Thursday, October 30, 2014
This And That
--The weekly collection of thoughts running through my muddled mind
Its been quiet in Riderville over the last week as the team is on its second and final bye of the season, but make no doubt about it. I'm sure the coaching staff has been working hard all week getting this team ready for the final few games of the season.
I had this sent to me and I had to pass it along although many of you may have already seen it. During the bye week, the team picture was taken. Here it is!
That's a little cold and to many of the players it may be a tad insulting to say the squad is a one man team, but one cannot argue this team's fortunes went south the moment Bryant Turner hit DD in the Banjo Bowl as what was a great season went down the toilet in rather quick fashion. The injury to one player seemingly has sunk the season. There is still a chance to revive that season, but I think its safe to say that will happen through the East again and while the East has not been strong this year, I don't like their chances, but they still have a chance and as long as they do, the Rider Nation will be behind them.
The two questions I have about the football team now as they limp to the finish line are this
1) Is Darian coming back and if so, what type of player will he be?
--We were told Durant would dress for the regular season finale against Edmonton, but I'd be surprised if the Riders play him knowing where their fate lies. There is no reason to play number 4 unless its to shake some rust off and even if you do that, what happens if he should get hurt again. Is that a risk the team really wants to take?
--When and if Darian comes back, it is unrealistic to start thinking he will be slinging the football around completing pass after pass, racking up yard after yard and leading the team down the field to touchdown after touchdown. The guy hasn't played in how long? He needs some time to get back into game shape! While I and many others would love to see DD come back and throw for 350 and 3 TD's, I can't realistically see that happening. Many are putting the Saviour label on him if he returns and that may not be a fair position to put him in
2) When do you head down East?
--Considering the Riders got their doors blown off in visits to Montreal, Hamilton or Toronto. Would going out early change that? It was suggested on Thursday's Sportscage the team leave early and I agree with that, but would you leave 5 days early and do your entire practice routine in the city where you will play the Eastern semi-final. That would be a costly expenditure, but I think its one the Riders would take. Why not?
The first set of ballots have been sent out for CFL yearly awards. I used to hold a ballot, but I don't anymore so take these for what you will, but here are my Rider award winners.
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER --Tearrius George
I found it interesting when doing a story for Riderville.com that there isn't much difference when it comes to grading out between TGeorge, John Chick and Ricky Foley. Chick had a monster first half and Foley has had a monster second half, but number 93 has just been consistent in getting the job done week after week registering a career high in sacks. That consistency and all-around good play gives him the nod to this blogger.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER -- John Chick
How can you give George MOP and Chick top defensive player? It happens a lot of times in sports and that's how close it is between the two Americans. Chick deserves some form of recognition for his play this year and I am certainly not going to snub him twice. I could put him in MOP and George here, but the consistency argument comes up again and while he has been effective, he hasn't been the sack happy John Chick that he was in the first half. That's not a shot its just reality. I think big 97 is better now than what he was when he left for the NFL and I think he will continue doing what he did this year in 2015 and beyond.
TOP CANADIAN --- Ricky Foley
Is there any doubt here? In fact, I think Foley could win the league award. He is having his best ever season and he is finishing strong. Someone asked me the other day if Chick and Foley were a better combination than Chick and Stevie Baggs. Absolutely!! He's having a career year with 12 sacks and if he wasn't one of the league's top homegrown players before, he is now.
BEST OFFENSIVE LINEMAN --- Ben Heenan
This one is tough as well. The unit has been fantastic, but Brendon Labatte has missed time, I Chris Best has missed time as have Xavier Fulton and Dan Clark. Heenan had a couple of rough games, but he is one of the big reasons the Rider running game has been as good as it has been. He has helped open up some massive holes. Could Big Ben win the West nominee and perhaps do what Labatte did last year and win it all. I doubt it, but I think he has the ability to win the top lineman award very soon.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR --- Derek Walker
Its a toss-up between Walker and Trevor Guyton, but I will go with Walker and his 5 sacks and give all four members of that D-Line some love. Guyton has had a good year too, but I've noticed Walker a lot more. He's the guy for me.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER --- Tristan Jackson
This might be the easiest one. Jackson leads the league in combined return yards and he has more often than not given the team good field position. Weston Dressler may have taken a couple of kicks back, but Weston also showed up midway through the season while TJack just kept returning kick after kick after kick.
Agree or disagree?
--Madison Bumgarner's 2014 playoffs and the World Series in particular has to be considered as one of the greatest of all-time. I thought we would see Bumgarner in Game 7, but I didn't think we would see him for five innings. To come back and do that on two days rest was simply amazing.
--If you are a baseball fan, tell me your heart didn't go into your throat when Gregor Blanco had Alex Gordon's hit get by him and go all the way to the fence. The Giants just about Bucknered themselves.
--Can we get "Chevyguy" to do all championship or all-star game MVP presentations?. That poor bastard had to have soiled himself. The funny thing is he is getting his 15 minutes of fame today as Chevrolet is backing him 100 percent as really they should.
--Evgeni Malkin beat up Justin Williams??!! I wonder if Don Cherry will mention that on Saturday!
--Week 9 NFL Lock Of The Week---Kansas City over Jets
Week 9 NFL Upset Of The Week ---Miami over San Diego
--Saturday will be the last home game and perhaps the last game period that Frank McCrystal coaches for the University of Regina Rams. I am guessing Rams alumni that can make it to the game will be there and that a good crowd will be on hand. I am hoping Regina's football community as a whole comes to the game and salutes a guy that has helped make that program great. There is a chance the Rams could play the Huskies in a semi-final game and I think I speak for people in both cities when I say the Frank farewell tour needs to go through Saskatoon. Win or lose for the Rams. the atmosphere and energy for that game would be something else and I am guessing McCrystal would come up with a quote or two to sell a couple of extra tickets. Can you imagine the scene at the end of the game if Regina won? That walk off the field would be epic! I will have the play by play of the Alberta-Rams game with the big man Chop Bresch Saturday at 2 on Access, but do yourselves a favour and go to the game yourself. Its supposed to be sunny and 11 so don't blame the weather.
--It hasn't been a good year for the Durant boys on the gridiron. We all know about Darian and his brother Justin tore his biceps Monday against Washington and is done for the season.
--Get well Gordie, a country and a sport has you in their heart!
--Is it just me or are the entertainment reporters on ETalk and ET Canada, the most vacuous ditzes on television? GAHHHHH!!!
--If its called a drive thru, why do you stop??
--Have a good weekend!!! GO SEAHAWKS!!