Mike Benevides. Problem is, even though he interviewed, Benevides came to the same conclusion as the other “candidates”… I don’t want to coach in Toronto. Honestly the Argos can’t give this job away. At this point Media Consultant would like me to mention that his cell phone is on and he is willing to entertain offers. Word is the Argos have 3 candidates remaining (all of whom are currently employed in the US). My sources indicate the list used to contain 4 names but then someone pointed out that Vince Lombardi is dead… and even if he wasn’t he probably still wouldn’t be too interested in the Argos.

In other coaching news, Greg Marshall has been hired by Hamilton as their Defensive Coordinator. Finally, a good move by the Ti-Cats. Marshall has done a good job with the Winnipeg defense over the past 4 years and I’m willing to bet the Ti-cats D will improve under his guidance. Though I guess to be fair, pretty much anyone is a huge step up from Denny Creeehan.

Former Ti-Cat coach Charlie Taaffe has been hired by the Central Florida Knights as their new Offensive Coordinator. Taaffe must feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I mean after a couple years of trying to work with the disgraceful Ti-cats, even a remotely talented college team will be almost euphoric for him.

Now for some CFL Ins and Outs

In: Lance Frazier, Renauld Williams, Darian Durant, Belton Johnson (re-signed)
Out: Jimmy Verdon (retired)
All 4 of these signings are good news for the Riders. Durant is an intelligent QB and the favourite to win the starters role in ’09, Belton came from relative obscurity to become a very solid tackle and important part of our O-line, Frazier is a very talented HB (even overcoming often being paired with James Johnson) and Williams won a defensive player of the week award last year as a back-up so that tells you something about his talent level. So all you doom and gloomers out there can calm down a bit. All our players are not leaving to follow Richie to Edmonton or to chase big $ out East or to retire from football to go live the life of a nomadic gypsy and participate in secret underground cults… unless of course you believe that’s why Verdon retired.
Out: Jamal Johnson (signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
This will certainly add fuel o the fire that Mo Lloyd may be BC-bound. The Lions’ are down to one remaining starting LB from last year (Javier Glatt, who they are thinking of moving to outside LB) and have been busy paring down their payroll. I’m not saying it’s a certainty but it appears the wheels are in motion. And you know what they say, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and smells like a duck… shoot it and serve it for dinner (and what that has to do with football, I have no idea).

Also, BC has made a 2 year contract extension offer to Stephan Logan. While this was a no brainer move by the Lions, Logan is taking his time in responding as he is hoping to catch on in the NFL. He’s already worked out with the Steelers and has a couple more workouts scheduled. Normally I would say his size would hinder his chances but given the emergence of Darren Sproles, teams are no longer so quick to dismiss the vertically challenged.

Did you know Darren Sproles was once on the Riders negotiation list? If only hey?

In: Jonte Buhl (re-signed)
Out: Kelly Campbell (signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jordan Younger, Tim Bakker (released)

So in ’07 Esks go out and acquire Omarr Morgan for top $ (at the time probably the top CB on the market), one year later they dump him after a bad season. In ’08 they trade for Jordan Younger (again one of the most coveted CBs at the time) only to also dump him a year later after a bad season. I wonder if Richie can end this cycle of acquiring, ruining and spitting out once great DBs… barring that I wonder if Richie would be interested in trading for his former Grey Cup MVP DB James Johnson. Come-on Richie… Please?

In: Jamel Richardson (signed 4 year extension), Josh Bourke (re-signed)
Richardson turned down a contract offer from the Minnesota Vikings (as well as interest form the Seahawks, 49ers and Buccaneers) and opted to stay in Montreal. At first glance this seems crazy given the $300K+ contract the NFL would have offered, but it boils down to job security. In Montreal Jamel is the star receiver and his roster spot is all but locked up. In Minnesota (or any NFL team for that matter) there are no guarantees and he would just be one of a number of guys competing for a spot.

In: Nick Setta (re-signed)
Wow first they sign a decent D-Coordinator and then ink one of the league’s best punters… that’s 2 good moves within a week. The Ti-cats should pull a George Costanza and leave on a high note before they do anything to ruin things.

