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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1-CHRIS JONES’ ONE GLARING WEAKNESS: You’ll never get any argument from me about 95% of Chris Jones’s moves running the Riders. The roster is stacked with depth just about everywhere and his salary cap/ratio-management has been brilliant. But one game into Year 3 of him owning the keys to the Cadillac, the jury on his quarterback choices is still out. He sat Brandon Bridge in favour of an ineffective Kevin Glenn in last November’s Eastern final loss at Toronto. He either alienated - or didn’t make a big enough play - for James Franklin in the offseason before backing the money truck up to Zach Collaros’s house when he probably didn’t need to.  Zach got the win Friday night but left me and probably most of you wanting a lot more. I'm not writing Collaros off yet by any means as it’s far too early for that. But so far to date, when it comes to managing his quarterbacks, Chris Jones hasn’t impressed me much at all.

2-JUDGE IS BETTER THAN HURL: Platooning Canadians Sam Hurl and Cameron Judge at linebacker was a brilliant move by the aforementioned Chris Jones. Using that duo instead of Henoc Muamba effectively allowed them to sign Jerome Messam and ultimately fill 2 Canadian starting spots for the price one. Sitting in the east-side stands Friday Night, I couldn’t help but focus on who was in on each play the end result of each down. Didn’t take notes or anything but noticed a much higher success rate for the Argos moving the ball with Hurl in than when Judge was on the field. They’re different players as Hurl looks more like a smart veteran/run-stopper and Judge is more of a speedy cover-guy. It’s a great rotation for now but for what it’s worth, I think Judge will eventually take that job for himself on a full-time basis either this year or next.

3-MASOLI IN NO-WIN SITUATION: It's hard to imagine working in a more toxic environment than one in which your boss is waiting for you to fail. I’m trying to think of a scenario in which Jeremiah Masoli can shut the Johnny Manziel talk down in Steeltown. A 3- or 4-game win streak might do it but I’m really not even sure how much that would even help. He stepped up to the plate and performed when he had to last fall and he’ll need to do it over a full season this time just to keep his job. If Jeremiah comes out of this still as the trigger-puller in Hamilton by next season, then he will be living proof that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Aaron Rodgers had to fend off Brett Favre early on in Green Bay and now Masoli has to do the same with Johnny Manziel. The difference is Rodgers’ coach had his back while Masoli’s doesn’t. I still can’t believe the Alouettes haven’t managed to snag one of these guys to replace Drew Willy!

4-SHERMAN DISAPPOINTS IN ALS DEBUT: Khari Jones is running the offense in Montreal but it’s still Mike Sherman’s show. The Alouette bird wings on their helmets were fantastic but sadly that was the highlight of Montreal’s season opener. Punting and then dinking and dunking the ball down the field with short passes when they needed 2 scores in the final 3 minutes just won’t do it in this league. Sherman looks old, tired, and disinterested in this experiment. It's a long year ahead for those guys. 

5-GOOD RIDDANCE TO ADIDAS CFL JERSEYS: Ever since Nike revamped the CFL jerseys in 2005, all teams have looked like one big corporation. Too much piping on the uniforms has destroyed some of the finest looking uni's in all of sport. Time for a makeover back to the 80’s and 90’s when uniforms had only 1 or 2 colours and looked sharper than most NHL or NFL jerseys. Want to know why CFL merchandise isn’t selling in Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver? Get the crappy trim off them all and they’ll be trendy again.

6-KELLY GRUBER A DISGRACE: Former Toronto Blue Jay (and son of former Saskatchewan Roughrider Claude King) Kelly Gruber is having a rough time. First, he got a DUI in Texas back in April. Then he baled on the Melville Millionaires baseball team supper in May. And then just to top it all off, he showed up at a Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction event loaded and is rude to the female host as well as fellow panelist and Jays analyst Kevin Barker. Having been raised by a dad whose been a recovering alcoholic for 31 years and counting, I’m not one to pile on anyone struggling with alcohol issues. Hell, I’ve had my own battles with the sauce. But it’s time for Kelly Gruber to either get help or at least quit making life miserable for himself and those around him.

