I’m all for player safety and was surprised to see the injury spotter leave Zach in the game but let’s understand that overreacting to situations like this can create risk with more dire consequences.
If a player is a bit shaken up and feels like he has to hide his injury just to keep his job, it can lead to players NOT reporting symptoms and not getting the proper treatment. Zach was clearly shaken but that doesn’t mean he was concussed or that the Riders or anyone else were negligent in allowing him to stay in the game.
When Zach or a doctor can tell us he was concussed, then we can fire away. But is pulling every quarterback that ever takes a hit from every game really a road we want to walk down just yet?
Boy, I don’t think so. Not yet, anyway.
2. WALLY LACKS CREDIBILITY ON QB HITS: We sometimes defer to Wally on decisions about how the game should be played because he has, after all, walked the talk in this league as a hard-nosed linebacker/punter/special teamer/head coach.
But Wally never played quarterback. Which means Wally never took hits like the one Odell Willis laid on Zach Collaros Saturday night.
And so when I saw Wally roll his eyes and give a dismissive wave at the Referees ruling of roughing-the-passer after the play, I shook my own head.
Sorry Wally, but you’ve made a great living for a lot of years on a game that you never had to get your bell rung like that in. Zach Collaros and all other quarterbacks deserve the same chances you got to keep their marbles intact.
3. CONCUSSION HYSTERIA: There’s a lot of worry about CTE and its probable link to football. The right action for now is that it could be something and it could be nothing. Until we start tearing apart the brains of average desk jockeys and other non-football players to see how many of them have CTE also, none of us really know a damn thing about what football causes and what it doesn’t.
Let’s keep advocating for a safer game, but for crying out loud, let’s stop drawing conclusions about what we still don’t know. And a good number of the folks railing against the CFL and NFL Commissioners over this are the same people who park in front of the TV and spent their entire Sunday afternoons watching NFL.
We’re all culpable in some ways.
4. CHRIS JONES COACH OF THE YEAR: Saskatchewan's guy is the only coach in the league whose team has improved in each of the last past 3 seasons since he got here. It’s one thing to turn a team around the way June Jones has in Hamilton or to have sustained success like Dave Dickenson in Calgary. But it’s completely another to take over a disaster like Jones did after 2015 and bring it as far as he has and consistently as he has over a sustained period of time.
His quarterback situation hasn’t panned out as he had planned but instead of making excuses, he’s found a way to get the job done with he has to work with.
And because of that, not because he coaches our beloved Roughriders, Chris Jones should win CFL coach-of-the-year hands down.
5.WHY THE RIDERS WILL WIN THE GREY CUP: Thanks to Darin Lanigan for pointing out the only other Octobers in which the Boston Red Sox have won the World Series over the past 100 years have been followed by a Roughrider championship one month later, except in 2004 when they should have won but Paul McCallum slipped in the Western Final. If you’re into that sort of thing, bet big on the Riders to bring it home in November.
6. EDMONTON’S AWFUL MESS: Speaking of the Grey Cup, the host city is debating what to do about its disastrous finish to 2018. Seems like the Edmonton Eskimos playoff miss will spell the end of a Jason Maas-Mike Reilly marriage which never really did look like what a Head Coach-Quarterback relationship should be. The big question now is...who leaves first?
My two cents: Do what you have to do to keep Reilly. And if that means dumping Maas, then do it!
Geoff Currier used to say ‘great coaches are a lot easier to find than great players’ and he’s still right about that.
7. MANZIEL’S MONTREAL ENEMIES: Johnny Manziel called the reports of his teammates hating him, “BS!”. Well, his Offensive Lineman Tony Washington sure didn’t seem interested in what Johnny had to say during Sunday’s Alouette win over the Argos when he tried to beat up the quarterback he’s paid to protect. That along with the fact Head Coach Mike Sherman continues to refuse to name Manziel his starting quarterback raises suspicion that perhaps Johnny isn’t as beloved in the Montreal locker room as he would like us all to believe.
That doesn’t mean I’m out on the Manziel experiment. In fact, quite the opposite and I hope he does come back in 2019. But it’s also clear to me that his act is clearly wearing thin on some of his teammates and those around him.
8. SASKATCHEWAN BASEBALL TEAMS SURVIVE: The Yorkton Cardinals and Melville baseball Millionaires will play another season after all. This is great news coming out of the Western Canadian Baseball League meetings in Lethbridge over the weekend. I’m thrilled that our beloved Regina Red Sox will continue with some great Saskatchewan rivalries for at least another year and I’m happy to eat crow on the report I had back in the summer about the Brooks Bombers relocating to Grande Prairie (that isn’t happening either, at least not yet). My sources didn’t pan out on that one and I have to own that. I do hope these teams have a sustainable plan they can afford to deliver on so we can all get on with the business of making the greatest baseball league in western Canada the best it can be.
Treat it like it’s your major leagues. And remember, when you treat it big league, it becomes big league.
9. THE PUMP CLOSING: Never was a country fan but never had a bad time in that old shack. Not really a club goer these days and truth be told, The Pump lost its luster for me once that shooting happened in there a few years back. I’ve been wondering for years why nightclubs have been disappearing for years and it just finally hit me square in the eyes: Tinder! And other online dating apps.
Think about it. We don’t need nightclubs to hook up anymore. And coffee shops are booming with people meeting on first dates.
10. MOOSE JAW HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL DEBACLE: A CTV story caught my eye over the weekend of how the Yorkton Regional High School Football team has dominated the Moose Jaw League in going undefeated and yet had to go on the road to play in the championship final, giving their Moose Jaw opponent an unfair home-field advantage.
The Moose Jaw Athletics Association response in not so many words: “We made them agree to this in order to allow them the privilege to play in our league”.
Seriously?! Even in Saskatchewan? Even in Moose Jaw of all places, we treat the kids from small town schools this way?
Happy to report the Yorkton team kicked the crap out of the Moose Jaw team, proving once again that Karma really does exist.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)