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Thursday, July 2, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

RAPID FIRE NOTES:

- We are waking up to sunshine and mostly clear skies today.  It's hard to believe the forest fires from Northern Saskatchewan blew smoke this far south but now there are reports the smoke has drifted as far south as Mississippi.  What an interesting summer.  We think the Riders are in a crisis, but 4,000 Saskatchewanians have been evacuated from their homes up north due to the blazes.

- The past five days are what keeps us coming back in sports.  At least it does me anyway.  If you'da told me a week ago that by July 1 Kevin Glenn would be the Riders' starting quarterback and Paul McCallum would be our kicker, I would have been booking you a spot in the looney bin.  But that's where we're at and if you missed any of the latest Canada Day news, see the post below.  To make a long story short, Chris Milo is out and Paul McCallum is in for the Riders' field goal department.

- In his 22nd CFL season and at the age of 45, Paul McCallum has heard all the jokes.  Put it this way: McCallum's new teammate Nic Demski wasn't even born when Paul began his CFL career in 1993.  Demski, the Riders' first round pick this year, was born in December of 1993.

- McCallum told the SportsCage on Wednesday that he'll be wearing #15 with the Riders, and will be staying at Carm Carteri's house.

- Paul Woldu wasn't out there running around on Day 1 of the practice week.  It seems the Riders and Woldu couldn't come to an agreement suitable to both sides' liking.  Things can change in a blink however, as we saw on Wednesday.

- Regardless, this is quite a dog's breakfast of a roster.  It wasn't planned that way, but that's how it's turned out. It will be infinitely interesting to see how it all unfolds.  Injuries have certainly evened the playing field across the West Division and there's still no reason to doubt the Riders will challenge for the 2015 Grey Cup.

- They still have to play much better on defense however.  The Winnipeg Blue Bombers had ZERO two-and-outs on offense in last week's 30-26 win at Regina which is a franchise first.  The Bombers are also the first CFL team to do it since Hamilton in 2012.  That was 001 B.K.  (Before Kent).

- Drew Willy's 88% completion rate was also a Blue Bombers single-game record as well.

- Swaggerville.  Willypeg.

- The CFL is keeping track of a new statistic, called "targets".  It's fantastic and the NFL has been doing it for years.  For instance, Bomber slotback Nick Moore was 100% last week because he was targeted six times and caught six passes.  Meanwhile Rider receiver Jamel Richardson was 50% as he was targeted 12 times by Rider quarterbacks, but caught six passes.

- A train was running along Saskatchewan Drive on Wednesday, cutting off my usual route to Mosaic Stadium.  So I cut through the Brandt Centre parking lot and weaved around towards Elphinstone Street.  My jaw dropped when I saw the progress that's been made on the west side of the New Mosaic Stadium.  It's simply mind-blowing how quickly this project is coming along.  I'll get some pics for the MMG.

- If you haven't already, you'll be hearing a false rumour about the Riders moving into the new facility early because surely it'll be completed well before August of 2016.  However a high-ranking Rider official told me they can't move in early.  It's an impossibility because of contractual restrictions between the team, PCL and government.  I'm trying to stay on top of this because I'm hearing it a lot.

- Week 2 in the CFL will be history-making so we should all stand up and take notice.  When rookie Brandon Bridge starts at quarterback for Montreal Friday night when they host Calgary, he'll be the first Canadian to start a game since Giulio Caravatta of the B.C. Lions in 1996.  As noted here a few weeks ago, Giulio is a champion of Canadian quarterbacks and is happy to see the watermark fall.  Bridge isn't the first Canadian QB since Caravatta to appear in a game though.  The Argos' Danny Brannagan did it in 2010 and Calgary's Brad Sinopoli did it in 2011.

- Bridge will be a ways behind Russ Jackson for the most starts by a Canadian QB in a CFL career however.  Rusty's at 137.

- PARITY?  All three non-playoff teams from last year won in Week 1: Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto.  Meanwhile all 2014 semifinalists who played in Week 1 lost: Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Montreal.

- So far this season net offense is up 7% from last year.  From 652 yards to 697.

- If the CFL wanted offense and points with these new rules, they got it.  They got penalties too.  There are an average of 30 penalties per game in 2015 compared to 2013 when it was 18.4.

