Friday, February 15, 2019
This And That
--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order.
--Rider Nation isn't exactly the happiest fan-base right now after the early days of CFL free agency. The wishes they had weren't exactly answered. The news Zach Collaros was coming back was met with a hard resounding "thud" by many. I think we all knew Mike Reilly wasn't coming here and despite the fact the team did make a solid offer to Bo Levi Mitchell, there shouldn't be anyone surprised that he is back in Calgary. He says he left more money on the table, but a part of me thinks he was trolling the Riders and Toronto as there was no way he was leaving Calgary after failing to find work in the NFL.
Yes, I am surprised Collaros is back. Despite what he said on Wednesday, I don't think he liked his time very much in Riderville last year because of the way things went. I am also surprised that considering his health that the Riders reached out to him. No matter where Collaros would have played this year, there is a fear that we are going to see his brains get scrambled again and it won't be good. Collaros has become a modern-day Buck Pierce. Pierce was smart enough to get out as was Dave Dickenson back in the day. I am sure the team knows where he stands health-wise, but I am also guessing that health status takes a dramatic turn downwards once he takes that first big hit.
This may sound like I'm not a Collaros fan, but I am. I just want to see him play the game to his best abilities and not have another concussion derail his future. I'd be saying the same thing if he had employment with any other team. We didn't see the real Collaros last year because of the concussion he suffered in the pre-season when he was folded up in what I think was his second series of the pre-season. A healthy Zach Collaros can be a very good Zach Collaros. In fact, I am on record as saying a healthy Zach Collaros is better than Trevor Harris. The move doesn't excite me, but I'm not disappointed either. Keeping Zach healthy is priority #1.
--Collaros also talked about player safety and how the league isn't doing enough. Rider fans are still upset seeing their number one and two quarterbacks get clocked with vicious head shots. Collaros isn't the happiest of campers. I asked Zach if he thought the CFL should adopt a targetting rule like they have in the NCAA and he said he would be in favour of it. I think a lot of quarterbacks would be as well.
“I think it would be a good step moving forward, but again I don’t make the decisions,” Collaros said. “I don’t know if it’s helped the play down there but it’s helped player safety. It’s made defenders or even offensive guys more cautious about taking that cheap shot.” Odell Willis and Jackson Jeffcoat knew the most they would get if the penalty was called was 15 yards. An ejection and a fine with possibly a suspension for repeat violators would quiet this issue down.
--I am trying to figure out if BC or Edmonton won the day when it comes to free agency. BC got the biggest player in Mike Reilly, but what a Plan B by Brock Sunderland. Trevor Harris, Greg Ellingson and Sir Vincent Rogers should more than appease Eskimo supporters who weren't happy with the loss of Reilly. You know Sunderland's time in Ottawa played a big part in getting the three former REDBLACKS to reunite with him in Edmonton. Meanwhile, Ed Hervey took some nice pieces from around the league to build around Reilly. Do these guys know in advance what the salary cap is going to be this year? They both seemed to spend as if money was no option.
At the end of the day, the teams in the West took a big step up while the Riders didn't. William Powell and Micah Johnson are solid additions, but when you look at what the other teams did, the green-and-white has some work to do if they don't want to be left behind. Some might think its too late as it is. One also must remember as Jeremy O'Day said Wednesday, Grey Cups are not won in February. Some might not have faith in J-O, but I don't think he is done tweaking this team as he tries to make it better. Training camp is a ways away yet and O'Day has time to continue working on things.
--I like the Naaman Roosevelt signing. He brings something to the field and to the room. He is a quiet leader. All rooms need guys like him. Like Collaros, he needs to stay healthy. When he is, he is a big weapon as Rider Nation knows.
--Would the Riders make an offer to Weston Dressler? Should they make an offer to Weston Dressler? There is no doubt he is still beloved by Rider Nation and he was the one mistake player-wise Chris Jones made when he cleaned house. I think a lot of people would like to see WD7 finish his career with the same team he started it with.
--Why is it when someone leaves a franchise in free agency, the hate starts? It happened again on Tuesday with a lot of negative comments being thrown at Mike Reilly, Greg Ellingson and apparently Willie Jefferson. This just in, YOU DON"T MATTER!! Guys are making decisions based on what is best for them. Are you going to tell me if you had an opportunity to make things better for yourself that you wouldn't take it? It's not just Rider fans, its fans of all teams. It's a really bad look.
--It was reported the Denver Broncos were interested in signing Bo Levi Mitchell. That obviously didn't happen. BLM had stated he wanted an opportunity to compete for a job and be a backup. The Broncos didn't take a guy who has been the CFL MOP twice and still has a lot to give opting instead to make a trade for an aging Joe Flacco. I'd rather have BLM if I were the Broncos. This just shows you that it is very tough for CFL guys to make it south of the border especially at the marquee positions. When a two time MOP can't make the NFL, it says something. The same could be said for guys like Adam Bighill and Solomon Elimimian who have gone down and failed. It just makes what guys like Brett Jones have done that much greater.
By the way, Joe Flacco? Like Chris Jones, it would seem as if John Elway can't find a young quarterback to develop. Unlike Chris Jones, Elway should know what a young quarterback needs to have and he obviously doesn't by looking at the flotsam he has brought in over the years. Tim Tebow, Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum. That's not exactly a murderers row is it!
--The Anaheim Ducks aren't making the playoffs. Here's hoping once the trade deadline hits that Sam Steel is called up from San Diego. Steel is obviously a big part of Anaheim's future so you might as well get him some meaningful minutes now.
--Is Brayden Point the second best Moose Jaw Warrior behind Theoren Fleury. A solid argument could be made for Ryan Smyth, but one has to think if Point continues doing what he is and gets his name scrawled on the Stanley Cup that it will be him. Feel free to weigh in Warriors fans!
--It wasn't surprising, but it is disappointing to see the Chicago Cubs are leaving WGN TV after more than 70 years. People in Chicago and around North America won't be able to watch the team on free TV anymore as the Cubs get set to launch their own channel which is something other teams have done. It sucks for the fans, but its the next wave when it comes to what teams are doing these days. If it weren't for WGN in the early 80's and daytime baseball at Wrigley Field, I might never have fallen in love with that team the way I have. WGN is the Cubs to me and vice-versa. Before becoming a subscriber to MLBTV, WGN was my outlet for Cubs baseball. It won't be the same not watching them on Channel 9, but as mentioned, it is the way the business is going these days.
--That's all I got. Have a great long weekend!