We are in the midst of the dreaded January lull in the CFL. February brings us free agency, March brings us Evaluation Camp, May brings us the Draft, June begins training camp. But January seems to offer us nothing but snow, cold weather, disappointing international hockey performances and a tiring media infatuation with Tom Brady (look we all know that his unequalled football accomplishments, dashing good looks, boat loads of money and super model wife make him better than pretty much every man on earth… there’s no need to continually cram it down our throats).
But as always I will do my best to spin the few shreds of CFL news that surface into something that loosely resembles a coherent post. Unfortunately for you my “best” isn’t all that good.
Hopefully by next week we will get some official word on Greg Marshall’s coaching staff. It’s essentially a done deal that Richie Hall will resume his old post as Defensive Coordinator (position he’s held for most of the past decade). All signs point to Doug Berry staying on as Offensive Coordinator, (which likely means the rest of the offensive assistants such as Dyce are safe).
The most exciting news is that all signs point to Jim Daley not returning. As nice as a guy as Jim Daley may, he compensates by being a terrible, terrible, terrible coach. Short of a Ken Miller spending too much time with a bottle of scotch, I can think of no reason why he was hired in the first place so it’s good to see us willing to quickly close that sad chapter of Rider history.
As good of news as that is, I’m not exactly enamoured with his rumoured replacement. It would be nearly impossible to find a coach as terrible as Daley but it seems we aren’t setting our sights too much higher. The heir apparent is rumoured to be Steve Buratto. Like Daley he was a Rider coach back in the day. Like Daley has been in the league for many years in various capacities. Like Daley he hasn’t exactly excelled at any of them. And like Daley he has been repeatedly fired/demoted for poor performance. The only difference is that Buratto has actually enjoyed some success in his career (even though it was relatively brief). I’m not sure if the Riders have recently adopted a new quota requiring our special teams coach to have at least a decade worth of poor performance in the CFL but I see Buratto as nothing more than a very tiny step up from Daley.
While other teams are bringing in bright, young, new coaches to run their special teams, we seem to be content with resurrecting loser coaches of years gone by. I wonder if it has something to do with Ken Miller’s network of contacts being limited to those people who still use a rolodex (which pretty much eliminates anyone under the age of 55 from contention).
I’m sure Gary Etcheverry can see the writing on the wall and will likely be moving on. No word yet on whether Nelson Martin or Mike Schepper will be retained. Though there is word that the Riders are interested in Bomber DL coach Richard Harris so odds aren’t good for the current defensive assistants.
Here are a few other things going on around the CFL
- Corey Chamblain has been hired as Hamilton’s new DC. I was actually hoping we would sign Chamblain so I’ll be interested to see how he fares in his new role.
- Joe Womack has also joined the Ti-Cats as an Assistant GM.Writing was on the wall for this as he and Miller never really saw eye to eye.
- Jonathan Hefney’s negotiations with the Bombers don’t seem to be going well. He recently made comments on twitter about their offer being a slap in the face and that he would never play for that kind of money. That likely means he’ll be testing the free agency waters. Though if a big pay day is what he’s after it pretty much rules out the Tillman-ran Esks as an option.
- Chad Owens is in contract negotiations with the NY Jets. Only thing holding negotiations up seems to be Owens needing to get his cursing/trash talk levels up to team standards before they will commit to him.
- It’s pretty much a guarantee that Emmanuel Acreneaux will be headed for the NFL, he just needs to decide what team he wants to sign with.
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DL John Bowman, LS Martin Bedard (contract extension), DL Mike Labinjo (trade with Stamps)
Out: WR Andrew Hawkins (signed with St. Louis Rams), OL Skip Seagraves (retired)
Hawkins continues the baffling trend of players who accomplished relatively little in the CFL managing to catch on in the NFL.
In: DB Brandon Stewart (contact extension)
Good for him.
In: K Noel Prefontaine, WR Jermaine Copeland (contract extension)
Copeland is getting up there in years so many wondered if retirement was coming but given that his offense doesn’t really pass the ball, Copeland could likely play until he’s 50 under these conditions.
In: P Chris BodnarEric Tillman continues his epic task of rebuilding the Esks’ non-existent Canadian content.