Really had some great questions here...Hope the answers help. Glad to get some League Wide questions as well! Cheers.
1. Do you agree with Brenden Taman’s prediction that the team will finish 12-6?
• Now that the offense is starting to take shape, and we’re getting a feel for how Doubles and his crew plan on moving the sticks, I’d day this team has a chance to be good. The Defence is looking great, especially up front, but I think when the back end gets on the same page, they’re going to be even better than they’ve been in the past. ON PAPER I don’t think 12-6 was a stretch at the time the media made a huge deal out of what BT said. It wasn’t like he was promising anything; realistically it was just a casual observation from a football mind that knows the talent that they’ve assembled. I didn’t get the big parade, and I think it was a waste of time to pursue the angle that the media did. Camp is going pretty much on schedule considering all the changes. By next week, I think people will start to realize that the Riders have potential to be special this year. BUT THEY`VE GOTTA STAY HEALTHY.
2. What`s the weakest position group in camp?
• “weakest” is a bad word. I don’t think that the LB spot that Brian Peter’s has vacated has been jumped on by anyone. People forget that Peters was on the team for a while before he got that starting position so he had a chance to get acclimated before he was put there. That position is complicated because the Riders do a lot of different things from there in both coverage and run/blitz game. There are some candidates for that position but I think it’s far from being determined.
3. What teams will give the Riders the most problems in the WEST Division this year?
• Calgary and Edmonton come to mind immediately. Hufnagel has done a great job of bringing in talent, so you can almost guarantee that they will be strong every year. I think we’re getting close to the expiration of Jon Cornish though so they need to get another RB ready. #FatherTimeIsUndefeated. Everyone was so impressed with the off season Winnipeg had, but they’re problems weren’t just on the Oline. I think they’ll finish 4th with BC bringing up the rear. That’s not a shot at BC, but I still have trouble envisioning Jeff Tedford being successful out here without Wally being heavily involved (which is tough on players because they don’t know who the message is coming from). Also, QB is going to be an issue, whether they want to admit it or not over there. I’m a former player, and I’ll always pull for guys playing for as long as possible but I get scared every time I see Travis Lulay playing. Nobody like watching a stand-up guy like that risk his long term health and I truly hope that he is 100% this year. I felt the same way watching Buck Pierce. Always felt like it was going to end bad, and you hate feeling like that as a player because you know how hard guys like Travis and Buck work, and how much they love the game.
4. Why do teams always seem to do camps away from their actual home base? (ex: Riders, Mtl)
• I don’t know the answer to that logistically but I do know that why it’s good for the players and coaches. Having camp off-site (ex: not in Regina) gives players a chance to get to know each other. They can mesh. Position groups get to spend more time together building into each other and getting plays down etc. The entire team bonds over things like team dinners. It creates a FAMILY type of atmospherewhen guys aren’t just running around doing their own thing. It’s crucial for focus! It’s all football, all the time. Perfect for what the coaches and players are trying to get accomplished in the long run. Vets can also bring the young guys along and teach them about being a pro OFF THE FIELD. Study habits, rest, treatment. Everything that a vet does is an educational tool for a young guy trying to earn his way onto the squad. When camp is over and guys go home or figure out their living arrangements, that chemistry that is required for success is already there. Everybody is on the same page the minute Day 1 of week 1 begins. They are already zeroed in TOGETHER.