- 11 of 13 single point convert attempts from the 32-yard line were made in Week 1.

- I've got to say I'm very impressed with the Calgary Stampeders.  Just before their game-winning drive last week against Hamilton, Stampeders colour commentator Greg Peterson said on the radio, "We're going to see if these are still the championship-calibre Stampeders or if they're just another team."   We found out they're still the class of the league.  That's fine.  November is when it matters.

- The way Stamps coach John Hufnagel was stomping down the sidelines Friday night to find Buddy Jackson - who took a 10-yard O.C. penalty from the bench to potentially take them out of field goal range in the last minute - he looked like my Dad trying to find me when I stuck a piece of paper in a Jack-o-Lantern on our kitchen table at the age of 10, and almost burnt the house down.  Had the Stamps lost the game, a similar type of corporal discipline may have been administered.

- The Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to like the Riders' marketing slogan of 2013.  The Cavs had the phrase "ALL IN" plastered across the entrance of their home stadium, Quicken Loans Arena.  The Riders should be flattered.

- SAY WHAT #1?  Weird quote from Phil Housley who was announced as part of the 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class on Monday.  "Every year I've waited around by the phone waiting for a call from the Hall.  Today I finally got it and I can't tell you how shocked I am."

- SAY WHAT #2?  Rookie Rider receiver Devin Wilson was interviewed for the SportsCage about making the team in 2015.  "I can't wait to get my ears wet in the CFL," Wilson told me.  Say what?

- Congrats to WHL warhorse Lorne Molleken who was hired as coach of the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday.  He was truly beaming over the phone when we had him on air on Tuesday.  "Mooner" beat out Ryan McGill for the right to be Vancouver's sixth head coach in franchise history.  But he's got a tall order getting the Giants back to the front of the pack.

- Regina's Boyd Gordon is back with the Arizona Coyotes.  He was traded back to Phoenix from Edmonton in exchange for Lauri Korpikovski this week.  Boyd will be on the SportsCage today.

- The nightmare is over for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Phil Kessel.  As of Wednesday, he's a Pittsburgh Penguin.  Now what to do about Phaneuf ...

- And finally kudos to the Regina Pats for doing the right thing and hiring Graham Tuer has a scout and liason to Hockey Regina this week.  Graham's worked for the Warriors and Rockets since leaving the Pats but admits he always had a Pats tattoo on his butt.  Welcome back Graham!

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THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY.  HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!
RP
@sportscage
Instagram: ridervoice

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the status of Demski? How long he will be out for? I was walking my dog yesterday and saw him moving into a house. His shoulder wasn't in a sling or anything. Was gonna say hi but decided to let the man have his peace.
Props to Carm for letting Paul stay at his place!
-Kayla H from Regina

Anonymous said...

where are the targets stats they are not on cfl.ca anywhere?

Anonymous said...

"The Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to like the Riders' marketing slogan of 2013. The Cavs had the phrase "ALL IN" plastered across the entrance of their home stadium, Quicken Loans Arena. The Riders should be flattered."

LA Clippers used it as their playoff slogan in 2011-12 and I doubt they were the first either. It's not exactly an original saying.

Anonymous said...

good on tino....not sure a lot of people could swallow the "pride" pill....shows me character! welcome back tino!

Anonymous said...

To me targets are similar to plus minus on a hockey stats sheet. Interesting but don't tell the whole story. I can think of three missed targets to Richardson that he had no chance on - including the one where Durant got hurt.

Targets are actually more of a defensive stat than an on offensive.

Anonymous said...

What an absolutely fantastic blog this is! Thanks Rod

Anonymous said...

Morning Roddy,

Thanks for another great blog column we really appreciate the work you put into this.

No one can deny what huge blow it is to the team to loosing Darian, however it got me to thinking? When you look at some of the injuries on this year's squad as well as throughout last year you wonder if some could have been prevented? I have a fascination in fitness and constantly try to stay up on the latest ideas to stay healthy, and in many of my readings I keep hearing how many US Colleges and now many NFL programs have changed their personnel and training routines during and in the off-season. Many teams have spent a lot of money of hiring the best athletic training staffs and changing the way high performance athletes train and in turn the injuries and recovery time of major injuries have improved greatly?

