Monday, December 22, 2014

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Jacques Chapdelaine

The Riders officially announced that Jacques Chapdelaine was hired as our new OC last week. I'd say it was an exhaustive search but the sense I got all along was that Chapdelaine was the guy Corey wanted. Unlike our last OC hire (which had me giddy as a school girl) this one gets a decided "meh" from me. Admittedly, Chapdelaine is far from the worse candidate out there and we certainly could have done much worse. After all this is a franchise that has endured the likes of Bellefeuille and Dyce as OC. Chapdelaine comes with a resume that certainly shows he can be a successful OC. He's won Grey Cups, he's developed QBs, he's put up points. So I don't want to try and spin this as a bad hire. I'm just not Chapdelaine's biggest fan. 

The knock on him is he is extremely pass happy. While I realize that Cortez's "run always no matter what" offense isn't great either, balance is needed in this league. His pass happy attacks have led to some seasons of his QBs getting pounded on (his team led the league in sacks a few different occasions). It has also led to neglecting star RBs. His mind-boggling under-use of Andrew Harris in key situations was a leading cause in his termination from BC. Hopefully that experience taught him something because our offensive success will depend on him. 

The search for a new DC continues as the list has apparently been narrowed to 3 candidates (plus the option for Corey to just do it if none of them pan out). Mike Benevides is on that last for sure. The other 2 names are unconfirmed at this point. Mike Sinclair's name has been mentioned. Corey has denied speaking with Devon Claybrooks but fairly reputable reporters keep insisting he's in consideration. Perhaps Corey's assertion that they have not spoken to Claybrooks just means they have been using more ancient forms of communication like carrier pigeon or smoke signals. 

Given that we have already hired Chapdelaine and are seriously considering Mike Benevides, I'm concerned that Corey might soon develop a persistent squint and tendency to spend a lot of time on the field during games. If he starts appearing in commercials telling me to watch my cholesterol I will know he has gone full Buono.

One last bit of Rider news was the hiring of Craig Reynolds as the new President. Generally you would think the hiring of a president would be bigger news but maybe because Reynolds not a publicly known quantity it was kinda a non event. Some are concerned that he isn't from a football background but I would way rather have a sound business man with minimal football experience as president than a sound football man with minimal business experience. We have Taman to run the football side of things so the football knowledge Reynolds has gained in his many years with the club will be more than sufficient.

Coaching Carousel

BC Hires Jeff Tedford as head coach, George Cortez expected to join as OC
Winnipeg fires DC Gary Etcheverry.  
Alouettes add Anthony Calvillo to offensive coaching staff

NFL Watch
Delvin Breaux – workout with Denver
Shawn Lemon – workout with Denver, Washington, Arizona, Seattle, Baltimore, Indy
Luke Tasker – workout with Green Bay
Jalil Carter - workout with Denver
CFL Ins and Outs

In: DL Ricky Foley (contract extension)
Out: DB Carlo Thomas, FB Tim Cronk, DL Hilee Taylor, DL Trevor Guyton (won't be re-signed)
The Foley extension was known about for a while now but making it official is nice. I still say he is underrated in terms of what he brings to our defense. 

In: DB Brandon Smith (contract extension)

In: OL Tony Washington, DL Marcus Howard, WR Paris Jackson, DB Ryan Hinds, LB Nathan Kanya (contract extension)

In: DL Eric Norwood (contract extension), WR Quincy McDuffie, RB Sam Ojuri, DL Adrian Tracy (free agent signing)

In: DB Keynan Parker (contract extension)

In: DB Derek Jones, DB Matt Bucknor, QB Josh Portis (contract extension)
In: Anthony Calvillo (hired as offensive coach)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Richie, George, DePalma and More

Coaching continued to be the major topic of the week across the province… you know that and the weather. Then again the weather and Rider coaches/QBs generally account for 95% of discussion in the province anyway. The remaining 5% relate to the follies of daylights savings time for those interested.

Coach Chamblin confirmed that Richie Hall will not be returning as DC in 2015. He has been offered a different role but let’s be honest here the only way Richie is taking that is if no other CFL or CIS team come calling… and I don’t see that happening. On the surface it seems absurd to change DC after 3 seasons of very solid defenses (including a Grey Cup just 12 months ago) but I think this has been brewing for a long time. Simply put Richie and Chamblin’s philosophies are about as polar opposite of the regular season records of the Stamps and RedBlacks. I think we were all surprised when Chamblin kept Richie as DC when he was hired in 2012. Chamblin said he’d even taken over play calling from Richie late this season. It just reached a point where regardless of how good a DC Richie is he just didn’t fit with Corey’s vision for the team. Its a crappy end for a standup man and talented coach in Hall but the business of football is all rainbows and lollipops. I just hope Chamblin isn't biting off more than he can chew. The list of potential replacements includes Mike Benevides, Mike Sinclair and Corey Chamblin. Personally while guys like Chris Jones prove it can be done, my strong preference is for a permanent DC. Despite the reports, it sounds like Devon Claybrooks is not on the list of potential DC's... though my sense is that is because Claybrooks has chosen to stay in Calgary as opposed to us not being interested.

The short list of potential OC's includes Paul LaPolice, Jacques Chapdelaine (please no), Pete Costanza (Stamps WR Coach)... I would have issues with a coach named Costanza that have nothing to do with football (It says Moopes!)

