Friday, December 4, 2015
This and That
It is time for the usual set of weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind and as always, they come in no particular order.
--The Grey Cup is over and the Edmonton Eskimos are celebrating. While it is time to move forward, I do have to go back and talk about the coach's challenge which basically turned the game in Edmonton's favour. This made the league look bad. Yes, the call by Chris Jones to challenge the pass interference call was the right one to make, but why did this challenge even have to happen? It was clear as day that the receiver had been interfered with yet the call wasn't made by the officials on the field---officials that were deemed to be the best in the CFL this year. This wasn't a "Was his knee down" or "Did he have control of the ball before he went of bounds" call which can be difficult. This was a pass interference call that was blatant and should have been called without the need for a challenge. A championship game should not be decided on a coach's challenge and it wouldn't have been had the referees made the right call. The hue and cry about officiating on both sides of the border is getting stronger and stronger and in this day and age where we get to see every play replayed over and over and over again, it perhaps isn't fair to the guys in the stripes, but if the coverage of the game is going to be improved and enhanced then shouldn't the quality of the officiating. Commissioner Orridge, that is one of many balls in your court and you must decide over the coming months what ball is primary when it comes to improving the game. I will be interested in seeing just what moves are made to make the CFL better. Please don't let one of them be expanded replay that will allow coaches to determine if a hold was there or if a block in the back was there because that will just slow the game down and make it ridiculous. It also would be a huge injustice on officials who are trying to do the best job they can.
--The Chris Jones to Saskatchewan rumour is no longer a rumour. It is fact. I don't have a problem with Jones, but I do have a question. The question I have is what kind of stability do you have if you hire Jones. His track record shows he has no desire to set up roots anywhere as a job in Saskatchewan would be his 5th. If Jones were to take over this team and get them back to being a Grey Cup champion, he could very well and may perhaps do what Kent Austin did after he took the Riders to the Grey Cup in 2007....he could bail and move on. His history seems to indicate that doesn't it? Is that what the Rider Nation wants? Nothing against Jones, who has shown that on the field he is a great coach and all power to him for wanting to move up the ladder, but if he were to go in 2-3 years time, you would be back at square one. For that matter, we don't know how he would do as a GM. John Hufnagel has been where he is for how many years and how many years has Wally Buono been in BC. The Riders need someone who will provide stability for them for years to come as far as I am concerned, but they do have themselves a proven winner if they attach their anchor to Jones.
--Then again has Craig Reynolds basically attached his anchor to Jones. How can he let him get away now? If the John Hufnagel stories are true, the Riders offered him a boatload of money to take over here and I am guessing an offer of similar stature will be made to Jones. I don't really see how Reynolds can let Jones get away and if he does, it won't be good for Jeremy O'Day, Brock Sunderland or John Murphy if things start to go awry because of the "You could have had Jones" faction that will sprout up. It won't be good for Reynolds either. The pressure to succeed immediately will be immense, but the pressure in Saskatchewan to succeed here any time is immense.
--If Jones is the guy here, the CFL schedule maker must make the first game of the year Saskatchewan at Edmonton. July 1 falls on a Friday so what better way to celebrate Canada's birthday then by watching the defending Grey Cup champs against Canada's team led by Edmonton's former coach. It's a natural is it not?
--Is Jones the next Don Matthews? He has the personality and the resume that states he could be.
--It is sad to see Jon Cornish have to leave the game at the age of 31 due to concussions. Say what you will about the Calgary running back, but he was one of the CFL's top players and he does not deserve to go out like this. Some have suggested he is the best Canadian to have played this game since Russ Jackson. I don't disagree with that one bit.
--Wally Buono is back as coach of the Lions. Really? David Braley and Dennis Skulsky somehow convinced Wally to patrol the sidelines again. I am guessing this move is only until Braley sells the team and is a one year thing. Why would Wally want to come back?
--When will Regina have a chance to showcase the new Mosaic with a Grey Cup? I would think the game will go back to Montreal and Vancouver and it has go to Hamilton before it comes to Regina. That means it will be at least 2020. That's a long time to wait Rider Nation. Perhaps the Rider brass can find a way to move Regina up in the pecking order, but I can't see the CFL giving the game to the Riders before Hamilton has a chance to do its thing at Tim Hortons Field.
--I love the Riders campaign for the final year at Mosaic. The logo is a great one (unlike the CFL's new one) as it features the iconic stadium. Craig Reynolds asked for fans to share Mosaic memories and at some point in 2016, I will do that because there are so many. On Wednesday's Sportscage, I asked what it will be like at Mosaic for the last game in the shrine whether it be a regular season contest or a playoff game. I don't think anyone knows the answer to that question, but it will be a very emotional affair.
--Week 13 NFL Lock of the Week ---Redskins over Cowboys
Week 13 NFL Upset of the Week ---Seahawks over Vikings
--Oh NFL, why do you hate the Browns and Lions so? Two amazing finishes at Monday Night and Thursday Night Football. What a great pass by Aaron Rodgers to end the Thursday night affair much I am guessing to the delight of many Packer fans I know I
--A story which generated very little or no buzz was one that appeared in the Leader-Post last week suggesting Regina is ready to take a run at another Brier. I am all for that. It isn't a week-long football party, but a Brier is a good time and EVRAZ Place is a perfect place to hold such an event.
--I like the Blue Jays, but they aren't my favourite team as it is for many---especially those after July 1 who have now likely wandered back into baseball oblivion. However, as a fan I would be awfully choked in not retaining David Price. It was obvious Price liked his time in Toronto and he had indicated he would like to stay. With that being the case, it would have been nice had the team made him an offer.It sounds like Alex Anthopoulos was ready to give him one, but didn't because of the Mark Shapiro hiring. At the end of the day, there isn't any chance Price would turn down what Boston offered, but at least give him an opportunity to see what his future might have held in Toronto. The Shapiro era is not starting well in Toronto as they seem to have gone that bargain basement route when they are close to being where they want to. At the end of the day, this is a team that opted to keep R-A Dickey and failed to make an offer to David Price. There is something wrong with that philosophy! By the way, with Mark Shapiro hiring Ross Atkins to be the new GM and the two men having a history in Cleveland, it would not surprise me to see one of Cleveland's young pitchers--Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco or Danny Salazar end up coming north of the border. What would it cost Toronto? I don't know, but I am thinking it could be an outfielder and I'm thinking that could be Kevin Pillar. The Indians have said they are looking to improve their outfield and they could do that with Pillar which would pave the way for Canadian Dalton Pompey to once again patrol center field at Rogers Centre.
That's all I got. Have a great weekend!