Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The Greatest 0-9

In my ongoing effort to produce content on a sports blog in a world with no sports (at least until I can find way to get monkeys delivered to my house and start a monkey knife fighting ring in my basement) I have come up with an idea that will eat up many weeks. Well, truth be told, I stole this idea from someone else and made it my own but lets not dwell on semantics.

Today I launch a series dedicated to chronicling the greatest Roughriders to ever wear every number between 0-99.

A few notes about this listing. First, its my list and any arbitrary criteria I use to determine who the best at any given number is completely up to me. You don’t like it? Start your blog…. Actually, wait! Please don’t. I don’t need more competition. Second, I will warn you that my choices will be heavily biased to players in the 2000s. Those are the ones I’ve seen play the most and am most familiar with. Third, I’m not big on things like research and effort, so its entirely possible I miss someone obvious and important not intentionally but just because I didn’t think of them. Please direct your corrections and outrage to comments sections.

Alright, enough gabbing let’s get to the first 10 people on the list.

0 – Look, 0 is a stupid number. I get that its people trying to be different and cool but the only way you are being different is by being dumb. 2 players come to mind who have worn 0. One is current Rider Elie Bouka. He’s alright but nothing special but your winner is DL – Tobi Antigha From a sack getting DE to an intercepting safety dude was a swiss army knife with the D-Coordinator perfectly suited to capitalizing on his diverse skillset.

1 – OK onto the real numbers. Lots of great Number 1’s over the years (such as Sandman, Hank before we all hated him). But for me one guy stands out above all the others RB – Kory Sheets. He was dominant. I remember after a solid 2012 season he said he was out of shape and vowed to be better. Turns out he was right and 2013 his quest for 2000 yards was something to behold.

2 – I was extremely surprised to find out what an underwhelming history this number has had. I mean sure, once we get to the 70s they’ll be some weaker choices but number 2? The best options I could come up with were Barrin Simpson, Jason Armstead (circa 2009), Corey Grant and Terryl Ulmer. Now all of these players have some level of merit but none can be considered obvious choices. I’m going to go with DB Terryl Ulmer based purely on longevity compared to the rest.

3 – One of the best CB’s I’ve ever seen was DB – Omarr Morgan. He did where #1 in his second stint with the Riders but we can all agree that his first stint was the best. I’ll never forget his game winning blocked FG to beat Edmonton.

4 – There are 3 very deserving candidates at this number. Kerry Joseph who won a Grey Cup and was the last Rider to be named League MOP. Paul McCallum. Hate him all you want but prior him becoming public enemy #1 in this province he was an outstanding kicker. But for me the winner here is clear. 3 Grey Cup appearances, 1 Grey Cup ring, the most successful Rider QB not named Lancaster… QB – Darian Durant.

5 – This one is an obvious choice and has me getting outside of my 2000s bias. Take a look at the Rider passing records and if any are not held by Ron Lancaster, they are held by… QB Kent Austin. Grey Cup, only Rider to pass for 6000 yards. No question he was one of the best players we ever had… and he would be the first to tell you that.

6 – Obviously the first name that comes to mind is Rob Bagg. But in my mind I was like “sure but there’s gotta be someone better”. I have come to the conclusion, that there is not. Closest I found was Derrick Armstrong, who was arguably more talented but was only around for 2 season. So WR Rob Bagg is it. Heart and soul guy. Over comer of adversity and super brittle knees. Solid Canadian receiver.

7 – Some very deserving options here. Willie Jefferson is hands down one of the most dominant players I’ve seen. Richie Hall also wore #7 and he did alright for himself. But this one goes to a guy even more diminutive than Hall. WR - Weston Dressler. He packed more talent and effort in his 5’7 frame then guys who were twice his size. He burst onto the scene in a game in Hamilton in 2008 and permanently into our hearts.

8 – This number seems to attract a lot of very underwhelming QB prospects from Tino Sunseri, to Ryan “My Eyes will eat your soul” Dinwiddie to Marcus Crandell (though at least Crandell enjoyed some success). My choice is an RB. Before Cates and KK the run game ran through RB Darren Davis who amassed back to back 1000 yard season on not very good teams. I won’t even hold the fact that he was partially responsible for the Nealon Greene era against him.

9 – He was known simply as the Reaper (not to be confused with the Raper). An imposing, physical tackling machine. LB – Reggie Hunt. The one moment etched in my mind is when Clermont came across on a crossing route and he and Hunt collided. Probably the biggest hit I’ve seen from 2 of the toughest dudes playing at the time.

Check back next week from 10-19.

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