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Monday, November 19, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: WHO WILL QB THE RIDERS IN 2019?


BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

As Rider fans watched the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks both earn berths into the Grey Cup on Sunday, they were finally coming to grips with what happened in 2018.

With everything now in the rear-view mirror, most are thinking ahead to a potentially tumultuous off season and a crucial 2019 for the Saskatchewan Roughrider franchise.

The conversation always begins with who will be under center for the Green & White? Zach Collaros was the key 2018 free agent signee for the Riders and while at times he flashed back to his breakout 2015 season, much of the time his performances were very pedestrian.

It’s not all on the 30-year-old Stubenville, Ohio native. He didn’t have a great receiving core, play calling was incredibly conservative and when a running game was needed, it just wasn’t there.

Collaros is set to hit free agency as is his back-up Brandon Bridge, so will there be another new face at quarterback for the fourth straight season of the Chris Jones regime?

Who knows if Collaros wants to come back and live through another season like this one? But, now that he has a season with the Stephen McAdoo offence and a chance to get healthy in the off season, it may be the best option.

Do the Riders want him back or dip their toe in a potentially great free agent pool?

If not Collaros, then who?
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Mike Reilly is a non-starter, he will sign in either Edmonton or BC. Bo Levi Mitchell is too, since there is no way the Calgary Stampeders will let him walk away if he returns to the CFL. Rumours abound that Mitchell is headed to the NFL after the Grey Cup.

The most intriguing option is current Ottawa Redblack Trevor Harris. He has had an up and down 2019 season but rose to the occasion in the playoffs with his six-touchdown performance this Sunday in Ottawa’s 46-27 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The strong-armed former NCAA Division-III star from Edinboro would be a great fit in the Rider offence. Actually, any offence for that matter. He will be 33 in May, so a long-term contract may be out of the question, but any contract will come at a steep price.

Next up is Jonathan Jennings. He had a horrible end to an already difficult 2018 season and after current B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey questioned his work ethic and then Jenning’s agent quickly fired back, consider that bridge burned.

Jennings would be a risky choice. It would be a more affordable contract, but after an incredible 2016, he has taken a step back the past two seasons.

The top-three potential options are Harris, Collaros and Jennings and after that there are veterans like Kevin Glenn and Travis Lulay.

Then there is also who will be the back-up? That’s a different story.

For all of the great things Chris Jones has done on and off the field to rebuild the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the quarterback position has been the one key piece he or his staff hasn’t been able to figure out, and in the end it’s also what has hamstrung them.

It may be five or six brand new faces that fans will have to become attached to in 2019 but fans may have to wait until well after the second week of February when the 2019 CFL free agent period begins. With the current CBA set to expire on the first day of training camp and reports of the CFL withholding preseason bonuses until a new CBA is signed, that has soured many players and this will only hamper the process.

Finally, if one is looking south to potential future CFLers, that may be quickly eroding. With the new AAF holding their quarterback “draft” on November 28th, many of the future quarterbacks the CFL have had the luxury of signing will be out the window because if you include the AAF’s salary (three-years, $250k) easy 10-game schedule and the potential of playing closer to home, most potential future stars will stay south of the border.


Congratulations to the Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa Redblacks. The two top franchises of the past five years in the CFL will meet in the Grey Cup for the second time in three years.

Calgary will be playing in their fourth Grey Cup in five years by grinding out a 22-14 victory at home over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Going on the road in back-to-back weeks was just too much for the Bombers who were looking to play in the Grey Cup for the first time since 2011 when they were in the East Division.

Ottawa made short work of the Hamilton Ticats riding the arm of Trevor Harris to the 46-27 win. The Redblack offence looks like they are peaking at the right time and will be a handful next week in Edmonton.

The quick, unsubstantiated prediction, Calgary 31 Ottawa 26.


Canada West Notebook:

The cinderella 2018 University of Saskatchewan Huskies season came to an end in Windsor, Ontario Saturday afternoon. The Huskies couldn’t get past the number one ranked and undefeated Western Mustangs, dropping the Mitchell Bowl 47-24.

The game was tied at 17 at the half, but Western flexed their muscles with three long drives of over 75-yards and other than a Tyler Chow 71-yard run early in the fourth quarter, it was tough sledding for the Huskie offence.

It was a fantastic season for the University of Saskatchewan that began with them being voted last in the Canada West coaches poll and ended with a Hardy Trophy in the case. Something to build on for head coach Scott Flory and his staff.

The Vanier Cup will be the Western Mustangs and the Laval Rouge et Or Saturday afternoon in Quebec City.

Prairie Football Conference:

History was made Saturday afternoon at SMF Field in Saskatoon. The Saskatoon Hilltops won their fifth straight Canadian Bowl by routing the Langley Rams 58-21.

