-- Welcome to Friday! Here are the usual weekly thoughts running through my muddled mind, and as always they come in no particular order.
--What a difference a week makes! There was optimism in Rider Nation one week ago at this time as the green-and-white were getting set to play the Stampeders. The game was to be seen as a measuring stick as to where this team was and after a horrid performance which resulted in a 27-10 loss, we found out there is a long ways to go.
The green-and-white can make amends for that performance in Calgary tomorrow night at home against the Toronto Argonauts. On Tuesday, Sportscage insider Arash Madani was as blunt as possible while delivering a cold slap of reality.
When speaking about the return of former head coach Corey Chamblin, who is now the DC in Toronto, to Regina on Saturday, Madani had this to say:
"He (Chamblin) comes back after sitting out all of last year, and the last half of 2015 being paid by the Riders that has accomplished what since he was fired. How has this football team progressed and gotten better since he was let go? The reason why he was let go is that the message was there has to be "sustained success", and that has not happened. If Chamblin and the Argos walk off the field Saturday a winner, some major questions have to be asked and some explaining will have to be done.
How far has this organization progressed than they were when Chamblin was let go? They have one win over Hamilton this year. If they are 2-6 or 3-5 best case scenario, what has been accomplished and at what cost? How much have they spent to make this happen? It is a statement game for a lot of reasons.
Craig Reynolds has seen the record sit at 9-31 I believe since he became President. That's not all on him, but he has to take some of the blame. The question has to be "Where is this organization headed? What are they? So much has been hidden because of last year at the old Mosaic and this year at the new stadium. They have the oldest quarterback in the league, they have nothing in the pipeline to be the next franchise quarterback. they brought Vince Young to Canada, and their number one pick last year (Josiah St. John) has been a healthy scratch. There are many questions that need to be addressed and I think the alarm bells will really start ringing if their old coach comes in here on a short week where they haven't practiced and beats them.
Is he wrong? Chris Jones tore this team apart upon taking over. He had to! They were that bad! The job was not an easy one. However, results are needed. While some were willing to say last year was a year to get some new blood indoctrinated into the CFL, you can't say that now. Signs of progress have to come. While the team is better than at this point last year, the win-loss record remains the same. If that translates into another 5 win season, it won't be good enough.
I will say this. There is more progress under Jones at the new Mosaic than what we are seeing with the Capital Pointe project in downtown Regina. It is not as fast as he or the organization would like, but it is there. There is talent there, but there are also weaknesses and it is those weaknesses which need to be addressed. I hear all the complaints, and some of them are valid, but others are just ridiculous. At the end of the day, Arash is right when he says a Toronto win means it is time to start asking some serious questions. The season doesn't go off the cliff with a loss Saturday night, but a defeat should result in some conversations that aren't necessarily desired, but needed.
--As Corey Chamblin returns to Riderville for the first time since August of 2015, have we determined what his legacy was to this franchise. Say what you will about him, but there is no denying the history books. He was the head coach of the 2013 Grey Cup champions on a night in Regina no one will ever forget if they are a supporter of this organization. He did what only three others have done. Would it have been four if Darian Durant doesn't get hurt at Banjo Bowl 2014? We will never know the answer to that. As I have said before, it is my belief if Darian does not get hurt on that afternoon in Winnipeg starting this uncontrollable tailspin the team has been in, that Chamblin and Brendan Taman would still be here and that players like Weston Dressler, John Chick and Durant would still be here. What would the record be? That is for you to decide.
--Is Kevin Glenn a hall-of-famer. The CFL veteran feels he should be, and I think many are in agreement. Yes, KG does not have a Grey Cup ring on his finger meaning his resume is not like the other CFL QB's who have accomplished the feat, but you don't throw for 50-thousand yards in the CFL and not be considered as a shoo-in for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Hey, if Milt Stegall can be in the CFHOF without winning a ring. so can Glenn. He will be there when his CFL career eventually ends. We don't know when that will happen though. The way he is going this year, I think its safe to say he could play into his 40's.
--I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see the Lions and Eskimos kick it off at Commonwealth tonight. What a matchup this should be. Can Travis Lulay throw for 400 yards again? Some of the anti-Jones faction are wondering why Lulay was never recruited to come to Saskatchewan. This just in. He didn't want to! Lulay might have come here, but he let the Lions be known he had no desire to leave Vancouver and was content being a backup behind Jon Jennings. The Lions made it clear they still wanted Lulay around and a deal was struck. A rather fortuitous move by Wally if I do say so myself seeing what has transpired. I still believe BC has the best team in the CFL as we approach the one-third pole, but an Eskimos win tonight will change that.
--While I can't wait for tonight's game, what do you say about Winnipeg's last second miracle at home? CFL fans aren't tuning in for whatever reason as numbers are down 20 percent. I am guessing the challenges have a large part to play in the turn-off so if it can ever be resolved to the liking of those fans, the CFL could have a real hit on its hands. How do you get back fans you've alienated though? Randy Ambrosie will have his work cut out for him when he decides to tackle the issue. If he can get the co-operation of the board of governors, I have confidence he can.
--The CFL based website 3DownNation.com is a valuable resource for CFL fans, but its Genie Bouchard at the Argos game story this story was a huge head-scratcher. An article openly asked why the Canadian tennis star/swimsuit model would be at an Argos game. Why not? She spent time in Toronto to promote the upcoming Rogers Cup tennis tournament and whether or not she was supplied a ticket by the CFL or not, she was at the game and snapping pictures while at it. She was helping promote the league which is something she doesn't have to do. Would this have been a story had she been at an Alouettes game in her hometown? Would this have been a story if Milos Raonic did it? Would this have been a story if Genie was in Regina and snapped a pic at Mosaic Stadium? 3DN writes some good stories, but this is one they should have left in the bin.
--The fact Canadians now have to access "NFL Sunday Ticket" through someone that isn't their cable subscriber is interesting. Do I want to sit down in front of my computer on a Sunday to watch games? No I don't. There are enough games on CTV, TSN and the American networks each Sunday and the fact I have the Seattle cable package means I will not miss the Seahawks. It really makes this stout NFL fan wonder if he will plunk down the coin for DAZN. Right now, I am leaning towards no, and I think others are too. Will it hurt the NFL in Canada? No it won't!
--Canada, are you ready to cheer on guys like Mason Raymond, Ben Scrivens, Daniel Paille and Cam Barker to go for gold in South Korea and try to bring us a 3rd Olympic gold medal. Yes, we're spoiled, but is this what the Maple Leaf carries our hopes on. Count me in as one who won't be excited about Olympic hockey next winter and will just get the scores when I get up. Once you start this exercise, you can't go back, but Gary Bettman and the NHL are this time around much to the disgust of fans and players. By the way, another player who could wear the Canadian colours is former Pat Craig Schira.
--100 games into the season and the Chicago Cubs are back in first place in the National League Central. They haven't played well this season, but they seem to have their game back. They won't be an easy out. Joe Maddon may have pulled off the ultimate sandbagging caper. I'm OK with that.
That's all I got.. Have a great weekend. Stay cool!