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Monday, November 26, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: STAMPEDERS TAKE IT ALL, AND THE CAP CRUNCH

Photo: CFL.ca
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

In their fourth Grey Cup appearance in the past five seasons, the Calgary Stampeders washed away the bad taste of two straight losses in the big game with a dominating 27-16 victory over the Ottawa Redblacks Sunday at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.

The Stampeder defence led the way on the day forcing six Redblack turnovers and even though Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw two interceptions, he was solid in leading an efficient and opportunistic offensive effort.

Trevor Harris may have had the most disappointing day. After a six-touchdown game in an East Division final victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Sunday he threw a trio of interceptions and was off just a hair all game.

Both quarterbacks seemed a tad uncomfortable all game, but the timing was interrupted because of the terrible field conditions. The field was a skating rink and the enormous field logos didn’t make it any better.

Yes, it was the same for both teams (which is something a grumpy uncle or someone pining for the “good ol’ days would say) but it’s an unnecessary element the teams had to deal with and it impacted the play and the entertainment value of the game. Conditions in Edmonton were a bit of a mixed bag all week ranging from plus to minus temperatures even into game time and that just may have had an impact on the field.

However the conditions on a snowy Grey Cup in Ottawa in last year were better as were recent field conditions in Regina and Winnipeg. Field conditions were unacceptable when one considers the Grey Cup to be the premier marketing vehicle for the league to the professional football stage around the world.

Looking from far away at both teams, they are almost mirror images of each other. Both relied on solid quarterbacking play all season and constantly received outstanding efforts from their Canadians.

The Stampeders fill out their Canadians in a little different way, but when you have one of the best defenders in the CFL in linebacker Alex Singleton, it’s easy to do. Add a solid duo in their receiving core with Lemar Durant and Juwan Brescacin, and they are able to run just a pair of Canadian offensive linemen. Toss in the rotation of Derek Wiggan and Junior Turner at defensive tackle, and you see there is great depth with their Canadians.

Ottawa is a little more traditional with all-Canadian receiver Brad Sinopoli, quality reps at wide receiver from Julian Feoli-Gudino and a strong and deep offensive line (five-deep at the center and guard positions). Throw in former all-star safety Antoine Pruneau and the Redblacks had one of the stronger groups of Canadians in the CFL.

This is where the Saskatchewan Roughriders can take the next step in their development. They are able to scout out and find some great Americans to fill out the roster, but at times it feels like the organization tries to survive their Canadians (in both salary and numbers) than winning with them.

Injuries did take a toll on Canadians in 2018 and there are great building blocks with Brendon LaBatte, Zack Evans, Dan Clark and, when healthy, Marc-Olivier Brouillette. Hopefully Micah Tietz can stay healthy and take some solid reps at defence, Jake Harty recovers from a season ending knee injury and finally a solid, safe draft will help. But in the end, the lack of production from the home-grown talent hurt the Riders.

Catch Titans-Texans Monday Night at Famoso!
CAP CRUNCH

It took a while to sink in, but the cap on the number of coaches and the operations salary cap implemented by the CFL is completely near-sighted. It is nothing but a ploy to eliminate one of the CFLPA’s negotiating points: that the coaches are so well paid and why isn’t there a little more for the players?

Here’s where it will hurt the CFL:

-       The competition for quality young American coaches. Yes, a salary cap evens the operational playing field across the CFL, but it makes the playing field across the game of football uneven.

NCAA coaches are well paid, across the board. Not even looking at head coaching roles (which the lowest paid is $390,000 in 2018), assistants are making some very good money. For example, to lure Kent State Golden Flash tight ends coach O.J. Santiago (a Canadian) his salary just to come to Canada would have to start at $75,000 CAD. This is because his 2017 salary is $54,000 USD per year, which is 948th on the list of assistant coach salaries in the NCAA according to the USA Today annual salaries list.

Let’s not even start with what some U.S. high school coaches make.

Restricting the number of coaches to 11 does free up a little money, but when some of the teams have already released coaches and cut the salaries of those remaining, good luck recruiting fresh blood.

The CFL will continue to be the coaching retirement home for the likes of Jerry Glanville and June Jones.

-       Restricting the amount of coaches also hurts the development of Canadian coaches. There are precious few paying jobs for coaches in Canada. Every CJFL coach has a full-time job outside of coaching and only receives a small honorarium.

