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Monday, December 24, 2018

10 BURNING QUESTIONS

1 - WHO WILL BE THE QB IN 2019?: It's still the #1 query. The Riders have been locking up key free agents in recent weeks but the most important position remains a question mark. Names bantied about include Zach Collaros, Brandon Bridge, Jonathan Jennings, Kevin Glenn and of course Mike Reilly. James Franklin and Johnny Manziel may also be available via trade. The only thing we know is that this won't be answered for a long time to come.

2 - WHAT ABOUT ZACH'S HEALTH?: The season's been over for well over a month but we still haven't seen heard a peep about Saskatchewan QB Zach Collaros. The 30-year old pivot was unable to suit up for the playoff game due to lingering concussion symptoms. After sustaining three concussions in 2018, Collaros's future is very much up in the air. However his agent Dan Vertlieb is notoriously tight-lipped and if Zach's health status is known, no one is saying anything.

3 - WILL BRANDON BRIDGE BE BACK?: With the scarcity of top flight QBs available in the CFL, it might behoove the Roughriders to bring the Canadian QB back in 2019. They've invested a ton of time and work into him, he's got plenty of quality starts under his belt, and everybody knows he has all the tools to be a star. Another question: Does Brandon even want to re-sign in the Wheat Province?

4 - WHAT WAS WITH THE OFFENSE?: With the record-setting performance of Saskatchewan's defense in 2018, it even further shone a spotlight on the team's offensive woes (last in offensive TDs at 25) and the team's inability to advance to the Grey Cup. In a year-end retrospective with former Rider Paul Woldu which will air on 620 CKRM's SportsCage on New Years Eve, the two of us concluded that the problem was personnel, not coaching. With the decision to go young at receiver, the end of the Duron Carter experiment, and a rotating backfield (including the loss of Jerome Messam), it was curtains for the offense.

5 - WHO DO THE RIDERS SIGN NEXT?: The team has locked up the likes of Marcus Thigpen, Patrick Lavoie, Loucheiz Purifoy and Zack Evans but there are still 22 free agents left on the Riders' list. That includes defensive stalwarts Willie Jefferson and Eddie Steele (Steele had 19 tackles and 5 sacks in limited time in 2018). With Sam Eguavoen, Toby Antigha and Jordan Williams-Lambert getting NFL looks, Chris Jones has a lot of work ahead of him.

6 - WHAT WILL WE BE LIKE IN 2019?: With my travels around the province in the past weeks, Rider fans are incredibly optimistic about the team's outlook next season. At a book signing in Melfort, a fan said "I don't know who the QB will be, but I know we'll be good". That seems to be the prevailing notion in the 306 and after three seasons with this regime, Chris Jones has finally earned the faith of the fans. 5 wins, 10 wins, 12 wins and a home playoff game. What's next?

7 - THOUGHTS ON THE SCHEDULE?: Kudos to Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and CFL teams for getting the schedule out before Christmas for a second-straight year. At first glance the schedule seems a bit odd with back-to-back road trips down east to open up (at Hamilton in Week 1 and at Ottawa in Week 2), followed by three straight home games in July. After that it stabilizes somewhat other than the three straight road games in October. Meh, with 9 teams and 18 games, there's not much exotic you can do with it.

8 - HOW DID THE COACHES SALARY CAP AFFECT THE RIDERS?: It had to have been incredibly difficult for Chris Jones to say good-bye to young coaches he brought into the league and force paycuts on the rest. However most other teams are getting along fine and in BC, Devone Claybrooks has done a nice job of assembling a group of young, talented coaches. It's just another clamp on how Chris Jones prefers to do business but he always seems able to adjust.

9 - WHERE WILL DURON CARTER PLAY IN 2019?: It's not a Rider question but Saskatchewan football fans still love Duron and are following his next move. Carter's contract is up in Toronto and Argo RB James Wilder Jr. told us at Grey Cup that he's lobbying Duron hard to re-sign with the Double Blue. It's unlikely D.C. will fetch a rich contract like he's had in the past and it's no secret he's not a fan of cold weather. My bet is that he could suit up with the AAF's Orlando Apollos in his home state of Florida and get a fresh start.

10 - WHAT WAS THE CFL'S TOP NEWS STORY IN 2018?: I ran a Twitter poll with these options: 1) The Stampeders Grey Cup Revenge, 2) The CFL In Halifax, 3) Johnny Manziel and 4) Other. The runaway winner was the CFL heading to Halifax, and the naming of the Atlantic Schooners at Grey Cup. With Commissioner Ambrosie on stage at the team's naming announcement at Grey Cup, it seems inevitable that a 10th team is a matter of "when", not "if". There doesn't seem to be a single dissenter.

Happy Holidays,
RP
@rodpedersen

21 comments:

Steve said...

The coaching cap hurts the Riders of course. No one evened the playing field when the Riders were broke years back.

Steve said...

Even so the Riders still have the $$$. There are ways around such things. Official coaching staff & admin would be tough.
However, The Riders could do something like start its own scouting servive not directly connected to the team technically & as a subsiderary.

