Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: I'm Back

The Rider Prophet is officially a married man. Saturday, me and Mrs. Prophet were wed. In what may shock many of you the ceremony was devoid of shotguns and was not performed by someone in an Elvis costume (either the church is cool with this whole blasphemous prophet thing I do or they just don't have the internet yet). Most importantly it didn't involve any major injuries or hospital visits... though there was a close call during an ill advised decision to let one of the groomsmen lift me up on his shoulders.

But now, it's back to normal. And what perfect timing as rookie camp opens on Wednesday. I'm an pumped. I would say that I'm almost as excited for CFL football to start again as I was for my wedding but since I know that Mrs. Prophet reads this, I will instead say that I'm as excited for the start of football as the wedding guests were for the toonie bar.

I'll be headed down to camp on Wednesday to get my first football fix and to check out this year's new recruits. I'll post some comments on Wednesday.

While I've been off doing this wedding stuff, there have been a few funny stories around the league. The biggest was of course the Sandro DeAngelis saga. First he got cut from Hamilton. While the timing was somewhat surprising the move hardly is as the Ticats were paying way too much money to miss FGs and piss off the locker room. What was hilarious thought was Sandro blaming his struggles on the fact that he was busy doing home renos last season. Look unless you Chris Szarka yourself, there is no excuse for not performing your job well because you were working on your house. A doctor can't get away with saying "Sorry I botched your knee surgery, I' was up late painting my den."

The story then got better as Sandro was picked up fairly quickly by the Als. The same Als who used their first round pick this year to draft a kicker. The same Als who traded next year's first rounder to BC for another kicker. So basically Montreal could end up blowing 2 first rounders on kickers that never end up playing for them. That makes me wonder if Danny Maccicocia has been hired as a behind the scenes advisor for the Als.

It's great to be back and let's all get jacked for the start of the 2011 season!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Tuesday Afternoon Edition

My apologies for not posting anything yesterday, I did have plans on posting something but then again I also have plans on exercising more, scaling back my drinking and making more money and those haven’t exactly translated into action yet either.

Please accept my apologies as this is a super busy couple weeks for me and posting will likely be brief and somewhat sparse until the end of the month.  I have 3 major things all converging at the same time. The big one is that I’m getting married at the end of the month. For some reason, the future Mrs. Prophet doesn’t seem to think “I need to type up some irreverent commentary for my free internet blog” is an acceptable excuse to get out of wedding planning, nor is the florist willing to accept payment in the form of Rider Prophet merchandise. In addition we are currently doing some home renos.

On top of that, I am currently doing some work on the upcoming 2011 launch for Fantas-Eh Football. For those of you who don’t know about Fantas-Eh yet, it is the first and only Canadian Fantasy Football site and you should definitely check it out. They have enlisted yours truly as their resident fantasy expert and we are hard at work developing the first ever Canadian fantasy draft package (it’s a lot of work converting all those statistics into metric!). Be sure to check out their official launch this weekend.

So unfortunately with all this going on, you, my faithful readers have dropped down my priority list. It’s nothing personal, but unless any of you are willing to help make bows out of ribbon, drywall my downstairs bathroom, or calculate how many meters Cory Boyd ran for last year, you’ll just have to accept your reduced importance. I assure you it’s only a temporary thing… with the exception of Man in the Bush whose importance has been permanently downgraded (and that one is personal).

In June, once all this has cleared up and training camp is up and going things will get back to normal as we ramp up for our 5th exciting season of football coverage here at Rider Prophet Media.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Round-Up

With the 2011 draft in the books the rest of this week teams were sifting through the scraps that remained undrafted non-import players looking for a diamond in the rough. The Riders grabbed LB Peter Thiel (a Regina boy) and DB Daryl Townsend. At this point, they are likely no more than training camp bodies that will end up getting cut beofre we get to know much about them. But then again the same was said of Joel Lipinski and Stu Foord and they managed to stick so you never know.

Speaking of grabbing undrafted players, as I predicted during the Live Draft Day Blogging, Eric Tillman did indeed end up signing QB Marc Mueller. Just like when ET drafted Teale Orban in 2008 because we "thought he had a legitimate chance". The fans loved it, the media went crazy, he made a token appearance to appease the crowd and was promptly dumped and never spoken of again. Expect a similar storyline for Mueller.

Odd fact about the CFL Draft. Of the 11 1st overall picks between 2000 and 2010, 6 have played for the Riders. 3 were drafted (Tyson St James, Scott Schultz, Shomari Williams) and 3 were either signed later or traded for (Alexander Gauthier, Steve Morley, Wayne Smith). And two of the remaining 5 picks who didn't play for the Riders went to university here in Saskatchewan  (Chris Bauman, Dylan Barker).

