Here is a smattering of my football-related thoughts in no particular order other than what they came to me.
After an initial free-agency splash with Moncrief and Sankey, the Riders went deathly quiet. Primarily because they wisely chose to build from within. But quietly over the last couple weeks O’day has made some late stage signings that could offer great value to the team. First it was potential starting Canadian OL Jamal Campbell (who we got for less than his market value based on the timing of his release from the Argos). This past week it was RB Shaq Cooper. I really liked him in Edmonton in 2019 and thought he should be a starter. Then he went to BC last season with the chance to start and couldn’t even earn playing time on the worst rushing team in the CFL behind James Butler. Butler was not… what’s the word I’m looking for? …. Good. Hell Michael Reilly got more carries than Cooper. So there is certainly some risk. But for a late signing he is potentially a starter if he can recapture his 2019 form. At worst he is a low risk addition to the training camp battle to replace Powell. Other than we now have one too many Shaq’s for me to keep straight, I’m all thumbs up on this one.
Speaking of the Riders, they released their “new fun and interactive themes” for 2022 (their words not mine). It includes such innovative themes as Home Opener, Canada Day, Labour Day, Family Day and Lights Out Game. Don’t get me wrong, I like Labour Day and the lights out game but copying and pasting the previous themes and trying to pass them off as “new” is laughable. While other teams are actually being innovative (i.e. the RedBlacks Behind the R series and the engagement that Victor Chui is leading for the Elks on social media) the Riders are showing all the creativity of that Simpsons where they gave Malibu Stacy a new hat. They don’t have to try and they know it. At some point this resting on their laurels will catch up with them. I just hope they don’t dig too big a hole before realizing it.
The term “nationalized Canadians” has been a big topic of conversation recently. For those who don’t know basically they are revisiting the idea of veteran Americans counting as Canadians if they stay with a team for a certain tenure. Now I am all for this in principle. Look, we awarded and celebrated “Canadians” like Ben Cahoon who is about as Canadian as an American dollar bill that happened to be in a Canadian’s wallet once. Compare that to a guy like Wes Cates who was American but chose to make his home here and remains a fixture in the community. If people will commit to this country and our game we can commit to them. My only ask is that the only way to qualify is staying with the same team for 3+ years. You leave the team it resets to 0. The original proposal said that vets of 4 years total counted and I hate that. This is about promoting and rewarding roster continuity. A guy who plays for 4 teams in 4 years adds nothing in terms of value.