Steve said...

The QB Situation is not exclusive to the Riders. 9 CFL Teams + 32 NFL teams = 41 pro teams. Less than half likely have a quality starter. Worse yet these QBs are coming out of College Football & do not get nearly enough time to develop or be trained for the pro game.

Steve said...

The Riders have been trail blazers in recent CFL history.
Again Being a Trail Blazer to funnel Funds into a Pro QB off season training program.
Football is a year round sport in CFL there is no off season.
& learning the CFL game is even more difficult.
Younger QBs like Bridge as well as even younger players jyst out of or only a few years of bouncing around could benefit from not just one off season QB pro training school but even 3 or so. Under the CFL rules & bigger fields

Steve said...

Endorsement & Spokes person deals are a great way to supplement players lower CFL salaries.
Like no other Team in the CFL. Riders players are household names & faces all over the province & beyond.
Having the Riders Public Relatons or whomever. Work on getting players such endorsement commercial, spokes person deals,...
Local, provincial, regional, or National.
Could be a great way to help players want to stay with or come to the Riders.
Knowing that the orginization is looking & supplenting their salaries

Steve said...

Its hard to beleive that Duron Carter is Just 27 yrs old. Turni g 28 for next season.
Idk wat is in store for him but if he can find any kind of semblance with any pro team look out.
The new Alliance of Amer football would make sence I guess for the Florida team at the moment but who knows.
Not much of a future for that league.

Steve said...

As Well for Duron Carter if he wants to stay warm in the CFL. Then Indoor BC place & the Lions are his best CFL option.
I gota think maybe just maybe. With Claybrooks as HC. Jackson back at OC. Adding Tate & Nik Lewis to the Offensive staff. The younger coaches can relate better.
Add the fact that if Reilly ends up in BC.....
Can you imagine that combo

SWC said...

Rod asked, "Does Brandon want to re-sign in the Wheat Province?"

After the way he was treated last year, I highly doubt it, and this may be the year the league changes the classification on Canadian QBs.

fannotacoach said...

I'm gonna wait and see what Steve says. Just kidding Steve, some good points!

Helix said...

I agree. That bush league move by the rider coaches in the final game says it all. Pulling Bridge after he moved the ball all the way down the field into the red zone WTF? Everyone and I mean everyone other than jones and macadoo thought that was just plain stupid.

Steve said...

I agree it is time to change the status of National QB's

Steve said...

Helix. Cant disagree with that. When Bridge came outa the NCAA. The powers to be in the NFL had him touted as a sure thing to be in the NFL as part of 53 man roster or at the very least on a Practice team roster.
Suddenly he was thrown into the CFL & onto the field with the Als.
He has been bouncing up QB depth charts ever since.
Bridge would be wise to sign with a team that has former CFL QBs on the staff .
Macadoo isnt that guy

Steve said...

Bridge will only be 27!
Next season

Steve said...

Its a different era now in the CFL. No longer are there Non-Imports.
It is Now Nationals that have Canadian citizenship in one way are another.
Aside from so many Canadian Nationals playing in NCAA. There are a ALOT that are currently on NFL Practice Rosters &/or under the minimum contracts for players within the first 3 yrs.
Either way that status runs out for players.
The NFL dumps these guys. Where as it once was mostly imports. Now there is A good chunk of Canadian Nationals. Who will be under the Ratio for Nationals

Clarkenstein said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family Rod.

Dan said...

This is the CFL equivalent of the chaos Trump has caused just before Christmas........scare the crap outa us Rider fans with the idea that Bridge may the only option we have at QB. Yikes!

Football reality said...

Bridge is unable to run an offence! His inability to stick to executing a play as it’s drawn up is his undoing. You can only make it up on the fly for so long before it all comes crashing down.
When you can’t follow script in the red zone. Really bad stuff happens. Just ask Nichols in the Banjo Bowl. Sorry but Brandon Bridge will never ever be a starting QB.

@mrt_man said...

#3 everybody knows he has all the tools to be a star...
WELL... EVERYONE KNOWS TO EXPECT 3 SACKS AND A TURNOVER WHEN HE GETS THE BALL FOR THE GAME WINNING DRIVE ANYWAY.

Old Rider Fan said...

Bridge has tools. That's a better start than many we bring in. How did he do what he did in '17? Loosen the script/grip and see what happens. In '18 he played with a 'don't make a mistake' script. Looked scared to throw and when he did he made sure the D couldn't get it but then neither could his receiver. Naysayers may well be right but don't just throw him away just yet for Franklin etc who also need a lot more as well. Happy 2019 Rider fans!

Steve said...

I cant argue wit that. Having the tools & being able to execute an offense are two different things.
Then there is confindence of the QB & Cinfidence coaches have in said QB.

Steve said...

Well looking into 2019.
It appears Bo Levi Will be heading south.
Reiily & Trevor Harris are Free Agents at this point still.
Hamilton looks solid wit Masoli.
& the Bombers QB situation looks solid.
After that im miffed.
Anyone have any opinions about who else could round out teams to give 9 teams 9 starting QBs?