Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Ho Ho Ho Merry Everyone

Christmas is fast approaching and whether your traditions have you waiting for the arrival Annual Gift Man or Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, in his golden, fleece diapers, with curled-up, fat, balled-up little fists pawin' at the air, I hope the season brings you joy… particularly after a season where the most joy we got was watching a different team not let the Bombers win.

So this will be my last post before taking a well deserved… quasi-deserved… not really deserved but I’m taking it anyway break.

In the words of the great Krusty the Clown: have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, kwazy Kwanzaa, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Random Quasi Coherent Thoughts

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough you know that about this time of year CFL news starts getting sparser and I go from my normal barely coherent writings, to overtly random musings where I don’t even try to pull it together into a unifying theme. At some point I fully expect one of the comments to just be one of you direct quoting the principal from Billy Madison: “At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Where do we start today: 

-        Another coach declined to be considered for our OC role. This time it was Markus Howell who was the receivers coach here early in Chris Jones’ tenure. With due respect to Mr. Howell he is hardly a A-list candidate. He has been a receivers coach for over half the teams in this league and never progressed in the past 10 years. When a guy like that doesn’t even want to be interviewed here, that should tell you something.


-        We are interviewing your future OC Kelly Jeffrey and “I’m only here so it looks like the team did an actual search candidate” Pete Costanza. Expect an announcement to come on the last Friday afternoon before Christmas. 


-        Speaking of coaching. It looks like the guys we fired will be landing on their feet. As expected, Maas is a candidate for Head Coach in Montreal. Steven Sorrels is going back to Chris Jones who he served under for two years here. I have no doubt it wasn’t all Sorrells fault along the OL. We had no talent and Maas’ schemes were not always OL friendly. BUT… I will remind you that Sorrels was the OL coach here in 2018 when we couldn’t figure out what to do with Derek Dennis, who has been a Most Outstanding OL Candidate/Winner in pretty much every other season other than when he played under Sorrells. So, trust me… Sorrells bears some of the blame


-        It’s pretty obvious we have like no cap money left for the 2022 season. Re-signings have been few and far between. Now that should be how it goes, teams should be spending up to the cap every year. It’s just sad that we spent the entire cap and all we got is a lot of sacks and regret... might as well have just gone to a male whorehouse. Ending would have been the same.


-        I do like that we have retained Alford who is a dominant returner and Morrow who is a versatile and productive running back. I also like that we have brought back 2022 2nd Round Pick OL Zach Fry. O’Day has a lot riding on this kid. Its already a demerit that we had to wait a year to get him at a time where we desperately needed OL help. If he pans out then it goes a long way to saving O’Day job.


-        For those assuming that O’Day will be able to help the OL in the upcoming draft, history would beg to differ. Let me give you a quick summary of O’Day OL drafting since taking over as GM (spoiler alert it will not exactly instill confidence):


o   2019 – Did not draft an OL until round 6. That guy did not make the team

o   2020 – Drafted Mattland Riley 7th overall. He retired after 1 season where he dressed in 1 game as a back-up. He did not draft another OL until the 7th round. That guy did not make the team

o   2021 – Did not draft an OL until the 5th round. That was Logan Bandy who the jury is still out on.

o   2022 – Drafted Fry in the second round who went back to school and Montoya in the 3rd round who despite playing on the worst OL in recent memory was only deemed worthy of dressing in the flu game where we essentially needed anyone not current craping their pants.

-        So to summarize O’Day has either not made the OL a drafting priority or picked guys who do not end up impacting the team when he does make it a priority.


-        I will go on record as saying that I think Jayden Dalke is going to be a big time contributor for the Riders. He impressed me in his rookie reason. For a 6th Round Pick he sure looked like he belonged out there.


-        Kian Schaefer-Baker has now worked out for 2 NFL teams, the Jaguars and Steelers. Like many Rider fans I’m fighting conflicting emotions of genuinely wanting him to succeed down there because he truly deserves it and being petty and selfish and hoping those NFL teams pass on him.


-        I’ll have a lot more on free agency in the New Year but in my opinion the top 5 priorities to re-sign once we can start spending 2023 money are: Lanier, Sankey, Milligan and Robertson in that order.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: The Two Sweetest Words in the English Language

In the coming days when the Riders inevitably name Kelly Jeffrey the new OC, they will say all the right things in the press conference. It was an exhaustive search. We determined him to be the best man for the job. Etc. But the truth is Jeffrey will be the OC because of the two sweetest words in the English language: De Fault.

The Riders used to be the prime destination in the CFL… not so much right now. Let me summarize how our search has gone so far: LaPo declined to be interviewed. That was fine, he gets a free pay cheque from the RedBlacks so has no incentive to actually work at this point. Then Marty Costello decided to stay with the Bombers. Then Mark Mueller decided to stay with the Stamps. Then Khari Jones opted to go to the RedBlacks. Then even Jarious Jackson declined to be interviewed (and he is far from a top OC option). At this point that leaves Pete Costanza and Jeffrey… and its only a matter of time before Costanza officially says no. 

As I have talked about in this space. Our OC job was about as desirable as a combination tax audit/colonoscopy. We have no QB. We have the worst OL in the league’s recent memory. We can’t offer any kind of job security as our Head Coach and GM are in the final year of their contracts and there is no guarantee they make it to Labour Day. So the only way the Rider OC job is appealing is if you are truly desperate or if you have absolutely no other viable job opportunities.

I am not saying that Jeffrey doesn’t have the skills to be an OC but if you honestly think that he was the best option out there then Jeremy O’Day thinks you are qualified to scout O-lineman. Jeffrey might be good. He’s admittedly an unknown at this point. But this hardly does much to give hope to Rider fans. I know its too early for doom and gloom but at this moment in time the most likely scenario, if we are being honest, is another garbage year in 2023 followed by a house cleaning. That is far from a certainty and could all change depending on which Riders we re-sign, who we get in free agency and how we draft. We have some solid pieces in place but not enough to be very confident at this point. Hopefully Jeffrey spites me and turns out to be awesome (yes I’m so desperate that I’m trying to play the reverse psychology card).

One final thought on this Monday for you and it relates to QBs. I am not looking forward to 2 straight months of Bo Levi Mitchell talk. I'm sick of it already. So here my one and only statement on it until he actually signs somewhere. Is Mitchell an upgrade at QB for the Riders? Yes…. BUT only for 3-4 games max. I honestly don’t think Bo’s body can stand up to a full season. Pretty much proved that in Calgary. So throwing big money and a multi-year deal (because that’s what it will take to land him) at a guy that you don’t think can be full time starter will not improve your team. If I needed a QB for a 3 game playoff run, sure I’d take a rested Bo. But we need a QB that can lead this team for 18 games plus playoffs. No chance Bo is that guy anymore… even if we get our OL back to mildly competent (which is no guarantee).