Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

Those of you familiar with how things operate on this blog will recognize that this is the time of the year where my posts (which are only loosely cobbled together at the best of times) devolve into a collection of point form thoughts as random as the order they appear in my brain. I’d say you get what you pay for but if that were true I probably owe you guys some money. Anywho on with the quasi coherent thoughts:

-       The Riders have added Mike Sinclair as the new DL coach and Richard Kent as the new DB coach… you know in addition to the current DB coach we have, the Defensive coordinator who is a DB coach and the head coach who is also a DB coach. Seriously at that player/coach ratio we better have the best damn secondary in the league next year.

-       Sinclair is a great signing. I honestly feel that we have lacked a decent DL coach since Ron Estay left and I think Sinclair should help improve our play up front.

-       Only thing that concerns me about the defensive coaches is our decision to part ways with one of the best LB coaches we have ever seen and replace him with nobody. I think it’s a ballsy decision and I hope it doesn’t end up biting us in the ass.

-       Kent Austin will be introduced as the new GM/Head Coach of the Ticats this afternoon. About the same time I expect a lot of Rider fans to collectively lose their marbles. Adding yet another chapter to the already lengthy book on reasons to hate Kent Austin. I look at it this way, we offered him the job here last year and he declined. He also said no to Hamilton. This year Hamilton offered and we didn’t, and he said yes. It’s a matter of timing. Had we been willing to fire Taman and Chamblin and offer Austin $500,000 per season then he likely would have said yes to us.

-       On that note, Hamilton is on the hook for $500,000 per season for 4 years to Cortez and is now reportedly ready to pay Austin $500,000 per season for 4 years. That’s $4 million on head coaches for 5 seasons. Remember this is also the team that threw $500,000 at Casey Printers. Bob Young must just have stacks of $500K to burn. I need to get in on this racket

-       Anthony Calvillo has announced he will be back for another season with the Als. I’m sure we are all shocked. Personally I was hoping he would hint strongly at retirement, wait for McPherson to re-sign and then abruptly change his tune and return just to screw with McPherson.

-       By the way, I’m still convinced McPherson will retire from the CFL before Calvillo

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Coaching Changes

It’s that dreaded time of year where there is little to no CFL news, fantasy football is causing much cursing and we are fighting the urge to murder someone while out and about trying to get in the “Christmas spirit”.

Today we do get to focus on a bit of Rider news. Coach Chamblin announced that 3 coaches will not be returning next year: Alex Smith, Mike Walker and Kris Sweet. Walker was hardly surprising as he has been less than impressive in his stint here. The other 2 were surprising though for very different reasons.

Alex Smith has been working with our linebackers since before games were broadcast in colour. And his body of work in that time speaks for itself. Think back to the last time we had bad LBs, it’s been a long time. In that period Smith has churned out the likes of George White, Reggie Hunt, Anton McKenzie, Mo Lloyd (back when he was good), Jerrell Freeman, Sean Lucas (again back when he was good), Abraham Kromah just to name a few. Chamblin even seemed to think highly of Smith since he invented the position of “Assistant to the Head Coach” (aka the Dwight Schrute position) for him. Sad to see a quality guy like Smith go.  

Kris Sweet is surprising because he was THE prize offseason coaching assistant acquisition. It was a big deal to steal him away from Calgary (and to do so without incurring a tampering fine ala Chris Jones).  So after only one season, I did not expect him to be gone. That said by all accounts Sweet was a massive asshole both on and off the field. In sports, people tend to tolerate assholes as long as they are producing on the field. Unfortunately, despite the hype our O-line wasn’t that great this year. Given how much $$$ we spent beefing it up our overt struggles in pass protection could not have impressed the bosses (though I’m still convinced that a big part of those struggles is Neufeld not being very good which is hardly Sweet’s fault but I know not everyone agrees with my Neufeld assessment).  So I’m thinking that Huge Asshole + underperforming OL = no longer worth the headache.

Those 3 are the only coaching changes Chamblin is anticipating meaning that both Bob Dyce and Richie Hall have earned another year. I’m far from a Bob Dyce fan but I understand that constantly switching OC’s and offensive schemes will hurt performance of the players so the benefit of continuity outweighs any benefit bringing in an OC who knows how to run in the 2nd half or run routes beyond 7 yards would bring. I don’t particularly like it but I get it.

