Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Training Camp Begins

Previously on the Rider Prophet blog: Prophet was praising the performance of Vaalyn Jackson and looking forward to his participation in main camp; discussing Jonathan St-Pierre and his eventual replacing of O’Day; and denouncing Aaron Waldie’s football talent and calling for his release. See what he has in store this week…

Admittedly much of my Friday post has been rendered irrelevant or flat out wrong based by the time main camp opened Sunday morning. Vaalyn Jackson was cut, a new O’Day heir was appointed and Waldie has proven to have some tangible football skill. I could try and provide an explanation but a) that would require effort on my part and b) you likely wouldn’t believe in anyway. So let’s just agree to put this behind us and move on.

Following training camp the Riders made a few moves to finalize their roster for main camp: Vaalyn Jackson was cut (evidently I didn’t stay at camp long enough to see him so worn out and gassed that he could barely keep participating in drills. His conditioning was apparently not that good); Aaron Love was cut (he just wasn’t that good); Ryan Lucas was “cut” (he is still in town and will likely stay “cut” until his hammy heals). The final rookie camp victim was a veteran (it’s not a good sign when you get cut following a camp you didn’t have to participate in). David McKoy was cut thus ending a 3 year stint with the Riders where his only tangible accomplishment with the team was challenging the Nathan Hoffart record for time spent on the injury list. McKoy had great potential but was always hurt… the only thing I don’t get about the move is why we put up with 3 years lost to injury only to cut him when he finally got healthy enough to make it back onto the game day roster.

The Riders also gave Jocelyn Frenette his annual short term holiday by placing him on the inactive list. They do this every year because Frenette contributes only 2 things to this team, he long snaps and he fakes injury after defensive TDs. The coaches already know that he is among the tops in the league at both of these functions and don’t really need to evaluate him in camp so they fill the spot with somebody they actually need to evaluate. It’s a good deal for Frenette. Ike Squared was also placed on the inactive list while his separated shoulder heals. Hopefully he heals quickly so he can continue his attempt to become the first Rider Prophet endorsed player to accomplish something.

The Riders also made a surprise move just before main camp opened by shipping Jonathan St-Pierre to Toronto for Obed Cetoute. Ever since we drafted him JSP has been pegged as the next O’Day, which is high praise. To illustrate their faith in the young centre, we signed him to a 4 year deal that was said to be one of the richest Canadian rookie contracts ever. Evidently though the coaches don’t feel he has been progressing enough to be ready to step in. Also playing into this decision was the emergence of another young centre who has been progressing… Nick Hutchins. To illustrate, St-Pierre and Hutchins showed up in town at the same time. St-Pierre never set foot on the field, Hutchins managed to log some game time early in the year despite being 4 years younger than JSP. It’s clear who the coaches favour and since we are not short on OL it only makes sense to trade someone who is not needed.

As for the return, it’s tough to say at this point. Though we have 4 amazing Canadian WRs, offseason departures of Nicolson and McKoy leave us with no back-ups should god forbid one of the big 4 get hurt. That said Cetoute is a risky prospect. He’s a big receiver who has looked good in this limited playing time… but he has a history of injury including missing all of last season. So on the heels of shipping out one injury prone receiver we seem to have acquired another one which would seem to be a bit puzzling. Not to me… in a year where we have celebrating history and traditions how could they possibly abandon the longstanding tradition of having a drafted Canadian receiver occupy our 9 game?… it’s a part of our heritage people.

Training Camp continues today as the team gets ready for our first preseason game on Sunday. That will be when we truly see who does and does not have it.

Around the CFL…

- Bryan Chui has finally retired. Though the timing is odd, after 13 seasons it’s hardly unexpected. This will be a big loss for the Als and will also open the flood gates for the rest of their old guys (Calvillo, Cahoon, etc…) to finally retire as well. Als fans better enjoy this season because next year when half the team retires things could get ugly. On the positive side for Als fans the cut Cody Pickett... that’s gotta be a plus.

-This is apparently the year of the unexpected retirement as in addition to Chui, Brett Ralph, Jon Comiskey and Gibram Hamdan have also abruptly retired. Well you can add one more to the list as Jesse Newman also unexpectedly retired. The Stamps are denying that there is trouble in their locker room even though there have already been 4 unexpected retirements from the team including a couple young Canadians. They are also denying that they are in serious trouble with their Canadian talent and O-line despite the fact that they have lost 6 Canadian starters from last year and been reduced to looking to the recently un-retired Dan Comiskey and the 380+ pounder Matt Sheridan as legitimate starters along their O-line. They way they keep denying that they have a problem has me thinking that Hufnagel has adopted the George Costanza philosophy that it’s not a lie if you believe it.

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