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FAMOSO MONDAY NIGHTS

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1. ZACH FINALLY EARNS HIS $$$: He made a meaningful contribution in the Labour Day win over the Blue Bombers, and the Roughriders have always played better around Zach Collaros than they have with either Brandon Bridge or David Watford under Centre. But Sunday’s win in Montreal was the first time Zach Collaros looked worthy of the reported $430-thousand dollar guaranteed contract he’s getting for this season. There have been lingering concerns about his happy feet in the pocket still holding him back but as Davis Sanchez kept pointing out on the TSN panel Sunday, Zach hung in there and made the throws.

The hefty off-season investment in Collaros has always seemed a bit strange to me, given the fact Zach and his agent had little leverage. However that investment paid off on Sunday.

2. MANZIEL STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH: The flea-flicker reverse was entertaining and he does have a pocket awareness that you just cannot teach. But as Montreal Gazette scribe Herb Zurkowsky so aptly pointed out, the Alouettes “generated 14 first downs and 187 yards net offence. Those totals don’t win games in the #CFL”.

Like with Duron Carter, fans fall hopelessly in love with one guy’s big play potential and can rarely give a proper assessment of his play or value to the team.

Johnny is 0-4 after whining about sitting on the bench behind a guy (Antonio Pipkin) who was 2-0 at the time. And as the great Bill Parcells once said, ‘You are what your record says you are’.

3. MANZIEL HYPE BARELY HELPS CFL: As a pure fan of the sport, I love the storyline around Johnny but it’s clear to me that the interest in this experiment has only modest benefits for the Alouettes or the league. I’m sure the TV numbers for Sunday’s win were better than most games competing head to head with the NFL, but that would have more to do with the Roughriders presence than it would Johnny Football’s.

Most people insisting the CFL would be lucky to have Johnny Manziel probably weren’t watching this game anyways and would have opted for one of the NFL broadcasts instead. Just like a few years ago, the geniuses at Rogers Sportsnet chose George Stroumboulopoulos to be the main host of Hockey Night in Canada instead of Ron MacLean or James Duthie. Again, the supporters of that move were generally the folks who don’t watch Hockey Night anyways.

Lesson learned: Service your diehards first before trying something radical to attract a new audience. Something tells me the good people of Montreal would be more interested in a team focused on winning than an owner’s son telling the coach and GM he has to try an experiment like this.

4. CFL BASHERS DON’T UNDERSTAND FOOTBALL: Speaking of the NFL fans who wanted Johnny in our league but probably still aren’t watching now that he’s here, I heard one comment from a Patriots fan in Regina to the effect of “Alabama would crush any CFL team”.

If you truly believe that, then you’re probably not paying very close attention.

A vast majority of U.S. college stars will never crack a CFL roster. Neither would most NFL practice roster players either. The Canadian Football League is different from the NFL, not inferior to the NFL.

5. CBA MUST ENSURE PICTON GETS A SHOT: Noah Picton’s flare for the dramatic in securing Canadian college football’s all-time passing record with his game-winning touchdown pass in Winnipeg over the weekend reminded me of a drum Danny Maciocia started beating over a year ago. Time to mandate a Canadian quarterback on each CFL roster. It’s simple. Each team has 3 roster spots for quarterbacks of any nationality. Mandate that 1 of the 3 quarterbacks needs to be a Canadian. Many NFL teams and some CFL teams, like Hamilton, dress only 2 QB’s each week anyway.

Mandating at least one Canadian quarterback per team in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2019 will ensure players like Noah Picton get a thorough review and time to learn a proper CFL offense. Most of these players will never see the field but a few of them will. And some of those guys will actually find success.

No marketable Canadian star quarterbacks for 50 years? Problem solved. Y’er welcome.

6. POPP-TRESTMAN OVERRATED?: We’ve heaped so much praise on Jim Popp and Marc Trestman for having so much success over the years in both Montreal and now Toronto. But let’s not forget most coaches and GM’s who fail don’t inherit a Hall of Fame quarterback. Popp took over as GM when the Baltimore Stallions moved to Montreal and already had Tracy Ham established at quarterback. It was Ham who groomed Anthony Calvillo, who both Popp and Trestman rode for the next decade.

This duo arrived in Toronto with Ricky Ray already in place. Now, they actually have to find and groom their own quarterback. And so far, they’ve failed miserably. Trestman wanted McLeod Bethel-Thompson who is 30 and turning out to be a dud. James Franklin is Popp’s guy and lost his starting job to Bethel-Thompson. And I’m told Trestman booted Franklin off some short yardage plays because he (Franklin) did too much celebrating when gaining first downs.