The return of Richie Hall shocks me. In all honesty the only reason Hall was retained as DC under Chamblin was because he had a year left on his expensive contract and the team was already paying too many people not to coach for us. It was widely expected that as soon as Hall’s contract was up, he would be shown the door and Barrin Miles (Chamblin’s real chosen guy) would get promoted. Evidently though, Hall did enough last year to convince Chamblin to change his mind. We did have the #2 D so it’s not like Richie was a train wreck. Actually for as much as I rag on Hall he is admittedly a solid DC… just with a few glaring weaknesses. If he could just figure out what a crossing route it, discover a blitz not involving the safety and stop 2nd and 20 he could easily be one of the best.  That said, he’s had the same weaknesses for a decade now I’m not holding my breath that things will change. Hopefully another year of working together will bring bigger and better things for Chamblin and Hall’s D.

NFL Watch
-       WR Emmanuel Acreneaux worked out for the NY Jets and Chicago Bears
-       LB Ejiro Kuale and OL Devin Tyler have been released by their respective teams to pursue NFL interests

CFL Ins and Outs

In: K Rob Maver (contract extension)

In: LB TJ Hill, OL Brian Ramsay (contract extension)
Out: Cory Boyd (released… again)

In: LB Jason Aragki, DB JR LaRose and LB Joash Gesse (contract extension)

In: FB Patrick Lavoie (contract extension)

Out: WR Danny Desriveaux (retired)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Official 2012 Prophecies Revisited

It’s that time again. The time where I look back at the official prophecies I made back in June to see if I was accurate or so far off base that if there was an accrediting body they would revoke my prophet status.

As you know I award points based on the accuracy of each prediction… as you also know the scoring system is completely made up and I tend to be quite generous with half points.My blog, my rules.

Here we go:

On O it will be up to Durant to bounce back
Unlike last year, offensive weapons we don’t lack
Durant had a better year but outside of Sheets and Dressler we certainly were lacking weapons… 0.5 points

We get Getz and Dress who are dangerous indeed
We’ve got Harper to add size and Moss to add speed
Dressler being dangerous was about the only remotely accurate part of that statement … 0 points

Rob Bagg is back and that’s the biggest news of all
He’ll be in contention for top Canuck if we just get him the ball
Well he was back… but that sure didn’t last… 0 points

1000 yds for Dressler, 1000 more for Bagg
Less yards for Getzlaf but the most TDs will he snag.
This one continues the “Dressler being the only accurate part of that statement” trend… 0.5 points

The new fangled offense has stuff we’ve forgotten about my friends
What’s this? An O-line that doesn’t need Depends?
An RB running off tackle? A centre who can snap?!?
Did I doze off in a dream?!? Am I having a nap?!?
I’d say that’s good enough for 1 point

This is all real you haven’t been dozing
With Coach Sweet in the mix out run game will be imposing
Nailed it! … 1 point

Unfortunately the D has me a lot more concerned
For some reason I see us getting repeatedly burned.
2nd least points allowed, turns out I was wrong… 0 points

Odell should help provide us something we lack
A tangible hope of getting a sack
Glad I didn’t use a term that was stronger than “tangible hope” … 1 point

That’s assuming he stays healthy and decides to stay sober
And assuming he doesn’t get homesick come October
He seemed to avoid those this year… 1 point

A front four will be better, they won’t make me curse
We tried Mullinder and Murphy last year, not like we can get worse
We were slightly better, which for me is good enough to award myself 1 point

At LB on the edges, Kromah and Brackenridge we will be fine with
They will continue the proud tradition of great LBs by Coach Smith
Check and check… 1 point

In the middle, however is where things start to get scary
Shomari in that spot makes me very wary
I was right to be worried… 1 point

He’s lacking the experience though he’s got the physique
For the first little while the middle will be weak
But he will get better and be steadily improved
Though fans will be calling for him to be removed
We were weak for the first little while, fans did call for him to be removed, only part I was off on was the “steadily improve” part… 0.5 points

The secondary is the weakest link of them all
A tough road lies ahead for Coach Richie Hall
We were #2 against the past and Hall seems to have done enough to remain employed but we were awful when it came to INTs and ultimately a breakdown in the secondary ended our season… 0.5 points

Chamblin will want aggression, he will want mean
But it will take the DBs a while to adjust to the new schemes.
Not as aggressive as I expected but it did take a while for them to get things figured out … 0.5 points

Patrick will surely return to all-star form
Not sure anything Patrick showed this year can be defined as “all-star” (unless we are using the Getzlaf all-star bar)… 0 points

