The CFL preseason starts today and we can finally say that there is Rider football this week. I mean sure its meaningless football played largely by the soon to be unemployed but dammit I’ll take it.
Until I actually get to see the players for myself, I don’t have a ton in the way of thoughts/analysis on how things are going. Hence today you get a smattering of the random sentimonies that pop into my head on this holiday Monday.
- The Riders announced this week that they had reduced the price of a number of tickets and would be rolling out a $5 concession menu. This is great news and I have been campaigning for both of those things for years. It’s almost as if the Riders are starting to feel it in the pocket book and have realized they may have to try to make the gobs of money they are used to. Nah.. can’t be that. I’m sure they are just doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.
- The skeptic in me fully expects the $5 menu to consist of: a Halloween sized bag of Doritos, a bag of microwavable popcorn that you need to pay an extra $4 for the right to use their microwave to pop, super watered down iced tea made from like 5 good host iced tea powdered crystals and a beer that is entirely just foam taken off t of an actual full price paying customer's beer.
- I am legitimately shocked that while pretty much every other team in the league is unveiling new jerseys, the Riders have not in years. It’s a guaranteed cash windfall on the prairies so I am legitimately curious as to why they have waited so long to unveil even a new alternate.
- The team must really be high on OL Jordan Tucker. He practiced with the 1st team briefly until he suffered a pretty significant lower body injury that will keep him out some time. Usually new guys who get hurt in camp are cut and may be brought back later when healthy. Tucker still being part of the roster tells me they don’t want to risk losing him.
- It appears the back-up QB spot is a wide open competition between Fine, Dolegala and Patterson. Be interesting to see which one steps up on Saturday when they actually have to play against another team.
- There are a number of second year guys that showed flashes in their rookie year that I am interested to see if they continue progressing. Name like Christmas, Brown, Henderson and Hickson. Remember that last year was year 2 for guys like Robertson, Lanier, Milligan and Clark and they are now key starters.
- Just for fun. Here is my projected 44 man roster for Week 1. Let’s see how close I can get to the actual thing (back-ups in italics):
QB: Harris, Fine
RB: Morrow, Hickson, LaFrance
WR: Wieneke, Walker, Lenius, Emilus, Bane, Picton, Alford
OL: Hawkins, Ferland, Godber, Blake, Lofton, Fry, Johnson
DL: Banks, Lanier, Micah, Robertson, Korte-Moore, Dabire, Christmas, Dheilly
LB: Teitz, Dean, Moncrief, Harvell-Peel, Herdman-Reed, Reavis
DB: Marshall, Milligan, Dalke, Henderson, Clark, Lokombo, Ford
ST: Hus, Lauther, Vedvik
good points on Christmas and Brown taking the next step in year 2 and comparing them to others who did. I was pretty down on them last year as it was a huge step down to them once Marino was cut and Lanier got hurt.
Johnson's contract being redone at the start of camp might have been due to the realistic possibility he was going from starter to 6th man?
I'm not as hopeful for Brown and Christmas. They didn't "pop" as much as guys like Lanier and Robertson did in their first year. But they seemed "okay" so hopefully one can take a step forward.
I think Johnson's fate is tied very closely to how we end up using Blake. We would prefer to find 2 decent american tackles and be able to play him at guard. But if worse comes to worse and we need him to man a tackle spot then it opens up another guard spot. I honestly can't see us cutting him but maybe as you say we redid his contract to be more incentive laden in case he's not a fulltime starter.
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