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Monday, November 12, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1. THE COLD DIDN’T MATTER: The frost of Taylor Field 2.0 gave the Roughriders their only shot in Sunday’s western semi-final loss. It was prime conditions for a gound-n-pound battle, exactly what the doctor ordered for the league’s best defense and a backup quarterback. For how badly the Riders were outplayed, the green and white were lucky to have it all come down to the final seconds.

Nicely done, Matt Nichols. you rose to the occasion and nobody can say you never won one in the clutch.

2. WHY THE BOMBERS WON: They were hungrier than us. And I say ‘us’ because I’m talking about the fans too. Bomber fans are wayyyyy hungrier then Rider fans have been in the last decade and don’t think the players and coaches don’t feel that urgency either.

That’s what happens in the playoffs. It’s all about who wants it more. And this time it was The Peg. 

3. ROOSEVELT CATCH: I swear to you all that 2-point convert try was a catch. Namaan caught it, had control, hits the ground and then it pops out. In my world of common sense, that’s a catch. It would’ve totally changed the complexion of that final drive. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas. But that play right there was the difference.

4. STAMPEDER JOY: No WAY did the Calgary Stampeders want to play the Roughriders. Saskatchewan is the only team they feared and now the stars are aligning for Bo Levi to get another ring. The big question is, can the Stamps get there without beating themselves up too bad in that Western Final like they kind of did in the last 2 years? Win or lose, Andrew Harris is going to wear down those Calgary linebackers.

That would be my concern if I were a Stampeder fan which, of course, I am not.

5. HAPPIEST MOMENT OF THE WSF: The 13th man banner NOT unraveling during the pregame. Hate that copycat promotion.

6. MIKE REILLY OFFSEASON PRIORITY: It would have been so epic to win a championship without a stud quarterback but, once again, it turned out to be the Riders' undoing. It took Chris Jones 2 years to get from zero to hero in Edmonton and he’s 3 years deep here now but still isn’t quite there.

In Edmonton he had Mike Reilly. Here, he should do everything he can, even if it means dumping some high-priced defensive stars, to get free agent-to-be, Mike Reilly. Willie Jefferson is a must-sign but after that, no-one should be untouchable when it comes to opening up cap space for our new star quarterback. Fingers crossed.

7. U OF S HUSKIES REDEEM U-SPORT, SORT OF: The U of S Huskies Canada West Championship win salvages what appeared to be a lost year for college football in our province. I’m still unnerved by the unbelievable stupidity of the nation’s governing body for University Athletics over the stripping of wins from the Regina Rams and their inability to apply common sense. But the Huskies probably were the better of those 2 teams anyway and we couldn’t have had a better result in the end.

Could always be worse.

8. CALGARY OLYMPICS: Former CFL Commissioner Doug Mitchell wrote an impassioned plea in a Calgary newspaper Friday to support the winter Olympic bid for 2026. He points out that 87% of the required infrastructure is already in still in place from the 1988 games and feels like the city has lost its optimism which could be re-ignited by the games.

It was easily the best argument for the Olympic bid I have seen so far. I hope they stick with it. At least for now.

9. WHO I HOPE TO SEE IN THE GREY CUP: Can’t see it happening but a rematch of Grey Cup ’84 in the same stadium between the Bombers and Ticats would be fantastic. It would feature the two longest Cup droughts in the league. I'm not optimistic about the Bombers getting by the Stampeders anytime soon but stranger things have happened.

10. BOOK OF THE WEEK: Can’t wait to tear into “Alou, My Baseball Journey”. The memoir of legendary Montreal Expo manager, Felipe Alou. Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero swear they never would’ve made it real far in the big leagues had it not been for Felipe. I just hope the 83-year-old icon gets one more crack to see his beloved Expos play ball when they return real soon.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

7 comments:

SWC said...

#6 Reilly

Reilly might be the best player in the league but he is no guarantee. This year he didn't make the playoffs with Duke Williams catching his passes, but Edmonton was lacking elsewhere.
It's a team game and it's the salary cap era.

Don Mitchell said...

I'm all in with Winnipeg knocking off the Stamps and taking the cup from Ottawa.

Unknown said...

I would be HIGHLY surprised if Reilly makes it to free agency. He loves the offence he's in, Maas and QB coach are both being retained in Edmonton, whom Reilly loves, and Edmonton is not likely to let one of the two best QB's in the league walk away too easily.