That's all i got for today. I'll see you on Monday, Have a good weekend... or don't (It's your choice and quite frankly I don't care)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Thoughts On The Draft

Well the CFL Draft went down yesterday. Thanks to those of you who took part. In the words of Media Consultant I would congratulate myself on a job done.

Let’s get down to analysing how the Riders faired.
-          The Riders started the day by trading their 1st rounder to the Argos for a 2nd and 4th round pick. They were likely waiting to see if one of the top receivers would fall to 7th and when they didn’t they traded down.
-          In the 2nd round they drafted DB Craig Butler (no relation to Rocky) and OL Matt O’Donnell. Butler is seen as someone who can step in immediately and help out on special teams as well as likely back up at safety. It’s not a pick that jumps of the page at you but it fills a need and should have an immediate impact which at the end of the day is what you want out of your top pick. As for O’Donnell he might take a bit longer to make an impact but the potential to insert a 6’10 Canadian giant into your OL may be worth waiting for. His footwork and technique will need work but size like that can’t be taught. It remains to be seen whether he can hold his own at tackle in the big leagues or whether (like Patrick Kabongo) he’ll need to shifted inside.
-          We had no third rounds picks because we traded the 2 we had in order to get Michael Bishop and Prechae Rodriguez. The sad thing about that is I can’t even say it seemed like a good idea at the time.
-          In the 4th we took another OL, Alexander Kransnick- Groh (who is going to need a nickname if he plans on sticking around since saying and typing his name is far too complicated).He’s not the physical specimen that O’Donnell is but he’s played centre and has long snapped and that’s about as much as you can expect from a 4th round OL pick.
-          We also grabbed kicker Christopher Milo which is a great use of a 4th round pick. If Milo has a good camp he very well could end up being our place kicker until Congi is healthy. Apparently he hit a 58 yarded during a workout with the Riders and that alone places him ahead of Keane on the depth chart.
-          In the 6th round we picked up RB Kyle Exume. At first glance I wasn’t really sure we needed another Cdn RB but according to Coach Marshall he is an outstanding special teams player and lord knows we could use all the help we can get there. That said I don’t expect a 6th rounder to crack our roster.
-          We traded the 2nd last pick in the draft to Edmonton for FB Graeme Bell. Again a move likely aimed at shoring up our special teams. This will make things interesting though since at least 2 of Szarka, Hughes, Bell, Foord and Exume will not make the roster.

All and all I’d say the Riders had a good draft. We didn’t need to make the high profile picks in order to fill our needs. At least it was more entertaining than in 2009 when it was Tamon George, Nick Hutchins and that’s a wrap within 10 minutes.

Other random thoughts on the draft:
-          This was the year of the trade. Over half the picks in the draft traded hands at least once.
-          I apparently jumped to conclusions too early about the mental stability of Wally Buono. I openly questioned his sanity for taking yet another kicker in the draft. Well it turns out he had already cut a deal to trade Sean Whyte to Montreal for a 1st round pick in 2012 so taking Hugh O’Neil was a good choice for him.
-          It does make me question Jim Popp’s sanity though. Trading for Whyte was an okay move since the only kicker they currently have is American. But they also used this year’s first rounder on a kicker, Brody McKnight. McKnight has a year of college left and is said to be good enough to maybe be an NFL kickoff specialist. So Popp used 2 first round picks on 2 kickers, one of which he might never see. That’s bordering on Maccioccia crazy.
-          While we are on the topic of Sean Whyte I feel the need to speak out about the praise being heaped towards Buono and Whyte for spending so many years developing him. We are talking about kickers, at this level either you have it or you don’t. Luca Congi and Rob Maver walked on day 1 and played like pros. You should not need the better part of a decade to groom a kicker, nor should anyone be praised for doing so. Shit or get off the pot.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

4th Annual Live Draft Day Blogging

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Update: Riders take a Leak

What a great week this has been! It started off with news that the US has finally found (and killed) Osama Bin Laden. Word is the CIA will now turn their attention to finding Nicole Brown-Simpson’s killer. It was also a good week because after endless mind numbingly silent weeks this week was actually fairly full of football news. Training camp is only a month away and teams are busy making final adjustments to their rosters and getting ready for the draft.

In Rider news, the team signed former Alouette QB Chris Leak. The jury is still out on Leak. He has all the college accolades and all the tools/potential… but when given the chance to start last year he looked as out of place and unsuccessful as the Coyotes do in Phoenix. That said I’m not about to write him off based on one showing. Let’s bring him to camp and see if he’s worth the hype or just another Todd Reesing. The one thing he has going for him that I like is that whole “not being Ryan Dinwiddie” thing.

