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Friday, May 27, 2016

SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT

Welcome to Friday!  Here are the weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always, they come in no particular order!

The hashtag #isitjuneyet can be replaced by #junehasarrived.  CFL training camps are starting, and I think it is safe to say no team is happier to put the 2015 season in the rearview mirror than the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a new season is here. In 2013, no one wanted training camp to come because Rider Nation wanted to keep celebrating the Grey Cup victory. In 2016, Rider Nation wanted training camp to start December 1 after a miserable 3-15 season.  As camp begins, every team has questions including the Riders.  Here are my top ones:

1. IS BRETT SMITH THE BACKUP QB?

Knock on wood Darian Durant's injury problems are behind him and he can play a full season. If that happens, we won't need to see the backup get meaningful time under center.  After a 2015 which saw Smith elevated from 3rd string to be the starter after Kevin Glenn was hurt. He managed to throw for almost 2-thousand yards and 15 TD's which really wasn't that bad on what was a bad team. At the end of last season, he believed he had done enough to show he could come into 2016 as Darian's backup. Did he show Chris Jones he has what it takes? I would have to think Smith gets the number 2 spot because there is no experience there should Durant suffer another injury.  BJ Coleman is the only other QB on the roster right now, but you would have to think another arm or two are coming in. There is also talk the Riders wouldn't mind getting Rakeem Cato from Montreal. A Smith-Cato battle would be interesting.

2. WHO IS THE STARTING RB? 

It would appear Curtis Steele gets that honor, but I am guessing that isn't written in stone. Matt Walter did a great job in Calgary when he had to take over for Jon Cornish, but can he be the number one guy? Having a Canadian starter at running back would free up an American elsewhere so he could very well get the spot becaue of nationality. I also wonder where Kendial Lawrence fits in. Could he be a Corey Holmes type player?

3. WHO IS THE KICKER? 

This might be one of the best battles in training camp. Tyler Crapigna was no slouch in the CIS, and once he was given his shot the McMaster product made all 4 of his field goals. The team then went out and drafted UBC's Quinn Van Gylswyk who was likely the best kicker in the CIS in 2015. I have seen this guy play enough to know he has CFL written all over him. I was surprised to see the Riders take him in the draft because of Crapigna. You can't keep both. Van Gylswyk can punt too, so he could have a leg up(no pun intended) going in,

4. WHAT WILL THE SECONDARY LOOK LIKE?

What will the secondary look like? The bigger question might be what will the starting 12 on defence look like. Yes, it will be a lot better than last year which shouldn't be hard.  Shawn Lemon and Justin Capicotti will be the ends. Greg Jones and Jeff Knox Junior will be two of the three linebackers and I would think your secondary will include Ed Gainey, Matt Webster and Otha Foster, although Foster could be one of the starting linebackers.

With the exception of Knox and Webster, that starting 12 will have a whole new look to it. Is it too much change back there? After last year, one would say no, but how long will it take for this group to be a cohesive unit.

5. WHAT ROLE DOES JOSIAH ST. JOHN PLAY?

While the CFL's number one draft pick has not signed a deal with the green-and-white yet, one has to think he will and that he will be ready to go for the start of camp on Sunday. Is there a thought he could be a starter after his career at Oklahoma? Ben Heenan started after being selected as the #1 pick overall didn't he? The Riders had their choice at offensive line and they took St. John for a reason and I am guessing that reason was they thought he could contribute immediately.

Isn't it great to talk Riders in earnest again?

-- ESPN's Stephen A Smith apologized to Canadians after the Raptors won Game 4 of the NBA East final against Cleveland. The Raptors should apologize to Canadians for laying one great big dinosaur egg in Game 5. WHAT WAS THAT?  I think this basically summed it up....


Is "embarassing" even the word to use for what happened in Game 5?  How can a team that was so good at home, be so bad on the road.  Even if Toronto should win Game 6, does anyone have confidence in them pulling out a Game 7 win? By the way, was that George Yannitsos yelling at Dwane Casey in Game 5. My eyes had to be playing tricks on me!

Still with the Raptors, DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph are taking a lot of heat for being at a Cleveland casino (which was attached to their hotel) until 2 AM on the night of Game 5. Did they have a curfew? If not, there is no problem, but if there was, there's a big problem. If there wasn't a curfew, someone should ask coach Dwane Casey why that was. Hey, Carroll and Joseph could have done worse and it isn't like they were far away from their hotel. However, the message it sends is somewhat wrong---especially when you are the only two who have really been playoff tested.

-- Is it just me or was the Weyburn KFC buffet story that broke this week something you would see in a Corner Gas episode? How Saskatchewan!

-- The Penguins and the Sharks in the Stanley Cup final. YAYYYY!!!

