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’.
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.
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)