2. RIDERS COULD GET REILLY: Barring a miracle championship finish for Edmonton, I just have to think the horse has left the barn for Mike Reilly playing under Jason Maas beyond this season. Reilly is a poised, superior quarterback and Maas is an erratic, inferior head coach.
That just can’t last.
The Roughriders should seriously consider letting Zach Collaros walk at season's end and re-allocate that money toward a bigger package in luring Mike Reilly to Saskatchewan. The benefits are two-fold: Chris Jones gets that missing piece to his championship puzzle and prevents the B.C. Lions from getting Reilly first.
That really weakens 2 of your West Division rivals and puts you in the driver’s seat to run down the Stampeders who we know will choke in the playoffs anyway. Jones and company might need to trim a salary or two to make this work but hey, it’s not like we can’t live without a defensive star or two.
This group is plenty good enough to make due.
3. ROUGHRIDER CANADIAN CONTENT LACKING: If Dariusz Bladek is gone for the year, it decimates what was already a shaky offensive line. This is a key Canadian position for all teams. Devon Bailey doesn’t excite anyone at receiver and linebacker Sam Hurl was a free agent pickup, not a home-grown recruited Canadian talent in the Chris Jones era.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Jones and John Murphy focus on acquiring talent from south of the border as that truly is the place to find real difference-makers but if we learned anything from the Roy Shivers-era, when he had Corey Grant and Jason French starting, we should know by now that you cannot neglect your Canadian content drafting/recruiting completely.
Whomever dropped the ball here, the responsibility falls on Chris Jones. Surely, he will find a way to address this in the offseason.
4. STILL WANT OCTOBER PLAYOFFS?: Thank you to the CFL Board of Governors for not yet caving to Commissioner Randy Ambrosie or the morons trying to move the season up for an October playoff schedule. Not only would this compete directly with the MLB playoffs and World Series for a TV audience, but as we found out over the weekend, it doesn’t really lead to warmer weather games anyway. The coldest games of the year in 2017 occurred during the regular season and 2016 gave us a much warmer, drier November than October. Time to throw cold water on this silly idea and focus on fixing problems that actually exist like finding people to buy tickets in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
5. KENT AUSTIN: Interesting update from 3 Down Nation about the status of the only man to guide the Riders to a Grey Cup championship as both a quarterback and head coach. Having seen his first exit from the Riders as a young fan behind the bench, and then his more-recent departure after I covered the 2007 Grey Champions every day as a beat reporter, I’ve had a front-row seat to this guy at his best and at his worst.
Kent’s hatred of losing is his biggest asset and his biggest weakness. When the milk goes sour, life becomes miserable for Austin and those around him. Ending his Ticat head coach tenure with 8 straight losses has to gnaw at him and he doesn’t take failure well.
I just hope one day we get one more chance to see Kent work for the Green & White, maybe as a GM, and complete the trifecta for roles on our Grey Cup teams. We never fully embraced him and he never fully embraced us but we were always better with Kent Austin than anyone else and he was always better with us then anywhere else.
And nobody is better than Kent Austin at his best.
6. UNION SHOULD LEAVE HERVEY ALONE: Ed Hervey is accountable to the fans and that’s why he should have every right to criticize Jonathon Jennings in public. Ed took some serious flak from the CFLPA for tearing Simeon Rottier a new one in front of a mic back in 2013. The result: Some problems were corrected and Hervey - with the help of Chris Jones of course - turned that team around into a champion within 2 years. And judging by Jennings agent's reaction in taking a swipe at his GM, Jennings needed a wake-up call.
Somehow, I think the CFLPA has far more pressing issues than coaches or GM’s calling their players out publicly.
7. WALLY, GET OFF THE FIELD: He’s been getting away with it for nearly 30 years and still no one wants to put him in his place. Football coaches are told to stay off the field, even when they don’t get what they want in the game. Wally has never followed this rule and gets right up in referees' faces when he doesn’t get his way. It happened again Saturday night in Calgary. This needs to stop. He’s been good for the Canadian Football League, but not nearly as good as the CFL has been for him.
8. THUNDER DESERVE CENTRE STAGE: The 5-3 Regina Thunder are probably the 2nd-best junior football team in Canada. Problem is, a quarter of their schedule was against the greatest junior football team in Canada, the Saskatoon Hilltops. But instead of moaning and groaning, Head Coach Scott MacAulay will haul his crew on the road for a playoff game next weekend and try to beat an Edmonton Huskies team they’ve beaten on the road before. Zero home playoff games is normally a death sentence in the PFC but these guys are a tough out and don’t make excuses. Don’t bet against them making a Cinderella playoff run in 2018.
9. BLUE JAY MANAGER SEARCH: Two words: Dusty Baker. This American League thing with the DH will be a cinch for him. And he’s overdue for a ring.
10. SHUT YOUR MOUTH JIM BROWN: I’m hearing a lot criticism of Justin Cox, Roberto Osuna and other athletes accused of domestic violence and that’s a good thing. But when I see Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown lecturing everybody about what the black community needs and which politicians should govern the United States, I just shake my head.
Throughout his years on this earth, Jim has been accused of assaulting at least 4 women and even convicted in one of those cases when he refused to follow the judge’s orders.
The world has far better legendary athletes to look up to as role models, such as Pinball Clemons, LeBron James, Frank Robinson, Dusty Baker, Michael Jordan and Andre Dawson and should just start ignoring this clown named Jim Brown.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)