Think about it.
Both burst onto the scene with an MOP-like year, earning NFL interest. Both fell flat on their face after an offseason of hearing their own hype.
Both made the B.C. Lions front office mad over their poor attitude/work ethic. Both had agents who ran their mouths with little regard for their own players employability.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats got burned bigtime for taking a chance on Casey Printers. The Riders should learn from that and not do the same with Jonathon Jennings.
And besides, as legendary CFL scribe Lowell Ulrich of 3DownNation pointed out on the Cage last week, ‘Jennings didn’t mesh with Jarious Jackson last season, who is a product of the Chris Jones-Stephen McAdoo system’.
So why on earth would any of us think he would be for a fit for Saskatchewan?
2. HOPSON RIGHT ABOUT COACHES SALARIES: Jim has always owned his responsibility in driving coach costs up as he presided over the most successful decade in franchise history, in his time as Roughriders CEO.
In his memoirs, RUNNING THE RIDERS, Jim admits to starting the trend of expanding coach staff sizes and overpaying for football operations staff. It worked great for a Rider nation sick of playing the poor country cousins but also created an unsustainable model for the rest of the league.
Now the players will get a raise in the new CBA and they bloody-well deserve it.
3. JEFFERSON IS ROUGHRIDERS REAL QB: Pretty clear that we’ve hit a down-cycle in quarterbacks, at least in Canada, if not in football all around.
Very reminiscent of the 2000 season when the Baltimore Ravens won a super bowl with Trent Dilfer as their quarterback, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who did the same with Brad Johnson two years later. That was all sandwiched around Marcus Crandell’s unlikely 2001 Grey Cup MVP triumph.
That was our last real DOWN CYCLE and teams didn’t absolutely need to have a great signal caller to win it all. The Ravens had their real leader in Ray Lewis, the Bucs had Warren Sapp among others and the Stamps still had a great defense, led by legendary warrior, Alondra Johnson.
My point: Willie Jefferson is good enough to fill that void for the Roughriders in 2019.
Searching for an affordable ‘game manager’ who doesn’t turn the ball over would go against conventional 3-down wisdom but might not be such a bad option for the Riders. Kevin Glenn could be just that guy.
4. MANZIEL STOCK ON THE RISE: Johnny showed some real flashes at the end of 2018 and without even playing a down this winter, his value is already on the rise. He’s already a more exciting option than anyone else the Roughriders, Lions, Argos, or Alouettes have and if both Bo Levi Mitchell and Mike Reilly get NFL contracts, you can add the Stampeders and Eskimos onto that list as well.
If I needed a quarterback, like the Riders and half the CFL does right now, I would have no problem taking my chances with Johnny Football.
5. BO SHOULD BE A LOCK, REILLY PLENTY GOOD ENOUGH FOR NFL: You’ll never convince me that either Bo Levi Mitchell or Mike Reilly are inferior to anyone the Jaguars, Broncos, Cardinals, Redskins or Bills have playing quarterback right now.
Bo should be a shoo-in, given his credentials and the fact his best years should still be in front of him since he’s the same age Jeff Garcia was when Jeff left Calgary for the 49ers and only a year older than Warren Moon was when he bolted Edmonton for the Houston Oilers.
Reilly will have a tougher time getting signed, but is still younger than Doug Flutie was when he joined the Buffalo Bills and is the perfect conventional pocket passer the NFL loves.
Jags Offensive Coordinator Scott Milanovich will be in Reilly’s corner, I’m sure. I doubt Scott has much say in what Jacksonville does but their head coach, Doug Marrone, has won an awful lot of games in the NFL with both the Jaguars and Buffalo Bills with some pretty lackluster quarterbacks.
Reilly might be the best quarterback Marrone has ever had the chance to sign.
6. BLACK HEAD COACHES: CFL went from zero black head coaches to 3 within one week. Lions GM Ed Hervey says we don’t need no Rooney-rule quota like they have in the NFL to interview visible minorities for head coaching jobs. I’m glad to hear him say that but if Ed or anyone else thinks we’ve come far enough with this than they should think again.
Black players account for a vast majority of the on-field talent in both leagues, and yet make up well under half of the lucrative General Manager and head coaching positions.
It’s probably getting better but don’t kid yourself.It’s still an old boys club.
7. MONTREAL EXPOS RETURN COULD HELP CFL: The Tampa Bay Rays latest failure to build a stadium has speculation running rampant about a relocation to Montreal as early as 2020. The Alouettes would fear such a move as it would surely eat up a massive chunk of the Montreal sporting entertainment spotlight.
I have a different take.
Expo games on TSN and its French affiliate, RDS, would be used to cross promote the CFL broadcasts on those networks and in turn, the Alouette games.
I might be a little biased, given my photo above and noted obsession with the history of les Expos, but I think their return would actually steer more eyeballs, and not less, to the Canadian Football League.
8. DOUG FLUTIE VIDEO GAME: The geniuses who crapped all over Jeffrey Orridge and pushed him out of the Commissioner’s chair also didn’t like his idea of launching the first quality CFL video game. Apparently, the owners didn’t want to attach their name to something less than Madden quality but also didn’t want to invest any money in getting it that far either.
What a joke.
So instead, the producer (Canuck Play Inc.) has landed Doug Flutie as its brand ambassador and partner. They’re doing it with or without the CFL’s co-operation.
I’m not a gamer but plan to check it out and suggest you might want to as well.
9. MOOSE JAW WARRIORS SYMBOL OF EVERYTHING RIGHT: I was fortunate to do the Pats-Warriors TV broadcast with Darren Dupont in Moose Jaw Saturday night and was just so impressed with the great story that is this year’s Warriors. They were expected by many to suck wind all season like the Pats and Swift Current Broncos have.
Instead, they’re right in the thick of the WHL playoff chase and might be one of the prettiest passing teams I’ve seen in years. Tristan Langan is about as good of a 20-year-old story as I have ever seen.
The up-and-down cycle of junior teams has gotten old for me. Nice to see the Warriors not throwing in the towel on a season in which it would have been easy for them to do just that.
10. THE DONALD: Like Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto, Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office gave us all some real comic relief in the early days but I’m over it. Wake me up when this over.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)