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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1 –WHAT THE ROUGHRIDERS SHOULD DO WITH FREE AGENCY: The biggest hole for the Green and White right now is along the offensive line. It's a very talented unit that disappointed with inconsistency in 2017. Brendon LaBatte is a nice anchor at left guard and Dan Clark would be a nice re-sign at centre. Darius Bladek should be just about ready to start too.

Beyond that, I say blow it up. Peter Dyakowski is ready to be put out to pasture and Derek Dennis wasn’t good enough to be worth the $180k he reportedly made last year to use up an import spot at guard. Both should be released or at the very least restructured.

The team should re-build the hogs with affordable rookie import talent from down south and focus its free-agent efforts on recruiting Canadian defensive backs like Regina’s Tevaughn Campbell (Alouettes) and Jermaine Gabriel (Argos). Both have starting experience and could be had for bargain prices. This would open up import options for the offensive line.

2 –WHAT DO MARK McMORRIS, JERRY RICE & TIGER WOODS HAVE IN COMMON?:
They’re all insane. To be the incredible athletes they are, they have to be. Any normal person would have shut 'er down after the horrific injuries McMorris suffered in the back-country of snowboarding in the B.C. mountains 11 months ago. His undying love for his sport and competitive spirit is what brought him back.

It’s the same reason Jerry Rice was sprinting up hills to crack an NFL roster at age 42, why it took Michael Jordan 3 retirements to finally walk away from the NBA and probably why Tom Brady limits his “treat” to avocado iced cream (barf) in his quest to add to his 5 Super Bowl rings.

It’s an admirable and yet painful struggle these guys go through to get where they are. Fans like us are the lucky ones. We get to enjoy it too but don’t have to put up with all that other stuff.

3 – I.O.C. TOO SOFT ON RUSSIA: I had thought the Russians were banned from competing in the Olympics over its state-sponsored doping program. So, you can appreciate my dismay to see athletes representing “Olympic Athletes from Russia” competing in Pyeongchang. The International Olympic Committee has chosen to limit its punishment to athletes actually implicated in the scandal. I get it. But if you want to send a message to the Russian people to change their ways and/or to turn against their corrupt government, wouldn’t it be a lot more effective to slap them with a blanket ban for everyone?

4 –CBC OLYMPIC COVERAGE STILL PHENOMENAL: Don’t know what I’m talking about with McMorris’s injuries? Just watch “Unbroken: The snowboard life of Mark McMorris” which should and probably will win an award. I hear a lot of bitching and moaning about the CBC guzzling our tax dollars but I’m all for it. I hope people realize broadcasting the Olympics is a money loser unless it’s hosted in North America and the private sector isn’t interested in giving us live coverage late into the evening like the CBC does.

5 – SENS OWNER’S BIZARRE BEHAVIOR CONTINUES: I have very reliable sources who sat in on an Ottawa Senators impromptu staff meeting Monday in which team owner Eugene Melnyk took a very awkward turn in addressing his employees.

After a long stretch of absenteeism and an incident where he is accused of attacking a corporate sales rep which has since led to a lawsuit against the team, Melnyk met with everybody to promise them he will be around and able to meet with them all directly going forward and that he wants their input on how to design the new downtown arena (which he supposedly didn’t want as recently as December). He ended by telling the group he’s not selling the team unless he “loses it through bankruptcy”.

Sounds to me like the bad news is, he thinks he could lose his team through bankruptcy which I wouldn’t wish on anybody. The good news is the Sens might get a new owner which is long overdue.

6 – NO SYMPATHY FOR MLB FREE AGENTS: Unlike CFL players who are badly underpaid for their services, Major League Baseball players still enjoy the greatest working conditions of all North American team sports. More than 80 free agents remain in the week of pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona. The list includes star pitchers Jake Arrieta and Greg Holland as well as sluggers Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez. The union calls it collusion. I call it being sick and tired of being fleeced by wiz agents like Scott Boras.

If the union wants to force teams to pay a floor, they can collectively bargain that when the next Collective Bargaining Agreement comes up in 4 years when they can also agree to a salary cap like all the other leagues. Everyone wants a free market until it no longer benefits their own self-interests.

7 –McDANIELS BLOWING OFF COLTS LEAVES EVERYONE A WINNER: The decision of Patriots O.C. Josh McDaniels to back out of taking the Indianapolis Colts head coaching job has worked out brilliantly for everyone. Josh gets a better deal to stay put and keep working with the greatest head coach (Bill Belichick), greatest quarterback (Tom Brady) and greatest owner (Robert Kraft) in the NFL. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich finally gets his long overdue promotion to be a head coach. And instead of the Colts getting the 2nd most successful offensive mind in 2017, they get the man who beat him.

This series of events coupled with the delay of the Jim Popp-Marc Trestman hire in Toronto weeks after free agency began last offseason should be proof enough that it’s not about getting into a race to hire a coach quickly, but rather hire the right person for the job no matter how long it takes. 

8 – WILL WE GET CAUGHT UP IN “WE THE NORTH”? When my uncle passed away two summers ago it reminded me of how passionately he ran the high school basketball program in Langenberg, Saskatchewan. It’s an affordable sport to run compared to all the others and it prompted me to ask another teacher why we never played. “I don’t know” was the puzzled looking response I got. That retired teacher remembered it being played in rural Saskatchewan high schools in the 1950’s but then fading away.