In: Brian Ramsey, Scott Evans, Brandon Joyce (re-signed)
Oh Adam Rita… it’s this kind of logic that has gotten the Argos into the gong show in which they are currently entwined. Last year the Argo O-line was among the absolute worst in the League (just ask Kerry Joseph). So clearly the key to turning the once great Argos around is to keep as much of that terrible O-line together as possible… the gong show continues.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Welcome to 2009

While the end of December may be considered the happiest time of the year, the start of January is the polar opposite. We’ve gone from:
  • Getting presents from loved ones to getting bills from the mail man
  • Wassailing (good word) with friends and family to begrudgingly returning to your dead end job and annoying co-workers.
  • Delighting at all the delicious food on the table to agonizing over the fat lardo you now see in the mirror.
  • Relishing the joy in the children’s faces when they open your gifts to wanting to rip the batteries out that damn noisy piece of crap and smash it into little tiny pieces.
But fortunately for you, the Rider Prophet is here to offer temporary distraction from this hell we call the New Year

There was a surprisingly large amount of news over the holidays to catch up on so I will do so in point form (yes I am too lazy to put the effort into forming coherent sentences and paragraphs but what do you expect on my first day back)

- Bob Wylie is expected to be named as our new O-line coach. Wylie spent last season as Winnipeg’s O-line coach. Now this fact should be cause for alarm but Wylie has a strong track record as an O-line coach including some time in the NFL. So although he may be slightly tainted from his time in Winnipeg, it’s nothing a good delousing can’t fix.

- Dave Ritchie and Gary Etcheverry appear to be the front runners to replace Richie Hall as defensive coordinator. I’m leaning towards Richie which would be great news for our defense… there are few DC’s around that are of the same calibre as Hall but Dave Ritchie is definitely one of them. It would also make things easier on me as I could continue to refer to our DC as Richie (I’m lazy what can I say).

- 17 Riders are poised to become free-agents. This list is as follows: Jamie Boreham, Tristan Clovis, Darian Durant (who has already agreed to a new contract), D.J. Flick, Lance Frazier, Scott Gordon, Sean Lucas, Neal Hughes, Mike McCullough, Anton McKenzie, Maurice Lloyd, Belton Johnson (who has also agreed to a new deal), Gene Makowsky, Steve Morley, Mike Abou-Mechrek, Jeremy O’Day and Renauld Williams. Wow, most of our O-line and any linebacker not named Yannick set to hit the free-agent market… yup Tillman certainly loves to keep things interesting.

- One free agent in particular is the hottest topic in Riderville… Mo Lloyd. Now the Riders have made a significant 6 figure offer to Lloyd but he has yet to respond. While many see this as a sure sign that Lloyd is skipping town, all this really means is that Lloyd wants to wait until Feb 15 to see what other teams are willing to offer before deciding… it’s business plain a simple. Though I do find it humourous how in a few weeks time Lloyd went from being seen by the fans as the heart and soul of our defense to an outspoken, me-first player we don’t want back anyway... when nothing at all has happened.

- Congrats to Kent Austin and the Ole Miss Rebels for upsetting Texas Tech to win the Cotton Bowl… with an offensive scheme that I found oddly familiar.

- Speaking of College football… after seeing this year’s list of bowl games I say that Americans have no right to bash the CFL playoffs where pretty much everyone gets in. How is college football any different? What where there like 72 bowl games!? Actually there were 34 but they are looking at adding 5 more next year. I guess only having 68 teams play in bowl game wasn’t enough for the NCAA.

- With such prestigious bowls as the Chick-A-Fil Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl and Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, I’ve decided that next year I will sponsor 2 of my own college bowl games: the “Rider Prophet Bowl” and the “Everyone Stupid Enough To Watch This Is A Douche Bag Bowl”… from what I hear the NCAA is very interested in this proposal.

Finally, I’ll end with CFL Ins and Outs

In: Otis Floyd (free agent signing)
Hmm... Knowlton and now Otis Floyd… Hamilton is running out of room to steal all our linebackers like some had predicted.

In: Calvin McCarty, Kevin Challenger (re-signed)
For me the re-signing of McCarty is a strong indication that Jesse Lumsden will indeed become an Eskimo. Last season Hamilton had ratio problems when Lumsden played. When he subbed out for his Import back-up, Hamilton had to juggle their O-line. Given that the Esks already have a Canadian feature back they won’t have this same problem. Plus, Lumsden’s fragility won’t be an issue in Edmonton as they only run the ball 3 times a game and that’s about on pace with how many carries Lumsden can handle per season.

In: OL Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, RB Jonathan Lapointe and WR Darnerien McCants (signed for 2009)
While I know relatively little about Darnerien McCants (other than he’s played in the NFL as well as a brief stint with Hamilton) but if I were a GM I would shy away from a guy with the last name McCants… just seems like he has a preordained fate… as evidenced by the fact that he wasn’t good enough for Hamilton.

Out: Chuck Winters (retired)
Yet another news story out of Toronto that the rest of country could care less about… Go figure.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Well I've been on holidays for over a week now and I've come to the conclusion that I need a vacation from my holidays. There's just been so many occasions to celebrate over the last little while that I'm starting to get worn out. I mean what with the December Solstice, the First Day of Hanukah, Festivus (where I aired many a grievance), Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Full Moon, Sunday, the Last Day of Hanukah, the Feast of Maximum Occupancy and New Year's Eve...

Anyway, just to let you know Monday Morning Sentimonies will return on Monday (go figure) when I resume regular posting. Until then enjoy nursing your Christmas hangover.