Sunday, 18 September 2016

Final Analysis...Saskatchewan vs. Edmonton.

Mosaic Stadium is probably the last place the Edmonton Eskimos want to be today.  After losing both games in a grueling 2 week set against their Provincial rivals the Calgary Stampeders, the Defending Champs now find themselves walking into a beehive with the Bombers potentially starting to pull away with the 3rd divisional playoff spot. 

I’m taking the Saskatchewan Roughriders in WEEK 13, although there is still a fair amount of caution that is involved.

The basis of this pick is relatively simple.  If we take a good hard look at both losses to the Esks there is one thing that may change between these two teams now that the Green and White are at home…

THE RIDERS NEED TO START FAST, and with the Mosaic Stadium crowd behind them during a crucial 1st quarter, there’s no better time to shoot out of a cannon.

During both games against Edmonton this year the Roughriders have spotted the 2015 Grey Cup Champs at least 14 points by stumbling out of the gate.  Whether it’s been through turnovers, or penalties, or both; the Riders have yet to put an entire game together against Mike Reilly and company.

Realistically, that’s been one of the themes for the entire year when we look at Saskatchewan, however it’s the games against Edmonton that have really underscored the, “what if” questions surrounding the Riders ability to put together an ENTIRE game.

It won’t be easy.  There’s been a ton of change on the Saskatchewan Roughrider roster again, including the loss of Naaman Roosevelt, but by now the Green and White should be used to having to overcome that barrier and the Saskatchewan still has the sure-handed leader Rob Bagg to lean on, something that has not been happening as of late.

One has to consider the path Edmonton is on as well.  There may be the feeling of ‘having a point to prove’ lingering in that Eskimo locker room after dropping their last two games.  If anyone knows how close the Eskimos have come to LOSING to the Riders during their last two bouts, it’s Edmonton themselves.  Ridernation should expect to see a motivated Edmonton come out swinging, maybe even taking a few chances early in an effort to take the crowd out of the game immediately.

Normally anyone would hesitate to pick a 1-10 squad to beat anyone.  Right now, the Saskatchewan Roughriders may look like the Cleveland Browns on many “pick-em” sheets, but there are some signs of life that have been starting to spring up.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are starting to play better defensively, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Chris Jones Defence get a lot more aggressive when attacking Mike Reilly and his offensive weapons.

The wind may be a factor in todays competition as well if it continues to persist and that increases the “anything can happen” factor that we need to look at this game with.  Edmonton are not world-beaters, but they are the better team.  That being said, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the IMPROVING team. 

I’ll take that gamble at home, with nothing to lose.

PICK: The Green and White

Friday, 16 September 2016

Picking Week 13 in the CFL!!!

Presented By
Apparently the way we did our Pick-Em last week was a hit and we’ll always take put our readers and listeners first so we’ll analyze the WEEK 13 schedule of games now BUT we’ll save the Rider vs. Eskimos analysis for GAME DAY!!!
Week 13 features a couple of inter-conference games on Saturday that could have some interesting implications.  With Edmonton playing Saskatchewan, the Argos are in a precarious 3rd spot in the East
and they’re also playing a team (the Bombers) that is trying to catch the Lions for a home playoff berth.
With Hamilton playing Montreal, there is a serious sense of urgency for the RedBlacks who are still perched atop their conference.

As always, we hope this helps all f your CFL convo, and for those of you headed to the Plaza of Honour ceremony, make sure you say hello!!!

Let’s get in to our WEEK 13 picks brought to you, as always, by our friends at CJ Evans Home Designs!

Montreal @ Hamilton

I would never disrespect any professional football team (no matter how bad they are doing) by making it seem like they are practise for their weekly opponent but this game may be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Hamilton TiCats in order to get on track for a playoff push.

Zach Collaros saw a ton of different stunts and blitzes in the Tabbies loss to Toronto during the Labour Day re-match of the Battle of Ontario and looked shaky in certain spots.  Montreal is another team that is going to throw all sorts of different things at an Offence in order to attack their strengths, so Collaros has another opportunity to work the Hamilton Offence under consistent pressure, and if the Hamilton D helps them out, Collaros and company should have a good amount of possessions.

