Photo: Saskatchewan Roughriders
--It looked a little dicey on Saturday night as to whether or not training camp was going to start as the CFL tried some last-second shenanigans by the sounds of it, but camp is on up in Saskatoon. No, I am not up there so like you I will be an observer through what I hear from people like Murray McCormick, Derek Taylor and Ian Hamilton---oh wait scratch that last one for whatever reason. Like you, there are questions that need answering. Here are my top 3 and I'm guessing your number 1 and mine are similar
- Who is the backup quarterback going to be? While I would love to sit here and say Zach Collaros will be able to play the whole season, I am just not confident that he can after a season last year where he sustained one too many concussions. With all apologies to those in camp, they just don't bring me any confidence when it comes who is in charge of the offense if Collaros goes down. The season may very well depend on his health. That health that arguably cost the Riders the WSF versus Winnipeg
- What impact will Justin McInnis and Brayden Lenius have? The two Canadian receivers taken with the first two Rider picks in the draft are expected to be contributors right from the opening quarter of the season. Both suffered hammie pulls on day 1 so that question may not be answered for a while.
- How will the defence look? Chris Jones is gone so the "D" is in the hands of Jason Shivers. Is it realistic to expect something like what we saw last year? Shivers needs to show us quickly that he has the personnel and the scheme to keep this "D" in the top 3. With Johnson, Evans, Elimimian, Gainey and Moncrief, I think they will be fine, but we need to get some proof.
--What was with the Saturday night stunt pulled off by the CFL? Did they really try a "bait and switch" as has been suggested? . If owners changed the wording on parts of the deal, the association had every right to be somewhat choked thus resulting in a late night conference call being held to straighten everything out. The league needs to do some damage control here and tell us the story and just who is to blame. I am guessing that won't be happening though.
--We have to start talking about Jaden Schwartz being a solid candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy don't we? As we approach the final, one has to think Tuukka Rask is still the favourite, but Schwartz has been St. Louis' best player and has to be in that conversation. Its great to see Jaden have this success with the spotlight shining so brightly.
--Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes the NFL should get rid of or at least decrease the amount of instant replay we are seeing. What do you think about that and not just in the NFL. Do we want to put all the authority and the blame on the officials after having it the way we have. Instant replay is a slippery slope and at the end of the day you want to get the call right (unless it is Game 4 of the NHL West final), but there is no doubt replay has become a bigger factor in pro sports. As I have said before, give the refs or the command centre 60 seconds to look at the play and then make a decision.
--As baseball hits the quarter-pole, the trend of the game becoming boom-or-bust continues. Strikeouts are on pace for another record high and are up for the 14th straight season. Walks have reached their highest rates in almost 20 years and home runs are being hit at a record level. Strikeouts, walks and homers are accounting for over 35 percent of plate appearances. It was 31 percent in 2015. Balls put into play are down for a 6th straight year. That should be concerning for major league baseball. I'm not sure how you fix it though.
--They said if you let Vladimir Guerrero Junior do his thing, he will get it right. After a bad two weeks to start his major league career, he is getting it right as he hit four homers in the last week. He is the only thing worth watching for that Blue Jays team right now. I think even Blue Jays fans agree with that.
--Has anyone paid attention to the World Hockey Championship?
--Did anyone think Brooks Koepka was going to lose the PGA Championship after taking a seven-shot lead into the final round. I'll raise my hand on that one. Koepka was leaking oil big-time coming down the stretch and it looked like Dustin Johnson just might catch him until he faded in the last couple of holes. Once again, a major was great theatre to watch on a Sunday afternoon. While I'm in the minority, it was great to watch the PGA Championship without having to see Tiger Woods. It allowed CBS to concentrate on the leaders. Watching some of Friday's coverage, there was more given as to whether or not Tiger would make the cut with every shot being analyzed and shown while Koepka was tearing Bethpage Black apart with very little notice.
Guys like Koepka, who has four wins in the last eight majors, DJ, Spieth, Rory and others are the guys the game needs to concentrate on. If Tiger is doing what he did at the Masters than great, he deserves the publicity, but when he is hacking it down the fairways move on.
--Have you had enough of road construction yet in Regina? We've only just begun. It was sure nice of the city to basically destroy the east service road between MacDonalds and Glencairn Road last year while fixing the Ring Road and then leave it this year. That road has more craters in it now than the moon. I'm not sure if that stretch of road is in the schedule for repair this year, but it should have been done already.
--That's all I got. If in Saskatoon, enjoy Riders camp. Have a great holiday Monday.