OK, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are now a team that has won four of its last five games with the last two wins being against the teams they have to catch in the standings---the Lions and Stampeders. In fact, look at the standings and you will see the two game win streak makes the green and white the hottest team in the CFL. Yes, they are the only team in the CFL on a two game win streak right now. As good as the Riders were against Calgary, they were that much better against B.C and it showed.
Just some thoughts on what happened Saturday night
--More home games on Saturday night are needed. That was a great atmosphere and the fans came through just the way Corey Chamblin asked them to. However that being said, I think many Rider fans would have been “juiced” up after a day to get ready anyhow. Jim Hopson, please make that happen. I’m OK with no Friday night games because it means some people who drive to the games have to leave early or just can’t go because of work, but get a few more Saturday night games on the sked.
--It couldn’t have been easy for CJME’s Jamie Nye to ask Weston Dressler what was up seeing he had left the team because of a family matter on Friday. Dressler told the media (which he didn’t have to) that he had gone back to North Dakota to be with his family after his 95 year old grandfather died. Dressler answered all questions about it and said his grandfather had the best spot in the house Saturday night. Weston came through at a tough time and only cemented his legacy as one of the best ever Riders in my lifetime. When I talk about Jamie asking the question, it is very awkward when you know these people and feel obligated to ask the question. I remember being the one to ask Michelle Englot about her thoughts after her father passed away just as the Scott Tournament of Hearts was starting in Regina. It’s a question you don’t want to ask and you shouldn’t be surprised if you are told no comment, but it’s a question you feel obligated to ask because you are a conduit to the fan and the public.
--Where does Dressler rank when it comes to all-time great Rider receivers? He’s got to be climbing that ladder to top 5 category. I don’t know if he will ever be considered greater than Ray Elgaard and Jeff Fairholm, but in my mind, he might be a solid 3rd. Please remember, I never saw Hugh Campbell play a game in a Rider uniform.
--The Riders ‘D” absolutely punished the Lions. Travis Lulay took several big hits and so did various other players, but the best hit of the night might have been Neal Hughes on Byron Parker. That was awesome!
--Darian Durant isn’t becoming a pocket passer, but his game is changing somewhat and you have seen the results the past couple of weeks. Durant’s hip is still bothering him, but if he can find the right formula as to when to do what he’s been doing and when to run, he could take his game to the next level.
--Has Jim Furyk finished lining his putt up on 18 yet? How exactly did the Americans lose the Ryder Cup anyhow? Were the Europeans that good on Sunday or were the Americans that bad. I hardly watched. How do the events of the day change if Rory McIlroy doesn’t make his tee time and how much grief would the world’s number one player have received in the future? It would seem to me as if McIlroy was about as confused as many of us when it comes time to spring ahead or fall back with many of us in Saskatchewan trying to remember who is on the same time as us and what time it is in other places.
--Corey Chamblin obviously never sent the guarantee e-mail to Kavis Reed on Friday night as Jon Cornish ran for 180 yards and a couple of touchdowns in a Calgary beatdown of Edmonton. I guess you could say Cornish went from showing his rear one week to kicking some rear this week.
--I can’t say enough about the performance of U of R Rams quarterback Marc Mueller on Friday night. The kid (can I call him that?) calmly led the Rams down the field on a 95 yard drive capping it off with a touchdown to Connor Haas to give the Rams a 30-27 win over Manitoba. On that drive, Mueller once again injured his shoulder (severity not known) and he actually threw a pair of touchdowns to win the game as one was called back on a phantom offensive pass interference call that made me wonder if NFL replacement refs had found their way to Regina and Canada West football. Mueller shrugged off the bad call and threw the TD pass moments later. Its sad to know that unless the CFL gets its you know what together and does something about Canadian quarterbacks that Mueller is into his final months as a quarterback. He should have a chance at playing in the CFL---and a legitimate one. This isn’t a criticism of the Riders, but why employ the ageless JT O’Sullivan as your 3rd stringer when someone like Mueller could fit the bill. He comes cheaper. Look around the CFL and there are likely some 3rd stringers that could be replaced by a Canadian QB like a Mueller or Kyle Quinlan of McMaster.