The next two weeks for Hamilton are against opponents that they have to beat if they want to be considered serious contenders for the Grey Cup this year.  It starts with a sinking Montreal Alouettes squad and then moves to a talented yet struggling Saskatchewan side.  With the 1st place RedBlacks visiting Calgary, and then playing host to the Argos; thisis the PERFECT chance for the Black and Gold to start planting their flag.

Pick: The Hamilton TiCats behind a solid D and a much better Punt Team.

Toronto @ Winnipeg

This pick relies heavily on the health of Andrew Harris.  At this point in time his participation seems like it’s in jeopardy and I’m not convinced that Toronto will get into the end zone without him.

During this amazing run that the Bombers have put together their primary source of consistency has been Andrew Harris, Justin Medlock and their Defence.  Matt Nichols has been a stud as well since taking over the #1 QB spot but don’t get it twisted…it starts and stops with #33 in Winnipeg.

The jury’s out on Dan Lefevour as far as I’m concerned.  During his brief CFL stints I’ve really liked what he’s done but the problem is that there isn’t a large enough body of work to hang one’s hat on just yet.
Don’t be in a rush to sweep Toronto under the table here folks.  Especially after beating the favoured Hamilton TiCats.  The Argos have a good foundation of winners in that organization and the acquisition of Drew Willy has surely alleviated some concerns around not having Ricky Ray for a lengthy period of time.

If there is an upset special this week, it’s here during Saturday’s early tilt at Investors Group Field.

Pick: The Double Blue of the Toronto Argonauts

Ottawa @ Calgary

I’m pretty sure there’s been 10 roster changes in the nation’s Capital as the RedBlacks head into their game against the CFL’s best team, the Calgary Stampeders. 

To make matters worse, the Stamps are 5-0 at home and haven’t shown any signs of trouble in any phases of the football game (Offence, Defence, and Specials).

Maybe the most telling sign one can use is the statistics heading into this game…During their first game (in Ottawa) where these teams played to a tie, the Red Blacks lead the CFL in Total Points, Passing Yards, and Passing TD’s.  Since that Week 3 clash, the RedBlacks have fallen considerably behind in all of those catagories, and they sit at the bottom of the CFL in terms of rushing TDs.  As a matter of fact, the Ottawa RedBlacks seem like they’re starting to deviate from the run altogether.

Let’s go with the Red and White in this one behind another big game from Jerome Messam.

Pick: The Stamps

Check back in with us on Sunday as we drop our analysis and prediction for the Riders/Esks game!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

OFFSIDES! Scrambled Eggs & Leadership!

As the 2016 NFL starts up and the current CFL Season rolls on, Coach Gary Etcheverry and I are happy to be able to drop another OFFSIDES podcast heading into Week (Lucky Number) 13!

Today we take a look at the Montreal Alouettes scenario that is all the rage in Canadian Football.  Our #ProPerspective focuses on the organizational point of view as we talk about the many successes of Jim Popp as well as the “Scrambled Eggs” situation that currently plagues La Belle Province. 
This segment also leads into a very complimentary chat about the much-travelled but ultimately respected Kevin Glenn.

Commitment to running the rock grabs the spotlight as Coach and I move into the Toronto Argonauts and the journey moving forward.  Coach Etch provides players (and other coaches) at all levels some great insight as to why controlling the ground game is so important, and it serves as a nice reminder in regards to the foundations of football that we talk a lot about here on

As our OFFSIDES episode continues on through the rest of the league we get into a discussion about Leadership in its many shapes and forms within a football squad, which is something that I think you folks will really like.  Luca Congi (2007 Grey Cup Champion) gets a mention, and so does (much to my absolute disgust) John Harbaugh of scUM (a Spartans name for the Michigan Wolverines). 

This is a side of the game that the fans don’t often see, or talk about, so it was cool to be able to table that for all of you.

To end our Week 13 edition of our OFFSIDES podcast I ask Etch to dive into his “Independent Consulting” work that he is currently doing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. 

Even though Etch has an air-tight ‘Non-Disclosure’ agreement with the big club, he still manages to let our listeners in on some of the things that he has observed since joining the Green and White a few weeks ago, and I’ll save it for the podcast, but what he gives you all is GREAT, and may build some confidence in you moving forward as RIDERNATION!

Hope you enjoy the show folks!  Don't Forget To Subscribe on iTunes! 
OR hit the link below...

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Breaking Down the Banjo Bowl

As promised...
Here's the 2nd phase of our CFL Pick-EM, as we focus on the  re-match of the Labour Day Classic, Saskatchewan vs. Winnipeg.

