Realty One

Friday, February 15, 2019


Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order:

--Rider Nation isn't exactly the happiest fan-base right now after the early days of CFL free agency. The wishes they had weren't exactly answered. The news Zach Collaros was coming back was met with a hard resounding "thud" by many. I think we all knew Mike Reilly wasn't coming here and despite the fact the team did make a solid offer to Bo Levi Mitchell, there shouldn't be anyone surprised that he is back in Calgary.  He says he left more money on the table, but a part of me thinks he was  trolling the Riders and Toronto as there was no way he was leaving Calgary after failing to find work in the NFL.

Yes, I am surprised Collaros is back. Despite what he said on Wednesday, I don't think he liked his time very much in Riderville last year because of the way things went. I am also surprised that considering his health that the Riders reached out to him. No matter where Collaros would have played this year, there is a fear that we are going to see his brains get scrambled again and it won't be good. Collaros has become a modern-day Buck Pierce. Pierce was smart enough to get out as was Dave Dickenson back in the day. I am sure the team knows where he stands health-wise, but I am also guessing that health status takes a dramatic turn downwards once he takes that first big hit.

This may sound like I'm not a Collaros fan, but I am. I just want to see him play the game to his best abilities and not have another concussion derail his future. I'd be saying the same thing if he had employment with any other team. We didn't see the real Collaros last year because of the concussion he suffered in the pre-season when he was folded up in what I think was his second series of the pre-season. A healthy Zach Collaros can be a very good Zach Collaros. In fact, I am on record as saying a healthy Zach Collaros is better than Trevor Harris. The move doesn't excite me, but I'm not disappointed either. Keeping Zach healthy is priority #1.

--Collaros also talked about player safety and how the league isn't doing enough. Rider fans are still upset seeing their number one and two quarterbacks get clocked with vicious head shots. Collaros isn't the happiest of campers. I asked Zach if he thought the CFL should adopt a targetting rule like they have in the NCAA and he said he would be in favour of it. I think a lot of quarterbacks would be as well.

“I think it would be a good step moving forward, but again I don’t make the decisions,” Collaros said. “I don’t know if it’s helped the play down there but it’s helped player safety. It’s made defenders or even offensive guys more cautious about taking that cheap shot.” Odell Willis and Jackson Jeffcoat knew the most they would get if the penalty was called was 15 yards. An ejection and a fine with possibly a suspension for repeat violators would quiet this issue down.

--I am trying to figure out if BC or Edmonton won the day when it comes to free agency.  BC got the biggest player in Mike Reilly, but what a Plan B by Brock Sunderland. Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson and Sir Vincent Rogers should more than appease Eskimo supporters who weren't happy with the loss of Reilly. You know Sunderland's time in Ottawa played a big part in getting the three former REDBLACKS to reunite with him in Edmonton.  Meanwhile, Ed Hervey took some nice pieces from around the league to build around Reilly.  Do these guys know in advance what the salary cap is going to be this year?  They both seemed to spend as if money was no option.

At the end of the day, the teams in the West took a big step up while the Riders didn't. William Powell and Micah Johnson are solid additions, but when you look at what the other teams did, the green-and-white has some work to do if they don't want to be left behind. Some might think its too late as it is.  One also must remember as Jeremy O'Day said Wednesday, Grey Cups are not won in February.  Some might not have faith in J-O, but I don't think he is done tweaking this team as he tries to make it better. Training camp is a ways away yet and O'Day has time to continue working on things.

--I like the Naaman Roosevelt signing. He brings something to the field and to the room. He is a quiet leader. All rooms need guys like him. Like Collaros, he needs to stay healthy. When he is, he is a big weapon as Rider Nation knows.

--Would the Riders make an offer to Weston Dressler?  Should they make an offer to Weston Dressler? There is no doubt he is still beloved by Rider Nation and he was the one mistake player-wise Chris Jones made when he cleaned house.  I think a lot of people would like to see WD7 finish his career with the same team he started it with.

--Why is it when someone leaves a franchise in free agency, the hate starts?  It happened again on Tuesday with a lot of negative comments being thrown at Mike Reilly, Greg Ellingson and apparently Willie Jefferson. This just in: YOU DON'T MATTER!!  Guys are making decisions based on what is best for them. Are you going to tell me if you had an opportunity to make things better for yourself that you wouldn't take it?  It's not just Rider fans, its fans of all teams. It's a really bad look.

--It was reported the Denver Broncos were interested in signing Bo Levi Mitchell. That obviously didn't happen. BLM had stated he wanted an opportunity to compete for a job and be a backup. The Broncos didn't take a guy who has been the CFL MOP twice and still has a lot to give opting instead to make a trade for an aging Joe Flacco. I'd rather have BLM if I were the Broncos. This just shows you that it is very tough for CFL guys to make it south of the border especially at the marquee positions.  When a two time MOP can't make the NFL, it says something.  The same could be said for guys like Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian who have gone down and failed.  It just makes what guys like Brett Jones have done that much greater.

