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.