I was going to try and be like lots of other writers out there an open with a clever pun involving a play on Solomon Elimimian (Better Call Sol is a popular one). But the best I was able to come up with was “Me So Solly” so I gave up on that. Don’t worry, at some point I will bring back Me So Solly.
But enough about the internal monologue of my blog drafting time. The Riders signed Solomon Elimimian last week. It’s a pretty big signing. Yes he’s getting up there in age and yes he’s coming off injury but the fact remains he’s arguably the best middle linebacker in the CFL. 4 time all-star, 2 time defensive player of the year, one time MOP. For as much as take shots at Sam Hurl, he was actually not terrible last season (Judge also showed promise)… but isn’t it nice to able to say something more positive than “he wasn’t terrible” about a key member of your defense. Also, its not like injuries are piling up on Elimimian. He had a knee a few years back and a wrist this season. For a guy who hits people hard 140 times a season, I’d say he’s been pretty durable. I don’t think he’s the same MOP guy he was in 2014 but he’s still miles better than most people. Just look at the middle of our D: Evans, Johnson and Elimimian.
My only concern is the trend regarding our top players. What do Charleston Hughes, Solomon Elimiman, Manny Arceneaux, Naaman Roosevelt, William Powell all have in common? They are old. We are putting a lot of our hopes on people the wrong side of 30. Now we have a lot of young guys too (I seem to remember we had one of the youngest rosters last season but am too lazy to look it up) so adding some strong vets is not a bad idea (worked okay in 2013). Still I wish we had just a bit less riding on guys having one more great season in them.
· The philosophy of our team will be unchanged in 2019. Great D and adequate offense. Our postseason success is based purely on whether Collaros is healthy when playoffs roll around. We are not hiding our strategy. Meet the new Riders, same as the old Riders. But hey… the lack of Brandon Bridge has got to be a plus.
- Dan Clark is lucky to be alive. Seriously. I have been campaigning for a different centre for years now but this is certainly not what I had in mind. Hope for a speedy recovery.
· First Round Pick Justin McInnis was not offered an NFL contract after 2 minicamps. Odds of him being at training camp are trending up.
· I remain confident that despite all the grandstanding on both sides, a deal between the CFLPA and league will occur at the 11th hour.
· If not I’m offering my services as a replacement player. I’m no Shane Falco but can probably smoke a cigarette while kicking.
Can't agree more. Three receivers, 4 O-linemen, 2 running backs all over 30 as are Solomon & Hughes. Defence is good but not as good as last year with Leonard replaciing Jefferson & Hughes a good candidate to Finally show his age. Offence likely has 9 starters over 30. More scary 4 in the 32-35 range, Collaris a bad bet to improve much with same cast of receivers, McAdoo conservative offence. What happens next year if none of young guns pushes oldtimers out? How do you spell major rebuild? Don't like Rider chances. Teams behind them in West all got better.
Add another old guy to the roster. The good news is Ryan probably still has a good leg. Is he better than Bartel who has been excellent placing kicks in the 10 yard line & in? Who knows. It's almost comical that we seem to be intent on signing as many "well past their best before date" players as we can. Is that a recipe for success? I guess we'll find out. Mixed feelings on that one.
Anon - There are real concerns but it cant be doom and gloom. We won 12 games last season with utter garbage at offense. Obviously its unreasonable to expect us to tie a record again for return TDs but we largely have the same team as last year. No reason to expect us to suddenly go all to hell. Also important to remember the young guys we have that were impact players as rookies who are no back with experience: Moore, Evans, Cannon, Cofield, Geter, Marshall. Toss in other young guys like Moncrief and we do have young contibutors. I wish the balance was more young guys than old guys.
Anon 2 - In today's press conference Dickenson essentially said a big reason they moved on was because Bartel didn't make tackles on teams (very interesting to me). Bartel had excellent placement but distance was not great. Ryan certainly will bring distance. Hopefully he doesn't have to make many tackles though
I had mentioned after free agency Konar could be available after Santos-Knox signing. Was due for hefty payday. Yhat's aguy the Riders should have interest in. Would not be surprised if Stamps & Lions will look at him. Both also have a LB position designated as National. Greenwood in Calgary is frontrunner who is turning 34 & much injured.
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