Monday, July 22, 2019
Something To "Mitch" About
--The Riders needed a win and they got it. It was perhaps their best all-around game of the season. There is no doubt the second half was their best half of the season. Thanks to Montreal's win over Edmonton, the green-and-white got a little closer to Edmonton while taking a big step to perhaps burying a BC football team that is Mike Reilly and not much else.
Here are some thoughts on what transpired Saturday night on the Mosaic turf.
--Chalk one up for the "old guys"! Charleston Hughes, Marcus Thigpen and Jon Ryan
What can you say about Charleston Hughes that hasn't been said before. A three sack night against what is a porous BC offensive line, but there are many tackles around the league who can't compete with #39 when his desire is to get to the quarterback. You won't see many better defensive games than what Hughes had. Once again, he leads the CFL in sacks. Some wonder if we will see a repeat of last year where his numbers tailed off, but I still say that was partially because of teams trying to combat him which allowed Willie Jefferson to have the monster second-half he did. If that happens this year, it means AC Leonard should benefit. Pick your poison.
Thigpen's 104 yard kickoff return at the end of the first half got the /=S=/ back into the football game and gave them the momentum to have the second half they had. There is still some speed in Thiggy's aging legs
There is still some thunder in Jon Ryan's leg as well. What a night kicking the football. I am sure JR would sacrifice some yards on those boomers for field position, but he has shown he still has what it takes. I wonder if the NFL has seen that. If they have it's too late, because he's our guy now and I don't think he is heading back. Still with JR, tell me that fake punt didn't remind you of what he did
--Cody Fajardo answered his bad game against Calgary with a big bounce-back game. While he said the right things leading up to the game, Fajardo had to show that the first two games he had as the starter weren't an anomaly and that he could get up off the canvas after a rough outing against Calgary. He did! What impressed me the most about Fajardo's game is that offensive co-ordinator Stephen McAdoo allowed Fajardo to use his legs as well as his arm. He is a better quarterback when that happens as it keeps the opposition defence on its toes. That young quarterback we have been looking for since Darian Durant may be here folks.
--Do you think Mike Reilly is regretting signing that big deal? I actually feel sorry for him and what he has (or hasn't got) in front of him.
--The Shaq Evans criticism can stop. I was one of those frustrated with Evans last year and at the start of this because of drops. He is now a big part of the Riders offence. His game has elevated from year one to year two. A 1000 yard season if not more awaits.
--Dakoda Shepley was a beast! He is living up to his first-round draft status last year. One has to think his NFL aspirations aren't done, but again he's our guy now. He is just going to get better and better and could be one of the league's best if not the best hoggie in the next few years. Yeah, that's a big statement to make for someone who has only played a handful of games, but he has a lot of Brett Jones in him and we saw and are seeing the career Jones is having.
--The Riders are 2-3. They have beaten the two teams that are the worst in the CFL and have been beaten by two of the top teams in Hamilton and Calgary. Does that make you a glass half-full or glass half-empty type of person? I won't sit here and tell you the Riders are in the upper 3 of the league because they're not, but I don't think they are one of the bottom three either. We still have two-thirds of the season to go and I think now we are starting to see an identity for this team. A loss next weekend puts them back at square one, but BC needs to do a lot for that to happen IMO.
--Local realtor Craig Adam was a little cranky on Twitter Sunday morning when he asked why on "Country Day" there was no Saskatchewan talent pumping over the speakers. That's a valid point. With the likes of the Hunter Brothers, Jess Moskaluke, Colter Wall and Tenille Arts, a lot of Saskatchewan country music could have been blasting through instead of what we heard---especially Cotton Eye Joe! (YEESH!!). I had no problem with Emerson Drive doing their thing. I actually like the fact that halftimes this year are concerts and not something else happening on the field like dog races or something else.
--I knew Khari Jones would succeed when he became a CFL head coach and he is. After taking a couple of weeks to see what he had and getting his feet wet, Jones has led the Als to three straight wins with that third win coming over the Eskimos Saturday. Vernon Adams Jr is certainly benefitting from Jones' tutelage. The Als may be a tire-fire off the field, but they have gotten it together on the field and that is good news as new ownership looms.
--I am still shaking my head over the Milan Lucic-James Neal trade. Ken Holland fleeced Brad Treliving and he "may" have found that 20 goal scorer he was looking for Neal was a disaster in Calgary, and the questions surrounding his game are credible. He was not a good fit in Calgary and he will have to rebound. As for Lucic, Oiler fans know his game is on its last legs. If Neal scores 15 goals for Edmonton, its a win if you ask me. Calgary now has Lucic and Cam Talbot on their team. I thought the aim was to get better in the off-season.
--Ron Francis will do an outstanding job as GM in Seattle. That is a great hire!
--The website Hockeywriters.com lists the all-time Vancouver Canucks team as they get ready for their 50th anniversary. The top forward line are the Sedins and Alex Burrows. Alex Burrows?! HELLOOOOO! I was never the biggest Pavel Bure fan, but you are going to put Burrows ahead of Bure. You are going to put Burrows ahead of Thomas Gradin? Uh no!
--Roy Halladay got his day in Cooperstown, but sadly he wasn't there to see it. The phrase "top-of-the-rotation workhorse" that is on his plaque is one that is so fitting. As his wife said, this was not her speech to give but that of her late husband's. It's too bad we will never know what those words would have been
--NBA Jam needs to come back! Remember that video game. Imagine the duos you could have now
--Curry and Thompson (GS)
--Leonard and George (LAC)
--Lebron and Anthony Davis (LAL)
--Westbrook and Harden (DAL)
--Durant and Irving (NJ)
That's just 5!
--Can I get Memphis Grizzlies NBA Summer League champs merchandise?
--If you have been to Toronto, chances are you have been to Wayne Gretzky's restaurant. I try to get there every chance I get when in Toronto, but I may have made my last visit. The restaurant, just a Vladdy Guerrero Junior homer from Skydome, is closing either late this year or early next. I've had a few great nights with some outstanding friends in this place. Great memories!
--When the mosquitoes are quiet, there is nothing like a Saskatchewan summer night. Sunday was one of those nights--at least where I was.
That's all I got. Have a great week!