One may think that the Blue Bombers hold a distinct advantage heading into the Banjo Bowl today vs. the Riders, but there are a few question marks that I would ask you all to consider before one jumps the gun.

Although IG Field is one of the loudest buildings in the CFL, the Blue and Gold are only 1-3 at home, so as exciting as this may be for the fans and players, Winnipeg is definitely not unbeatable in front of their own crowd.  At this point, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have absolutely nothing to lose in their 2016 season and that mentality goes a long way when all a player needs to do is give everything they have for the guy beside them.  When I really think about it, I don’t think Investors Group Field is much of an advantage at all to the Bombers this game.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice employs his scheme this week.  During the Labour Day Classic, in Saskatchewan, it felt like at times Lapo was pressing to get Weston Dressler the ball a little bit too much.   

Who can blame Lapo though?  I think everyone in the building wanted #7 in the Blue and Gold to have a GREAT game in front of the fans in Mosaic Stadium.  The problem was, with pressing Weston Dressler upon the Roughriders, Winnipeg seemed to get away from their meal ticket, ANDREW HARRIS.  I was happy to see that the Bombers were making a concerted effort to get Dress the rock.  Especially in the End Zone.

Now that the “magic” of the Labour Day Classic in Regina has worn off, and the Bombers are back to their normal routine, I would suspect that Coach LaPolice and the rest of the Winnipeg Offense will return to the status quo and feed #33 on the ground and through the air.

Saskatchewan is going to have to step up (again) defensively when it comes to Harris.  During last week’s game, the Roughriders defended the “stretch play” well.  They did not allow Harris to start out running east and west and then have his choice of north/south cut back options.  It’s a play that Winnipeg ran well prior to Week 11, and it’s a play that the Green and White nullified. 

Any success on Defence this week,  for the Roughriders, must start at continuing to play the run well on 1st down.  One of the reasons that Saskatchewan was in a position to win the game last week was because of the fact that they put Matt Nichols in a lot more 2nd and 7+ situations than the Bombers would have liked to be in.   Everyone is STILL waiting for the "real" Matt Nichols to show up (the one that's not as good as this version).  I'm actually starting to think that Nichols has simply found his groove, and everyone else, including me are now chasing ghosts.  To be honest, I thought a few of the throws that Matt Nichols made during the Labour Day game were UNREAL!  Hopefully a few more difficult 2nd & longs may yield some much needed turnovers for the Green squad.

As far as the Saskatchewan O in concerned, the emphasis in going to have to be communication.  The receivers and their Franchise QB have to be on the same page, because the Riders MUST avoid the costly turnovers that set them back last week.  The goal is always to improve every time one hits the field. If these young talented wide-outs can be in the spots Doubles needs them to be in, and the protection schemes hold up, Saskatchewan proved last week that they can move the ball effectively in spots. 

The question here is, will the Winnipeg Defence play better than they did during Week 11?  In talking to some of their players after the game, admittedly, last weeks games was not that unit's best performance.

After going back and forth all the way through the week, including for the duration of the Roughrider Pre-Game Show on Harvard Radio;  I keep getting the feeling that the Bombers find a way to get this one done.

Surely, after watching film, Paul LaPolice would have identified the fact that the Bombers got a little bit off schedule as far as Andrew Harris was concerned.  The fact that Blue and Gold relied solely on Justin Medlock and only scored 1 Offensive Touchdown cannot sit well with Winnipeg, and they probably understand that if the Bombers are to make a legitimate run at the playoffs, they need to score TOUCHDOWNS. 

We'll go with Winnipeg today thanks to a monster game from Andrew Harris, and a better performance on Defence and Special Teams coverage units.

Pick:  With regret and a hope that I'm wrong; The Blue and Gold.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Picking WEEK 12 in the CFL!


