Thursday, 30 June 2016

PICKING WEEK 2 in the CFL!

PRESENTED BY


This week's theme is DON`T SLEEP on anyone.  This isn't a cop out when I say that all of these games could go either way but after watching all but one of these squads play during the first week of CFL action, it's going to be really interesting to see how some of the `games within the games' play out.
We went 0-4 last week, which isn't too concerning considering the stage of the season that we all find ourselves in.  As long as we keep improving and focusing on the right things, I`m pretty confident in our ability to help all of you guys in your betting pools and other football conversations. 
It's a MARATHON, not a sprint.  And at the very least, it's great talking ball with all of you!
As always, our CFL PICK-EM is brought to you by our good partners at CJ Evans Home Designs.  Let`s get into the 2nd Week of Canadian Football League action!
OTTAWA @ MONTREAL
This one is the 1st of 4 tough games to pick.  We made a big deal of the RedBlack QBs doing a number on the Eskimo’s defence last week, however this is a totally different animal (no pun intended) waiting for them at McGill Stadium. 
Noel Thorpe presents a far more aggressive scheme upfront than what Ottawa saw against Edmonton, and the Montreal DC is also able to benefit from a veteran secondary that seemed like they were in mid-season form as they dispatched of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their first week.
Against the Alouettes D that is solid against the RUN and Pass, communication is key for the RedBlacks tonight.  Montreal can get sacks and pressures in a couple of different ways.  They may throw a ton of looks, stunts and twists at the Oline in order to get bodies to the QB, or they can just line up and beat guys 1 on 1. 
In order for Trevor Harris to continue to build on his solid Wk 1 outing, they’ll have to give him time to make throws.  There’s too many talented players roaming around in that Angry Bird secondary to rush passes blindly.
As for the Montreal O?  They may stack up nicer against the RedBlack Defence than some may think, ESPECIALLY upfront.  There may be a good opportunity to control the ball on the ground and with some quick passes.  Let’s not forget that this is an Ottawa D that gave up more that 440 yards of Offence last week.
McGill Stadium is always a tough place to play for any team.  There’s a ton of vets on either side of the ball in La Belle Province that are winners that are pretty tired of being losers. 
This may be a prefect week to make a statement.
Pick:  Les Alouettes
TORONTO @ SASKATCHEWAN
When I mentioned the “games within the game” at the top of this column, this was the battle that pops in to mind first.
Through my analyst work that have the opportunity to do for riderville.com and Harvard Broadcasting I’ve talked a lot about the Saskatchewan Roughriders Oline, and how early on this team will go as far as this experienced group will take them.  Well, after watching the Argos game against the TiCats, it’s clear that the Green and White’s Oline has a really good chance to come out and dominate their opponent physically, which in turn will give them all the ability to move the ball that they’ll need. 
The problem I see with that train of thought, as it relates to this game, is that for as much as our Oline may dictate things against the TO Dline; the Toronto Offensive Line may have that same ability against the Roughrider front 4! 
The Guard-Centre-Guard combo of the Double Blue seem to match up well vs. the Rider interior Dlinemen.  Jonathon Williams hasn’t played a ton of downs this year and Corvey Irvin is about to see the first CFL game action of his young career.
On the outside, it doesn’t get much better in the Eastern Conference than Josh Bourke and Chris Van Zeyl, so Capiccioti, along with newcomers Jonathon Newsome and A.C Leonard, and Shawn Lemon are going to have to be at their best.
What may have made this game an even closer match-up was the signing of Brandon McDonald and Buddy Jackson.  It was clear that in the Riders last outing against the Esks that the field-side halfback spot may need some tweaking and with Ed Gainey out, the Riders have the benefit of experience going into tonight’s tilt.
I’m going to go with the visiting Toronto Argonauts here.  They’ve had the benefit of actually playing in the first week, and the jury is out on what the COMMUNICATION is going to be like across the board for the Riders D. 
Hopefully I’m wrong here because I think that if this was any other week the Riders win this handily.  There’s too much that could potentially affect this game from the Green and White’s side right now that doesn’t have to do with overall talent.
Pick:  Toronto…hopefully it’s just my natural paranoia that’s in play here.
BC @ HAMILTON
It’s tough to win in the Donut Box, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now, and I think that the Lions are going to be a team that goes through some hardships early on in the season with their personnel and schemes.  That shouldn’t scare any Lions fans either.  This is the same Wally Buono who’s team went 1-7 to start the 2011 season and ended up winning the cup.  It’s simply a matter of stages of development.
Not only is this an aggressive Defence that BC has to deal with, but the Hamilton Special Teams Units are consistently at the top of the league with their ability to score and dictate field position.  They’re impressive to watch.
Teams have to win 2 out of the 3 phases of the game (O, D, & STs) and we say this consistently here on Pro Perspective.  Hamilton has the edge in all three phases right now, and that means that BC will have to play mistake free football and score TDs every time they’re near the score zone.  They won’t make it if they’re kicking Field Goals all game. 
Anything can happen in the CFL, and we all know that teams are one injury away from going from sugar to sh*t!  The Lions have the talent to keep it close but I’d anticipate the TiCats to pull this thing out at the end.
Pick:  The Steel City that is Hamilton
WINNIPEG @ CALGARY
Can the Calgary Stampeders really start off a regular season going 2-0???
That thought would be unfathomable in past years, however after watching BC close the Stamps out in Week 1, it’s a very real possibility.
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all day and as I write this final prediction, I still don’t know how it will end.
There’s so many question marks on both sides of this game! 
On one hand, we’ve got the Bombers that looked pedestrian at times on Offence, and porous on D, and in Calgary, fans were left wondering where the Stampeders team of old is?  There didn’t seem to be any motivation to establish the line of scrimmage that the STUMPS have become renowned for.  Hufnagel moving up to the box couldn’t have affected their scheme that much could it?!?
Let’s go with Winnipeg here.  I stated on the radio this week that not having Weston Dressler as an option for Paul LaPolice may be a blessing in disguise.  It forces Lapo to utilize his other weapons and find out about the players he may not know as much about.  I’d expect Andrew Harris’ touches to go way up!
I’m also confident that there’s no way Drew Willy is going to come out and NOT play better than he did in the first game of the year.  There’s no way the franchise QB who has wanted to be paid as one of the top tier QBs in the league doesn’t bounce back right?!?
The toss up goes to Winnipeg.  Calgary’s got Bo Levi-Mitchell which makes it hard to ever pick against them, but until the Stamps come out and use Mess and Harrison the way they should and pound the Line of Scrimmage.  I can’t see their Defence holding up over the course of 4 quarters.
Pick: Winnipeg.
See you again next week folks…Hopefully we’ll be 4-4!!!
#ProPerspective.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

