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.