Better late than never!!!
Due to some work time constraints, we’re going to split this up into TWO segments this weekend. This first segment of our “Pick-Em” will give you all some insight into the three games that DO NOT involve the Green and White this weekend, and then we’ll drop some deeper analysis regarding the Banjo Bowl tomorrow before all of your Pre-game Festivities get under way.
It’s been nice having you guys react so positively to this column we do here on Pro Perspective, and as usual, we hope it brings you some insight and confidence when it comes to your CFL water cooler convos and cigarette breaks!
Enjoy WEEK 12 folks.  It’s definitely a great slate of games!
Montreal @ BC
One would be hard pressed to find much reason for optimism in La Belle Province.  It seems as though the front office has already started looking into next year, with the comments stemming from Jim Popp on the activation of Rakeem Cato.  The one thing that my co-host of our OFFSIDES podcast, Coach Gary Etcheverry, was quick to point out was that the season is FAR from being over, especially when it comes to the Eastern Division.  Is Montreal really packing it in?
Regardless of their intentions heading into this game, the Alouettes are up against the 2nd best team in the CFL after travelling across the entire country.
One doesn’t need to be a practised analyst to know that the ball is spinning in the Lions favour on this one, and one would is able to make a confident bet on Wally Buono’s physical Lions team against an ALS team that has cause for concern on and off the field.
It was pointed out to me this weekend that since 2010, the Montreal Alouettes are the only team in the league that has NOT been to a Grey Cup.
That’s staggering considering how far ahead they seemed to be just a few short years ago.
Pick: The Leo’s heading into their Bye Week.
Calgary @ Edmonton
Right now Calgary has the opportunity to “piss in the corner of the province of Alberta.”
The end result of last week’s Labour Day Game between the Stamps and the Esks should not have come as a surprise to many people because as we stated here last week, the CFL was about to find out what the REAL Edmonton Eskimos looked like.
It’s clear that the “moving up to the front office” problems that a lot of people anticipated (with John Hufnagel focusing solely on the GM duties) are not coming to fruition and what we have left is a Calgary team that has been a dominant force offensively with Jerome Messam, and is slowly starting to find a defensive identity under first year DC Devon Claybrooks.
With the Labour Day re-match set to go Saturday afternoon from Commonwealth Stadium it wouldn’t surprise me if Edmonton jumped out to an early lead in this one.  Unfortunately for Esks fans, what I would also expect is that Calgary would follow their new Head Coaches lead, keep a cool head about themselves and assert their will over the course of the 4 quarter competition.
We’ll take the Whaa-mpeders in the 2nd installment of the Battle of Alberta
Pick: The Stumps
Hamilton @ Toronto
If you’ve listened to our OFFSIDES podcast this week, you’ve caught Coach Etcheverry’s (and my) opinion on the absolute slug fest that is the TiCats/Argos rivalry.  These games are a treat to watch if one craves physical football on the line of scrimmage, and one can always expect bad blood to spill over at some point during the battle.
As we all know, Ricky Ray is likely out for another long stretch of time, but I think that Argos fans may have a nice surprise in store with Dan Lefevour taking the starting reps.
The question is, will the newly minted starter Lefevour, and the rest of the Argonauts, have enough gas in the tank to go another 4 rounds with a TiCat squad that is very quickly becoming the talk of the Eastern Conference.
At this moment, the Cats are the only team in the East that looks like they have anything positive going for them, and that may be too much for a team that has just been dealt another huge blow at their Franchise position.
This may get out of hand if Lefevour and Milanovich can’t find their groove early.
Pick: The Black and Gold.
Check us out tomorrow morning for our BANJO BOWL analysis and predictions for the Riders Bombers clash in Winnipeg!


Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Our OFFSIDES Podcast (available on iTunes) comes to you as the CFL approaches its Week 12 schedule of games.

Once again Coach Etch, The Independent Consultant (and co-host of our show) takes the time out of his morning schedule with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to talk some ball with all of YOU!

Despite recording the show at 5am, I think that our OFFSIDES fans will really enjoy todays show!

At the top of the episode we use Rakeem Cato as an unfortunate case study for the fact that the Offensive systems in the CFL FAIL young QB's.

You guys are going to really enjoy Etch's perspective on the CFL's refereeing and rules debacle that follows and you'll surely have an appreciation for the way the NFL is tied into this debate.

To close out we talk about the re-match's of all the Provincial Battles (I'm heaping Winnipeg/Sask into that group as well) and what makes all three rivalries independently special!

Hit the link below or subscribe to OFFSIDES on iTunes

We love talking FOOTBALL with all of you, and I hope you enjoy this installment of OFFSIDES!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Labour Day Classic...What makes the Bombers Tick.

Here`s a quick review of what lies ahead for the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers tomorrow.