OFFSIDES! Gotta Get Better


We just dropped our 2nd OFFSIDES podcast of the 2016 CFL regular season!  For those who don't know, we are now on iTunes (OFFSIDES on iTunes) so hit the link here or that I'm including at the bottom of this page and subscribe in order to get them while they're FRESH!

In today's show we take a look at WEEK 2 in the CFL but my co-host and I use the opening week as a little bit of a guide.  Coach Etch couldn't wait to do this show because he felt that there were many coaching deficiencies that needed to be brought up in order to make sense of it all. 
We touch on the potentially troubling waters that Wally Buono may realize he's in, the Paul LaPolice narrative, and a number of other things including the journey of the "Johnny Come Lately's" in the coaching world.


As per usual, Etch gives you his predictions on the upcoming games, however one of the things we want to make sure we convey in today's podcast is that it's not solely about the predictions with us...We want to make sure you guys are getting VALUE from the conversations that LEAD UP TO the forecasting!

I hope you enjoy todays OFFSIDES podcast!  It's raw, it's controversial, it's definitely some #PROPERSPECTIVE!!!

Hit the link below to subscribe and get access to TODAY's SHOW!


For all non-iTunes users, here's YOUR link to today's downloadable show.
Let us know what you think of the show!!!

Monday, 27 June 2016

MAILBAG MONDAY!

