As the internet laments the death of Canadian football and XFL takeover that is such a sure thing that we might as well pre-emptively spray paint an X on the Grey Cup, I’m going to actually talk about Canadian football. Something may come of the XFL talks but let’s maybe hold off on the full on freak outs until we know more about what that something is.
So to restore some sanity to the world, let’s take a look at the Riders’ QB and RBs
QB: Cody Fajardo
RB: William Powell
In the mix:
QB: James Franklin, Isaac Harker.
RB: Kienan LaFrance, Albert Awachie (FB)
QB: Mason Fine, Luke Falk, Tony Flacco.
RB: Jeremy Langford, Jamal Morrow, David Savard, Xavier Turner, Ralph Webb, Jonathan Femi-Cole
This might be the 2 most boring positions to preview as I expect no surprises. At QB Fajardo will start backed up by Franklin and Harker. The only real competition is for the 3rd QB spot but by virtue of having actual real game experience and a year of development Harker is so far ahead of the other 3 that they would have to show something phenomenal to get anything but a practice roster spot at this point (also I like Harker and want to see him continue to develop).
At RB, Powell will be the guy. LaFrance and Awachie will make the roster to block, play on teams and touch the ball once every 5 games. The only real thing to watch is that the departure of Marcus Thigpen leaves us will an opening at back-up RB/returner. Now we have enough returners at DB and WR that retuning might not be a requirement but it would certainly help the chances of making the team. Langford bring an NFL resume. Turner is the biggest back. Savard and Femi-Cole are likely only auditioning for a role behind LaFrance or Awachie since we type-cast Canadian RBs.
Prophet’s Players to Watch: At QB I guess Luke Falk would be the guy I’m watching of the newcomers... though if I’m being honest that’s at least 50% due to the potential of saying “What the Falk?!” and “Get the Falk out” if he makes the team. At RB my eyes on Jamal Morrow. We invested a year in developing him and are bringing him back, which tells me we see something in him.
Wild Possibility (something that may not be likely to happen but is not outside the realm of possibility): There is nothing this province loves more than QB controversy (and creating it where it doesn’t exist) so it would be easy to sell you on some notion that a QB shake-up is possible… but its not. We will all have raging Fajardons as Cody is the guy and Franklin was brought in specifically as insurance in case Fajardo gets hurt. End of story.
Also, as interesting as it would be to speculate on old man Powell not winning the spot, dude scored 14 TDs last season and had a full year to rest his old man body. He’s not being unseated. Enjoy watching the completion for 3rd QB and 2nd RB because that’s as interesting as its going to get here.
Yeah, really nothing to see here. Probably have the best 1-2 in the West @ QB because nobody in the West has QB insurance behind the starters. Great hopes for Fajardo but let's not forget he has one year starting. We've seen this before with Jennings & Willy in recent years who never surpassed their 1st year stats. And wasn't Tate the reason the Stamps dumped Burris? Fajardo, like most 1st year starters (think Reilly) relied on his feet a lot. He won't be surprising anyone this year. Maas gives me confidence he'll be very good.
Powell's a beast but he's 33. LaFrance is 30 & his resume consists of one fine day on a snowy field in Ottawa. Powell's coming off two 1,000 yard seasons a la Gable, an unwanted 33 year old & Messam, the 33 year old we got in 2018 - B-A-D. The drop off with RB's is often steep & quick. For me that puts the soon to be 34 year old Andrew Harris in the same boat, assuming he's clean. There's your 2 CFL starting RB's over 30. Sutton retired as did Rutley. The Rider brass is going younger & you don't want to go too younger too quick over the entire roster but, like all teams, you're rolling the dice in some areas. I think RB is one for us.
QB's - Yeesh. I going to veer from my usual ranking a bit here. There is reason to rate all of them from 1-5 or the other way around with one exception - Bo. He is clearly the best in the CFL. So I will rate BLM 1st & everyone else tied @ 2. With Franklin gone, everyone has no-name brands as backups so no ratings for that.
BC Pro - Reilly may have best arm in the league. Can make every throw.
Con - Has missed the playoffs 2 years running with considerable offensive weapons. Highest paid guy for one reason - needs to win games.
Cal Pro - Bo makes everyone around him better. In a class by himself with winning record to show for it.
Con - Health issues. Losses on OL, Rec & RB may limit his effectiveness.
Edm Pro - Harris a really efficient QB. Tons of talent at his disposable.
Con - Lots of talent didn't translate into expected success. Likely needs GC win to cement status.
SK Pro - Last year's MOP candidate in West.Fajardo looks like he belongs.
Con - 1 year starter. Is he the real deal? The books still out.
Wpg Pro - When healthy, Collaros is an elite talent.
Con - Can he stay healthy?
Quick Rider take - The biggest question in Regina is can Maas take Fajardo to elite status? The pieces are in place. There is good talent throughout the lineup.
BC Pro - Lured Cooper from Edmonton who looks like a really good back. Rainey can provide some good takes inserted occasionally.
Con - Not much depth behind Cooper if it doesn't work out.
Rank - 4
Cal Pro - Carey was very good last year.
Con - Carey only played 8 games & nobody behind him.
Rank - 5
Edm Pro - Very good tandem. Wilder has a 5.6 avg & most yds after contact in 2019 on bad team. Williams has better average on more carries than departed Cooper - surprisingly.
Con - Can Wilder reach heights previously reached as dominant runner?
Rank - 3
SK Pro - Powell a bruising power RB who is among best the past 2 years.
Con - Is 33, always a concern. LaFrance, 30, has career 4.0 avg.
Rank - 2
Wpg Pro - Harris the alpha male in the league. Good depth @ National RB.
Con - He's 34 this year. He & Collaros ARE the Wpg offence. Too much reliance on one guy.
Quick Rider Take - I like Powell a lot & he's been durable. He should have a lighter workload as they evolve into a passing team. Nothing of concern here.
Having gone through the entire offence, how do they stack up on my flawed points system.
Edm - 17 Sk 14 Wpg 14 BC 11 Cal 10
I'm sure that causes much debate but there you go.
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