I happier Rider news, Tearrius George inked an extension last week. This is great news for a couple reasons. One it means our entire front 4 will be back next year and George is a big part of that. Two: it means we at least have a little left over cap space for extensions. Though I can't rule out the possibility of us just saying "screw the cap" and spending what we want.

I weirder Rider news was word that Dan DePalma has an NFL workout schedule. Look I liked what I saw in DePalma but didn’t think he had NFL talent… then again given that the likes of Sisco and Grice-Mullen have received NFL tryouts what do I know about the talent requirements for the NFL.

Coaching Carousel
BC interested in Jeff Tedford as HC

NFL Watch
Dan DePalma – an NFL workout
Moton Hopkins – workout with Minnesota
Delvin Breaux – workout with Houston(among others)

CFL Ins and Outs

In: DL Tearrius George (contract extension)
Out: QB Kerry Joseph (retired)

In: OL Simeon Rottier, WR Shamawd Chambers, DB Corbin Sharun, DB Marcell Young (contract extension)

In: DB Maurice Leggett, OL Chris Greaves (contract extension)

In: LB Nick Rosamonda, DB Shane Hebert, QB Logan Kilgore (contrat extension), WR Diontae Spencer, DB David Sims, DL Ridge Wilson (free agent signing)

In: RB Terell Sutton, WR Eric Deslauriers, DL Michael Klassen, LB Nicolas Boulay (contract extension)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Eight Annual Rider Prophet Awards

It’s time for our yearly ceremony to honour the best and worst of this past CFL season. There will be no actual award show as per usual because, despite discussions with TSN, they informed me that they would be unable to spare any airtime as they had to ensure enough was available to simultaneously show replays of past games on 4 channels.

This year’s winners will receive an autographed picture of the Rider Prophet, a Pot of Gold box with that one chocolate left that no one wants to eat and tickets to an Oilers game (given their dreadful play and falling attendance, the team has concluded that giving me tickets to give away is the last resort before paying people to attend the game).

Now, on with the awards:

Best Player Name
Generally winners of this award fall into one of 2 categories: hilarious or difficult to pronounce. This year’s winner is the latter... Lirim Hajrullahu. Try saying that 5 times fast.

Previous winners: SirVincent Rogers, Drew Willy, Bear Woods, Solomon Elimimian, Craphonso Thorpe, Charleston Hughes, Chijioke Onyenegecha,
Quote of the Year
Honourable mention to Coach Chamblin for his interview at halftime during the Ottawa game but this year's winner is hands down Solomon Elimimian:

Previous Winner: Ed Hervey, Joe Mack, Henry Burris, Eddie Johnson, Jason Clermont, Mike Abou-Mechrek x 2

Play of the Year 
Normally this award goes to a play that is comical or embarrassing. This year though, I am changing it up and going with a play that caught everyone's attention in the Grey Cup. This hit was awesome!! unless you happened to be named Maver.

Botched Call of the Year
Oct 24 in a game between Ottawa and Montreal… Brandon London fumbled and Jovon Johnson recovered. The ruling was a fumble which the Als challenged. Command Centre overturned the call on the field and said no fumble… which prompted Rick Campbell to challenge (a Doug Berry-style: I challenge your challenge). 

The CFL later admitted they got it wrong (and given how little that happens it tells you how bad they botched it). I have grown used to the officials botching calls. But when the wrong call is made despite using video review that takes it to a whole new level.

Honourable mention to every time Dressler had a big punt return.
The Commercial I Didn’t Get Sick Of Seeing Even Though TSN Made Me Watch It 54,297 Times Award
It was a terrible year for ads. I blame the lack of a new Flex Seal ad to tell me what else can be made into a boat. The best of the bunch goes to Old Spice... briefcase taco.


Fans Choice Douche-Bag of the Year
Before we get to this year's winner, I would like to make special note of two time defending douche-bag Jon Cornish who finished tied for second in voting... despite not even being on the ballot. A true testament to just how big a douche bag you think he is. Rest assured this strong write in vote will ensure that Cornish is back on the ballot next year regardless of whether he does anything douchy.

Now to the winner...
You the fans have spoken and with 53% of the vote have name Chris Jones as your Fans' Choice Douche-Bag of the Year.

Now Jones has had a strong reputation for being an asshole for many years, but I think it was the whole snubbing of the national anthem that upgraded him from common asshole to award winning Douche-Bag.

Previous Winners: Jon Cornish x2, Henry Burris, Dwight Anderson, Mike Kelly, Jason Jimenez, Rob Murphy

Most Insulted Sports Figure
So many potential winners this year. There was the uselessness of Chaz Schillens, the idiocy of Eron Riley, the offensive play calling as a whole, the general Getzlaf-ness of Getzlaf, Dan Clark’s efforts to ensure all our QBs ended up in the infirmary, another miss for Milo, and I could go on. But this year I will change things up a bit and award this to a group of people instead of an individual. 

By a wide margin, the majority of my insults were directed at any Rider QB not named Durant. The combination of Sunseri/Doege/Joseph will be a leading reason I get called into the principal’s office someday to address Prophet Jr’s swearing. They made the Michael Bishop era seem not that bad by comparison.
Previous winners: Pat Neufeld, Chris Getzlaf, Ryan Dinwiddie, Jim Daley, Michael Bishop x 2, Marcel Bellefeuille