What a FANTASTIC weekend to kick off the 2016 CFL season!  Fans were treated to defensive gems, and offensive explosions.  As usual, we have compiled YOUR questions for our MAILBAG column that we’ll run every Monday.  Today’s mail includes the three main talking points that you guys wanted to know about.  Hope you enjoy!


Via Twitter (@lucmull95)


Q:  What’s going to happen in Ottawa with the REIGNING MOP?


A:  It’s WAY TOO EARLY to start talking about a QB controversy in Ottawa.  Trevor Harris simply walked into the game on Saturday, and picked up right where Henry Burris left off.  Keep in mind folks.  Harris got the call early in the 3rd.  That’s after Ottawa had gone in AT HALFTIME and talked about some things that they may be able to capitalize on during the final stretch of the game.  The plan may have been slightly different going into the 2nd half.  


With the way Hank had been throwing the rock, I’ve got no doubt that Burris would have continued to take it to the Esks if he hadn’t gotten hurt.  We’re talking about a QB that was 23/31 with 251 yards before he left the game.


Victory between the two finalists for the 2015 Grey Cup was earned because the Ottawa QB’s continually took what the defensive scheme was giving them. No more, no less.  There aren’t any herculean efforts involved by either pivot that can be pointed out.  It was however an incredibly efficient performance by the entire RedBlack offence.


Finally, just so people know, we’re not taking anything away from Trevor Harris here.  Kudos to Harris for coming in and doing his job.  He was prepared, he knew the game plan and he executed.  The half of football that he gave his team was exactly why the RedBlacks invested in him this passed offseason. 


It looks like Harris is getting the start in Week 2 which will see the RedBlacks up against a far more AGGRESSIVE defensive scheme than the one they just saw.  Henry Burris will have to lead in the film room and on the sideline now, and Harris will have to be a sponge and absorb everything he can, from Burris and the rest of his squad in order to execute.  The whole league knows he has it in him, so there’s no pressure to continue to “prove” things.  


Teams need TWO STARTING QUALITY QB’s in the CFL.  That’s a fact.  It’s also something that Genreal Manager Marcel Desjardins has made a priority in the Nation’s Capital.  In terms of a Return on Investment, I’m not sure there’s a quicker payout available on todays market!


Via Text


Q:  How much has the JONES loss in Edmonton hurt that DEFENSE? 


Up until Saturday, the main thing that CFL fans were talking about was the loss of Chris Jones as the HC in Edmonton.  After the RedBlacks victory at Commonwealth Stadium it was apparent that the DEFENSIVE SCHEME that Jones employed was also a void that the Eskimos were going to have to deal with.


The loss of the Chris Jones scheme was notable.  There were certain phases of the game where there was plenty of room to be more aggressive, especially with some of the athletes that Edmonton has at their disposal.  That last drive in the 4th Quarter that Ottawa used to kick their way into OT illustrated some of the differences in scheme from 2015 to 2016.  The Eskimos didn’t seem to be attacking the way we’ve gotten used to seeing them, and Trevor Harris took full advantage of it.  


Film, is always the ultimate ally, and one can always expect a much better showing from players AND COACHES during their next contest.  


Edmonton had 442 yards of Offense, behind 383 yards from their Franchise QB Mike Reilly.  That’s enough to get it done in this league, so hopefully the defensive scheme solidifies now that they’ve got an early BYE week to take advantage of.  


The Edmonton Defensive attack is going to be something that everyone has their eyes on moving forward.  The Jones loss won’t hurt as much as long as there’s a solid plan hatched out of what was captured on film.  It will sting if the coaches don’t learn anything from it.


Overall, there were two COORDINATORS (Benevides and LaPolice) that were back on the sidelines after brief hiatuses and both of them seemed a little rusty at times, in terms of their attacks.  Granted Lapo lost a huge piece of his puzzle early on with Dressler going down and his QB didn’t do him any favours by missing some big throws.  


I loved that Ottawa IMMEDIATELY jumped on the loss of Patrick Watkins in OT to seal the game; but CFL strategies aren’t solely based on one guy.  It’s a coach’s job to find a way to put your guys in positions to be successful.  


Both Lapo and Bene have been around the block and should be able to bounce back.


