So what if the Pats didn’t finish the job? It would’ve carried an asterisk anyway since they didn’t get there the proper way through the front door of winning their league championship. Paddock’s crew put up a good fight and the best team won.
Pretty hard to top that.
2 – PATS OWNERS SHOULDN’T APOLOGIZE: It sounded to me like Shaun Semple did an awful lot of apologizing to fans for the high ticket prices they charged for the tournament. Should they have scaled it back and had less entertainment surrounding the games? Maybe.
But instead of blasting the Pat owners for charging higher than normal Pats prices, how about we say thanks for taking a million-dollar loss to do something nice for our city and our province?
I’m just grateful to them for doing their part so we can have cool events/concerts in Regina. For those who couldn’t afford to go to most games, you could’ve done what I did and bought tickets to one game and saw the rest on Sportsnet. Problem solved!
3 – HEAVY FALL FOR MARQUISE: When the Riders stumbled out of the gate to a 2-4 start a year ago, one credible source with CFL personnel experience told me it was time to see what Williams had and give him the shot to be this team’s quarterback.
Ten months later, Marquise is gone. Head Coach Chris Jones’ choice to give David Watford a full half of football against mostly the Eskimos first team starters in the preseason opener Sunday would indicate to me that 3rd string QB job, behind starter Zach Collaros and backup Brandon Bridge, was Watford’s a fait accompli before anyone even stepped on the gridiron at Commonwealth Stadium.
The rookie moved the ball on one drive but that was mostly aided by a pass interference call and some great catches from his receivers who made him look a lot better than he was. Given the fact he had a whole half to work with the offense and Marquise didn’t, I’m still unconvinced that Watford definitively deserves to have that job over Williams.
4 – MESSAM A COMPLICATED FIT: Jerome Messam is plenty capable to start at running back and at a reported $120k salary, isn’t making a crazy sum for a Canadian starter at a skilled position. But the reality is if the Roughriders cannot find a suitable Canadian backup for him and decide they can live with 7 Canadians starting elsewhere (likely) then Jerome will have to backup Zac Stacy to start the season.
But at his six-figure price, Messam might be too pricey of a cap-hit to even do that. My guess is he starts the season backing up Stacy and Chris Jones will start him on a week during the season when injuries start impacting their ratio elsewhere on the roster.
5 – MANZIEL SHOULDN’T PLAY ALL SEASON: I’m old enough to remember when quarterbacks weren’t supposed to see the field until year number 3. The game has changed dramatically since then but I still think tossing Johnny Manziel or any other QB to the wolves in his first year is a mistake.
Darian Durant just retired as one of the greatest Roughrider quarterbacks of all time but most probably forget that he spent his first 2 years on and off the practice squad and only played a handful of games in his 3rd year before getting the keys to be the fulltime starter.
It seemed to work out okay for him.
If Johnny Football is to make it up here, the Ticats should keep him on the bench for at least a year before throwing him out there.
6 – JOSH FREEMAN’S CIGARETTES: Had a few cocktails with my pal, Mark Whettel of Winnipeg, and 3DownNation’s Drew Edwards at CFL Week in Winnipeg back in March. I argued incessantly that Josh Freeman could be the answer for the Alouettes when Drew informed us both he had spotted Josh smoking a cigarette that same week.
The half dozen or so pints I downed that night gave me a splitting headache the next morning, prompting me to question if Drew had actually told us that or if I had made it up in my head.
Turns out I never made it up. Drew’s story about Freeman “puffing on a dart” came out after Freeman was about to be released-so-then-retired from the Alouettes, Saturday.
As I too enjoy puffing on the odd dart, I’m not one to judge. But it’s hard not to agree with Drew’s assessment that Freeman was probably never really committed to this CFL thing and was simply clinging to the only life he has always known. It’s usually all about ‘who wants it more’ and Josh just didn’t really want it all that bad.
7 – SASKATCHEWAN RUSH NHL CONNECTION: Sportsnet did a terrific recap of the fiasco surrounding Mike Keenan and his Peterborough Pete’s allegedly throwing a game at the 1980 Memorial Cup in Regina just to avoid facing the Pats in the final. I’m sure that piece and memories of being pelted with tomatoes by the fans here caught Iron Mike’s attention but it might not be the only thing connecting him with Saskatchewan these days.
Distant cousin Derek Keenan coached the Saskatchewan Rush to a 16-9 win over Rochester in game 1 of the National Lacrosse League final which included a pair of goals from his son, star player Ryan Keenan. Thank you to the Rush for showing everybody that Saskatoon is a good sports town and the fans there will support a good organization who does the little things right.
They had 14,000 people there and one has to think another NLL championship next weekend would only make life tougher on the Blades in that town. Mind you, the Blades have done a pretty fair job of making life tough on themselves lately.
8 – SWIFT CURRENT BRONCO COACH SEARCH: Good for Manny Viveiros to be rewarded for his outstanding 2-year run in Swift by landing an assistant coaching job with the Edmonton Oilers. I’m hearing the Broncos would like to promote from within to reward the others on staff as well.
Willie Desjardins is from nearby Climax, Saskatchewan and some of the locals would love to see him show up in town but that appears to be a pipedream from what I’m told. A more likely scenario would see assistants Ryan Smith and Jamie Heward promoted to head coach and associate coach, respectively.
Some are criticizing Viveiros for trading away much of the team’s future and then skipping town to leave the re-build to someone else.
Meh, he got them a ring. He did his job.
9 –REGINA RED SOX SEASON FINALLY STARTS: Spring training for the Regina Red Sox is finally here. Year 3 of the Mitch and Geoff MacDonald show will include former Red Sox great Jason Veyna, who returns to the queen city as an assistant coach some 7 years after grabbing a pile of stolen bases to help theSox win the 2011 WMBL championship.
We’re a bit early for predictions but I’m pretty certain the Red Sox and their fans won’t be satisfied if they watch the Swift Current 57’s win a league title ahead of them for a 3rd straight season.
10 – DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: West Riders Best is a tremendously well-researched book by Rob Vanstone written to explain how the 1966 Saskatchewan Roughriders came together to capture the franchise’s first Grey Cup championship. The description of the ’66 team is good but it was the stories about the Riders outbidding George Halas of the Chicago Bears for star quarterback Glenn Dobbs and how Frank Tripucka and later George Reed ended up in Regina that kept me staying up late to read a few extra chapters. Did you know Ronnie Lancaster was once a Major League Baseball prospect? Neither did I.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)