The draft is only 2 days away and despite the general consensus that OL Scott Mitchell would be the #1 pick, the Bombers seemed poised to select LB Henoc Muamba instead. Now Muamba is a very talented player and would be a solid addition to the Bombers (though to be fair any Canadian would be an improvement to their piss poor non-import group) but the risk is that Muamba could do what Cory Greenwood did last year after the Argos used a high pick on him and bolt for the NFL (assuming those greedy bastards ever decide to play again). Unless the Bombers managed to do like the Riders did last year with Shomari and agreed to terms with him before making the pick official.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out...which is all the more reason to check out my 4th Annual Live Draft Day Blogging. What I lack in knowledge and analysis, I make up for in... well I can’t think of a way to finish that sentence that isn’t mostly lies.

The BC Lions have released ecstasy tycoon Yonus Davis. Evidently Buono didn’t believe that there were plenty of logical explanations for having 67 pounds of ecstasy any more than the cops did.

Speaking of released, the Esks released Jared Zebransky (because he really wasn’t very good) and Kamau Incompleterson (because to this day no one can figure out how a receiver as crappy as Kamau ever managed to become the league’s top Canadian). Many people thought that Tillman would work similar magic with the Esks that he worked with the Riders in ’07... the sheer number of people he has had to cut this offseason should be an indication that ET didn’t walk in to anywhere close to as good a situation in Edmonton as he did here.

The lesson here is never take a job where the primary duty is cleaning up the mess created by Danny Maccioccia

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Draft Day Approacheth

After what has seemed like eternity, there will finally be an actual occurrence in the CFL. Five, long excruciating months have gone by since our last taste of football (which was a bitter taste to boot). It’s gotten so bad that I’ve been working on a plan to teach a bunch of monkeys how to play the game... I assumed their ability to fling poo would translate into an ability to throw a football... I was very wrong. Of course then I had a bunch of monkeys that i needed to do something with but it was nothing a few monkey knife fights couldn’t fix.

Wow, did I ever get off an a tangent there. Back to football.

Sunday is the CFL Canadian Draft, as usual I will be providing live coverage with my 4th Annual Live Draft Day Blogging. Follow along with the Prophet as he tries to sound coherent far too early on a Sunday morning. Sadly, since no one else in Canada other than Duane Forde knows anything about the draft, I still rank among the leading draft experts in the country... in spite of my lack of coherency. My coverage will start whenever the draft starts (I honestly haven`t checked when that is yet) and will end either when the draft ends or a Sunday morning cartoon comes on that I find more interesting.

The Riders` picks are as follows: Round 1 (7th overall), Round 2 (15th overall), Round 4 (30th), Round 6 x 2 (40th and 46th).

It`s actually an extremely large amount of picks by comparison to the past couple years. I guess hiring a head coach who doesn`t require a nap half way through the draft has some advantages.
The Riders will (and should) be targeting an OL with their top pick. Even with the retirement of O`day our O-line still rivals most mall walking groups in terms of average age. Geno will likely be retiring come December (though I`ve been thinking that for years now) so acquiring a young OL prospect is extremely important.

The Riders can go one of 2 routes with an OL pick. They can select a guy like Matt O`Donnell who will be available immediately. Or (since we are not in dire need of OL just yet) they could select guys like Tyler Holmes or Moe Petrus who still have a year of college left. It is slightly riskier to select someone you have to wait a year for since you don`t know for sure what their status will be in a year but with the players we currently have the Riders are in a good position to be patient.

As for other needs that will have to be addressed with our 4 other picks. We need DBs (since Alexander is gone and Mitchell is hurt yet again) LBs (to build depth behind McCullough who isn`t getting any younger) and maybe even a DT prospect if the right one falls in our lap. I also expect Taman to use either a 4th or a 6th round pick on a kicker. I don`t think we are desperate enough to use the high draft pick it will take to land top kicking prospect Hugh O`Neil but there are a couple other solid kicker prospects (such as Chris Milo) who should fall to later rounds that I can see us taking a shot on. Justin Palardy was a 5th round pick last year and he turned out pretty good.

As always I will take a stab at predicting how the first round will go down but before I do please read my standard draft disclaimer...

The Rider Prophet is not, nor does he pretend to be, a scout or anything resembling someone that can tangibly evaluate football skill. He is merely an opinionated bigot who feels as though he can predict the future based on his highly biased view of Canadian Football and life in general. Any thoughts or predictions contained in the following may not actually be based on anything factual and are a product of the 15 minutes Prophet spent following the CIS this past season. Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any falsehoods, fabrications, fairytales or outright libel contained herein. Furthermore, Rider Prophet Media is not responsible for any injuries, sexually transmitted diseases or spontaneous combustion that results from reading this material.

Now that that is out of the way here`s how I see the first round:
1 – Winnipeg – OL Scott Mitchell
2 – Edmonton – WR Anthony Parker
3 – BC – LB Henoc Muamba
4 – Winnipeg (via Tor) – WR Nathan Coehoorn
5 – Hamilton – OL Tyler Holmes
6 – Calgary – OL Matt O`Donnell
7 – Saskatchewan – OL Moe Petrus
8 – Montreal – WR Marco Iannuzzi