Realty One

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


1. ZACH THE BEST OF SOME BAD OPTIONS: Pretty hard to fault Roughriders GM Jeremy O’Day for failing to land Bo Levi Mitchell, despite making a franchise record-breaking salary offer. Let’s be real here. BLM was never going to leave Cowtown for another CFL locale and was really just trying to fish for leverage for a better deal from the Stamps.

Let's also be real about the fact the Riders' biggest issue coming into the offseason remains the same as it did when they walked off the field in November of 2018, November of 2017 and November of 2016:

Who’ll quarterback this juggernaut over the hump?

And although they did re-sign Zach, they haven’t upgraded.

The addition of running back William Powell is key but without Willie Jefferson or Chris Jones guiding the defense going into 2019, more questions remain than answers.

This team, on paper at least, does not look better than it did at the end of last year. 

2. REILLY EXIT INDICTMENT OF JASON MAAS: So many ‘insiders’ tried to claim the Edmonton Eskimos best shot at keeping Mike Reilly would be to retain Head Coach Jason Maas. It was all bull. So often the team reflects the personality of its head coach and we’ve seen exactly that with the Esks. They’ve become volatile, unpredictable and never quite as good as their talent would indicate they should be.

Kind of summed up Jason Maas’s career as a CFL quarterback and in some ways mirrors the head coach’s personality. Maas tossed Reilly under the bus after a Thanksgiving Day loss in Regina back in October and from there, the divorce was sealed.

Think about it. Find me one other reason Mike Reilly would give up everything he’s built in Edmonton to go play in front of 15,000 fans a night in Vancouver. You won’t find one. Maas was it. Not the geography to Washington state. That was all baloney.

3. BIGGEST LOSER IN FREE AGENCY: The Ottawa Redblacks really blew this one. To lose both your top quarterback and running back is bad enough. But to come up with Jonathon Jennings as your prized pickup? Sorry, GM Marcel Desjardins, but that won’t cut it. Even another year of pathetic east division football might not be enough to keep you in the playoffs.

4. DeVONE CLAYBROOKS: Didn’t really know what to expect when he got the head coaching job for the B.C. Lions but the more I think about it, he really is a homerun for the Leos. Very bubbly personality with some original swagger (you would have to in order to wear your hat sideways as a pro football head coach) and after seeing his public appearance with some fans and Olympic figure skater Patrick Chan in the snow Monday night, I am convinced he is the right guy to sell football to Vancouver and lead the Lions into the modern era.

And it’s a nice bonus that his loss from the Calgary Stampeders could mean trouble for the Stamps too.

5. BO LEVI MITCHELL: Blows my mind that we somehow went from being resigned to the fact he was gone to the NFL after Grey Cup to him being re-signed only 3 months later. Surely someone down there must’ve guaranteed him the league minimum, which in U.S. dollars would be about the same as he’s getting up here. It tells me 2 things: A) Players would rather be a star up here than get treated like a nobody down there. And B) The NFL really doesn’t respect CFL quarterbacks. It’s the same reason Ricky Ray never made it in his tryout with the New York Jets one year.

As with Bo Levi, it had nothing to do with him being good enough. And that’s pretty sad.

6. GREY CUP 2020: The CFL should give it to Hamilton if they want it. Ticats owner Bob Young has propped this league up for long enough. We’ll host plenty more Grey Cups in the new stadium. Montreal isn’t a legitimate option at this point.

7. DID YOU KNOW?: The Alliance of American Football has declared affiliates for each of its 8 teams to each of the 9 CFL teams. For example, the San Diego Fleet own the AAF rights to all free agents who were last under contract to the B.C. Lions. So, who owns the Saskatchewan Roughrider player rights in that league? The San Antonio Commanders.

8. DID YOU KNOW? 2.0: San Antonio head coach Mike Riley was once offered the Roughriders head coaching job by then-GM Al Ford prior to the 1994 season. Ford was looking for a replacement to the recently-departed Don Matthews and even flew down to Southern California to meet with Riley who took a few days to think about it and even wore a green shirt to his meeting with the Rider GM.

But alas, it was not to be as Riley stayed with USC as an assistant and went on to bigger, better things like Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers. The Riders settled for Ray Jauch and ultimately went nowhere.

9. BRIAN SUTHERBY: Had lots of fun interviewing Moose Jaw Warrior alumni Brian Sutherby at their legends game Saturday night in Moose Jaw. His Warriors beating the Pats out of the first round of the 2002 playoffs was the first time Moose Jaw beat Regina in the postseason and really changed the culture of that franchise from the poor country cousins to a can-do organization. He misses the old ‘Crushed Can’ Moose Jaw Civic Centre. Not me. I’m nostalgic about old buildings but that old barn stunk. I’m certain there was serious mold hiding in that dump.

10. THIS WEEK’S MVP: Access Communications cameraman Cal Fehr for picking up Darren Dupont after his car broke down in Southey and chauffeuring Darren to Moose Jaw just in time to save our TV broadcast from complete and total disaster.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)


Anonymous said...

Darren Dupont - play by play voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

SWC said...

"As with Bo Levi, it had nothing to do with him being good enough. And that’s pretty sad."

I'll go you one better. It's ridiculous that BLM had to 'work out' for those pompous asses down there. There's about 8 miles of video tape showing how he passed for over 5000 yards last year but do to injuries he never had one 1000 yard receiver. That's unheard of but they want to check out his footwork or arm strength, don't they even know we have a wider field than they do. Oh well it's their loss but I get awful tired of the NFL worship.

Anonymous said...

