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Friday, June 2, 2017

RODSERVATIONS III

Vince Young unloads on Thursday
IN-VINCE-ABLE

1 - SASKATOON: There were lots of stories emerging from Griffiths Stadium on Thursday's Day 5 of Saskatchewan Roughriders 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light. My favourite though, was the resurgence of quarterback Vince Young.

The household name shook off a rough day on Wednesday and came out chucking darts 24 hours later. Running with the "2's", Young fired touchdown passes to Desmond Reese and Josh Stanford, and was quick to high-five all of his offensive linemen after each play.

"You may have to ask Vince," Rider Coach Chris Jones said when asked how Young flipped the switch. "He just seemed more comfortable today ... maybe he just woke up on the right side of the bed. He was very comfortable in the huddle - it may have been the playcalling - we'll have to go talk about it as a group, but his talents certainly looked a little bit different today than yesterday."

The "Comeback" is still very much alive despite what you read here yesterday. This camp has already provided some interesting twists and turns.

2 - The battle for the top back-up job behind Kevin Glenn remains a spirited competition. Veteran Brandon Bridge struck paydirt on Thursday as well, and he continues to settle in.

"I thought Brandon's had a solid camp," Jones surmised. "There was only one day where I felt he didn't play his best football. He's best when he's out there on the run but we just want to make sure he's going through his progressions and not going to the run too early."

3 - There was a change on the offensive line as well. Peter Dyakowski slipped into the Right Guard spot while Josaih St. John moved over to Right Tackle. When veteran Left Guard Brendon Labatte went down with a lower body injury, Matt Vonk was quick to move in to fill the void.

The attention paid to that position by beefing up the depth has already paid off.

4 - Thursday was a very spirited affair which was a welcome sight. Day 5's usually see a significant lag - at least that's what I've seen over the years - but the coaches did a great job of keeping the energy and spirits up. It was another lively session with full contact in pads, and the players always seem to love that.

Rob Bagg and Bakari Grant even choreographed a unique touchdown celebration which the fans loved. I've always wondered when and where these guys plan these things, but I love it.

5 - How are we feeling about the 2017 Roughriders at this point? I put that question to CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder.

"I think there's a lot to be determined still," Mullinder cautioned. "The one thing we should feel good about in the Rider Nation is they're so much farther ahead at this point in camp now than they were last year. That was to be expected, but one thing that really stands out is the fact that this team is an actual team. These guys care about each other and they enjoy being around each other. Talking to a few of the coaches, the players are hanging out during their off-time.

"For the first time in a long time, there's a core group here. That's invaluable when you go into a West Division that's going to be really good."

6 - With the release of running back Daniel Thomas on Thursday (the 6'3" former Miami Dolphin), that position has shrunk by one. And with a mild injury to prized non-import veteran Kienan LaFrance, that's opened the door for CFL veteran Cameron Marshall to take up time with the "1's".  Chris Jones said it's a very talented group, and no one would be able to differentiate between the Americans and Canadians in terms of talent.

However Jones warned that no one is ahead in the race to be the Riders' starting running back.

BREAKING - Friday morning the Riders announced they've signed FA RB Anthony Allen and released DE/LB Gary Wilkens.

7 - Kevin Glenn proved he was human on Thursday, serving up an interception to veteran halfback Ed Gainey who returned it to the endzone. That's been rare for K.G. this week. DB Mike Edem picked off Bryan Bennett off of a tipped ball as well.

On the flipside Glenn launched a 100-yard touchdown to Bakari Grant who counted 60 YAC yards on the play. DB Royce Adams - who replaced Zavian Bingham with the 1's - was unable to track Grant down.

The sparkling play of Kevin Glenn in this training camp has caused a few to scoff, saying he's great in analytics but can he win games? Does he throw too many interceptions?

The all-time stats say Kevin Glenn is 7th all-time in CFL passing yards and 8th in career interceptions. What I get out of those stats is that Kevin Glenn doesn't throw any more interceptions than anybody else.

Danny McManus is the CFL's career interception leader (281) while he's 5th in career passing yards.

Kevin Glenn enters the 2017 season 1.753 passing yards behind Ron Lancaster for 6th all-time so he could hit that by Labour Day if all goes well.

8 - It seems to me this training camp could use some referees. Or at the very least, some yardsticks. Secondary coach Jason Shivers is watching the yardage like a hawk, and performing the duties of the Head Linesman. I'm told there won't be any actual CFL officials used until Saturday's mock game at SMF Field.

Incidentally, Friday's training camp practice will also be at SMF Field (formerly Gordie Howe Bowl), beginning at 9:00 am.

9 - Noticeable by his absence from CFL training camps this year is veteran defensive end Ricky Foley. The 34-year old was released by Toronto in the off-season but has no plans to retire. I'm told Foley is back in Toronto waiting for a call from a team who could use his services. However the 3-time Grey Cup champion will only take the "right opportunity" and you can't blame him for that.