By the way, Joe Flacco?  Like Chris Jones, it would seem as if John Elway can't find a young quarterback to develop.  Unlike Chris Jones, Elway should know what a young quarterback needs to have and he obviously doesn't by looking at the flotsam he has brought in over the years.  Tim Tebow, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum.  That's not exactly a murderers row is it!

--The Anaheim Ducks aren't making the playoffs.  Here's hoping once the trade deadline hits that Sam Steel is called up from San Diego. Steel is obviously a big part of Anaheim's future so you might as well get him some meaningful minutes now.

--Is Brayden Point the second best Moose Jaw Warrior behind Theoren Fleury. A solid argument could be made for Ryan Smyth, but one has to think if Point continues doing what he is and gets his name scrawled on the Stanley Cup that it will be him.  Feel free to weigh in Warriors fans!

--It wasn't surprising, but it is disappointing to see the Chicago Cubs are leaving WGN TV after more than 70 years.  People in Chicago and around North America won't be able to watch the team on free TV anymore as the Cubs get set to launch their own channel which is something other teams have done.  It sucks for the fans, but its the next wave when it comes to what teams are doing these days.   If it weren't for WGN in the early 80's and daytime baseball at Wrigley Field, I might never have fallen in love with that team the way I have.  WGN is the Cubs to me and vice-versa.  Before becoming a subscriber to MLBTV,  WGN was my outlet for Cubs baseball.  It won't be the same not watching them on Channel 9, but as mentioned, it is the way the business is going these days.

--That's all I got.  Have a great long weekend!


Mike walters said...

You don’t matter, YOU HYPOCRITE

Brady Y said...

How is scruf a hypocrite? Who did he bad mouth when they left?

Anonymous said...

Im sure Ryan Smyth still ranks ahead of Brayden.

Anonymous said...

Please explain Mike?

Did Scruffy touch a nerve?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mike should tell us what player he beaked at!

Anonymous said...

Dressler is getting on & has trouble playing a full year now. But, not a bad idea. There's no love lost for Maas in Regina but I'll tell you this & Sunderland said it as well. Players like playing for him. The exodus from Ottawa started even before Sunderland arrived - on offence & defence. It just got elevated now. It's not coincidental that two very big signings on defence came from Hamilton, where Lolley was DC. You're absolutely right on your assessment on the Riders. They haven't done badly considering they weren't going to get the marquee QB's. They got 2 Allstar players in Johnson & Powell. The problem is the other 4 teams did more. The Stamps got hit hard on defence though.

Sam Korne said...

RE Dressler et al:

Signing Dressler, Roosevelt and Collaros can not be considered good moves. All have a history of not playing 18 games and all have a concussion history which gets worse with every hit. If this is the future direction of the franchise then it's not a good way to go. Unless it's short term fix until O'Day and Jones find some good young players through the system but long term this isn't a viable way to build a sustainable future.

I trust in the Paul Jones to find us a QB of the future and maybe more as his track record in Edmonton was good in that regard. Here's hoping he can do the same here.

Anonymous said...

Do we know the amount of salary the Riders offered Collaros?

lee said...

where does troy brower rank

Anonymous said...

Another year, another of the same story. Free agents just don't want to come to Saskatchewan. I hate to say it but get ready for a few years of non playoff football. It's going to take a few seasons to reverse the damage Chris Jones did.

Football Fan said...

I'm generally a fan, but this was not one of your stronger articles.

I'm not sure who you've been talking to but the talk I've been hearing has been quite positive about our moves, all things considered. Losing Jones was a disaster, no question about that. Instead of gearing up for our dynasty run we're now crossing our fingers and hoping that the new guys can pick up and keep going with what Jones was building. On that note, I'd bet that losing Jones cost us Reilly, but once we get past that I think our guys have done very well. Micah Johnson is one of the top few defensive players in the league. He was second in sacks last year only to Hughes, and he did that as a DT! Even though we lost Jefferson we actually improved our DL. And how do you neutralize big dollar, high profile, QBs? Pressure!

We were never going to get Mitchell, nor was anyone else, but by going after him hard we drove up his price, and that will cost Calgary, which helps us. I believe Calgary is paying Mitchell about $250k more this year than last year, and that's going to cut into their ability to re-sign other players - see Micah Johnson.

And, btw, Mitchll didn't "fail to make the NFL". He CHOSE not to sign in the NFL. He was offered contracts, but he turned them down. For one thing signing in the NFL would have meant a big pay cut for him, and my bet is that once he kicked the tires a bit the "dream" of the NFL wore off pretty quickly. For players the NFL means money, but now that's not the case for our starting QBs. The money for them is in the CFL.

Dean Bear said...

Scruffy is right. The only person your opinion matters to is you. No one else cares.

Anonymous said...

Who's replacing Roddy on the radio

Anonymous said...

I like the long game being played by O'Day and company. There will be some talented players come on the market in June when training camps end. Good players will be cut from the rosters in Edmonton, BC, Calgary and Winnipeg as they try to find a way to squeeze into the salary cap, once the new cba is set, due to their high priced signings. The Riders are in a good position to grab players than can improve them and they will be able to go after talented former CFL'ers cut from the NFL.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the Riders have not signed Jeff Knox Jr. back into the green and white, especially with the loss of Sam Eguovan. Knox is sill young and has the experience to regain his role as an impact player.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones left a 12 - 6 team behind.
Chris Jones left a very good negotiation list behind, let's see what oday can do with it.

