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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A NOTEBOOK, AND THE CFL ON TV DEBATE

Rookie Jenson Stoshak hauls in a TD pass on Tuesday
THINGS I'VE NOTICED

1 - SASKATOON: Saskatchewan Roughriders 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light heads into Day 11 on Wednesday at Griffiths Stadium. It'll be one of the hottest days of camp so far, with the forecast calling for more sunshine and 27 degrees Celsius. For the most part, the conditions up here have been fantastic for camp.

2 - THE TERRENCE NUNN AWARD: It's still way too early to name this year's Training Camp MVP, an award named after former Roughrider receiver Terrence Nunn in 2011 who lit up Saskatoon before flaming out in his regular season debut. While the name of the trophy is tongue-in-cheek, the award itself is very real.

Two years ago we named linebacker Jeff Knox Jr. the Terrence Nunn Award winner and he went on to be named the team's MVP, Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Outstanding Rookie that season. He's now in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

3 - BUT....: Some players have stood out this year indeed. Rookie receiver Jenson Stoshak has been a walk-on every place he's gone - from Florida Atlantic University to the NFL's Carolina Panthers - and he continues to get regular reps with the 1's.

As CKRM analyst Luc Mullinder put it on Tuesday's SportsCage, "He's the receiver who's consistently been able to get open the most".

Luc also said linebacker Kevin Francis has consistently been the first one downfield to "bust the wedge" and get after the kick returner, but he's not a rookie.

Other candidates for the TNA are these rookies: DB Mark Roberts, OL Dariusz Bladek, WR Mitch Picton, DB Zavian Bingham and a few others.

Preseason game performances will dictate the winner.

4 - LITTLE D.A.: We mentioned during the Florida minicamp that rookie DB Regis Ball out of Memphis was a Dwight Anderson clone, running his mouth from the start of warmups until the final play of the workout. He never stopped. However in Saskatoon, he's been silent.

"That's because he'd get his block knocked off (by the vets)," huffed Mullinder.

5 - MVP'S: Twitter sensation @FakeGainer asked us during Tuesday's SportsCage who would be our MVP and Defensive MVP for the season if we had to predict those outcomes right now. I guessed Kevin Glenn and Henoc Muamba while Mullinder went with Duron Carter and Willie Jefferson.

6 - VINCE'S INJURY: Everybody wants to know what it means. The former NFL star left Tuesday's workout with a hamstring injury but we won't know until Wednesday how severe it is. Obviously if he's on the field Wednesday morning, there's a good chance we'll see him in Saturday's home preseason game against Winnipeg. TSN's Farhan Lalji reported that Young is scheduled to see a full half of work on Saturday, if he's healthy.

However if he's not on the the field on Wednesday, then speculation will grow. I don't know how I missed the play where Young got injured on Tuesday, but I did.

*UPDATE* Vince Young wasn't on the field on Wednesday's Day 11.

Most camp observers figure Young is firmly at #4 on the quarterback depth chart behind Kevin Glenn, Bryan Bennett and Brandon Bridge as it stands now. Will Young stick around on the practice roster if his position doesn't change? It's still way too early to ask that question.

7 - THE SIXTH MAN: Offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo generally dresses six offensive linemen for any given game. So that was a fun scenario to toss around with Luc on Tuesday: Who will be the Riders' sixth man on the offensive line to start the season?

With Brendon Labatte missing days due to a lower body injury (both he and Chris Jones aren't concerned about it), Peter Dyakowski has slipped into his Left Guard spot. So the offensive line, without Labatte, looks like this:

DENNIS-DYAKOWSKI-CLARK-ST. JOHN-COLEMAN

However with the solid play of rookie Dariusz Bladek - he continues to be noticeable in jersey #66 - do the Riders stick with the trusted vet in Dyakowski or put Bladek on the opening day 44-man roster?

Or do they dress seven? At the very least, the club is comfortable knowing they'll be able to go with three Canadians in the G-C-G combo.