Photo by Darren Dupont
10 - Between covering the morning workouts and hosting the SportsCage on 620 CKRM from 4:00-6:30 pm daily, Luc Mullinder and I have also taken the opportunity to get out and tour Saskatoon.

On Thursday we made what we felt was a very important stop.

We visited 3010 8th St E. - the address of the legendary Bonanza which burned to the ground in February - to pay our respects. We always visited that fine establishment three or four times each year during training camp.

For our American readers, Bonanza is akin to your Golden Corral but perhaps better. The word is the owner will eventually rebuild that iconic restaurant, and that's welcome news to us.

After our moment of silence, we toured down to Boston Pizza where the smiling staff awarded us with 50% off our tab.

#LawOfAttraction

We've loving Saskatoon!

**UPDATE** The CFL has scheduled a major announcement for Monday in Edmonton. Sounds like a new Commissioner has been found! Or ... as the Edmonton Sun's Terry Jones is reporting, Edmonton is getting the 2018 Grey Cup. False alarm.

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BIRTHDAYS: Happy Birthday today to Rider alum Graig Newman!

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THAT'S ALL! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO
RP
@rodpedersen



30 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Vince has watched film of the 2016 Grey Cup and the way in which Burris, age 40, took on the Stamps. As a 34 year old trying to kick start his career, it would be inspiring for Vince.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Rod.

Anonymous said...

That photo is outstanding!

Anonymous said...

Oh come on Rod, Bonanza was overrated. Their steak tasted like old boot leather

Anonymous said...

What about Marquise Williams?
Is he getting any reps yet?
Is he just studying the playbook?
His signing excites me more than Vince Young's signing did.

SWC

Anonymous said...

Great photo indeed

Rod Pedersen said...

He's got a lot of coaching up to do.

Anonymous said...

That particular Bonanza was special. If you didn't like your steak, just tell the owner as he was sure to visit your table at least once during your meal and make it right. Classy place (for a Bonanza.)
LF

Anonymous said...

What was your favourite item at bonanza rod..it was a great place...

Rod Pedersen said...

Chicken Monterrey on a toasted bun and the pasta tossed in Catalina sauce as a salad.

Anonymous said...

Have you tryed shoeless joes in stonebridge rod ..great food..great service..nice sports bar

CJ Evans said...

Any word on the announcement?? I doubt it's a new commissioner, but likely about Grey Cup 2018 being awarded to Edmonton. I doubt they would leave TO to make the announcement of a new commissioner!

Anonymous said...

Anthony allen is a rider again

Anonymous said...

Is the Green and White game going to be available online Rod? Or anyone know for that matter?

Anonymous said...

Fumble !!!!

Anonymous said...

Rod how sure are you the Monday announcement is the new Commish? Terry Jones indicated that Edmonton is hosting the 2018 Cup so that's likely it. Or are they announcing the Commish at the same time and hitting two birds with one stone?


Gunderson's Yorkton

Anonymous said...

Ed Hervey, new commish! Sorry couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

Is there any talk of a Grey Cup at Mosac?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to Anthony Allen back with the Riders! Now all that is missing for a Grey Cup run is Dressler, Chick and Durant.

Russell Cone said...

Rod,

The chicken monterrey has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid!

I'm a little surprised at the Riders bringing in Allen. Are you? More competition or are the coaches a little worried no one has really stepped up?


Cheers Rod.

I might try and stop by Griffiths next week.



Russ from Saskatoon

Rod Pedersen said...

Bonanza is a lesson for everybody Rusty:

Stuck with what works.

Anonymous said...

Allen is a good signing by the Riders. There's at least 1 known quantity at RB now. Remember all the fans who saw Daniel Thomas as "the guy" - one mentioned in this space he would run over the opposition. That's the problem with signings - everyone's a star. Allen is a positive sign. Dubuisson also a good signing for depth.

Anonymous said...

Ant Allen = Team Depth

Anonymous said...

Regina doesn't want the Grey Cup until at least 2020.....and that's being aggressive. This team, city and province just spent 4 years giving a tonne of time trying to build a stadium. Let's give them a break for a couple years.

Edmonton 2018
Hamilton 2019

Secret Agent.

Anonymous said...

I hope Evil Empire does get the 2018 Grey Cup and the Eski-Schmos are not in it. HA HA

2010 Grey Cup in Edmonton was a blast - except the end result.

You'll NEVER be able to beat 2013 though.

Go Riders Go.

Newt from YQR

Anonymous said...

Anthony Allen seemed to be always on the verge of a really great year, hopefully he has a good year and stays healthy, IF he makes the team

Anonymous said...

They have moved on...you should too

GWil26 said...

Hey Rod, will the mock game be live streamed this year?

Anonymous said...

Bonanza is based in Texas, and there are Bonanzas in the US and also Ponderosa which are the same company.

Anonymous said...

Losing bonanza a huge blow to the now blah Saskatoon restaurant/pub scene.