There are just 27 USports head coaching jobs and maybe double that for full-time assistants. This is a very thin pool of coaching talent to draw from.

The entry level quality-control coaches and unit-assistants are crucial in the development of professional coaches in Canada.

One way the CFL can help that is make four of the 11 coaches Canadian, just like how there is a Canadian player ratio. This is where you can tell the CFL didn’t completely think this through.

-       This will also hurt the development of future CFL players. With 11 coaches, the young Canadians and new Americans will not have the opportunity for one-on-one development. There is a finite amount of practice time each week, and without the opportunity for some quality time with a coach on the field or in the film room, the quality of play will drop.

-       Finally, if the CFL puts the final part of this operations salary cap into play, say goodbye to the numerous free-agent and mini-camps during the spring. Now with the AAF scooping up players the need for quality scouting across North America will only increase.

This is just one of the many things that will be bandied about during what will be one of the most important off-seasons in the history of this great league.



Canadian to watch in the NCAA

Rysen John – Jr.
Receiver – Simon Fraser
6’7”, 220lbs.
Vancouver, B.C.
High School – Vancouver College

The final Canadian to watch in the NCAA for the 2018 season is from the lone Canadian school in the NCAA, the Simon Fraser Clan.

Rysen John had a breakout junior season with the Clan with 50 catches for 706 yards and six touchdowns. He was named a GNAC all-conference second team with three other teammates including sophomore defensive lineman Isaac Evans from Coquitlam, B.C.

John will no-doubt be one of the top receiving prospects in the 2020 CFL draft.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

7 comments:

John Knight said...

I totally disagree with you on a cap for coaches. PLAYERS are what we watch and you don't need Very high paid coaches for every player on the field! There are several head coaches and others that have several jobs, look at Jones. PAY THE PLAYERS MORE and we will have better players and more butts in the stands. Also coaches have guaranteed salaries and players don't which is wrong also. If a friggin coach is not doing his job, he should be able to be fired with a smaller severance pkg. We don't pay to see someone like MaCadoo try to change a QB like Bridge into something he is not

SWC said...

I totally agree with John Knight.

Mick in Uplands said...

Calgary has a couple of good young Canadian coaches that they have brought in, groomed properly and every year give them more responsibility. They do the same with there young Canadian football players. This is why the Stampeders are head and shoulders ahead of everybody.

3RD and 1 said...

It’s really funny that when the cap was brought in for the players. I don’t remember hearing too much in 2006 from the coaches and GMs that the 2007 Cap would lower the quality of the players coming in. Or those who left because of lower pay. In fact what I remember is how the GMs and Coaches said 1st and foremost it was going to save the league. Then the second big one was how it was going to bring parity to the smaller community teams like Regina, Winnipeg and Hamilton.
Low and behold the Riders won the Grey Cup in 2007 then appeared in the 2008-2010 Grey Cups and then Winning in 2013.
When you see guys like Henry Burris who was doing a fine job at his position get let go in Hamilton before his last year on the contract. With zero acountibility from the team. Then you see guys like Taman and Chamblin doing a horrible job in 2015. With their team sitting at 0-9. They get fired and receive their 2.5 years of top notch pay.

I don’t care if your an OJ Simpson Lawyer with the glove don’t fit defence. You can not spin the above in anyway to make look, sound, taste or smell even remotely fair.
So what the league has proposed certainly makes it look more fair. What some may think might happen now is City’s like Vancouver might get more than their fair share of coaches. Simply because if I’m going to get the same pay in Regina as I do in Vancouver. Why wouldn’t I want to live in beautiful and much warmer BC? The only thing that may change that thought is cost of living. Including multi month Motel costs.
I guess we will all see how this pans out!
But the coaches and GMs best not be Boo Hoo’ing to the fans of the league. As they won’t find much support there.

Bill Salloum said...

I'm not clear on what is meant by "unnecessary" field conditions in Edmonton and the point of comparing them with Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa played on different dates and weather conditions. Is there something unique about Edmonton's surface which caused the slippery conditions which would not have occurred with the surface used in the other cities?

gswoodever said...

The cap on coaching staffs will have a negative effect on the CFL. Assistants will be given only single year contracts. Who wants to haul their family around with so much uncertainty in your job. Fired coaches pay will count against the cap too, thats why short-term contracts will be offered. It will be tough to retain good coaches.

Tim said...

I also agree with John Knight..