Problem is he’s getting happy feet and looking over his shoulder before completing his reads. This is still holding Zach and the Rider offense (not to mention the entire team) back.
I’m still confident he’ll get this sorted out. I had initially hoped it would be by Labour Day. Turns out we’ll need to give him until the playoffs to get really confident in the hogs around him before he really slings it. That kind of time is a luxury he can thank the defense for.
Usually running backs will take offensive linemen out for chicken wings. Zach should do that for the Roughrider defense that has been carrying this squad ever since training camp. It’s the least he could do for prolonging his very lucrative stay in Regina.
2. WHY LAUTHER DESERVES MOP TALK: If for no other reason, Brett Lauther winning the team MOP would remind everyone that kickers are players too. It is all too often we look to the quarterback, running back or receiver for all the awards. Defensive players and offensive lineman get the short end of the stick but they get their own awards too. There is nothing wrong with rewarding a placekicker for doing his very important job consistently.
It would be no more bush league than the NHL allowing John Scott to represent all fighters in the NHL All-Star game a few years ago.
If the kicker didn’t matter, would we have dumped manure on Paul McCallum’s lawn once upon a time? I doubt it.
3. DARIAN DURANT: Still isn’t impressing me very much. All this chatter about wanting to make a comeback back tells me he likely spent that signing bonus he got but never earned from Winnipeg and doesn’t want to transition into the real world yet. And that’s fine. I wouldn’t want a real job if I didn’t need one either. But if I was looking for a quarterback for my team and saw this, I would just keep on looking. Anyone who lets Paul LaPolice down the way this guy did doesn’t deserve another shot.
4. JOHNNY MANZIEL: Never did impress me at all. Pretty clear to me it’s all about him and nothing to do about his team winning or any minor details like that. At 0-3 and with zero touchdown passes to give with his 5 interceptions, Johnny is getting the greatest opportunity of all opportunities to show his stuff as a legit pro football quarterback. Like Mike Abou-Mechrek, I’m starting to wonder if the pro game is just above Manziel’s ceiling. Riders should be a lock to win in Montreal on Sunday. My over-under for Ed Gainey interceptions is 2.5.
5. ALOUETTES SHOULD HIRE JIM BARKER: The problem with Montreal isn’t ownership, the coaches or even the players. It’s the General Manager. I like Kavis Reed and respect him enormously. Particularly for how he shouldered and continues to shoulder the blame for the 13th man debacle of 2009. But I’m told he just hasn’t established the required contacts with NFL or NCAA personnel gurus or player agents. This is something so desperately required for any CFL team to compete, particularly one with as old a roster as the Alouettes still have.
Jim Barker has a proven track record as a recruiter, winning Grey Cups with the Stampeders and Argos and even has a ring from his days as OC of the Alouettes back in 2002. And if nothing else, hiring him to work for the Al’s would get that awful hairdo of his off that TSN panel!
6. CFL REFS JUST AS GOOD AS NFL REFS: Don’t believe me? Just ask Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers about those roughing-the-passer calls.
7. WHL SASK TEAMS TOPSY TURVY: Braden Malsbury and I did the Pats-Prince Albert Raiders game Saturday night for Access Communications and it really hit me to see how the teams we saw chasing the championship last spring (the Pats, Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors) all appear to be on the mat. Meanwhile, the Raiders (who by the way swept the Pats in that home-and-home in dominating fashion) are favored by many to win the East Division and the Saskatoon Blades looked pretty good too.
Pats GM John Paddock sat beside us in the press box, scurrying down notes in evaluation of his roster. Now that he’s the full-time General Manager, I’m curious to see what roster moves he manufactures as the season moves along to make this team competitive again and recoup some of the 1st and 2nd round draft picks for the next two seasons he depleted in order to take their shot in the last couple of playoff runs.
Re-building this squad will be tougher than building the last two.
8. VEYNA COACHING REGINA RED SOX: Pitching coach Jason Veyna will slide into the Manager’s chair for the 2019 season. Couldn’t tell what kind of impact he had on the pitchers who were here but will say he and then-Manager Mitch MacDonald did as good a job of managing their rotation and bullpen as I’ve seen in my 3 years covering this ball club. I suspect Veyna will continue to work closely with the pitchers and rely on 3rd base coach Geoff MacDonald to season the hitters. #wishitwasmayalready
9. REAL ESTATE IN REGINA: If you’ve never bought but have always wanted, I suggest you get on it. One realtor tells me home prices are down 30% in the queen city and there’s a boatload of inventory on the market. Especially condos. If you’re like me and overpaid when the prices were sky-high, don’t sweat it. Just hang on to it. There’s always a silver lining.
10. ON THE AIR THIS WEEK: Yours truly will be guest hosting the Sportscage Friday at 4 on 620 CKRM and live broadcasting the Regina Thunder-Edmonton Wildcats game Sunday at 1 on Access Communications TV. The Thunder probably need this one just to stay in the playoff mix.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)