Monday, February 19, 2024

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Big Additions

For the most part the official opening of free agency was about as exciting as most all-star games. Not a lot of real excitement and a whole lot of going through the motions. We made official all the deals we were expecting which was great, just not particularly exciting. I honestly thought that we were mostly done. But O’Day had other plans.

He made 2 more big (both literally and figuratively) signings. The first was bringing back Micah Johnson. Now I’ll be the first to admit that having Micah play for us in an even numbered year will be weird. He played for us in 2019, left for BC in 2020 when the season ended up being cancelled, returned for 2021, left for Hamilton in 2022 and returned in 2023. He was not due back in these parts until his 4th stint came around in 2025. But dammit am I happy he’s staying! I have been campaigning for this all offseason (you’re welcome). In a crap season, Micah was one of the few guys who gave it his all the whole year. Not only was he a strong veteran leader who demonstrated the heart you want to see from your key guys, he was pretty damn good still. At 35, he played a full 18 game season, notched his most sacks as a Rider and I contend, was our best defender (I get that the bar was pretty low but still, point remains, he was good). I think he is exactly the veteran leader we need to head up this revamped D-line under Coach Mace.

The second addition caught me completely by surprise. With Ferland and Blake back and young guys like Bandy, Fry and now Zerr, I assumed O’Day would be content at Canadian OL. In what might be the first time the term “pleasant surprise” has been used in conjunction with anything O’Day has done with Canadian OL in the past 3 years, he went out and landed Ryan Sceviour (I assume Mueller and Mace’s Calgary connections had some play in there as well). An 8th overall pick in the 2018 Draft who has locking down the RG position on the Stamps OL for a few years now, and was named a West Division all-star in 2022. This was a massive addition to our OL. The only downside here is that this makes me pretty confident that O'Day will now continue his streak of completely ignoring OL in the draft... but I guess that's a future us problem. For now let's focus on the good.  

Honestly, other than American receiver (which we can address through recruiting), I feel like O’Day has checked all the boxes in terms of our major needs. The cynic in me fears becoming hopeful because decades have history have shown that hope almost always precedes that hope being violently bashed to pieces. But like Michael Scott I am ready to get hurt again.

I don’t expect there is much more coming our way in free agency but there are a few names still out there that I would certainly at least be looking into to see if you can get some late value. Some names include receivers like Cam Phillips, Rasheed Bailey or Lucky Whitehead. Even a Canadian WR like Nate Behar or Tevaun Smith (we will need depth if we look at starting 3 Cdn WR). DBs like Roberson Daniel, Winston Rose, Alden Darby or Jeremy Clark. Or DL such Woody Barron or AC Leonard. For the right price there could be some good value here.


Anonymous said...

Well, I said that the "connection" between Mace etc. & former players doesn't often mean much, having given the Jones example in 2016. That we should be happy with 1 or 2 significant pieces. And Hardrick is still the biggest one IMO. The TO connection REALLY only landed 1 guy - Ouellette & the Calgary connection 2 more. However, those were 3 big fish. They improve the team immensely though, to be fair to our MOP & DMOP, will we get the performance there that we did last year? Notwithstanding that - Thurman's a big catch.

The other moves - Auclair & Herdman-Reed for Moncrief & Teitz? Both had down years. Was it a blip for Moncrief? I don't see those as massive upgrades. Marshall is gone for obvious reasons but was a playmaker so can Edwards-Cooper match that production? I still like the move & he's a National. Carney for Robertson? Not sure that's an upgrade. I expect BC will be happy he's not injuring their QB's anymore.

So, improved on OL but still a big hole @ LT. I do like the LB's & DT's. IMO we're okay on D. I think we need to get some help @ WR. The West will be tough this year. Even with Harris I don't see us having an advantage there over anyone but Calgary. Everybody has solid RB's. Everybody has solid kicking & return games.

The team that scares me the most is Edmonton as far as playoff chances. They had signed up virtually everybody & added 4 really big pieces. Jones is returning with a big young team which had over 30 guys in their 1st & 2nd years last year & are now veterans. It's going to be a very interesting time in the West this year.

Anonymous said...

Resigning Micah Johnson is HUGE. Still a great player. Love the Sceivour signing too. O-line needs better starters and depth. I would still like to see them sign DB Roberson Daniel from the argos

Rider Prophet said...

Anon 1 - You are right. Hamilton actually poached more Argos than we did. I see Auclair replacing Teitz and Reavis taking over for Moncrief. Herdmans are just depth and special teams. Cooper is American.

Carney for Robertson is not necessarily an upgrade but I think the idea is that its not enough of a downgrade that it should impact the overall line, likely with some $$ savings. LT remains the one big question at OL no doubt.

In theory Edmonton should be good... but I thought that last year and was quite wrong so who knows.

Anon 2 - Daniel would add some great depth