It was 31-7 at the half and 51-14 after three for the Hilltops who rode the legs of Josh Ewanchyna’s 245 yards rushing and Jordan Wall’s 247 yards through the air.

Defensively Logan Bitz had an interception for a touchdown.

The PFC’s dominance in the CJFL continues, they have won 15 of the last 18 national titles.

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA

Nate Anderson – Sr.
Defensive End - Missouri
6’4”, 255lbs.
Toronto, Ontario
High School – Prattville (Ala.) HS

Anderson is in his second season with the Missouri Tigers after a couple of season at New Mexico Military Institute. He has played in 23 games with the Tigers starting in one game this season against the University of Tennessee-Martin in week one.

He has collected 19 total tackles and one sack in 2018.  He will be eligible for the 2019 CFL Draft and will be one of the top rated defensive linemen in this class.

(By RodPedersen.com Staff)

14 comments:

Don Mitchell said...

Maybe, just maybe the exodus of "talent" to the new leagues in the south will open the door to more U-Sports players (who actually know the Canadian game) playing at the next level?

The old Lemon/Lemonade analogy.

Larry Schwentke said...

What is the potential that Nick Marshall moves from short yardage to full time QB?

curo said...

Wow no real options to sign a QB and pretty bleak on finding one down south too. This is a pretty depressing article for the future of the CFL & Riders.

Old Rider Fan said...

Did I hear Dickenson ... when out on the field shouting at the ref ... accuse the ref of favoring Wpg because O'Shea was Canadian?

Dan said...

I would actually not mind if they traded for Pipkin. Maybe put a good vet behind him (Lulay). I don't mind Jones at all, but he's entering year four and we still seem lost on the QB position.

DM

Dan said...

I would suggest that Harris was removed as a potential option for the Riders with his stellar performance yesterday. The only chance the Riders had with him was if he had another playoff dud game and the RedBlacks decided to go another direction. They will lock him up before free agency happens.

Unknown said...

@ Old Rider Fan... TSN bleeped part of Dickenson's tirade... it has come out today that Dickenson was referring to Winnipeg as the "F'n Canadian Mafia" (referring to Walters, Kyle, and O'Shea) and apparently, it's a known nickname for them among the CFL coaches, etc.?!?!?

Scott Thompson said...

For what it’s worth, I don’t see Pipkin and Manziel finishing the season in Montreal. One could be available.

Russell Cone said...

Hilltops win an unprecedented 5th Canadian Bowl Championship and they get 4 paragraphs?

Huskies get smoked and get a whole article. Is that the Regina/Saskatoon feud again?

I think Zach will be back with the Riders at NOT $400,000. Maybe $300,000 plus many incentives.


Russ from Saskatoon

Enigma said...

Collaros never seemed to want to be here or be the face of the franchise. He quickly and quietly slipped out of town without making any comment. Maybe a positive take on things and interest in wanting to lead this group agin next season. Don't think there is anything meaningful there. Just a highly paid, over concussed football QB whose best is likely in the rearview mirror.

Pipkin/Lulay would be a nice combo if available. Jennings could maybe be had. Doubtful Harris will ever play here. Depending who makes the biggest pitch money wise may determine where Reilly goes. I wouldn't discount Jones' ability to get him here. Franklin played in a crazy spot this year and didn't appear happy with his lot. A trade for him could possibly be good a good avenue to pursue.

A lot of the CFL QB's are aging and soon there won't many left. In this regard there is no doubt that the Riders are going to need to truly find/develop a quality young QB and that's without question.

3RD and 1 said...

Dan... No team will be locking up any player before Free Agency. Little loan a QB. With out a CBS deal in place between the players and the league. A QB would be out of his mind to sign a contract.
Do you not think the EE would live to lock up Mike Reilly. Again it isn’t going to happen!
This time the CBA could even effect the start of the 2019 season.
All free agent QBs will look at every option available until the CBA is put to bed so that players can sign new deals!

3RD and 1 said...

Sorry Russ the PJF does not warrant the same amount of attention as University Football.
Also, keep in mind this is Rod’s website on REGINA Sports. Great that Stoon Hilltops won but they are a Saskatoon team.

Heptiro said...

I for one can see tremendous potential in Manzeil. He needs a good QB coach and a good O line. If available he could be the spark the Riders need. He reminds me of a raw Doug Flutie. Could he be the missing link? He has matured from the party guy and could be a tremendous QB given the right situation. Sorry fans but I remember a small QB who used a scramble offence to become one of our most famous sons. Any one remember Ron Lancaster?

Old Rider Fan said...

If this were a year ago it would be Franklin Franklin Franklin!