--A funny moment at the Rams game that I did not see. Security was not going to allow Rams radio play-by-play guy Michael Ball into the box and questioned who he was much to the chagrin of Ballsy. After what I hear was an interesting conversation, he did get in. I would have loved to have seen that exchange.
--If you watched the Rams game on Access Friday night, you heard yours truly doing play-by-play again. Its been a couple of years since I did that. There were some nice comments on Twitter by some friends about my return to the booth, but lets just say Rod Pedersen has absolutely NOTHING to worry about nor does any other credible football p x p guy. Speaking of Rods, lets just say I made Rod Black sound like Vin Scully! OK, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but I am my own worst critic.
--Still with the Rams, those in the Riders room that have allegiances to the U of R were loving the win over the Huskies. Check out this pic from Ram alumni Brendon Labatte of his Husky teammates Ben Heenan and Patrick Neufeld.
I spoke with Heenan on Friday and he was wearing the shirt. I poked a little fun at him and he was not happy. He’s bigger than me so I quickly changed the conversation.
--Hey TSN, I could care less about Tiger Woods and his match at the Ryder Cup. When a CFL game comes on, its time for some football. The decision to wait and miss the opening couple of minutes of action just so we could see Tiger hack his way around Medinah was stupid. Speaking of TSN, they are going to show the final game of the 2005 World Juniors. That was arguably Canada’s best ever junior team as it had the likes of Crosby, Phaneuf, Getzlaf and Richards because of the NHL lockout. In advertising the game, TSN is saying “Conquest in Minnesota.” Ummmmm, the event and the final game was played in Grand Forks----Grand Forks NORTH DAKOTA!!! Is the person in charge of this promo the same person who said Anthony Calvillo goes up against “Kevin” Durant in the 2009 Grey Cup promo. Remember that?
--I hope you had a chance to see the Grey Cup train. It was fantastic. Whoever came up with the idea should be given heaping amounts of praise. I took my nine year old daughter on Friday and she enjoyed it a lot more than I thought. She had some questions for dear old Dad which made me happy and she got her pic taken with the Commish!
--Speaking of the Commish, Gary Bettman could take a real lesson from CFL boss Marc Cohon. The guy just oozes cool!! He was right there mixing in with the crowd at the GC train Friday chatting it up with as many people as he could. Could you see Bettman or MLB head honcho Bud Selig doing that? NOPE!!!
--Will someone please tell Buck Pierce it is time to hang up the helmet! He can not and should not be taking the abuse that he constantly takes. People like Matt Dunigan and Dave Dickenson need to have a sit-down with Pierce to tell him what his future is already going to be like and that it could get worse. How much more can his body take?
--The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons has a great idea. When the NHL lockout ends, both sides should agree that a specific amount of money be set aside to compensate all the team and league employees who have lost salary and work days. It would be a great public relations move on both sides.
--When 45 year old Omar Vizquel tells you that things are wrong in the Blue Jays clubhouse, you should listen if you are upper management. Vizquel has been around the block a few times and he has seen a lot. His criticism of the team this week should speak volumes with the decision-makers. Time will tell!
--So Packers fans, how do you like the regular refs that you wanted back so badly. Fox’s Joe Buck had the line of the day after an obvious Saints fumble was not called with the Packers unable to challenge. Buck saying “The honeymoon with the regular refs was shorter than the Kardashian honeymoon”.
--So let me get this straight. The Arizona Cardinals are 4-0 and the New Orleans Saints are 0-4? How much would you be taking home if you made that bet in Vegas a month ago.
--Next Saturday on FOX, West Virginia will play Texas. Watch the game just to see Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith. This weekend against Baylor, Smith went 45 of 51 for 656 yards with no picks and eight touchdowns---count em 8. On the season, Smith has completed 80 percent of his passes with 20 TD’s and no I-N-T’s. That is sick! I’m guessing he is NFL bound next year, but if not, what team has his rights in the CFL?
--They say if you truly love something, let it go, and I am truly in love with my body.
Have a great Monday!!