Monday, January 15, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Welcome to 2024

My first post of 2024 arrives exactly on brand… late, of questionable quality and with a distinct smell of day old rye. The good news is that if you clicked on this post you are either a longtime reader or so desperate for CFL news that you will literally read anything. In either case, I don’t see you being scared off.

Let’s get caught up on all the news people are talking about this January.

-        The Riders have been relatively quiet, at least from a volume perspective. Getting CJ Reavis back was a very important signing. Good to have Alford back in the fold. And Trevor Harris accepted a bit of a pay cut (well at least on paper. Due to US tax rules his gross may go down but his net might not change a whole ton).

-        Big one was letting Moncrief go. I get it but it still hurts. Moncrief has been one of my favourite players since he showed up here. Stan-up guy on and off the field who I don’t think people ever fully appreciated his skillset. The combination of Reavis and a noticeable dip in Moncrief’s play as the season wore on led to this. Wish him nothing but the best.

-        We haven’t done anything along the D-line yet. I know Micah Johnson is only contractually allowed to play for the Riders in odd numbered years but we also have Robertson, Christmas and Lanier headed to free agency. Be curious to see how Mace builds his D-line.

-        Another position I’m watching is RB. We have not re-signed Morrow or Hickson. I’m not a huge advocate of spending big on and RB but if you were inclined to spend Olivera and Ouelette would be solid investments. The fact that we have Hudon on the roster makes it more viable to start a Canadian RB. Also Mace would have connections to Ouelette. This is nothing but wild speculation but it does make you wonder.

-        Looking at our other pending FAs, the only ones I would categorize as priorities as Bane, Kelly (assuming he’s healthy) and Lauther.

-        We are playing the waiting game with Sam Emilus. He has now worked out for 5 NFL team (Ari, Den, NE, Ten, GB). O’Day kinda hinted that they expect him to be gone for at least a bit. Normally I would agree. With that many workouts its usually a lock to be gone. But this happened with Baker last year and he stayed (albeit injuries likely played a big role there).

-        Despite the speculation I don’t expect a mass pilfering of the Argos’ free agents. I bet one or two follow Mace here. But I don’t see us becoming Toronto-West. And given that they are already Calgary-East that would make us Dave Dickenson’s sloppy seconds.

-        The one news tidbit I loved hearing is that Mace asked permission to talk to Stamps Special Teams Coordinator Mark Kilam. He has long been a rising coaching prospect and even interviewed for our HC job. Calgary rightly said no (since its not a promotion) but it shows that Mace is not afraid to set his sights super high. If he doesn’t get a head coach job in 2025, I could definitely see Kilam finding his way here as Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator.

-        Speaking of special teams, one of the rule changes being discussed at the CFL winter meetings involves giving teams the option to take the ball at the 40 after a TD (same as FGs). I’m all for player safety (which they claim this is about) but there has to be other ways to address that that don’t eliminate the return game. Its one of the things the CFL does better than any other league. Its one of the most exciting plays. That’s why I will always be a supporter of the return game… and the rouge which encourages returns.


Ethan said...

I see a possible major red flag here. When asked both O'Day & Mace said all the coaches were in place & would be announced in good time. Why not now? We are literally 3 weeks to the open window for talking to FA's, have 30+ FA's pending & not even a hint of who's coming leaked anywhere. I hope I'm wrong but this looks suspiciously like the Claybrooks situation. Top available coach lands in BC & loads up on half a dozen guys who are retired players going into coaching or coaches on their 1st CFL gig. And I know how that turned out.

Usually when a coaching staff is in place teams announce it right away because the information gets out from other sources - insiders, teams they left etc.. And you start getting a flurry of signing the priority guys once you have all your coaches. The silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

They just announced it…

Ethan said...

Saw that. Actually IMO it looks pretty good. Lots of experience there. I take it back.

Anonymous said...

Man that was almost scary how you willed that coaching staff into existence. Next can you complain that Bane hasn't been resigned yet? See if we can knock that one off the list too.

Rider Prophet