Realty One

Monday, February 25, 2019

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: 10 BURNING QUESTIONS


BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

Let's get right to it. The 10 latest Burning Questions in Riderville:

1 - IS ZACH COLLAROS WORTH $300,000 IN 2019?

If you are paying for the quarterback that finished 10-4 in 2018 and led the Roughriders to a home playoff game? Yes, it would be worth it.

If you are paying for the quarterback who threw for 3,000 yards and had four more interceptions than a paltry nine touchdowns? Then the Riders are overpaying for Collaros.

This will be a fence sitting answer, but it seems about right. $300,000 is just average for a starting quarterback in the CFL. It still allows some wiggle room cap-wise to ink a few more players (either in free agency or NFL players that get cut in the fall) and possibly a quality backup.

It's a low risk option in today's climate of CFL quarterback salaries.

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2 - WHERE WILL THE RIDERS FINISH IN 2019?

Everyone wants to crown either Edmonton or B.C. the Kings of the West because of their free agent spending spree. Or they keep Calgary at the top of the heap with Bo Levi Mitchell returning.

Here's a thought: You don't win games in February.

How many high-impact free agent seasons have gone down the toilet once the season began (see the 2015 Rider free agency class)?

One of the two big free agent classes will fail, Calgary will slip a little, Winnipeg will tread water and the Riders should be about the same as well.

Edmonton will win the west, Calgary will finish second and Saskatchewan, B.C. and Winnipeg will fight for the third spot and the crossover.

3 - SHOULD THE RIDERS HAVE RE-SIGNED BRANDON BRIDGE?

The Toronto Argonauts inked Air Canada to a contract on Sunday and it officially ended his time with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It's probably the best for both parties that Bridge moved on to another team and gets a fresh start.

The Riders can add another veteran pivot - or find another youngster to develop - and Bridge can find a spot that fits his style and skill-set.

4 - HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE RIDER O-LINE AT THIS POINT?

After a bad start to the 2018 season, they settled into a pretty good groove and finished tied for the top spot in the CFL with just 27 sacks allowed.

By the looks of things right now the middle will be a trio of Canadians: Brendon LaBatte, Dan Clark and Dariusz Bladek with Americans Thaddeus Coleman and Takoby Cofield as the tackles.

Veteran Canadian guard Philip Blake will fight for a starting spot in training camp as well as a handful of Americans.

The Riders will add one or two more Canadians to the line in the draft and we shouldn't forget about last year's first round pick Dakoda Shepley.

To answer the question, it will be better than what everyone thinks. It has the potential of being a solid unit.

5 - HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE RIDERS IN FREE AGENCY THIS WINTER?

See Question 2.

The Riders admitted they lost out on a few free agency battles but still have some cash at the ready to spend.

To miss out on one of the big-three quarterbacks (Reilly, Harris, Mitchell) stings, especially with all three signing in the West. They lost out on re-signing Willie Jefferson but picked up the best interior defensive linemen in the CFL, Micah Johnson.

They still need to sign a veteran backup and fill out the receiving corps.

For a grade prior to seeing the play on the field, how about a C+.

6 - WHAT CHALLENGES IS CRAIG DICKENSON FACING?

As a rookie head coach the most important thing he needs to do is build his football blueprint from now until the opening kickoff of the 2019 season. It will be the foundation to build the entire season on.

He will need to develop a team personality that matches his.

And finally, the biggest one is how he will handle the heat under the biggest microscope in the CFL?

If he crumbles even just a bit, the sharks will come to feast.

7 - IS THE HEAT ON OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR STEPHEN MCADOO WARRANTED?

It's much like the heat on Zach Collaros.

The team was successful in 2018 but if the offence had just a little flavour to it, things might have been different.

McAdoo's offence was a very simple spread offence that really hammered on short routes, screens (of all kinds) and running the football.

They rarely used the middle of the field and lacked the big plays with a league low 22 plays of 30+ yards.

If it's more of the same in 2019, this team will be in big trouble. All of those huge defensive plays that turned into instant points do not happen every year.

This offence will have to be a lot more dynamic in 2019.


8 - CAN WILLIE JEFFERSON BE REPLACED?

You can't replace a generational talent like Willie Jefferson, but you can lessen the blow by adding a few other pieces.

Chris Jones used Jefferson as his jack-of-all-trades pass-rusher sending him from all angles and techniques on the defensive line.

With Micah Johnson in the mix, the return of A.C. Leonard, Charleston Hughes on the other end and Zack Evans up the middle, this may be the top defensive line in the league.

Jefferson cannot be replaced, but the line as a whole may be a bit better as a unit.

9 - IS CRAIG DICKENSON TOO NICE TO BE A HEAD COACH?

Do not let his 'aw shucks' personality fool you. This man is a smiling assassin and has a huge fire inside him to win. He's a killer.

He was the voice of reason on the Chris Jones-led staff the past three seasons. Did you notice who was always around Jones on the sidelines? It was always Dickenson.

And don't be surprised when he snaps in training camp, and on some poor official during a game. We can't wait!

10 - CAN G.M. JEREMY O'DAY DELIVER A GREY CUP TITLE IN 2020?

It's all up to the quarterback position. If Collaros can't deliver in 2019 then it's back to the drawing board and it will be an incredibly tough hill to climb.

Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell and Trevor Harris all inked multi-year deals so getting one of the top-three pivots in the league is out of the question.

This is a much different position than the team was in 2013. At that time there was a solid core of players led by a generational quarterback in Darian Durant.

If O'Day does build a team, it would have to be more like the 2007 championship unit. Kerry Joseph wasn't an all-world quarterback but had an unreal cast of characters around him and he was just good enough to win.

