Monday, June 23, 2014
Something To "Mitch" About
The cuts have been made and its time to get the season going. I still honestly believe this is a Riders team which can get back to the Grey Cup and win it. Yes, this team was rocked in the off-season with some huge losses, but they still have a solid core. Make no doubt about it, this team is not as stacked as last year, but they are still a very good football game.
Let me talk about the cuts first before I talk about Friday's game and some thoughts from it
--It couldn't have been easy deciding between Adam Weber and Seth Doege. I thought Weber might get the nod, but Doege did and I have to wonder if the reason why is mobility. That helicopter ride he took in the Ottawa game may have been the play that is keeping him around
--The biggest surprise out of the cuts to me was Mortty Ivy. With Chad Kilgore out for six weeks, I thought Ivy would be the man in the middle. NOPE! I will be surprised if Ivy isn't on the practice roster when it is announced on Tuesday.
--Others I think could be on the practice roster will be Kris Bastien, Alex Anthony, Devin Tyler, Matt Vonk and Richard Sumlin.
--There had to have been some agonizingly tough decisions. There were a lot of good players on that team and there were some good battles. When you have to juggle the ratio, I am sure some guys were released that the club didn't want to let go. There will be some guys cut who will end up playing for other teams. Hello Winnipeg!
Lets go back to the game and some thoughts...
--Keith Toston had the starting tailback job wrapped up before he had that fumble. The guy can rumble and when he picks his lane, he roars through it. With the o-line this team has, Toston could rip off some big runs. He won't be the slasher Kory Sheets was and I don't think he can be a guy who has the possibility of turning a 4 yard run into a touchdown run, but he will rip off some big ones and he will leave defenders in his wake. I don't think you can arm tackle that guy.
--The first half play by the number ones on defense was outstanding. This team will be tough to score points on. Is it safe to say if the Riders can get 21 that they will win most nights? Is that a fair statement to make to the defense.
--I'm not convinced that Mike Reilly should be the starting QB in Edmonton. Matt Nichols is a very good QB who has had his injury problems. The Eskimos can be secure in knowing they have a good 1-2 combo, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Nichols starting.
--Chaz Schilens made some nice catches inside including one tough one in the first quarter where Darian Durant threaded it in amongst three Edmonton defenders. The former Raider is not scared to veer inside.
--Am I the only one thinking Taj Smith could have a monster year? Darian and Taj are on the same page and I see him having a year that eclipses what he did last year.
--Am I the only one when Rob Bagg catches a pass thinks to myself "Get up, get up, get up". After everything he has gone through, I would hate to see his knees let him down again.
--Tino Sunseri struggled, but hopefully the only time Tino Sunseri is seeing the field this year is in mop-up time. I understand the frustration being felt, but I don't see Tino getting a lot of snaps with the first team. If he does, it means Darian is hurt and that spells bad news for the team.
--I still think Terrell Maze is one of the most undervalued guys on the football team. The guy can flat out play and teams don't throw the ball his way very much. There's a reason for that.
--If you are a Blue Jays fan and you aren't getting concerned yet about your team, you should be, The wheels have fallen off and GM Alex Anthopoulos seemingly thinks the problems that have developed over the past few weeks will right themselves. The St. Louis Cardinals showed teams how to deal with Toronto by throwing high fastball after high fastball that the Jays hitters can't lay off of. With the bats cooling off, it puts pressure on the pitching staff and they can't come up with a quality start night after night. Anthopoulous needs to go out and find himself another starting pitcher a-s-a-p and he needs to do it before the Orioles or Yankees or yes perhaps even the Red Sox do it. With Kansas City getting hot, you can throw James Shields' name out, but with Tampa wanting to move David Price and Jeff Samardzija seemingly available, you have to act now. There are other pitchers out there too, but those two seem to be the ones everyone is talking about.
--How is it the Texas Rangers can lead baseball in shutouts yet have the highest ERA in the majors?
--Who had the idea of suddenly putting the terms "national" and "international" to designate CFL players. Was Canadian or import suddenly politically incorrect or something. Does this mean the top home-grown player in the league will now be the CFL's top "National". Cmon!!!!
--The NHL schedule is out already???
--I get the feeling the first round of the NHL draft is going to see a lot of movement. I'm not convinced Florida holds on to their first round pick and I think a few teams in the top 6 or 7 including Edmonton look at making deals.
--This won't happen, but the Montreal Canadiens would be an ideal spot for Martin Brodeur to finish his NHL career seeing his fathers affiliation with the team.
--If you need a FA goalie, do you go after Jonas Hiller or Ryan Miller?
--Is it safe to say Luca Congi is waiting for his phone to ring with the REDBLACKS on the other end?
--If you don't know, Sports Illustrated and NBC football analyst Peter King (one of the best journalists in the game in my mind) will be at Mosaic Stadium Sunday for the Ti-Cats/Riders game. Hey Pete, you should have been here for the last game between those two. Anyhoo, he will be documenting the game for his highly successful Monday Morning Quarterback column. In fact, leading up to the game and the contest in Calgary he will cover, he is calling this week's columns a part of "Canada Week" with former Als coach Marc Trestman writing the first bit for him. You can find it right here. Lets show Mr. King how great Rider Nation is people!
--Have the New York Rangers asked GM Glen Sather how it is that he could have botched two contracts so badly in Wade Redden and Brad Richards? That does not look good on Slats.
--Two men have turned down an opportunity to coach Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Hmmmmmmm! Who's running the show in Pittsburgh these days. Its said those two were a big reason why Dan Bylsma was shown the door which just begs the question as to what is going on behind closed doors in the land of the Penguin.
--There is a Facebook page called "Regina Parking Shaming". I highly applaud the individual or individuals who thought this up and I would highly encourage you to help the maker(s) of this page by sending them pics. Hell, I could send them each day when I walk through the Impark lots to work.
--Pats owner Anthony Marquart was interviewed by Rod Pedersen on Monday's Sportscage at the Doug Wickenheiser tournament. What I got from the interview was this. "If you are a hockey fan in this town and you aren't excited at what Marquart and Queen City Sports and Entertainment are going to bring to the table, you had better start." Different times and better times are ahead my friend. These guys aren't screwing around and demand results. It might not come in year 1, but it will come. I'm ready for the puck to drop and we haven't even started the CFL season yet.
--One should have to sign a life insurance waiver before having the "Skirt Burger" at Birmingham's. My god, that is a delicious concoction. If you've had it, you know what I'm talking about. If not, I highly suggest it.
--The Edmonton media is upset with Eskimos coach Chris Jones and the season hasn't started yet. Jones has informed the Edmonton media they are no longer allowed inside the locker-room to interview players which has reporters there crying foul saying they won't be able to get their stories and give the fans the inside stuff they crave. What??? The Riders dressing room has been closed for years during practice yet I still see Murray McCormick, Rob Vanstone, Ian Hamilton, myself, Jamie Nye, Glenn Reid, Lee Jones and Derek Meyers getting daily stories from the team with the Leader-Post writing great articles giving you "inside info" on the team. Chris Jones will get skewered for this, but I ask why when I am in a market where this has been happening for years yet the story still gets out whether the Riders like it or not.
--Isn't having the good old US of A consider themselves as a soccer power lovely. YEESH!
--I do ten sit ups every morning. It might not sound like much, but there are only so many times you can hit the snooze button.
--Have a great week!!!!