On the flip side of the coin, this will be one of the last contracts for Reilly. He's getting up there in age. So, even if you do sign him, he's a short term solution!

Football Fan said...

@ Unknown
How's the weather there in Edmonton? Reilly got pounded all year long. The Esks were near the bottom of the league in sacks given up, and Reilly took far more hits than that. The Esks regressed a lot this year and I don't think the problem was just Maas. I think they just weren't bringing in enough talent to stay competitive. With Maas and Sunderland both coming back they're looking like the favourites to be the last place team in the west next year. I don't think Reilly wants to stick around for that, and he's got his health to think about too. Meanwhile the Riders gave up the least sacks this year. Calgary may give us some competition for him, however. If BLM tries the NFL this year, which many think he will, Calgary becomes a very attractive destination as well, and as an added plus for them Reilly is from Kalispell Montana, which is about a 5 hour drive from Calgary. BUT, Reilly is a smart guy. He knows that we beat Calgary twice this year WITHOUT a top tier QB. He knows he could add a lot more to our team than he would replacing BLM, and without him to replace BLM Calgary would almost certainly take a step back. Reilly also knows Jones is a winner because he's already won a GC with Jones and MacAdoo in Edmonton. It's going to take about $600k to land Reilly, but we had at least that much tied up in our #1 and #2 QBs this year, so we would just have to find cap space for a backup QB, and we could gamble a bit and go with a cheaper one since Reilly has been very durable. Jovan Johnson, MOB, Coleman and the oft injured Dan Clark are higher priced vets who might well be moving on this off season, so that shouldn't be too hard. There are other options as well. Lots of other cap related things are going to happen this off season including a likely increase to the minimum salary and an increase to the cap, so there is some uncertainly there, but I think we'd be ok.

Come be a Rider Mike! Let's start a dynasty together!

Heptiro said...

Most hated rule by fans is Rule 6E...player must survive contact with the ground either with his feet or any body part or ruled incomplete. We the fans see it differently. A player makes an amazing catch, falls to the ground heavily, then the ball pops out. Incomplete. WHAT?? Why is this hated rule still enforced? There are some plays we see why. The ball is coming out BEFORE the player hits the ground. In other words it was never going to be complete. We seem to have an idea the “ground can’t make you fumble” but it doesn’t apply to a catch. This frustrating rule has apparently been changed in the NFL. Maybe its time to make the change here too.
Also we need to have the Command Centre automatically review any hit the QB takes to the head. But what if the QB pulls his head down by ducking into the head shot? Is that fair to the D player? He was not intending a head shot but due to the QB maneuver it now becomes one. Most fans can typically see a true head shot from an accidental one. That’s why in slo motion the Command Centre must reveiw and punish the guilty but not the accidental.
My final comment is when a talented offence is dead last in offence shouldn’t the play calling by the OC be reviewed? If substandard considerering the talent ought not he be relieved of his duties? I don’t buy McAdoo’s philosophy of takening what the D will give. Does he ever think they will give anything worthwhile especially if they already know his thinking?

John Knight said...

Don't worry about BLM leaving Calgary. He will be lucky to last to end of preseason. He may be good in CFL but not good enough for NFL. Rielly has played for Jones and that may be in our best interest but if I was Mike and money was equal, I would chose BC! Indoor stadium, better climate. Easier on the body

Football Fan said...

It's been shown that top tier CFL QBs can go to the NFL and quickly become top tier NFL QBs, but as with any player in any league you have to find the right situation where they'll give you a chance, and it wouldn't surprise me if that happened to BLM as well. Flutie and Garcia went south and almost immediately became Pro Bowlers. Ray went and looked good, and made the team, but the Jets were committed to a couple of other guys so Ray sat on the bench all year. At the end of that year rumour has it that he asked for his release because he wanted to play, and make more money, in the CFL, and it's said that he even gave back some of his signing bonus to get out of his contract as well. Also of note is that guys like BLM and Reilly are going to make a lot more money in the CFL in the first couple of years. If BLM gets some playing time and secures a starting job then the he'd make a LOT more on his next contract, but if he gets stuck in a situation where he's on the bench not getting playing time then he'd be better off back in the CFL.