Via Text


Q:  Can we expect more from Winnipeg, or more of the same?


A:  This is a bit of a continuation on the question above, but the answer is that one should ABSOLUTELY expect more from Winnipeg.  I’m pretty sure Winnipeg expects more from Winnipeg!


I stated earlier that OC Paul LaPolice looked a little bit rusty with some of the plays he called, but at the same time; he’s got to get the execution when he calls plays!  


Drew Willy missed some key throws during that game that could have changed the complexion of the game, which looks a lot closer in score than it actually was.  


The Bombers did make a concerted effort to run the ballwhich I liked, but I’m sure Andrew Harris would’ve liked to see about 7 more touches.  


We can’t take away from the performance by the Alouettes, which was AWESOME, but the Bombers didn’t do themselves any favours of the course of 4 quarters.


On D, Winnipeg did everything they could forcing 3 takeaways.  They didn’t register a sack, however Kevin Glenn is a QB that doesn’t keep the ball in his hands for long in the pocket, and the scheme that Anthony Calvillo catered to his QB’s tendencies.


The goal from week to week is IMPROVE.  Winnipeg has a tough but winnable Week 2 match-up against Calgary, but to get the W, they’ll have to be better all the way across the board.


They have to be....There’s jobs on the line in Bomberville.


As always, feel free to let us know what you think about our Mailbag Discussion. ALSO...You can submit your Questions or CFL discussion points to the comment section below, via Twitter (@lucmull95), or email...lucm@gameplansolutions.ca


We'll make sure we include them in Next Week's MAILBAG MONDAY.


Talk soon folks!


#ProPerspective

 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

OFFSIDES...The Opening Bell

We're now on iTunes!!! (More on that in a moment)

Now that we're completely dialed in to the 2016 CFL year, this episode of OFFSIDES takes a look at the 1st week of a loaded CFL schedule.

As Coach and I go through the upcoming games, like today's in the inaugural contest at BMP Field, we touch on some points that you guys may not have thought about in your Canadian Football conversations.

During our look at Tor/Ham, Etch makes a point of bringing up the historical slow starts to Kent Austin's Hamilton squad over the last couple of years, and we also stick to that line of though in reverse as we look at Winnipeg's knack for starting out fast under Mike O'Shea.

We round out the convo with a fair question that can be posed to CFL fans out there, which I'll leave to the podcast, and speak about how important it is for guys in the locker room to know exactly WHO THE BOSS IS.

On another note, as mentioned at the top, you guys can now find us on iTunes!!!  Hit the link below in order to subscribe and receive direct notifications about when we drop our episodes.  We were at the point where it only made sense for us to become as accessible as possible to you guys because the response to this podcast has been great.  THANK YOU!!!

Here's the link where you'll find our latest show, and any other OFFSIDES podcasts in the future...
It means a lot to us that our listeners are enjoying our CFL discussions!  As it stands, right now our OFFSIDES Podcasts have been downloaded over 23,600 times!!!

Right now is a perfect time to join our Pro Perspective Team, so if you or your business would like an opportunity to sponsor OFFSIDES, contact me (Luc Mullinder) at lucm@gameplansolutions.ca!  We've got some great ways that we can activate your company and there's some great momentum behind this podcast right now!


For those who aren't iTunes users, here's the link to the downloadable show on our host site...
OFFSIDES...The Opening Bell

Talk soon folks!!!