We`ll use our Week 11 Pick-Em analysis and the latest episode of Chalk Talk that Dan Plaster and I do on

The over-arching theme of the upcoming game seems to be,

“It’s Labour Day; The Riders don’t lose on Labour Day!!!”

f that statement is to be true, then Saskatchewan Roughrider fans and supports better hope that the Green and White are playing the Winnipeg Rifles of the CJFL, because the squad that is coming into Mosaic Stadium is one of the hottest CFL teams in the league and is clicking on all cylinders…This is absolutely not the time for ceremonial jargon. 

A victory in this game is going to require the Roughriders best TEAM effort to date.

Right now the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are playing OUTSTANDING defence.  They’re starting to get to the QB, and they’ve amassed a staggering 18 interceptions, NINE of them being in their last two games.  To put that into #ProPerspective, the next closest team has 8 picks.

I’m taking the Bombers tomorrow unfortunately, but the fact that this is the Labour Day Classic gives Saskatchewan a fighting chance.  The Riders have won the past 11 games on Labour Day (I`ve been part of a few of them) and that illustrates the point that this is one of those games where one can throw the records out of the window.

The problem with Winnipeg is that they’re playing such solid Defence.  Right now, the only phase that the Riders have been able to produce in; is OFFENCE.

In fact, many analysts would point out that last week’s game in Edmonton, against the Esks, was a bit of an anomaly for the Green and White.

Unfortunately, if Saskatchewan is not able to consistently move the ball and score TDs, with the Riders documented struggles on Defence, things don’t seem positive.  #TheBestDefenceIsaGoodOffence

What’s more is that Offensive Coordinator Paul LaPolice has found a way to consistently capitalize on the talent of Andrew Harris, while turning the rest of his cast into great complimentary pieces. 

The Bombers utilize their big play RB on the ground, but have also turned Harris into a receiver that is averaging 9.2 yards a catch.  Out of all of the offensive Free Agent talent that Kyle Walters brought in over the past off-season, Harris has paid the most dividends.

With the effort that it will take to stop number 33 being primarily put on the shoulders of the Defensive Front 6 (including LBs), one has to ask the question, has the Defensive front shown that they can consistently stop a determined running attack?  One must answer this honestly, and the HONEST answer is “no”. 

Despite it being Labour Day, one cannot base a forecast on feelings, or more importantly, history. 

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are doing just enough Offensively to cross the goal line a couple of times per game, or position themselves for Justin Medlock to kick them to victory (he was 6/6 last game). 

That may not sound like a winning Offensive formula, but when one couples that with the fact that the Blue and Gold Defence that is able to supplement their scoring and starting field position; the odds do not seem to be in the Roughriders favour.

The Labour Day classic is an unreal game to be a part of.  I’ve got so many fond memories that surround this particular time of year that I cannot wait to take the atmosphere in as an onlooker. 

Sadly, the Bombers have the formula that may take a raucous Mosaic Stadium crowd out of it early.  Offensively they can do just enough, defensively they can dominate, and the Special Teams may favour the away team too when one considers the consistency (in WINDY games) of Justin Medlock.

Our Chalk Talk episode below takes a look at the Dual-Threat that is Andrew Harris, and (in my opinion) the most underrated Bombers off-season signing.  People have to remember that Winnipeg lost a lot of close games in 2015, and didn`t get a ton of help from their kicking game.

Medlock was a huge pick-up, and gives the Blue and Gold consistency from long and short range.

Check out Chalk Talk below...SEE YOU AT THE GAME FOLKS!

Chalk Talk via w/ DP and Luc

Thursday, 1 September 2016

OFFSIDES! The Labour Day Edition!

As many of you know by now, Coach Etcheverry has been asked to do some independent consulting for Chris Jones and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

There was nobody more happier to hear of this news than myself, because FOOTBALL is what Etch was born to do! We'll see which way the wind blows with this folks, but it is a FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY for a guy that many of YOU have come to love.

Thankfully, between his 4am wake-up and the 16 hour day that he had ahead of him, Coach Etcheverry still took the time to do our OFFSIDES podcast because he LOVES talking ball with all of you! 

We managed to get a great show in at 530 am, and considering that a lot of BIG GAMES are to be played this week, it was an important show! 

Check out todays episode and don't forget to holler at Coach Etch if you're in Saskatchewan and watching the Riders as they prepare to do battle with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Classic.