-- It is a mock draft, but the website draftsite.com has Pats forward Sam Steel going 52nd overall to the Flyers. Teammate Adam Brooks is slated to go in the 5th round to Boston at pick 134. This same draft has Warriors forward Brett Howden going to Florida at 23 and if that holds true, he would be playing alongside his brother.

-- Is TSN televising CFL exhibition games? If they are, I missed the memo.

-- I wasn't able to attend the Glen Johnson visit this week as he showed everyone his rules presentation video. Some say the "eye in the sky" isn't going to be as big a problem as first thought, but I need to see a game before I make any decisions on this initiative.

-- The Regina Red Sox open things up Sunday afternoon at Currie Field against the Weyburn Beavers as another WMBL season starts. Let's hope for a decent afternoon for ball and let's see a good crowd for the season opener.

-- All the best to "Tragically Hip" lead singer Gord Downie as he goes through his battle with cancer. I find it unbelievable he is going on tour, and I find it disappointing that tour won't stop in Saskatchewan. I am not as big a Hip fan as others I know, but there is no denying what he is on the Canadian landscape and what he means!

Have a great weekend everyone!

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see investigative reporting in sask is next to nil.
Scruffy, if you follow ANYTHING CFL, you would know the pre-season TV schedule will be announced in the next few days.
Too much time spent on the KFC Buffet story. How saskatchewan-ish

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened with Marquez Clark the highlight WR from mini-camp?

Dave from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

ya scruffy, down with Raptors

Anonymous said...

Anon 1.

How bad is the CFL for not releasing a pre-season TV sked before training camps open? Please answer that.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain why St. John is a holdout? As the number one pick overall, shouldn't he basically have been signed, sealed and delivered? The pick didn't impress me when it was made, and now the player himself is getting off to a bad start. Jones and Murphy have to take some blame here as well as they should have been taking a guy who they knew in advance would be coming, and not being a holdout.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Don't look at me I didn't vote for him.

Anonymous said...

CFL preseason games are flat out losing proposition for TSN. Anything that costs more than it makes is bad business but the do it to promote the upcoming season.

On top of that TSN will wait to see what the sporting world landscape is. For example, would they televise a Saturday night preseason game up against a Canadian team in Stanley Cup or NBA Finals? (Remember, we are speaking hypothetically).

I, like everyone else gets up in arms about it but reality is not enough people care.

Anonymous said...

I am having deja vu like i read the first part of this article somewhere before ...

http://www.riderville.com/2016/05/26/rods-blog-may-26th/

this guy is such a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

I think Sam Steel going 52 is about right. He has been projected to be mid to late 2nd round. That though is a real disappointment to the fans and organization. He had a good rookie year and followed up with a real mediocre year in is draft year. Last year they even had to give up a ton to get him somebody (Sanford) to play with. Instead of making people around him better, they had to get someone to make him better. Maybe that tells you something.

After Benson, we had out pick and opted for the small guy. We could have picked Patrick, Clague, Howden and others. Almost all are certain 1st round picks and have good size. It was another Parker/Lang draft table. We got a decent player but we could have got a great player. Maybe that tells you something why the franchise has floundered for 30+ years.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that St. John and the Riders are about 30 grand apart at this stage. Perhaps both can do the right thing and meet in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Murray McCormick is all over the St. John story in today's LP.

Anonymous said...

Scruffy why cant the riders keep both Crapigna and Van Gylswyk? They are going to be both on the roster this year

Anonymous said...

Why would he meet in the middle? I don't get your negotiating strategy. Chris Jones will and should say he hasn't played a down this is the going rate see you at camp or not have a nice life.

Anonymous said...

Any work leak out as to whether the Riders will have guest coaches at training camp and who they may be?

Anonymous said...

I can see one kicker making the starting roster and one on the practice roster.

Anonymous said...

If St. John hasn't signed a deal, its on Jones and Murphy. It is a no-brainer not to already have the number one pick signed.

Tim

Anonymous said...

The Riders are believed to be offering the league’s minimum rookie salary of $52,000 in the first year of the contract with a bump to $53,000 in the second year

this is an absolute insult for a first pick.

jones and murphy need to get their heads straight if not they need to leave.

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous who blames Lang and Parker for drafting Sam Steel.
Instead of blaming them you should be congratulating them on drafting a solid Pat player. FYI, Steel was a better bantam player then Clague, Howden and it was a coin flip on Patrick. If you had watched them play you would know that. If you knew anything about scouting you would know the Pat's scouting staff look for the best WHL prospects not NHL draft prospects. Measure which player is better for their jr. team when there WHL careers are over not in their NHL draft year. Second point, 70 points is not considered mediocre by any hockey people.
GO PAT'S!

Anonymous said...

There has to be some cap room after all the salary dumps this year to pay St. John a fair deal - at least $80,000 if he makes the roster.

Anonymous said...

regarding Crapigna and Van Gylswyk; one will kick, the other will punt.

