I hope you understand how rare this situation is. Typically I avoid working on the weekends like the plague (just ask Mrs. Prophet) but given the flurry of big news I should probably make an attempt to provide my thoughts on the goings on beyond just a point form summary of transactions.
Please note that I’m just starting my second coffee of the day so blog quality may be worse than the low levels you’ve already become accustomed to.
I think it’s fitting to start with the retirement of one of the all time great Riders in franchise history after 17 seasons. 5 time CFL All Star, 7 Time West All Star, Grey Cup Champion, 5 time team nominee for Top Lineman, 3 time West Nominee, 2 time Most Outstanding Lineman... and more games played in Green and White than anyone else. He will go down as arguably the top Lineman in franchise history and will be called to Hall of Fame some day.
IN this day and age it’s so rare to see someone play all their university and pro ball in the same place. Makowsky spend his football career and green and you could tell just by looking at him that he could not have been prouder to do so.
If there is one image of his storied career that I will always remember it is this moment.
Months of furious speculation, rumours, freak outs hatred, and a whole other range of emotions finally came to an end when Andy Fantuz signed a 4 year deal with Hamilton. It sucks to lose a player of his calibre but I’m not mad and am not vowing to hate him with every fibre of my being. To me the contrast in Riderville are crazy: on one hand we are rejoicing that Bendon Labatte spurned many attempts by the team that drafted him to accept a lucrative offer from a team right close to home and on the other hand we are polishing our pitchforks and lighting our torches because Fantuz did the exact same thing. It just sucks to be on the losing end of that equation.
I think Fantuz was a once in a generation type talent and he will be missed but we will be able to make do without him. I will chose to remember all the great things he did as a Rider and thank him for it. While I won’t go as far to wish him luck (other than to say good luck putting up with Burris for a whole season)... I will say that I am a well wisher in that I don’t wish him any specific harm.
Acquisitions And Departure
Overall I think Taman did a decent job in free agency (if you know how much i hate Taman, you’ll know how much it took for me to type that). Our O-line was about to qualify as a historical landmark so swapping out Gauthier, Parenteau and Geno for Picard, Labatte and whoever the new tackle is should go a long way to improving our run game as well as giving Durant a better chance of not getting killed on every drop back. Investing in the big boys in the trenches is always a smart investment (especially when they aren’t all the wrong side of 40). Thumbs up Labatte who is one of the premiere young OL in the league and Dominic (Jean Luc) Picard who is a centre who can actually snap (novel concept).
We still need to address our D-line as well as find an impact receiver to compliment Dressler and keep Getzlaf as the #3 where he does his best work but so far i think the team is moving in a positive direction... At least on paper.