7-REGINA RED SOX LEAP ABOVE .500: A great weekend for the Regina Red Sox included a stellar pitching effort from Evan Rogers Saturday night. Still early but hard to argue with calling him the ace after a complete-game shutout win over Melville. That game lasted barely more than 2 and a half hours. The Red Sox are finding their groove at a time the Moose Jaw Miller Express are falling back down to earth. I’ve been covering the Sox for 3 years now and feel like despite a slow start, this year’s team has the best shot of them all at winning a title.

8-TIME TO BAN HOCKEY FIGHTS: I’ve finally come around to the point where I don’t feel like we need fighting in hockey anymore. Ex-NHLers Daniel Carcillo and Nick Boynton are the latest to tell their stories to “The Players Tribune” and it struck me that the only one’s still clamouring to keep fighting in the game are dinosaurs like Don Cherry who fought back in the 50’s when players were about half the size and punched about half as hard as they do today. Wanna get cheap shots and hooking out of the game? That’s what suspensions are for.

9-WORLD CUP, FIFA STILL A DISGRACE: Not excited at all about Canada hosting some games in the 2026 World Cup of Soccer. Montreal is going to do a half-billion-dollar renovation of Olympic Stadium for this. Again, just imagine what money could do to bring my beloved Expos back! Again, what a disgrace!

10-DOCUMENTARY/BOOK OF THE WEEK: Find “The Players Tribune” online and watch both Daniel Carcillo and Nick Boynton tell their stories. It’s eerily similar to tragedy of Derek Boogaard living a miserable existence while the rest of us thought he was the envy of what we all wanted.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

#1 You think Jones has depth all over? If Marshall is injured for a while, we have Ivory on PR & Duron as import backups. I see we flew another DB who nobody knows in now. That's depth? We have no National RB behind Messam. That's depth? Take out Messam if injured & we start 2 National WR's. Beyond Bailey in his 5th year trying to become a starter & Stanford, there's nobody much behind them. That's depth? No import depth on OL - Harrison already yanked in game 1. No National depth on OL behind Bladek.

@mrt_man said...

8. THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH BANNING HOCKEY FIGHTS IS THAT EVERYONE LOVES THEM!... WOW! THE CROWD WAS LOUDER FOR THAT FIGHT THAN THE LAST 3 GOALS...

BUT YEAH SURELY THE POSSIBILITY OF A 2 MIN PENALTY OR A DAY OFF WILL STOP THE CHEAP SHOTS... WORKED GREAT FOR SYD AND THE PENGUINS


1. SEEMS LIKE JONES DOESN'T VALUE QB'S AS MUCH AS THE REST OF THE LEAGUE. HE'S SO AWESOME IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO HAPPENS TO BE IN AT QB... PERSONALLY, THE GREATS SEEM TO HAVE THAT EXTRA GEAR THAT KICKS IN FOR THE PLAYOFFS... AND THOSE GUYS WIN. THE GUYS WHO DON'T DON'T.

IT WAS NICE TO SEE COLLAROS NOT SUCK IN GAME 1... EVEN IF HE DIDN'T LIGHT THE WORLD ON FIRE.


5. TIME FOR SOME FULL ON WATERMELON HELMETS.

Anonymous said...

I would say 500 million would build a nice stadium for the alouettes but they may be folded by then. Don't get why they don't use Vancouver and that already renovated stadium, they would have a reason to take down those giant bed sheets they use to block the upper deck during lions and whitecaps games.

Shakey Pickett said...

I'm not a statistician, but the middle linebacker position looked to me like #4 was only going in when the Argo's were 2nd and long. That's what I noticed.

Anonymous said...

The government of B.C. and city of Vancouver decided not to participate in the bid as they saw no value in it.

Anonymous said...

