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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1. OPEN LETTER TO CHRIS JONES: You did a magnificent job in boldly going someplace no one else has gone before, probably ever. You won 12 games with virtually no contribution from your quarterback.

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)

11 comments:

John Knight said...

Your push for an outdoor NHL game is ridiculous. The stadium would be almost empty. Very few people want to sit outdoors in -30 with 30 mph winds to watch a few overpaid men play a kids game.

SWC said...

3. WHY NOT McADOO?: You and I certainly have a different definition of a good OC.

I think back to 2007 when the Riders had Kerry Joseph. Kerry had been around the CFL for a few years and was pretty ordinary. Kent Austin was the Head Coach and he brought in Ken Miller to serve as OC. Rather than make Kerry play to conventional schemes Ken changed his style of play-calls and demands to suite Kerry's talents.
The Riders won the Grey Cup and Kerry Joseph was the league MOP.
Kerry was traded in the off-season and struggled for the rest of his career trying to play for OCs that didn't have the flexibility or else the ability to devise a plan to compliment a man's talents.
That's what we have right now, an OC that is rigid in his beliefs. We've seen how that approach has worked for three years.
I think it's time for change.

@mrt_man said...

WHY NOT MCADOO?... NY VOTE IS WITH SWC... ANYBODY WHO LOOKS AT OUR OFFENCE THE LAST COUPLE YEARS AND THINKS WOW... THATS THE OC FOR ME EITHER IS JUST AN IDIOT OR HAS THEIR HEAD BURRIED SO FAR IN THE SAND THAT IT WOULD BE DOFFICULT TO EVEN TICKLE THEIR TOES.

Russell Cone said...

The downward spiral will continue with Calgary. The Flames will move to Houston by 2020. This is my opinion only.

I couldn't agree more SWC. McAdoo won't conform to a QB's strengths. Hitch screens, really? Back to the DB days?

Reilly will go to BC because he'll be an unknown. If he signs in Regina he'll be harassed like Durant was.
'
If they have an Outdoor game here make it 2 Canadian Teams and sell the place out. Oilers vs Flames or Flames vs Leafs or Edmonton Vs Montreal. That'll bring the fans in. For sure.


Russ from Saskatoon

Old Rider Fan said...

Agree with SWC ... at least on OCs trying to fit QBs into their ideal pro typical NFL style 'stand in the pocket' QB. It takes some doing I am sure but if you build some schemes to fit the QBs talents you may be surprised how well Evan a BB may do. Doug Flutie first CFL season (after 3 years in NFL) with BC ... comp 53% ... 16 TDs 19 picks. Next year after adjusting to his skill set passed for over 5000 yards. Vic Stevenson talks about having to block for him and the added challenge compared to standard pocket type. But who now is considered the best ever CFL QB!

Dan said...

Just to be clear. Mike Reilly is not available. He is under contract with Edmonton until mid-February, during that time they have an exclusive period to negotiate a new contract. Given limited other solid options that they can count of being available at QB there is no way the Eskimos will fail to sign him. I dearly wish the answer was different from that.

Bill Fuller said...

I am a believer that Jones will have Reilly eating off his plate here next year. Reilly knows that we have the best Franchise in the CFL and why wouldn't he come to a winning team like the Riders will be for the next few seasons? Edmonton is heading for the bottom so I am sure he will not be back there. As for "OUTDOOR HOCKEY" in Saskatchewan in the winter. Are you "Friggin Nuts" ? They tried it in a much bigger city of Edmonton and nearly froze their asses off and I believe like "John Night" said . THAT IS RIDICULOUS !

Enigma said...

To be clear; Edmonton hasn't done much under their brain trust over the last few years. They didn't make the playoffs this year. I question how anyone would have the inside knowledge to state where Reilly will be signing? Reilly is getting older and has taken a lot of licks. He wants to win again and if he were QBing the Riders he would do that. Also he knows his time in the CFL or any pro league is short. He wants to be paid as much money as the market will pay for him. He will wait until free agency to see what that market is. Jones will be active in attracting him because if you have to pay top dollar for any player, wouldn't make sense to make that player someone like Reilly?

Jack Upshall said...

Think #1
Act #1
Be #1

Unknown said...

#5 is a great idea. Most people don't realize that a roof is a minor cost compared to the heating and cooling in side but with all the enclosed lounges using them all year is a great idea!

Football Fan said...

1. Absolutely! GO GET MIKE REILLY! We were the second best team in the league this year and we did that WITHOUT a top tier QB! That fact won’t be lost on Reilly, nor will the fact that he has already won a GC with Jones as his HC and McAdoo as his OC. GO GET MIKE REILLY!

Now, just quietly between us so as not to divert attention away from the main task - which is to GO GET MIKE REILLY! – you always have to have a plan B. For obvious reasons I’m sure we’re the leading candidate to land Reilly but he will have some other options. His best option after us is Calgary if BLM goes to the NFL, which I think he will. Two long shot possibilities are Edmonton and BC. Does Reilly have enough business and/or post career opportunities in Edmonton to keep him there? That’s a wild card. In BC he may have confidence that Hervey can build a top tier team, but they’re a long way away from that now and Reilly is 33 and that’s not an age where you want to go to a team that’s rebuilding. Beyond that he’s said to be good friends with Lulay and going to BC would mean taking Lulay’s job.

Nonetheless, with at least 3 other theoretical possibilities, and one of them a good option, us landing Reilly is not 100%. So who are the plan B options? I’ll suggest a couple:
-Ricky Ray. He has indicated that he’s thinking about coming back. He had a huge year two years ago and is still capable of being a top tier QB … IF YOU CAN PROTECT HIM! He has had some injuries in recent years so a good backup would be essential, as well as a very strong OL. He only has a few years left at most, of course, but right now we’re looking for a championship QB first and foremost, and then maybe a younger guy to develop as well.
-Jonathan Jennings. He passed for over 5,000 yards 3 years ago but has mysteriously struggled the last two years. Jones is a bit of a horse whisperer, and he’s a hardcore football junkie. I’m sure he’s got an archive of film on Jennings and if he thinks he knows what the issue is and thinks he can fix it Jennings becomes a good plan B.