The task facing J.O. is large.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)
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15 comments:

GardenGnome said...

Well Rod, I like your new nuanced approach. Your comments are very realistic, unbiased by the looks of it. On 2. Would have to agree the Eskimos look like the team to beat. Good QB, OL problem @ LT cleared up, good RB, good, deep receiving. Really good DL/LB. Stamps have to get help on D - need DE, DT & LB. McManis replaces Singleton???? BC has no import receivers past Burnham & Carter, hasn"t replaced Lemon, can't afford Elimimian & issues past Grymes & Lee @ DB. Bombers got Jefferson but who's @ DT besides Thomas? Lost 2 Allstars on OL, haven't addressed need for big receiver, lost Santos-Knox, Loffler, Fogg, Randle on defence. Riders look about the same. Fajaro replaces Bridge, Powell is a good upgrade & receivers lost Williams-Lambert for Arcenaux which is a downgrade. Johson is a big add & makes up for losing Jefferson but Eguavoen was a top guy on D & Antigha was our most versatile guy. So, not too much different. On pt. 7 - offence will be the same I think. Heavy on run with Powell & short passing. Our profile on offence hasn't changed much. Barring injuries to QB's, I can agree with the rankings. But only Wpg has a decent backup in the West right now. The other 4 can ill afford to lose the starter.

Unknown said...

Jones left the QB cupboard bare so at this point it's Zach or long term. I see JO calling for a different offensive style this year.

DJR

Rod Pedersen said...

Thanks but I didn’t write the article.

Anonymous said...

Stamps lost 4 starting receivers and 4 starting defensive players.

Esks;
they finished last in the West in 2018. Are the better? Yeah they signed two starting LB's but has their defence improved? Lost 3 starting DB's. Their offence isn't better. It's not.
QB - Rielly > Harris
REC - Williams, Mitchell, Walker, Behar, Hazelton > Ellingson, Daniels, Parker, Collins, Stafford
Their Offence has not improved.

Anonymous said...

Sorry no free passes for O'Day. It's now on O'Day to find a QB asap as that is part of his hired duties as gm. As for O'Day calling for a different offensive style this year, that's not happening as that duty is on head coach Dickenson.

Anonymous said...

The Esks defence is much improved. Defence at LB features East Nominee for MOP at D in Dean, CFL All-star SAM in Unamba. They lost Grymes but picked up CFL All-Star CB Orange. Colquhoun, Hunter, Hightower are all returnee starters. Hoover replaces King who he had beat out end of last year. So Grymes only starter gone. Lolley will run aggressive D. The offence lost a lot to the NFL but Eskimos have always found good young receivers - 5 of last 6 CFL receiving titles to Eskimos. Ellingson & Daniels are as good as any other pair & the guys you mention Collins, Stafford, Parker plus Elliott are depth pieces. Watch for 2 guys you didn't mention - Tevaun Smith had 3rd best combine results in NFL tests. He & Shuler both have posted 40 yard times under 4.40. Reilly had his 3 best yardage totals in 3 years with Maas & 1 MOP. Burris had best ever yardage total the 1 year with Maas at OC & was MOP. Huge improvements. If healthy, Harris may have best year yet. Sunderland said it going into free agency in an interview. Maas is a big draw for offensive players. Harris, Ellingson & Rogers signed in 1st half hour despite a bidding war expected. Harris took less money. What does that tell you?

SWC said...

To "Sorry no free passes for O'Day."

Why not? Jones had three years of 'free passes'.

GardenGnome said...

Anon 1: It's early yet so nothing but fun to predict who will finish where. Right now the Esks & Lions seem to be the popular choices with most of the polls I've seen. The Riders seem to be the popular choice for 4th or 5th. You don't like the Stamps or Eskimos so who do you see pegged for the top couple of spots?

Anonymous said...

Love it when the February proclaimers pick winners and losers. Of course there is a possibility that they could be right but usually not.
Winnipeg strong contender, Stamps can't be counted out. Collaros healthy all year? Riders challenge for 3rd along with BC. Edmonton sits in basement again.No reason for my picks just to irritate EE fans.

lee said...

can bobby jurasin be replaced can john chick be replaced can willie Jefferson be replace YESSSSS

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that Edmonton won free agency when they lost Rielly.

Edmonton will be a lot like us last year. May or may not have a QB. What can their D do.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Bub, no excuses or free passes for the O'Day era.
O'Day on the clock and its ticking fast. Mr Jones left a league second 12-6 Saskatchewan Roughriders team. The pressure now on O'Day to improve on that team record. Mr Jones has set the franchise standards high while providing a rare never seen before home playoff game. With a 2020 Grey Cup on home field looming large with very high expectations on the Roughriders being in that championship game, nothing else will suffice. Its make or break time for the O'Day era.

SWC said...

To Sorry Bub;
So, in one year with limited budget and someone else's coaching staff Jeremy O'Day is supposed to do what Chris Jones couldn't accomplish in three years with an open chequebook.

"

Anonymous said...

Sorry again Bub, again you just don't get it.
O'Day is not the head coach. He hand picked and hired Dickenson in that role. O'Day role is to search under every rock nook and cranny for player talent to provide coach Dickenson a chance at winning some games. O'Day has been a assistant associate gm for some time 2011 to present with full say and input to all team matters, he's now the gm so he should know that Roughriders culture they speak of down pat. It's his show now. Let's see if he fails or produces and build on what Chris Jones left behind, a 12-6 team, second best record in the CFL. Absolutly no free passes in the O'Day era Bub.

Radical Rick said...

I think the Rider Offence has to improve. I am not confident that McAdoo will be able to do it.I hope he can. How long will the club let him try?