It’s turning into a mess and tells me that maybe Marc Trestman isn’t quite the Rockstar we’ve always made him out to be.

7. BIDDING ON GREY CUP 2020: Is anyone else going to make the rest of the league the kind of cash we will on a Grey Cup? Not a chance. Of course,the Riders should bid on it!

8. PARITY HELPS THE THUNDER: I was fortunate to broadcast just the craziest finish I've ever seen at a Regina Thunder football game Sunday. It ended with a Regina win at Mosaic Stadium, bringing the Thunder back up to the .500 mark at 3-3 with a last-play win over the Edmonton Wildcats. It’s usually a 2-headed race between the Saskatoon Hilltops and Thunder by this point but for the past 4 years running, Saskatoon has always had the last laugh. The logjam in the middle of the Prairie Football Conference standings has forced the Thunder into meaningful games a bit early. This of course will take more out of them before the playoffs but the adversity will sharpen them up for that eventual confrontation with Saskatoon. And nobody will give the Hilltops a bigger fight than the Regina Thunder.

9. PHIL “THE THRILL” ON HOCKEY FIGHTS: On my way to the grocery store Friday night, I caught part of the Pats loss to Lethbridge on the radio when CKRM broadcasters Phil Andrews and Jared Dumba were discussing the arguments for and against fighting in junior hockey. Phil sounds okay with an eventual ban on it while Dumba seems to think it’ll lead to more cheap-shots. The correct answer is .... fighting is still allowed today and players still get cheap-shotted all the time. The WHL needs to outlaw fighting to hit back at the concussion crisis and crack down on dirty hits/stickwork with 10 and 20-game suspensions or even lifetime bans. It’s the league’s job to police this garbage, not the players. If you don’t have a problem with teenagers fighting in junior hockey, just read the Derek Boogaard story, Boy On Ice, and you will.

10. VIDEO OF THE WEEK: “24 TOGETHER” on Youtube is a short story on my favorite Stanley Cup champion team of all time. The ’93 Montreal Canadiens fought through unrealistic expectations of a restless fanbase 14 years removed from a 16-Stanley Cups-in-27-year-stretch from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The well almost dried up in the 80’s and it all seemed ready to come apart for good until that magical playoff run.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

6 comments:

Russell Cone said...

I don't think the Riders have a chance to host the GC. That'll mean the GC is in the west 3 straight years. I hope I'm wrong but I think it'll go east, maybe Hamilton. Maybe 2021.

Russ from Saskatoon

John Knight said...

Watching or rather LISTENING to to announcers talking non-stop about Johnny Football was sickening. He may SOMEDAY be a star in the CFL but right now he is not. GIVE IT UP AND CALL THE GAME AND GIVE THE PRESENT STARS THEIR DUE AND STOP TRYING TO MAKE manziel INTO SOMETHING HE IS NOT!!!!
If you want Canadian QB's on CFL rosters, the proper way is to make Canadian QB's classed as a classed as a Canadian exemption rather than mandate a team to have to have them on the roster. Players must be able to make the team on merit rather than place of birth. Make it count if you have a Canadian QB as a starter

CM said...

I like the fact your not scare to make a controversial point, but I think you are way off this week on a few points. 1. Manziel looked good given he hasn't played in a few years and who surrounds him on offence. Pipkins last 2 picked throws against BC look like he came from Tiffin College. Give Manziel this year and see how he plays next year hopefully surrounded with some better players. Compare how he looks versus say Watford. As for CFL vs Alabama vs NFL you are right CFL has lots of import players who could play in NFL. And while Cdn content is improving, a lot of the Cdn CFL guys could NOT play at Alabama. That's the difference. If CFL lowered Cdn content to say 4 starters per team the quality of play would improve a lot. Forget the CDN qb's. Trestman/ Popp have proven themselves over so many years and Cups. They have injuries and lost too many good players on D that's why its a bad year. Look how Ray looked under Trestman last year versus the prior couple of years. Trestman is a great offensive mind. Look how Macbeth looks verus Bridge or Watford.

Bill Fuller said...

I think Rod Black has a Crush on "Johnny Football" as he called him several friggin times on Sunday. Black loves the East and thinks that all Eastern teams can walk on Water. Go Riders!

SWC said...

Loved your #4

" The Canadian Football League is different from the NFL, not inferior to the NFL."

I greatly prefer our rules, especially our overtime rules and I laugh at their 'fair catch' rule.

Gord said...

The Johnny Manziel love fest is a joke. TSN just trips over themselves talking about this guy. The Highlight package on Sportscentre showed 3 touchdowns by Montreal and thats it. I miss CBC. TSN is horrific