My point being? Trestman has been through this before.
There are some definite similarities with Duron, although one big difference strikes me here: Nobody ever questioned Brandon Marshall’s work ethic or love for the game. Trestman’s Monday quip of “We’ll see if he truly loves this game and is willing to work as both are pre-requisites here”. It confirmed what Rod and I suspected out loud on the Sportscage just days after Duron was let go by the Riders. There are serious doubts about whether or not Carter really likes football all that much or has just stuck with it because he knows no other life. I’m still not 100% sure Duron ever suits up in a game for the Boatmen but it should at the very least make for some interesting theatre with the double blue.
2-TIME TO END THESE PASS INTERFERENCE REVIEWS: It just is. One defensive play on Ed Gainey and another on offense with Devon Bailey Saturday night tells me enough is enough. Warren Moon once said it best, “If you review every play in this game, you will find a penalty somewhere on the field every time”. The only coaches who have really had much success with this have been Mike O’Shea (who shrugged when asked if he really likes the rule) and Chris Jones, who made it clear last summer he prefers less video review. That should tell us all something. Time for Randy Ambrosie to put the kybosh on this right now, once and for all.
3-ZACH STILL SKIDDISH WITH HAPPY FEET: It’s been his bugaboo since suffering that knee injury almost 3 years ago to the day. Ticat legend and pro football’s all-time interceptions leader Less Browne once told me on a podcast that Collaros just needs to settle in the pocket and he’ll be the Zach of old again. Less swears it’s all mental at this point. We saw signs of Zach settling in the pocket in the first half against BC and making plays. In the 2nd half, he got scrambly feet again and things didn’t go so well. I’ve said before that we don’t need to really need Zach to show us anything until Labour Day and that game is finally near. But even if he doesn’t show us his best against the Bombers, it’s become clear to me that Zach Collaros at his worst still gives the Roughriders a better shot than Brandon Bridge at his best.
4-COLOUR WALLY TOASTED: That’s a line, “Colour me toasted”, Don Matthews blurted out at the end of his 0-8 stop with the Argos in his final ride on the CFL coaching merry-go-round. It was a stunning and somewhat depressing way to see the league’s then-winningest coach limp off into the sunset. And now the CFL’s all-time winningest coach today, Wally Buono, is showing signs of a similar sorry exit in his swansong after Saturday’s loss to the Riders dropped his B.C. Lions to 3-6.
The game truly does pass everyone by at some point. Amazing how it happens but as the great Bill Parcells once said, ‘We all get told to get off this ride at some point’. Never thought I’d see the day where I thought Wally wouldn’t have it anymore but the more I see of his team, the more I wonder if the Leos really do need a different voice on that sideline.
5-ABOU IS THE ‘TONY ROMO OF THE PRAIRIES’: My partner, Sheena, came up with that line. I called the play-by-play of the Regina Thunder on Access Communications Saturday and was privileged to be joined on my second-ever football play-by-play assignment by colour analyst, Mike Abou-Mechrek. I’ve always been an Abou fan since his hilarious interviews as a player, funny columns in the Leader Post and banter on the Sportscage. But Saturday night, he was an absolute scream!
The league officials next to us in the booth who are usually stone-faced without expression, howled all evening as Mike stole their liquorice candy, called out plays before they happened and rattled off such gems as “That quarterback overthrew the ball because the pigs up front aren’t doing their job”. One-liners like that which most of us would never dare to try and get away with kept the broadcast fun (which is what sports is supposed to be) despite the sub-par performance from his play-by-play partner.
If anyone asks who would make a great colour commentator for football on any network, my answer would be Abou, Abou, and more Abou please!
6-REGINA THUNDER SHOULD MOVE TO LEIBEL FIELD: Head Coach Scott MacAulay has been beating this drum for a while now and after seeing the backdrop of Saturday night’s win over the Winnipeg Rifles (and the Rifles very classless coaching staff) at Leibel Field, I can totally see what the fuss is about. Being a neighborhood team isn’t a bad way to go when you’re stuck in a crowded field like the Thunder are. A city of less than a quarter million people has only so many dollars to go around for 3 elite football programs like the Riders, U of R Rams, and the Thunder. If it happens, I would be curious to see what a canvass of that Douglas Park neighborhood would dig up for season tickets.
7-A COUPLE OF BROOKE HENDERSON TAKEAWAYS: Never been a golfer (that’s what happens when you learn to shoot the wrong way with dad’s clubs in the backyard) and I don’t watch it on TV so I didn’t get into this one either. But the CP Women’s Open left two indelible marks for me. One, the visual of seeing the Golf Channel’s logo on a Regina course and two, the euphoria around a women’s event. It brought chills to see the joy of an entire city for the accomplishment of Brooke Henderson and reminded me of the hoopla around the women’s world cup of soccer when it was in Canada (too bad our stadium was a day late and a dollar short for that one). The challenge for women’s sporting events has always been to generate an audience big enough for TV. That’s changing and in a good way. Sunday’s finish truly looked and felt like a “remember where you were when” moment in time.
8-MORE DAVIS SANCHEZ ON TSN PLEASE: Never been crazy about Milt Stegall on that panel and Matt Dunigan is still a better fit in the booth. Davis Sanchez is very analytical and has a great sense of humour. Doesn’t hurt that he wears retro Vancouver Canucks gear to CFL Week either, just like I do. Looked to me like Jim Barker was wearing a horrendous toupee on there in week 11. Just unleash Sanchez I say. He’s the full meal deal for Television.
9-JOE MURPHY MADE GRETZKY TRADE GOOD FOR OILERS: The TSN Original piece, “Finding Murph” was a real eye-opener for me to see the big strong, stud forward I grew up watching on TV deteriorate into homelessness. It also reminded me of how people misunderstand the Gretzky trade. The talking heads still analyzing that trade forget how Glen Sather flipped one of those assets he got in return (Jimmy Carson), to the Detroit Red Wings for Petr Klima, Adam Graves and Joe Murphy. Klima came off the bench to score the game winner in triple overtime of game 1 of the 1990 Stanley Cup finals at the old Boston Garden. Graves and Murphy teamed up with Gelinas to form “The Kid Line”. Without their contributions, the Oilers don’t win that Stanley Cup.
They delivered a championship to the Oilers that Gretzky never got in L.A.
That doesn’t include the 15 million bucks Edmonton got which could have been used to sign Mark Messier and all of those players acquired to long-term deals that could’ve/should’ve kept the Oilers strong throughout the 90’s.
It only hurt the Oilers because Peter Pocklington pulled that money out of the team to cover his own fat rear-end over some really dumb business deals. Pock killed the Oiler dynasty, not the Gretzky trade. Not a Glen Sather fan as a person but he never did get the credit he deserved for getting what he could in that trade under impossible circumstances.
10-BOOK/DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: THE CARTER EFFECT nearly brought me to tears in remembering the early days of Canadian pro basketball and how Vince Carter put our country on the NBA map at a time our NHL teams, CFL teams and Montreal Expos were in serious danger of becoming extinct. If you haven’t already, you’ll find this one on Netflix.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)