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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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.
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.
Nate Anderson – Sr.
Defensive End - Missouri
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)