Are you privy to the Riders training regiments, have they changed in the last few years and how much money is invested on a CFL team for "Training" Staffs? Do many of the players hire their own trainers in the off-season and don't follow a team guided work-out regiment? I know many NFL, NBA and now some NHL teams state with in a player's contract that they are to only follow certain workout/training regiments approved by team fitness coaches in order to ensure continuity throughout their roster in order to ensure the injury prevention is top of mind.

One also has to wonder about Darian's injury and how it could to be this bad so quick? Many Achilles injuries are progressive and usually begin with symptoms of short bursts of pain, some times long sharp pains and or noticeable signs that rest is in order. Now as I'm sure many high performance athletes pay through the pain or just assume the pain is from workouts and or rough training days, did Darian keep this quiet? Did the training staff not give it the proper attention it should have deserved? It just appears weird that there were no signs of a potentially career ending (hopefully not) injury leading up to this.

Just my two sense, but interested to know how CFL teams manage their workouts for rostered players during the off-season and how they've changed their ways in the last few years.

Excited to hear Paul M is back, hopefully our lovely SK fall weather won't effect his kicking too much.

Have a great weekend Rod,

Stewart

Anonymous said...

Pats ownership and new regime keep making the right moves. So glad to hear Tuer is back with the club. I'm happy to say that I'm moving up from the mini-packs to a season ticket this year to support the great efforts by the new owners.

Great job PATS!

Anonymous said...

Dear Doctor "Stewart" ...... Why are you questioning the Riders training staff as you are ? Do you think for one minute that the Riders Doctors, and Training Staff would let Darian Durant play knowing that he already has some damage to his Achilles? Give your head a shake , these guys are trained to do nothing but the best and I am sure they are doing just that . Just to let you know Doctor Stewart , I stepped off of my deck one summer and stepped on a stone and tore my Achilles, so this type of injury can happen at any time.

Anonymous said...

Great points Steward. I shutter every time I see our star players engage in the running, leaping body check they use to celebrate a touchdown. You would think it would end after a couple of players in the NFL went out with knee injuries. I recall Darian doing one of these leaps with his receiver after his TD throw. Message to players - its not worth the risk - stick to the traditional spiking the ball, or the group hug.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

Wow Anon, you're a little sensitive hey, think Stewart made some valid points and was posing some questions that made me think and found the post interesting. Where was he attacking anyone? Geez, this blog is high strung lately why does everybody have to jump on anyone who may pose a different idea than the regulars on here.

Stewart, great post and don't listen to bullies on here, all view points are welcome.

Senator Biden

Anonymous said...

Good post Stewart, you wonder how much money is allocated to proven kiniseolgists and nutritionist on CFL teams because of how tight some teams are for money. I toured seattle's locker room a couple years ago and the gym and cafeteria alone and the staff designing various meals for different positional players probably costs more than an entire CFL operating budget it was mind blowing to see that facility and what goes into their training and diet plans.

Anonymous said...

Is Paul McCallum the Gordie Howe of CFL kickers? Any chance that his sons will some day play on the same CFL team at some point? :)

Don Mitchell said...


Glad to see that offence is up. But the penalties "ohh boy" (quoting Fred Flintstone). Put the flags away zebras and unless it is flagrant let the boys play. And let kill video review on all plays except TDs!

Anonymous said...

Ha cause "All In " wasn't used by teams for the past decade, I'm sure the cavs just spend hours scoworing the CFL for marketing ideas.

Anonymous said...

A few more QB injuries this season and maybe Picton gets a shot.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Carm's front yard is xeriscaped.

Anonymous said...

DD going down has really knocked the stuffing out of Rider fans. His skill but moreover his leadership is beyond words. Other teams not only respected his ability, they feared him. All that is gone and no matter how adequate our backups are, something big is missing. The Province feels it, and the fans do to. This season already feels a bit of a downer.

Giving all the recent additions their due regard, something is still obviously missing. The signings haven't struck a chord of real optimism. It's sort of like "is that all there is?". I know I'm not alone saying I'm not sure we have deep enough QB'ing to be champions this year. I hope I'm wrong but I doubt it. We are putting all our eggs in Glenn's basket. It's worrisome.