Hey poster #1. Listen and learn. With the size of CFL rosters you can't have unlimited backups at every position. Roster sizes are 46+10 to cover 24+2 kickers and 1 returner. That's about one backup per position on average, but when you consider that we carry 4 QBs, 3 RBs, and more LB and DE types, who happen to make good special teamers, as well then you have less than one per position. This is why Jones likes versatile players, like Carter, Radford and Moore. In the secondary as well as Carter we have Ivory and the DB we brought in, who was with Calgary last year so while he may not be known to you he is known to people who follow the CFL. We could have brought back one of our late cuts. I thought some of them played very well, but Jones brought in Wilson which means that he likes him more. No, we don't have a Canadian behind Messam but because we have great Canadian depth overall we start more than the minimum number of Canadians - currently we start 8 - so we don't need a backup for Messam. That's the flexibility that great Canadian depth gives you. Bailey IS the backup, and with Jake Harty on the IR Mitchell Picton becomes the second backup, although Radford and Moore can also play receiver. You may not think Picton is much but CFL fans and particularly Rider fans know who he is and like him. Cofield is Harrison's backup, and again Bladek IS a backup, and JSJ is behind him, and we have a few developmental guys behind them. That's another thing. Teams generally have some longer term developmental guys who take up a few roster spots as well. So to sum up, yes we have depth all over, as much as you can have with our roster sizes, and more than most teams because of our versatility.

Anonymous said...

One regular season game and you've started gathering pitch forks and torches for Collaros. It's obvious what future columns will contain. Like Trump you play to your base.

Anonymous said...

You need to be smarter than your argument anon 1.

You aren't wrong when pointing out there isn't starter worthy Canadians behind every position. No cFL team has that. But the Riders started 8 candians in week one. So if messam gets hurt, fine. You rotate Bailey with American receiver and still have eight canucks in the game. Bladek gets hurt, fine. harrison goes in. Because there are extra canadians.

You have fan logic. A starting Canadian doesn't mean you have to have a starting backup. This is what Chris Jones knows better than you.

Anonymous said...

#1 - not sure if you are just trying to stir the pot with this comment, but the QB depth chart before Jones got here was Durant-Sunseri-Doege. Now it's Collaros-Bridge-Watford, so two guys who have started & won in this league and a 3rd guy with 1000x the potential of the two scrubs that backed up DD.

There may be ?? about Collaros but that's why Bridge is there in the bullpen. Nice situation to have. Reilly, Bo Levi and Ricky Ray are the only sure bets in the league, every other QB has questions marks. Game 1 Collaros won the game and got a 103.9 QB efficiency rating, so what's not to like abou that?

Anonymous said...

Sherman in Montreal and the geriatric crew in Hamilton wont be around long, the CFL is just side project something to fill time in their twilight years.

Anonymous said...

Fighting in hockey is dumb. And usually pretty phoney. But that is a lot of the fan base appeal. So it won't be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Have never felt this mixed before about Rider QBs. Want Collaros to do well but that will lose Bridge. BB will be a star in this league sooner or later. He has super raw talent ... the upside could be huge. Never forgave Riders for making Burris back up Nealon ... didn't blame him for leaving.

@mrt_man said...

RE: VANCOUVER... IT ISN'T IN QUEBEC... DIDN'T YOU KNOW ABOTU THE RULE THAT 80% OF THE GOV'T FRIVOLOUS SPENDING NEEDS TO BE IN QUEBEC?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy a good hockey fight, but that's not why I watch. I agree with banning it. NHL probably never will, but if you ban it in bantam, midget and junior hockey it will lose it's power by the time these players hit the NHL and you'll see less fights. It's the cheap shots that refs need to call more and the NHL needs to implement stricter suspensions and fines.

Handy Andy said...

#1 - no depth at QB? Mishandling the QB situation? Yep, if Jones were a good GM, he would have traded for Mike Reily and Bo Mitchell. Then we'd have a good QB situation. ALERT! The Riders now have the BEST QB situation in the CFL and Jones has been masterful. We have two experienced QBs in their 20s and both capable and ready to start in this league. As far as Zach's performance the other night, he did enough to win against the Grey Cup Champs. Remember he hadn't played in 10 months and was playing on a new team in a new system. I'll take his performance over any of the QBs on teams that lost.

Anonymous said...

$500 million into Montreal's aging stadium for 3 soccer games. It will cost $300 million to fix the roof alone. Where will the money come from? Federal election in 2 yaers, how many votes can Trudeau buy? How much will be spent in Edmonton and Toronto for 3 games each? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

If only Regina had hosted a few of these soccer games, federal funded roof at a fraction of montreal cost price directed on mosaic awesome!