The Toronto Raptors (Canada’s team) has the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. The Minnesota Timberwolves (my team) has their best team maybe ever. It's going to be a great spring of playoff basketball for this hockey fan still waiting for the NHL to get its act together. The jury is still out on the rest of western Canada going all in on the Raptors.

9 – TICATS NOT BUYING INTO MANZIEL MANIA: Kudos to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for standing firm on their original offer to Johnny Manziel and not caving into the demands or mindless hype of him or his agent. The interview Good Morning America did with Johnny Football should not change that stance either. If he’s truly committed to making it in pro ball then he needs to forget about marketing his own clothing line for this comeback, sign a contract and start learning an offense. No more screwing around. If he wants to play then it’s time to work.

10 – GLANVILLE TO HAMILTON HILARIOUS: Jerry Glanville joining June Jones’s staff with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the ripe age of 76 is great news all around. It adds yet another ex-NFL head coach to our great league (4 and counting) and has potential to bring some desperately needed Hollywood flair to steel town. But more importantly, it gives us all a reminder that it really never is too late. I’m still waiting for John Lynch to do some more color commentary on the Rider radio broadcasts and my biggest question for Glanville: Is he going to leave tickets for Elvis at will call in Tim Hortons Field like he did in the old Astrodome when he ran the Houston Oilers?

(Follow Brendan on Twitter @brendanhowardmc)

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Left Tackle, Boundary Corner and Defensive Tackle are all areas of major concern for the Riders. The one thing all teams realize is... if Jones and Oday do not plug up those 3 holes. Then as a competing team I am going to try an expose those weaknesses. Especially the blind side of Collaros. That position left to inexperience can cause a season\career ending hit on the new, healthy and shiny QB.
Signed:
Youse guys; listen here, seee

Tim said...

Thumbs up on all accounts Brendan, from my perspective.
As for the Raptors, they are my second favorite team to follow (overall) after the Riders. I think the way they play the game should be a model for all teams in all sports to play a game. They also look like they are having fun and treat their teammates well.

Anonymous said...


Blow up the o-line? The boundaries of your stupidity are second to none!

Anonymous said...


Send Dyakowski and Dennis out to pasture. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Thanks for the comic relief!

Anonymous said...

If you followed closely in a worst case scenario the Riders have a left tackle. Thad Coleman became a name when he moved over to left tackle two seasons ago. And no matter what the media hype says Coleman has been the teams most consistent lineman through the last two years.

Fans are worried about a boundary corner? WOW! There 50,000 american football players looking for jobs. If jones and company cannot find a single defensive back to come play we should shut down the league.

The team needs a CANADIAN defensive tackle.

The Riders have a good roster. Finding new (and cheap) talent is a necessity for every single team in this league. No team in starting 24 high priced vets.

Tevaughn Campbell. That's gold!

Anonymous said...

Who is this joker?

Anonymous said...

Wow Brendan you must watch hours of film on the Riders. How are you not a paid coach and GM?

Anonymous said...

How does this guy keep getting a column to write...he thought Russian athletes were suspended? Well yes they were but if you kept up in the sports department you would have known the Olympic committee stated they could compete under the Olympic guidelines but not under the country of Russia.

Anonymous said...


Rod, you just embarass yourself by giving this guy a platform. Tell him to start his own blog!

Anonymous said...

Oh come now Rod embarrasses himself all on his own he does not need this guy to do it for him lol. It's a decent column.

Anonymous said...

Senators will be moving to Houston.

Anonymous said...

maybe this guy can provide more insight into where Brandon banks will sign in free agency.

Anonymous said...

Senators will not be moving anywhere. The problem they have is similar to what St Louis had forever. St Louis made the playoffs for 30 years and never won anything so complacency sets in. Ottawa if you've been to their games. It's the oddest thing they have always had good teams they consistently make the playoffs but that arena is in the middle of nowhere so unless you live in that suburb that is a serious trek to get there. Then you add in Nortel a major private employer disintegrated and the federal government as the major employer can't do anything with season tickets. The real big issue though is the federal government had a major payroll problem where in the most literal sense people do not get paid so there is no disposable income. Melnyk can't be a guy who gets the blame. He has always paid for players, they ice good teams, they just never got that break. He is just frustrated as this team should have won something by now.

JPR said...

Yah and what just happened to Dennis?

Anonymous said...

Boundary corner? John Ojo is looking for work.

Anonymous said...

Don't let those jerks discourage you Brandon.

Anonymous said...

Who is Brandon? Lol

Anonymous said...

Time to visit a rural school. Volleyball replaced basketball years ago. The kids play at a high level too. Since volleyball doesn't have a professional presence in NA it's easy for a lay person to miss. Shameful for someone who writes on a sports blog to miss especially when the research consisted of an open ended question directed to one person. When ignorant, don't question or comment as it gives credibility to some of the above comments.

Lewis Grant said...

Hmmm...was the whole Manziel thing actually a ploy to get June Jones? Interesting if true. Austin has his flaws, but the man is not dumb.

Anonymous said...

Yeah volleyball is at such a high level the u of r teams are annually brutal

Anonymous said...

I love how my tenant gets to post his irrelevant thought, thanks Rod. This gets crazier each week. This blog is so funny to check out and laugh at.

Anonymous said...

Last team to find new and cheap talent now has them bitching about the league's wages because they put together a solid second half. That would be Wilder in Toronto who won't play now.

I agree there is lots of talent out there who would like to play and would be cheaper.