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

PICKING WEEK 1 of the 2016 CFL Season


PRESENTED BY


Picking the CFL schedule in the early weeks is suicide to anyone who has an ego.  It’s literally a crapshoot.  It’s also one of the more enjoyable parts of the year because one if one pays close attention, they’ll have a shot to look like an absolute genius during the back half of the year.
Take my case for example…I was basically dead last in all 4 of the pools I belonged to during 2015 but I stayed firm to my beliefs and enjoyed a strong finish where I ended up winning 2 and tying for 1st in another one. 
Either way, what we can all agree on is that it’s so exciting to finally have the CFL season begin!
This was one of our more popular columns at Pro Perspective last year, and we’re happy to have our partners at CJ Evan Home Designs back again to help us add to all of your CFL conversations.
Without further ado, here’s the 1 installment of our CJ Evans Home Designs Weekly CFL Pick Em!!!
Hamilton @ Toronto
During our Eastern Division preview of the 2016 CFL season on our OFFSIDES podcast, former DC Gary Etcheverry picked the Toronto Argonauts to make it through to the Grey Cup.  If that is the case this year, the Argo’s MUST BE strong at home, and there’s no better way to jump out than with a big win against the rival Hamilton TiCats. 
I’m going to go with the Double Blue in this one.  I agree with Etcheverry in that I think the hiring of Rich Stubler was a FANTASTIC move for Jim Barker and Scott Milanovich!  There’s also enough film on Jeremiah Masoli now that Stubler can put together a game plan that attempts to nullify the strengths of the new TiCats pivot.
Coaching aside, the main reason I’ve got the Argos is that week 1 is going to be the week where Ricky Ray is the healthiest he’s going to be all year.  Even though it may take a quarter or two to knock the rust off, especially with anticipating the Hamilton D to come out as aggressive as ever; I like the chances of that long and talented receiving core against a unit that got hit with two unfortunate injuries to their projected starting secondary.    
The personnel adds to the Toronto D this off season are worth noting here as well.  Having to supplant Cleyon Laing and Tristan Okpalaugo wasn’t easy but Brian Bulke and Justin Hickman are fine replacements.  Add in Keon Raymond who has played in Stublers D for the last couple of years, and a healthy Corey Greenwood, and Ricky Foley is probably feeling pretty good about his squad’s chances.
This is a start to a LOOONG season and this Argo group is a veteran bunch.  They’ve got a new home, a new look, an it may take the TiCats a week or so to find their groove.  These games are always a physical war with a lot of emphasis on the kicking game.  The loss of long time kicker Justin Medlock, may be what hurts Hamilton the most early on.
PICK: Toronto.  Can’t wait to see the atmosphere at BMO Field.
Montreal @ Winnipeg
We’ve made a big deal over the Fantasy Team signings that Winnipeg made during the off months but you cannot ignore them.  Justin Medlock, in my humble opinion, was the biggest add because he brings consistency to a position that cost the Bombers a few close games last year.
Keith Shologan also brings a skillset that has been missing in Winterpeg since the retirement of Doug Brown (he’s just not as tall).  Defensive Coordinator Richie Hall now has a true, ass-kicking Nose Tackle, in Sholo, to hold the line of scrimmage and take up two blockers while Euclid Cummings (who slid in under the radar) will add a pass rush option that takes all the pressure off stand-out DE Jamal Westerman.
Upgrading the Defensive Line and Kicker will go a long way in helping out the Offence in Bomberville that also has some cool new toys.  Unfortunately, the success of the Bombers O is directly attached to Drew Willy’s health.  Protecting their Franchise QB’s health took a blow when they lost Centre Jeff Keeping for a stretch during the exhibition season, and that’s why I liken their journey in 2016 to the Roughriders of last year.  Right now the Bombers seem like they’re one injury away from being closer to 3-13 than 13-3.
With Montreal rolling into the loudest building in the league, this will be a good glimpse at two teams with new OC’s, and some potentially devastating Offensive weapons.  Throw in two QBs that have the ability to make all the throws and solid kicking games, this may be a case where the victor is the team that prevails in the Defensive Phase of the game. 
For the first time in a long time, Winnipeg’s D may have the edge in that regard. 
Pick:  Winnipeg...Protect the QB
Ottawa @ Edmonton
This has the makings of an early instant classic, and one could sit around for hours and make a case for each team.  I think that Ottawa gets the edge defensively if we match both units up, strictly because nobody truly knows what Mike Benevides has in store scheme wise.  We’d all be nuts if that is going to be the determining factor in this prediction.
I’d love to tip the scales here to one the Special Teams units but how can one possibly pick between kicking games administered by Coach McDiarmid in Edmonton and Bobby Dyce in Ottawa?   What’s worse is that the Kickers Sean White and Chris Milo also seem to be a wash right now.
Even with Mike Reilly looking like he’s poised to put the stranglehold on the CFL’s “Best QB” category how can one possibly discount Henry Burris, the leagues reigning MOP?  One can’t.
Maybe the Head Coaching match-up is where we find the advantage?  That seems to be where the prognosticators are claiming that Edmonton has a chink in their armour.
I think we’ll go into the trenches in order to find our basis for this forecast. 
When one looks at the match-ups at the Line of Scrimmage, one may be inclined to take the Edmonton Hoggies vs. a re-built Ottawa Dline, over the chances of the Redblacks Oline vs. the absolutely stacked defensive line for the Eskimos.
The most telling part of the Grey Cup last year was the way that Edmonton’s Offensive Line physically OWNED the Redblacks front four during the last minute and some change of that game.  It was beautiful.
That Edmonton Oline, despite having different coaching, is still the foundation of what they want to do in the City of Champions and the Redblacks come into the game drastically different from last year.  Keith Shologan, Shawn Lemon, and Justin Capicciotti are no longer part of that team, and it may be tough to ask a relatively new group to withstand the defending Grey Cup Champions physicality over the span of 4 Quarters.
Pick:  The Reigning and Defending Grey Cup Champion Edmonton Eskimos
Calgary @ BC
Many experts are expecting the BC Lions to be decidedly better this year, especially with being able to rely on both Jonathon Jennings and Travis Lulay.  The Lions and Stampeders may be the most interesting teams to watch this year.  ESPECIALLY EARLY ON.  Coincidently, they’re also the two teams that I’m the most anxious to see, so having them tip-off to close out the action in Week 1 of 2016 is perfect.
Despite all eyes being on the way Dave Dickenson, and Wally Buono navigate their individual journey’s this year, I’ll have my eye on the scheme that DeVone Claybrooks employs during his first crack at being the Defensive Coordinator over in CowTown.  Claybrooks has huge shoes to fill with Rich Stubler departing to TO, and the Stamps were largely successful with the playbook that they used while Stubler was in town.
I see this game as being similar to the first game we analyzed (Tor vs. Ham).  Week 1 is going to be the HEALTHIEST that this Stampeder Offensive Line will be all year (despite not having Karl Lavoie).  One would expect a healthy dose of the run game in an effort to control the clock and extend possessions. 
It behooves the Stampeders to string drives together because BC’s Offence can hit quickly and often when they’re at home, keeping their Defence off the field may be exactly what’s needed to compete in the confines of the Lions Den.  It could get ugly if the Stamps are forced into a few early 2 and Outs.
We haven’t picked a visitor yet in this week’s Pick Em, so let’s give Calgary the nod in an up and down game.   
Pick:  Calgary...Don’t sleep on a Bo Levi Mitchell lead organization.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Analyzing the Riders Final Cuts