The NFL doesn't respect CFL quarterbacks! You know what they say Superior game inferior athletes!

Anonymous said...

Brendan, you don't like Maas & easy to see why. I can side with you there. But if Reilly was out the door, why publicly state after the season was over that Maas was the best coach he's ever had? He didn't have to say that. It also flies in the face of logic that so many Redblacks have landed in Edmonton since Maas arrived. That started even before Sutherland came over. Harris had a lot of potential suitors including the Riders & his former Argo team which is much closer to home. He played for Maas before so why go there for less money than he could have got elsewhere? So your point is that Maas is so disliked that players want to get away from him? Harris was signed so quickly the other clubs had no chance. Popp said as much. Must have swallowed his dislike for the coach pretty fast.

Brady Y said...

I could live with Dupes being the new voice of the Riders. #anyonebutballsy

LF said...

#2. I can think of 2.9 million other reasons plus one: He is now an afternoon's drive from his hometown.

Anonymous said...

Hard to say how things will play out with the acquisitions, or lack thereof, that JO made. I’m just glad he’s sticking to his plan and not resisting the urge of the “back to the brand” crowd of bringing back Doubles, Dressler, Chick, Ken Miller, etc. A brand that has won four Grey Cups in 110 years and hosted only one west final in 43 years. That does not indicate success whatsoever. Unfortunately when an “outsider” comes in and tries something different (Jones, Roy Shivers, etc), they get absolutely crucified by the old guard and longtime media types. Always a big fan of Rod but completely disagree with his last article. Hopefully JO doesn’t listen to the noise and does what he needs to.

Gunderson’s Yorkton

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you, I think the riders have improved their team from last year. We are better at running back, receivers, and the dline has improved. Linebacker might be an issue but we may have picked up a hidden gem from Bc. Also I think our backup qb is better

Anonymous said...

USA Today has as article today about how the AAf is already in financial stress. At some point there will be some good players available with good film on them, possibly in time for the next CFL expansion into the Atlantic.

If Bo Levi surly saw the path Henry Burris took when he attempted the NFL experience. Burris went onto Grey Cups and now does the CTV morning show in Ottawa and has a gig with TSN.

Anonymous said...

I see that the Warriors beat the Pats in the spring of 1987, with Fleury leading the way!–87_WHL_season
1987 WHL Playoffs. Medicine Hat earned a bye. Saskatoon earned a bye. Prince Albert defeated Swift Current 3 games to 1. Moose Jaw defeated Regina 3 games to 0.

Anonymous said...

How are the Rider receivers better? You have Roosevelt & the same young backups. You've added Watson who is even older than Bagg. The only other addition is Arcenaux who is 32, tore up his knee late last August & may not be available till Midseson. So to summarize you have Watson for Bagg & Arcenaux for less than a season replacing Williams-Lambert. It's debatable if Fajardo is an upgrade over Bridge. He's only thrown 68 passes for an average 6.1 yards. Pretty Bridge-like. The Dline is no worse or better than last year if Hughes, at 35, has another year in him which, without Willie occupying the RB in for extrat blocking, will face more double teams. Hughes had 13 of his sacks in the first 11 games & 2 in the last 7. Definitely faded down the stretch. You're right about LB. Davis would have to be a heck of a hidden gem to make me forget Eguavoen, who like most players, takes a year or two to figure things out. Riders are not much different but I see a couple or 3 teams in the West improved a lot. Riders haven't kept up. I'd love to have someone show me some hard evidence to make me feel different.

Anonymous said...

Assuming the Riders still hold min-camps down south, there is ample time to bring in some god competition at receiver at training camp.

Anonymous said...

Reilly must have hated being under the Maas offence Brendan...he had his top 3 years in passing yards for his career. Maybe watch a few interview's of Mike Reilly's, he talks about his great friendship with him and loads of respect for him, and was a major part making him adjust his game to be the QB he is today.

GardenGnome said...

Have to agree with the Anon's above. Just looked it up & for the record under McAdoo/Jones Reilly played 25 games, threw for 5776 yards or 231 per game. With Maas in 53 games threw for 16946 yards or 320 per game. That's 90 yards per game difference sustained over more than double the time. Reilly also had Bowman in his prime & Walker to throw to in Edmonton during the McAdoo/Jones regime. They had some great receivers back then, not just the last 3 years. Burris had 2 pretty good statistical years in 2013-14 throwing for 8655 yards. When Maas arrived in 2015 as his OC he had his highest passing totals ever with 5693 yards & averaged almost 80 yards per game more. Why would you not want to play for Maas as a QB? Your theory has no legs. Let's face it - Chris Jones would never be mistaken for a box of marshmellows. How often did you see him giving it to a player on the sidelines at Mosaic? I saw a lot of it. Maas, Jones, Austin, none of them shrinking violets. I'd take Maas in Regina any day.

Anonymous said...

Are receivers are 1 year older, which should improve there chemistry with zack. Young picton will occupy a non import spot. Manny will be healthy. The oline with Blake in there will be much improved. Running back will be improved. The dline is going to be away better. Hughes, johnson, zack, a.c. I'm sorry but Jefferson is a little over rated.

Anonymous said...

No need to say your sorry. Any player who leaves the Riders is going to be deemed "a little" over rated by someone. Before Jefferson, there was Dressler, Durant, Chick, Getzlaf .... As Schultz would say, "Its all part of it."

Anonymous said...

Dresser chick weren't over rated Durant definitely was. Getz was a solid player. Jefferson is a very good player but in jones system he was a rover, so in a typical defence I feel he is over rated.