8 - Either Cameron Marshall or Anthony Allen looks to be the opening day tailback. They seem to have split reps and time with the 1's, however Canadian Greg Morris might've been the top running back on Tuesday. The lingering injury to Canadian Kienan LaFrance has thrown things into flux somewhat, or perhaps they're just moving on without him until he's available.

9 - TUESDAY BLACKOUT: It was very unfortunate that TSN elected not to televise Tuesday's CFL preseason game in Calgary, a 23-18 Stampeders victory over the B.C. Lions. Alouettes' receiver Nik Lewis Tweeted that he "hated" the decision by TSN while Hall of Fame Blue Bombers announcer Bob Irving Tweeted "Bet the CFL isn't thrilled with its TV broadcast partner".

Obviously TSN must have its own reasons for not showing the game, but we don't know what they are. SportsCage listeners offered the opinions that "nobody watches CFL preseason games" or "it'll hurt ticket sales" but those are flimsy and archaic viewpoints.

Tuesday's decision by TSN certainly didn't help grow the game at a time when fans are starved for CFL football after a long off-season.

I think most of us would've searched out and enjoyed an online broadcast of it somewhere but even that was shutdown. It's 2017. We watch the NLL, WHL, U-Sports, WMBL etc. regularly on webcasts. But we can't get the CFL?

In the absence of a CFL broadcast, I opted to attend the movie Baywatch Tuesday evening at the Centre at Circle & 8th Cineplex Odeon. (Two thumbs up from the MMG by the way).

10 - SATURDAY'S GAME: We're now just days away from the first-ever Saskatchewan Roughriders football game at New Mosaic Stadium and it's a moment we've been waiting on for years. Fans are encouraged to get down to the park early.

The early forecast for Saturday calls for rain and 24 degrees but I wouldn't be surprised if it changes before then.

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THAT'S IT! SEE YOU AT CAMP
RP
@rodpedersen

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Coors Party in the Park debuts on July 1st. As this is still a test-event, there is no "practise field' type activities.

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70's Guy said...

I wonder if some players have been tagged with new nicknames by their teammates during the camp. It seems to me that Horshack (Welcome Back Kotter) would be an obvious one for Stoshak.

Anonymous said...

I wish all the preseason games were televised too, particularly the Rider games. But for last night, the reality is that BC and Calgary both have issues with attendance and fan interest. I can understand from a business standpoint why last night's game would not be broadcast. But seriously, why not broadcast both Rider games? A huge fan base and the potential to see a huge star in Vince Young take the field. The Rider pre-season games this year would most certainly generate an audience. The only thing we as die hard CFL fans can do is watch all pre-season games to show TSN there is interest, and maybe they'll broadcast more in the future. I will do just that.

Anonymous said...

While more of the CFL is broadcast now than ever before, the CFL broadcasts are more inaccessible than they ever have been. You must have a TSN subscription, which is not part of a basic cable package and thus not cheap. Back in the 2007 season, you could live stream all of the CFL games for free on TSN.ca. Then it was only Wendy's Friday Night Football you could stream live. Now, it is NOTHING. You can't even re-watch the games on TSN.ca unless you have a subscription to TSN. Yet you can watch NFL football on basic cable packages as well as NHL hockey for free on CBC. But no CFL anywhere. That annoys me to no end.

Anonymous said...

Rod you work in the media I am not sure why you are confused by TSN not showing this game. They know what the ratings were going to be and its not their job to grow the game by showing games that starters are going to play 3 series of. There was no hockey and a late Jays game so TSN had a chance to win the rating night (something they haven't done alot of. Their advertisers expect them to provide eye balls and not run a charity in a blind effort to "promote the game" Media is a cut throat business as you might note when you look at your colour guy next time you are in the booth.

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^^ Wow. Wow. Wow.

First, TSN doesn't have the Blue Jays. Second, "It's not their job to grow the game"?, (you might want to look up the definition of "partnership") and third, how does my colour commentator have anything to do with this?

Are you out to lunch!

HAME said...

TSN elected to show a game from last season instead.. which I don't get. I'd rather watch a pre-season game then a re-run.

Jack Upshall said...

