Well the flurry of CFL activity this week has certainly caught me off guard. Normally CFL news is slower than a retarded turtle until February but this year there has been a steady barrage of big news pretty much since the season ended. The CFL enthusiast in me is thrilled since this will help make the offseason not seem so excruciatingly long. However, the blogger is wishing things would slow down. It’s to the point where I would have to do a daily blog just to keep current. And as you know I already struggle with posting blogs twice a week.
As a result of all this news, this is going to be a super long post. So if you want to take a break half way through and go have a nap or snack or something, be my guest. But since I know most of you will have short attention spans like me and are not likely to read this entire thing, I have placed a secret phrase in the last part of this post. Those who find the secret phrase can email to claim a prize. (I can see some of you already scrolling down to the end… that’s cheating).
The biggest news of the week was the unveiling of our coaching staff. I’ll admit I was a bit leery with Chamblin’s ability to recruit a solid staff when he started out by having Jason Maas poached on him but Chamblin has delivered in a big way with what I consider to be a very quality coaching staff. Here are my thoughts on who we got:
Bob Dyce (OC) – Dyce gets promoted from receivers coach. I don’t know much about him but am willing to see what he can do.
Kris Sweet (OL Coach) – Biggest addition to our staff in my opinion. He has done wonders with the Calgary OL when you consider how many different players and young players he has started over the past couple of year. Really excited about Sweet!
Khari Jones (QB Coach) – It’s wonderful to finally have an actual former QB to coach our current ones. Its something we have been severely lacking since ’07. Jones was in contention for OC (which I don’t think he’s god enough for yet) but I think QB coach is a perfect fit for him. I do find it ironic that after both he and Chamblin had a bad season in Hamilton as coordinators, one gets prompted while the other gets demoted.
Jason Tucker (WR Coach) – This one came out of nowhere. He was a great receiver, not sure about his ability to coach but it is nice to infuse some young new blood into the team. I do have to admit though, anyone that Danny Maciocia thinks was a good coach makes me very sceptical.
Richie Hall (DC) – Don’t particularly like this but I figured it was coming so I’ll live with it. Now sure how the supremely “bend but don’t break” philosophy of Hall will jive with a super aggressive defensive minded Head Coach but maybe it will yield positive results. My biggest knock against Richie is his refusal to make adjustments. His defense has worked for the past decade and darnit it will keep working to infinity…. Much like the shotgun handoff to Cates up the middle.
Barron Miles (DB Coach) – Next to Sweet, this is the 2nd most exciting addition. Miles was THE premiere safety in the CFL so to have him work with a young Butler and the rest of our secondary should yield great results.
Alex Smith (LB Coach) – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Smith has brought us George White, Reggie Hunt, Anton McKenzie, Mo Lloyd, Rey Williams, Sean Lucas (back before he sucked), Jerrell Freeman, and Kye Stewart. No reason not to let him keep doing his thing.
Mike Walker (DL Coach) – We currently don’t have much on the DL worth coaching so I’m a solid meh on this one
Craig Dickenson (ST Coach) – Perhaps the best news of the offseason. We have endured countless years of inept Special Teams but last year Dickenson made this unit not just respectable but actually really good. Better things will surely come in his second season.
The thing that makes me the happiest about this staff is that its not filled with failed former head coaches (except for Hall) which has been the norm for the past couple years and we all know how that turned out. We have some fresh faces, some fresh ideas and will no longer be required to shut things down at 3 o’clock for nap time. This staff has got me excited for 2012… now we just need some talent for them to coach.
The other big news this week in the CFL was the Henry Burris trade. It was a forgone conclusion that Burris was done in Calgary and ever since Toronto nabbed Ray, Hamilton pretty much became the default destination. The fact that a trade was made versus the Stamps just cutting him surprised me. I’d say the Stamps got a hell of a deal here. For a guy they had no use for and a $430K price tag they got a lower paid veteran back-up for Tate, a Canadian OL and a conditional pick. That’s outstanding! Rumor is the pick is conditional on the total number of Burris’ interceptions, embarrassing photos and fist pumps to God in Hamilton this season being less than 50. Calgary should feel pretty safe with those odds.
NFL Watch 2012
Khalif Mithcell – Signed with Miami (also worked out with Philly and Minnesota)
Marcus Thigpen – Signed with Miami (also worked out with Jacksonville)
Andy Fantuz – Tryout with Jacksonville
Jerrell Freeman – Tryouts with Jacksonville, Pittsburg and NY Jets (Pittsburg signed an older, less talented Rey Williams 2 years ago so it wouldn’t surprise me to see them sign Freeman)
Jovan Olafioye – Tryouts with Miami, NY Giants, Cleveland, Minnesota, Pittsburg, NY Jets, Indy, Carolina and St Louis (its not a matter of if but when this guy signs an NFL deal)
Solomon Elimimian – Tryouts in Jacksonville, St Louis, Seattle, Carolina, NY Jets and Minnesota
Jovon Johnson – Tryout with Jacksonville
Jermaine McElveen – Tryout with Jacksonville
Justin Hickman – Tryout with Jacksonville
CFL Ins and Outs
In: DB Nick Graham (contract extension)
Big Poppa Pump Fake is back for another year. Actually, I’m willing to give him another chance. He was good in 2010 and had his struggles in 2011… but if we cut everyone who had struggles in 2011 we wouldn’t have enough guys left to play a game of ping pong.
In: RB Jeff Johnson, RB Andre Durie, WR Mike Bradwell, OL Chris Van Zeyl, DB Matt Black, LB Jordan Younger (contract extensions)
In: RB Andrew Harris (contract extension), Rich Stubler (named DC)
Out: DL Khalif Michtell (signed with Miami)
In: QB Drew Tate (contract extension), QB Kevin Glenn, OL Mark Dewitt (trade with Ham)
Out: QB Henry Burris (traded to Ham)
In: RB Calvin McCarty, QB Kerry Joseph, OL Kyle Koch, DL Etienne Legare (contract extension)
Out: Rich Stubler (signed in BC)
In: QB Henry Burris (trade with Calgary)
Out: RB Marcus Thigpen (signed Miami), QB Kevin Glenn, OL Mark Dewitt (trade with Calgary)
In: LS Chris Cvetovic (contract extensions)