Sunday, October 29, 2017
10 THINGS I THINK I THINK FOR CAPITAL FORD QUICK LANE
2 - FAREWELL #2: The Riders always do it right and their video tribute to Darian Durant Friday was as unexpected as it was classy. They - to my recollection - have never done that before, for anyone. Did anyone see Ken Miller Friday night btw? I think Darian could've chosen his words more carefully last week but hey, he's an emotional guy. And I don't think that's the last game he'll play at New Mosaic Stadium as a visitor.
3 - TEACHABLE MOMENTS: The Riders are getting them all out now. Bakari Grant's hotdog move in the second quarter which cost the team a TD and himself 1000 yards was a microcosm of the night. The Riders are getting away with little things that could kill them in the playoffs but at least they're learning the lessons now. In two weeks' time, there will be no do-overs.
4 - RIDER MATH: The final week of the season is at hand and it's not as confusing as it appears. If the Riders beat Edmonton on Saturday in Regina, they're assured of finishing third. It's that simple. However if the Eskimos win, not only do they have a shot at clinching second, they're assured of at least third and the Riders will finish fourth and crossover into the East for the playoffs. I hope I have that right. Maybe it's more confusing that I thought.
5 - EAST OR WEST?: I guess we'll find out what road the Riders want to take based on the roster they field in Week 20. No matter who's in the lineup, I expect them to give 100% effort but this week's game doesn't have a "playoff" feel. To a man, the players feel either road to the Grey Cup will be difficult and don't have a preference. Personally I'd like to go East, but that's just for better and longer road trips (not because the opponents would be easier). Plus, I'd love to see a Saskatchewan-Calgary Grey Cup.
6 - SHUT YOUR MOUTH!: One of the most memorable radio calls of my career was entirely impromptu, even if many listeners thought it was staged. How could it have been? In my wildest dreams I never thought Duron Carter would record a Pick 6 against Bo Levi Mitchell in Calgary last week so when he did, I was stunned. But I was also so happy Duron was cramming it right down BLM's throat since Bo had been bullying him earlier in the week. I'm glad the call was the talk of the CFL, but it certainly wasn't rehearsed.
7 - LOOKING AHEAD: But not too far ahead. The Riders liberally rotated all three of their QBs in Friday's win over Montreal and although it seemed chaotic, Chris Jones said they had a plan. He's just not prepared to divulge what that plan is. The Riders are in remarkable shape at QB heading into the playoffs (see Winnipeg, who can't win without Matt Nichols). This trio is egoless and just wants a ring. The off-season is an entirely other thing and you'll want to have your popcorn handy for free agency. But that can wait.
8 - GREY CUP SOLDOUT: A few people have asked me if it's a coincidence that the Riders are back in the playoffs and the Grey Cup is soldout a month in advance. I'd like to think we're not arrogant enough to believe that, but maybe it's NOT a coincidence. If this is the case, then the entire CFL should be kissing the feet of Chris Jones for getting Canada's Team back in The Dance.
9 - SPEAKING OF: Chris Jones is doing remarkable things with Duron Carter in more ways than one. Is DC89 the first player in CFL history to be a Player of the Week on both sides of the ball? I'd guess so. Carter is gregarious, verbose, unpredictable and out-of-this-world talented (sort of like Odell Willis). And Jones was able to harness Odell in Edmonton long enough to win a Grey Cup and turn him into an All Star. It appears he's doing the same thing with Duron. Is the NFL paying attention? To ALL of them?
10 - LOCK DOWN JONES: There's talk that Chris Jones should be presented with a contract extension NOW since he delivered a playoff berth in Year 2 of the rebuild. The Nervous Nancies think that if Jones delivers a Grey Cup this year, he'll have the Riders by the you-know-whats and hold them for ransom. It's a tough call for Craig Reynolds. Jones didn't deliver a home playoff game this year, although that would have seemed impossible. Methinks this talk can wait till the off-season, but it's not my call and I'm glad for that.