Rod I have been waiting for the new stadium all my life, not just years!!! Enjoy your Blog every morning. Your Training Camp coverage is giving this Football Guy delicious insight and access. Keep up the good work. All the best to you and Luc as the Jolly Green Giants embark on a new journey in one of Canada's premier entertainment facilities. Jack Up

Anonymous said...

Bell Media just being cheap and not sending a production crew. Gotta pay for those pricey Jay and Dan contracts!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to miss historic Taylor Field and all the great games, people and memories that have been created over 40 years of attending games but it's time to move on. I'm pumped for this Saturday's game and excited to see how the team performs!

Regarding the TSN CFL televising of all games, I too would've liked to have watched last night's game and as a partner, TSN probably should've stepped up to the plate. However, the TSN deal has been very financially beneficial for the league and the quality of the telecasts has drastically improved from the "other" network so I'm not going to get too worked up about it. Hell, up until a few years ago there were no pre-season games televised so there is progress, even if it's not as fast as we'd like. Unless TSN put on a full-blown production with the panel and multiple cameras etc, they were in a no-win situation. Don't kid yourselves, the masses would've complained about a skeleton production with only a few cameras or a live-stream available.

Anyway, for months we asked "Is it June yet?" and finally it's here so all is good. The Riders have a home game this weekend and I'm expecting a much improved club who'll fight it out for 2nd with Calgary. Enjoy the day!

Anonymous said...

The TSN not showing all exhibition games has nothing to do with ratings, do you think poker gets better ratings than a CFL exhibition game???? It has to do with money. It costs a lot of money to put on a broadcast of a game, paying on-air talent, crew for set up and take down and then crewing the game. The teams all get money from the TV contract and TSN simply said "if we broadcast exhibition games we simply will give the teams less from the TV contract". The teams would have all said "screw showing exhibition games we need the money" It is not public but I will bet this is an agreement with the teams and TSN, not TSN just going "screw you nobody watches exhibition games".

Rob

Anonymous said...

In the NFL, the local networks do the games. For example, CBS Seattle does the preseason Seahawks games. Why not do it on one of the local stations here? In fact, Bell Media doesn't even have to give up the rights for it. How about a two camera operation on the local CTV station? Heck, even show it on tape delay at midnight on the station?? I'm sure there are plenty of young broadcasters that would even volunteer their time for that number of eyes on them.

Anonymous said...

I used to have just the one TSN channel that came with the basic package and at times a scheduled game would be replaced by another CFL game and the one I wanted "moved" to another TSN channel. Now I have all the TSN channels and if they show a game it's the same one on all channels. I don't think games overlap anymore either. Sports net does the same thing with hockey. They just maneuver you into getting the added subscription channels.

Anonymous said...

To begin with, with apologies to the rabid Rider fan base, pre-season games are boring & to all but the same rabid Rider fan base, nobody wants to watch a Rider pre-season game when the temperature's in the 20's & you could be out golfing. The 1st pre-season game, in particular, features a good portion of appearances from a lot of guys who won't be here come the end of June. Secondly as mentioned above it's expensive to put on a broadcast for a rather small viewing audience. Despite the mindset of many Rider fans, the Roughriders do not drive the CFL. If Toronto was in the USA it would be the 3rd or 4th (Chicago & Toronto are about the same size) largest market down there, only surpassed by NY & LA. In the Toronto area lives about 20% of the Canadian population, a large proportion who care more about what happens in the USA than what goes on here. In other words, if there was no Toronto in the CFL there would be no TSN contract at all. So should TSN care because we have the biggest fan base in the CFL? It's not about being cheap or unfair because they show more NFL, it's just business. Where are they going to "win" the ratings night with a CFL pre-season game? There'll be more people watching Desperate Housewives or The Kardashians or Big Bang Theory reruns that have been seen dozens of times before. CFL pre-season games in most people's worlds. Speaking as a FAN of the CFL, pre-season games are not MUST SEE television. Sad but true. Feel free to throw stones.

Anonymous said...

Ah, as long as it's on the radio, that should be good , cfl has a money problem.