Anonymous said...

right from his first move with the chick/dressler fiasco to now the not signing of the first pick jones time with the riders is littered with bad decisions, bad judgement and bad management. this is not acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Queery...When are certain members of the Rider Nation going to get over the fact that Dressler and Chick are not here anymore?? Lets move on People!! They were members of a Team that was 3 and 15 last year!! Exploding it and was the only course of action. Onwards and Upwards!

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the pats drafted nhl type players they would win more games. Aren't nhl type players the best in the world?

Anonymous said...

query..... when are certain members of rider nation going to realize and accept that the dressler/chick move was a bad decision by jones. that dressler/chick 2 allstars were not the reason the riders were 3-15 last year.


in any properly run organization in the real world jones would have been fired by the riders by now

Anonymous said...

Brooks will be one of the starting DB's. Might be the best of the group.

Lawrence will be a receiver.

Demski is going to surprise. Was real good in FLA. Outside chance of starting.

Interested to see if Reeves is on the O or D side of the ball. Maybe both??

Paco

Anonymous said...

Riddle me this... how does a dinky town like Grand Forks have a nicer stadium (Alerus) with attach hotel then the one currently under construction Regina.

Taco

His Agrent said...

Time for the Green to fork over some green to Mr. St. John.

Anonymous said...

Dressler and Chick didn’t produce enough to validate the salary they were pulling in. Period. Taman and Chamblin were fired because they paid DD, Dressler and Chick a lot of $ and couldn’t put a team around them.

Were they popular players? you bet, however, if you are that attached to them, just follow them on Facebook and quit with the bitching about it on here.

Anonymous said...

Brett Howden and Noah Gregor will have better NHL careers than Sam Steel. BOOK IT!

Anonymous said...

Players must align to the structure of the team. This structure is not determined by the players anymore as in the grampa years. People have been hired that promoted a standard and proved that players will be held assessed using that standard. DD took a pay cut, Weston and John wanted to define their standard so are gone, Mertile and others didn't meet the standard. To have an untested rookie who may be a Heenan or a Williams define the standard doesn't work anymore around here and it's about time. Trade him to Winnipeg for their 2017 top pick. He can define his standard there and the Riders will get top pick again next year.

Anonymous said...

Once again the EE fan trolls are posting again. Their dislike of Jones leaving the all mighty Evil Empire for the Simple good guys in green has just been to much to bear.
Also to the poster saying StJohn should get $80K is either StJohn himself or someone who knows zero about football. St.John wasnt even a starter in College. He hasnt played a down in the CFL. He signs a 1 year contract at $52K and proves he's worth more. Then if he is worth more he writes a better contract for year 2 or hits free agency

Anonymous said...

Sam Steel is going to have a better WHL career than Brett Howden and Noah Gregor. PATS WIN! GO PATS!

Anonymous said...

Who does St.John think he is? Eric Lindross?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous posters -
jones first 6 months as a gm have been a disaster !!!!!!!!!
if he doesn't change his ways ,, he will be gone before he end of the season !!!

mark it on our calendar guys!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

jones needs to smarten up and pay up and sign th first pick overall - now
riders cannot afford to lose him
this is 2016 not 1916 - jones need to figure that out
the days of my way or the highway are long gone and jones will be the only one gone.

Anonymous said...

Jones has the Riders tied for first and have yet to lose a game in 2016.

Randolph said...

Maybe Crapigna is already trade bait?

Anonymous said...

Its astonishing how many rider "fans" have little to no knowledge of football. Anyone who thinks Jones doesn't know what he's doing better not be at the parade in two years when he wins his 5th grey cup. Chick and Dressler were the two most overpaid players in the league considering their production last year. WAKE UP!!!

Anonymous said...

Not a chance one of the young kickers/punters is on the practice roster somebody would scoop them off it so fast. I don't think Crapigna has a strong enough leg for kickoffs or punting but he probably kicks field goals

Anonymous said...

jones needs to smarten up and pay up and sign th first pick overall - now
riders cannot afford to lose him

_____________________________

Maybe St. John needs to wake up and realize he hasn’t proven anything to anyone at the pro level or even at the div 1 college level (was benched last number of games). He may have been drafted #1 overall, but he wasn’t the #1 prospect (that was the Manitoba DL the Riders drafted in the 4th round) so I’m not sure what position of leverage he really has.

I’m sure he’ll sign

Anonymous said...

Maybe he doesn't want to play for the riders, some players may choose to hold off and if it is true they only offered him the lowest rookie pay then I can understand why…a number one shouldn't get paid the same as your 8th, give him some incentive

Anonymous said...

If St. John dosent want to sign, SEE YA. HAVE A GOOD LIFE BUD OUTSIDE OF FOOTBALL.

Jones and Murphy know what's best.

Just ask all the Esks and Stamps fans that patrol this blog.

BOOM