Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

We've reached that point in the offseason where I try to spin 1 or 2 shreds of CFL news into a somewhat draw out post in an attempt to provide content, lest you learn that you can live without my weekly sentimonies (you can't and don't you forget it). I'll start by opining on what's going on across the CFL (spoiler alert, it's nothing) and end with a listing of what CFLers are getting NFL tryouts.

- The big news is Kavis Reed being named GM in Montreal. There are usually concerns when a successful coach makes the jump from coaching to front office... so understandably there is a great deal more when a not successful assistant coach makes the jump to GM. By the way the news articles on this are incorrectly reporting that Reed was the successful man in the GM search. The more accurate report would be that he was the only one crazy enough to step into the current Alouette mess.

- The Reed/Chapdelaine combo has already led to rampant speculation that the Als will target Durant in free agency. I could certainly see the interest and if I'm Durant, a viable suitor certainly increases your bargaining power. I still keep telling myself that this will all sort itself out and Durant will be back in green and white... though I'm hedging by bets and stockpiling whiskey in the event that I'm wrong about that.

- You can tell who is in a good salary cap position by who has the space to re-sign people in December. If you have unused cap space you use it now to get a leg up on re-signing players. We have extended Roosevelt and Cox so we must have some $$. BC, Ottawa Calgary and Edmonton are too.

NFL Watch
Here's a list of CFL players who have had NFL tryouts so far
Greg Ellingson - Chicago
Adam Bighill - New Orleans
Otha Foster - New Orleans
Kenny Shaw - Chicago
Khalil Bass - New Orleans
Tony Burnett - New Orleans, Detroit
Bryan Burnham - Minnesota, Arizona, New York Jets
Mic'hael Brooks - Minnesota, New England, New York Jets
Alex Bazzie - Minnesota, Arizona
Deon Lacey - Minnesota, New England, Denver, Detroit
Derel Walker - Minnesota, Chicago, New Orleans
Nevis Drake - New Orleans
Richie Leone - Arizona
Shakir Bell - New England
Quincy McDuffie - New York Jets
Diontae Spencer - New York Jets
Greg Van Roten - New York Jets
Frank Beltre - New York Jets
Mitchell White - New York Jets
Forest Hightower - Detroit

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Assessing Free Agents

For the most part all is quiet across the CFL landscape... with the exception of Montreal where Plan A was a Maciocia/Taman combo and plan B appears to be Kavis Reed. While I feel that we have been denied some comedic gold with Maciocia spurning the Als, Kavis Reed is one hell of a consolation prize. That is of course unless you are an Alouette fan, in which case this is the equivalent of coal in your stocking, when what you really wanted was a slightly less crappy lump of coal.

Today, I will delve into the list of potential Rider free agents and opine on who we should be priority re-signings and who shouldn't let the door hit them on the way out (provided they weren't already among the literally hundreds already cut by Jones). I will leave Durant our of this analysis. I've already written plenty about him and there' been no new news. There's only so many ways I can say that there are no viable alternatives that would represent an improvement.

Top Priority:
When I look at the list of pending FAs, 2 names stand out above the others: Otha Foster and Willie Jefferson. Foster was an unheralded but key piece of our defense. He is a veteran leader who plays the very difficult cover LB spot and can drop and play HB. Getting him back would be huge step in establishing an impact D. Jefferson played only a few games with us but was easily the most impactful d-lineman of the season (not that the bar was set high). A pass rush is key to pretty much anything you do defensively and Jefferson is an athletic freak who can chase a QB, drop into coverage and knock passes down. The fact that he's an athletic freak who is not one of Jones' conversion from another sport projects is also a plus in my books.

Important targets:
Not an absolute must, but I would like to see these players back.
Dylan Ainsworth - There's a huge question mark on him after missing all of 2016 due to injury but he can provide needed Cdn depth on DL and is a very solid special teamer when healthy.
Thaddeus Coleman - He's an adequate lineman but for a team with no OL depth that's good enough to warrant attention.
Jeff Hecht - Similar to Coleman he's adequate at best but really solidified the safety spot. I think we should be looking for the safety of the future but Hecht should be retained so we at least have a reliable option if that doesn't pan out.
Andrew Lue - Lue is part of the seach for safety of the future. He's young, Canadian and has potential to be a safety or at least contribute on teams.
Jorgen Hus - A reliable snapper is a must... plus his name is Jorgen, not many teams employ a Jorgen (at least outside of Europe)
Jeff Knox - The presence of Eguavoen, Jones and Muamba push him off the top priority list but Knox is still a guy I would love to have back.
Gregory Alexandre - Can provide depth at Cdn defensive tackle (which is important if we plan to start Gaydosh)

I honestly don't care whether these people return or not.
Phil Bates
Ivan Brown - love his energy and hustle
Randy Chevrier - good emergency fill in but not likely in the future plans
Jeff Fuller - extremely talented but is made of glass we have a bunch of good import WRs so not sure how much $$ you want to tie up in him with more glaring needs
Mitchell Gale - if needed he's an adequate back-up QB but I'd like to think we can find better (our current track record would disagree though)
Corvey Irvin - Was a much hyped offseason signing but was pretty underwhelming for most of the season. I'd take him back but for what he did last season there are probably cheaper options.
Curtis Steele - He's a decent blocker and had some good games (when we actually decided to run) but I'd like to think we can find an impact running back as opposed to an adequate one (like McKnight could have been)
Jonathan Williams - Between age and injury, not sure what he has left

I think we should see other people
Shamawd Chambers - In retrospect it would have been equally as beneficial to just keep Getzalf. We are not exactly in a position to be too picky about Canadians but his salary can likely be put to better use.
Matt Webster - Never been a Webster fan and I'd like to think that we are to a point where the fact that he is a token Canadian Special teamer does not equate to long-term tenure.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tuesday Morning Sentimonies: Welcome to the offseason

The weather is bitterly cold and there is no football for the foreseeable future (I'm mean sure there is the NFL but as a Vikings fan I'm doing my best to block from my memory)... clearly the offseason is upon us. And things get different in the offseason. I mean clearly not the punctuality of my posting which is as erratic as ever but other things.

For those of you new to the CFL offseason here's the low down. There will be a flury of news between now and the first week of January as teams try to re-sign their pending FAs. Then there will be a lull. Then free agency will open... then another lull. Then that combine event here in Regina... and a lull. And so on. I will keep you up to date during the actual notable events and fell your time with mindless filler posts that are occasionally entertaining during the lulls.

Other than the fact that there is growing concern over the future of our franchise qb, our projected starting RB was murdered and a big name defensive end retired (did you really think that 2016 "the year of the retirement" wouldn't end with another retirement?) it's been a relatively uneventful offseason. Pretty sure we are just missing "criminal charges" and "social media faux-pas " for a line in ridiculous offseason occurrences bingo.

The list of potential free agents is out. Outside of Durant, names like Otha Foster and Willie Jefferson jump out as priorities. On the topic of Jefferson, turns out both he and Fuller signed one year deals upon returning from the NFL. I'd be very curious how much we paid them because unless it was substantially more than others were offering they would be stupid to sign with a non-playoff team and miss out on playoff money. Either we made it worth their while or they need to find new agents.

I will have a full analysis (or at least half assed analysis) on our pending FAs next week. I would expect a singing or two before Dec 31 and then a bunch more in early January when the new salary cap year starts. For now I will leave you to your Christmas shopping... which by the way a donation is a loved one's name to the Rider Prophet fund makes a great gift. I'm not a registered charity or anything but I'll gladly accept your donations just the same.