You are a certified football genius and I’m not even joking.
The sad reality is, however, that although you run a well-oiled machine everywhere else, you and your Roughriders will be no further ahead in 2019 from where you were last spring without a stud quarterback.
The only stud quarterback available is Mike Reilly. End of story.
Don’t even think about any other options, Chris Jones. You saw something you wanted days after Grey Cup 2015 (the Rider job) and you went out and got it. Time to lick your chops and do it again.
This time, you have to go get Mike Reilly.
Let free agents leave. Trade a defensive star or two. Heck, go ahead and tamper if you must. But make it happen because if you don’t, nothing else will matter.
2. DON’T BRING BRIDGE BACK: The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will delay what the Riders do with Brandon Bridge going into next season and it should. His value will change dramatically if the board of governors approves (as they should) an amendment to the import ratio to include quarterbacks and encourage the development of Canadian signal-callers.
But whether the owners and Players Association comes to their senses on this long-overdue change or not shouldn’t dictate Bridge’s future with the team.
Either way, the Riders should move on.
Bridge clearly isn’t good enough to lead them anywhere and there are no indications that will ever change. If the ratio stays as is, then it should be an easy decision. If the ratio changes, perfect!
Somebody will take him via trade and even give the Roughriders something of value in return.
There are a lot of questions around Riderville and their quarterbacking crew this offseason. Brandon Bridge’s future in green and white shouldn’t be one of them.
3. WHY NOT McADOO?: Stephen McAdoo took a lot of crap from the fans all season long, so much so that it was big news when word came down he would return for 2019. His play-calling wasn’t perfect and some of us even blamed a late season loss to Ottawa on him but overall, he really never had much to work with. He took what his quarterbacks could give him, which unfortunately on most nights, wasn’t much. Guy was good enough to run a Grey Cup winning offense in Edmonton. He can do it here too.
4. REGINA OUTDOOR NHL GAME: We wanted our shiny new football stadium and now we got it. We probably won’t get any other fancy new toys for awhile due to the astronomical price we paid to get this thing built so only one choice now:
Enjoy it. Get some use out of the damn thing.
So what if an NHL game is just a money grab? Some of the same Negative Nellies I’m hearing were some of the same crew flogging the Pats outdoor game last February.
Can anyone honestly say it would’ve been a good deal to sit in the cold to watch the Pats, but not a good deal to do it for an actual NHL game? Our first and probably only ever regular season NHL game in Regina?!
I’ll be lining up for my tickets and so should you.
5. WE DON’T NEED A DOME: Nothing destroys a great football or baseball atmosphere than a roof, not to mention the 100-million plus dollars it would cost to add said roof. I’m hearing a lot whining these days about the fact we had to sit outside for the Western Semi-final and that our prized possession of a football field is pretty well useless for 6 months of the year.
Apparently Reginans didn’t realize this when they gave the thumbs up to build the stadium in the first place.
All very legitimate beefs but the real problem is that football stadiums are a money pit anywhere and this should surprise no-one. Rather than raising my property taxes (or yours) any further, I say open up some of these stadium lounges into restaurants over the winter and maybe even encourage a few nightclub events.
Use the place. Milk it for all it’s worth.
6. CONDOLEEZZA RICE: While very surprising and a little perplexing, the suggestion of the Cleveland Browns to hire the former Secretary of State for the United States (as well as former Regina Pat Head Coach Rich Preston’s old college roommate) to become their next head coach was certainly not the dumbest thing I’ve heard from the Brownies over the years.
She’s clearly a bright woman and I love outside-the-box thinking. Football coaches aren’t the geniuses they love everyone else to think that they are. We do need more women coaches in football—and all other sports— and that includes head coaches.
But how about somebody with a football background like the young lady Rex Ryan hired to work with the Buffalo Bills? Condoleezza Rice isn’t a football coach. She’s a fan. Just like the rest of us.
7. JORDAN EBERLE: Kind of amusing how the Oilers blamed him for holding them back when they MADE the playoffs in 2017, got rid of him, and then MISSED the playoffs in 2018. It cheers me up to no end to report if you haven’t noticed that Jordan’s Islanders have a winning record and are well into a playoff position at the time of this writing while the Oilers are under .500 without him.
How long is this Edmonton re-build going to last?
8. GREY CUP PREDICTION: The Stamps will be favored heavily again just like they were in 2016 when the Redblacks pulled off the upset of the century. I’m picking Ottawa again, only because the Stamps always play scared in the playoffs, despite Bo Levi taking chance after chance. If the rest of his team grew a pair and rolled with it like he does, Calgary would be going for its 3rd straight Grey Cup.
Instead, I predict they will lose their 3rd in a row. Ottawa has always been a tough out for the Stamps since the Redblacks were born. Don’t ask me why. They just are.
9. CALGARY OLYMPIC BID: Disappointed to see it flame out the way it did. We won’t get too many more chances to have an Olympic Games close enough to drive and see. However, as we have learned from the economies of Winnipeg and Montreal surging after losing the Jets and Expos respectively, a city’s identity and economic fortune are not defined by its sports teams or events.
Calgary will be just fine. And every day someone says NO to the International Olympic Committee is a good day in my books.
10. NEUTRAL SITE GAMES: Hats off to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers for hosting a neutral-site game in Canora over the weekend. Having grown up in a small town, I’ve seen first-hand how events like this breathe serious life into smaller places and it’s a great way to regionalize your fan base.
Hopefully it’s a trend that will catch on in other leagues too.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)