Eddie Russ getting burned may become the norm
He wasn’t as bad as I expected… 0 points

Some DBs will be benched and new guys get a shot
And that is when things will improve a lot
We cycle through a whole pile of cornerbacks before things finally settled… 1 point

We will struggle out of the gates and end up 2 and 4
Please don’t suck again! the fans will implore
We started 3 and 4 so I was close… 0.5 points

It won’t always be pretty but the team will keep fighting
Chamblin will be making adjustments and ship will be righting
It was ugly as hell at times and Chamblin made a ton of adjustments… 1 point

Come the highly anticipated Labour Day clash,
We will have an even record and no longer be trash
We’ll knock out Buck Pierce and win the big game
Next week at Banjo Bowl we come up lame
We were 3-5 heading into LDC and 5-5 coming out of the banjo bowl, Buck Pierce didn’t even make an appearance… 0.5 points

An up and down season, win one then lose
Our biggest winning streaks will come in no more than twos
Unless twos was recently defined to include 3s the best I can do is partial credit for the up and down season… 0.5 points

A 9-9 season is what I see in store
Which will be just good enough to sneak in the playoff door
We were 8-10 and just snuck in the playoff door… 0.5 points

A third place finish so it’s off to face the Stamps
Donning our white jerseys with logos fit for tramps.
Bang on… 1 point

Tate may not be Burris but he’ll choke like he was
A big day for the defense will seal the win and create a buzz
Well the defense did seal the win… unfortunately it was for the other team… 0 points

Then the bandwagon will keep heading west
For a date with BC, the CFL’s best
The game will be closer than most expect 
We’ll go up early but the lead won’t protect
The Lions will move on but will not repeat
We will hold our heads high but suffer defeat
There was a lot wrong about this set of predictions but at least I was right about the Lions not repeating… 0 points

After a disastrous 2011, we will come a long way
But it will take this team time to go all the way
Though a 9-9 finish may be disappointing to some
The foundation will be laid but the best is yet to come
I stand by this final prediction… 1 point

So there you have it out of 25 possible points I got 14.5 or 58%. My career average is right around the 67% mark so I was only a bit off. At least I will take solace in the fact that I wasn’t one of those people that predicted the Ti-cats would win it all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: 2012 Additions to the CFL Dictionary

With the season now completely in the books, my offseason will be spent attempt to fill space on this blog in 2 ways: 1) stretching a 2 line irrelevant story into a full post and 2) making up filler posts based on nothing more than the random meanderings or my mind. Today is the later.

With all that went on this past season, there were many events that were so notable that they went on to inspire a new addition to our vocabulary. So without further adieu here are the 2012 additions to the CFL Dictionary.

The first comes to us from @BitterGainer (everyone’s favourite disgruntled mascot). Chamblining: To promise to fire a person if a stated goal is not met.
Ex:If the caterers get Coach's meal wrong at the staff christmas party there will be a chamblining

Our next term has multiple definitions…
Khalif Mitchelling 1- Applying an arm bar in a highly unacceptable situation
2 – Making the throat slash motion to an opponent and claiming you are making the sign of the cross
3 – Uttering racial slurs and attempting to justify it
Ex: Adriano Belli Khalif Mitchelled himself right out of the Grey Cup.

It also inspired an update to an existing term “A football move”. The term has now been expanded to include “applying an arm bar to an opponent” as an acceptable definition.  

Cornishing: A complete inability to keep ones pants or helmet on.
Ex: I’m no longer allowed at the public park because I kept cornishing.

Shea Emrying: Randomly punching an opponent in the crotch.
Ex: That game losing Romby Bryant TD was like a Shea Emry to Rider fans.

Pulling a Joe Mack: To blame current fairly on an unrelated and long past death.
Ex: Brendan could always pull a Joe Mack and blame the season’s failures on the death of Ron Lancaster.

Do you have any CFL Definitions to add?

CFL Ins and Outs

In: OL Ryan Bomber (contract extension), Noel Thorpe (hired as DC)
Out: OC Marcus Brady (accepted position with Toronto), DC Jeff Reinbold (fired)

In: DB Johnny Dixon, WR Julian Feoli-Gudino, WR Quincy Hurst (re-signed), Marcus Brady (hired as OC)

In: DL Steven Doege, WR Bobby Davis, K Steve Shott (invited to training camp)

Out: DC Casey Creehan (accepted position with Winnipeg)

In: Casey Creehan (hired as DC)