The defence will need to be superior this year to make up for the loss of DD. Hopefully Glenn will only need to manage the games as opposed to having to win them.

Management may need to get by for a period of time with what's here and perhaps at some point orchestrate a significant trade(s). I think a much longer and deeper vision are needed. I think we all want to have optimism and say we now have a difference maker.

Anonymous said...

Good on the Pats for hiring Mr. Tuer, I met him at Sparkys just before he got his hockey canada award in May. I consider myself a pretty knowledgable hockey guy but I learned a lot in the hour I sat and talked to him. Great hire by the Pats.

Anonymous said...

So last year, we picked up quarterback George Blanda (Joseph). This year it's the kicker version of George Blanda (McCallum).

C'mon CC/Taman, I know you love vets, but lets start doing this the right way - if you are constantly unhappy with a spot, take your lumps now and develop a young guy. Quit putting it off. (unless a "young vet" is available, of course)

Anonymous said...

Is the old 96er coming out of retirement too? His most famous hit was against these Argos, more specifically Spergon Wynn. His response after was priceless: "I don't care if it's Jesus himself back there, my job is to hit the quarterback". What a guy.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else have the feeling the Riders had a self confidence coming into this season? It appears they were very ill prepared and now are making knew jerk reactions?

Hope I'm wrong, however to me it seems they're was a lot of hype going into this year but if pre-season and game 1 are anything (regardless of the Durant injury) this team seems like its missing some very key pieces and pages in the playbook.

Anonymous said...

And they said Coach Miller liked to hang on to the vets ……. Ohh Boyy

If they bring back Suitor then we are grasping at straws, or Baron Simpson at MLB.

Duckworth

Anonymous said...

This team has nothing to be cocky about, they have looked ill prepared every game so far, new OC or not this team had a lot of hype for no reason. Corey himself had to unload on this group a couple of times during training camp because of effort, we now know why.

Regan

Anonymous said...

Name one knee jerk reaction the Riders have made?

Anonymous said...

"Heard it from a friend who - heard it from a friend who - heard it from another" that Macho Harris has said the team has already thrown in the towel and some of the boys are pissed with that....I sure as HELL hope that is not the case after 1 bloody game - my god what does that say?

So Milo wasn't hitting straight and we bring in McCallum for game two (not a kid anymore) have we thought about down the road - anyone warming up in the bullpen?

Anonymous said...

Agreed Regan well said!

Tuer for PM

Anonymous said...

U just said the Riders don't have a plan.

Has Brent Parker taken over the Riders?

Anonymous said...

"Tino, Tino, Rah Rah. He's the man. Yeh Tino",
NOT !!!!!!!

Saskatchewan Roughriders oblivious cheer leading squad shout out comes to screeching halt once they realise it's Tino in the game and the end game results negative.

Anonymous said...

best sports blog in Canada Rod, hands down

The Woz said...

Did anyone think that maybe we now trade milo to say toronto for another canadian to help in an area of need? Milo had lots of chances. So we go with pual this year and draft someone next year. Good plan.

Anonymous said...

Considering we couldn't beat Willy and a weak Bomber team it's concerning. Then you look at how the T-Cats are demolishing Winnipeg tonight. Tillman and Austin upward trending since they know how to really build a team. The Riders are trending the other way. It's not like people didn't see this coming.

Anonymous said...

Oskee Wee Wee,
Oskee Waa Waa,
Holy MAKINAW !
Nobody close In the to the Hamilton Tiger Cats CFL supremacy.
Go Cats Go ! Go Cats Go ! Go Cats Go !

Anonymous said...

Go away Woz. Just go away.

Anonymous said...

said it before ill say it again ARGOS 55 riders 17

Anonymous said...

Some of the posts lead me to believe that this site is being subverted by Stampeder fans out of Calgary. Rider fans are not as dim as some of the comments that have appeared here denouncing the Riders for trying to deal with their injury situation.

Anonymous said...

Saskatchewan blew smoke this far south but now there are reports the smoke has drifted as far south as Mississippi.


Well it finally happened and I knew it was only a matter of time... Saskatchewan and Mississippi used in the same sentence, it was only a matter of time.