Big Dan

Anonymous said...

Kudos out to Mr Mitchell Blair for writing this unbiased article when it came to the Roughriders and their current management mismanagement to free agency. Mr Blair was point on in his opinion.

Big Dan

Anonymous said...

Reilly was always going to BC with a home in Seattle plus being from Washington and Hervey connection.
Mitchell was trolling to get Huffnagel to pony up more dough. He was never leaving Calgary.
Harris was brought into Edmonton because of the connections with the GM.
The Riders or for that matter most other teams were never really in play It was all posturing.
Collaros may not be the only one to blame for his performance but at the end of the day he needs to be much better and tougher. Most of his INT's were bad reads or bad delivery.

Interesting how things happen. Harris goes to Edmoton and they promptly lose Derel Walker, likely one of the chips used to get Harris. These things often play out in a strange way.

We had a 12-6 record last year with Collaros/Bridge and Collaros is back again. Shouldn't the offence be almost the same or possibly better one would think? They lost some on defence but they also added some huge pieces. Shouldn't the defence be about the same? The kicking game is sound. It's hard to see this team going from a 12-6 team to a non-playoff team. I can't see us being last in the West no matter what.

Even finishing 4th would give us a cross-over to the East which will be even weaker this year. Any crossover team has the distinct probability of representing the East. Two teams with the big signings will be gone after the Western playoffs. That's a plain and simple fact. While the Riders fans didn't get the QB they were hoping for, they got the guy that helped them be a 12-6 team. It's not all bleak. Remember as well Harris played in a weak East division so Edmonton should temper their enthusiasm, considering they finished last in the West last season and had a number of big losses i.e. Walker.

Teams that signed big will have to release good players because they won't be able to make Cap. Some of the replacements are unquestionably not going to be of the same caliber. They will have to lose on offence or defence, but they will most certainly lose. O'Day will likely sign a few more but will have other options. There could/will be trades. There will be signing of "Cap Victims", free agents from other leagues, and you need to believe there will be a couple of gems that emerge out of camps.

Some of the sexy hoop-la signings may not seem that sexy 8 or 9 months from now. Destiny turns on a dime!

Anonymous said...

The oilers need to get Barry trots from the islanders for coach, Now there’s a coach.

Football Fan said...

Continuing, I thought Edmonton has not done well at all in free agency. Yes, they brought in some great players, but they spent a tonne of money, all of their money, and they still have lots of holes to fill. Yes, in the receiving corps they brought in Ellingson and Daniels, but let’s not forget that they lost Duke Williams, Derel Walker and Bryant Mitchell. Reilly was running for his life all year last year. Yes, they brought in Rogers but I think they had more problems on the OL than just LT, and Harris is less mobile and less durable than Reilly. Yes, they’ve got a great LB corps now, but who have they got in the secondary? They should have been in re-building mode this year, but to me these look like “I hope I can same my job” moves.

And how about Winnipeg. They lost two starting OLs in the off season. Have they filled those holes? And they lost Lofler, Santos-Knox, and Fogg too. Calgary lost a tonne of players as well. We had a good team last year, 12-6, so we didn’t need much. Meanwhile Edmonton, Calgary, and arguably Winnipeg as well have taken steps back.

And Dressler? I hope that was a joke of some sort. Dressler was a good player as a Rider, never a great player, and he never had much personality either. There was a group within the media and I’m sure in the old boys’ network that keep trying to talk him up as a huge star and a huge fan favourite, but he never was either of those things. Good player and good guy, but we've had a lot of those and we moved on years ago.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to win free agency, I want to win Grey Cups!

Big Brockk

David Cooper said...

YOU DON'T MATTER, lol everyone has there own opinion just like your blog, I may sound like I am not a fan of Scruffy, but i am.

3RD and 1 said...

BS last Anonymous. So the best defensive lineman in the league as well as the most productive Running Back in the league signing hear doesn’t mean anything to you.
If your talking about QBs give your fricken head a shake. Both Bo Levi and Reilly were never going anywhere except the teams they signed with. Bo passed on an $800K offer in Toronto.
It’s ridiculous comments like yours from loud mouthed uneducated Rider fans that make this fan base so unlikable.

3RD and 1 said...

Complete rubbish. ridiculous comment. Jones only improved a team that for 2 years previous was pure garbage. Wake up man!

Anonymous said...

Football Fan, I know you wear the green goggles but Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton will have very strong teams. Winnipeg probably the best overall team in the CFL, Calgary has lost a few pieces but let's just remember Huff always finds replacements easily. Edmonton still has a great receiving corps with maybe not Mike Reilly but still an elite Qb. Running back is solid and only needed a piece or so on the Oline so Rogers and Dranheim covers that. D line to Mid line is covered. Secondary as much as you think hasn't changed it has...Hightower, Orange, Coloqoun, Oneyka, and Adams...these five are a pretty good secondary players.