Today is by far the WORST day in Pro Sports.  Unfortunately, this is the business that we all chose, and Final Cut-Down Day is part of the deal.

 

Now that I find myself on the other- far less stressful- side of things, the question that I hear the most is,

“Are you surprised by any of the cuts today?”

 

Well the short answer is easy… “NO” …But if there’s anything that we’ve learned throughout our football conversations together, it’s that in this BUSINESS one can NEVER be surprised!

 

As I glossed over the transactions made by the Saskatchewan Roughriders this afternoonnone of the names came as a complete shock.  I did anticipate that the announcements would raise a fair amount of questions, specifically from the members of Ridernation who have followed this team throughout camp.  

 

I think this is a great opportunity to illuminate the fact that once people take their focus off who got released, and zero in on who’s still in the locker room, they’ll really appreciate the decisions that this coaching staff made during one of the toughest periods of time in professional sports.

 

Let’s jump to the Wide Receivers first and one of the bigger names that was in this group, Clarence Denmark.  The case of the former Blue Bomber will help us in this particular conversation.

 

We can sit around all day and argue the pros and cons of releasing a veteran receiver who has produced consistently in this league, OR, we could look at this is a fantastic opportunity to grow a player in Ricky Collins who may mess around and be the next Weston Dressler.  

 

I’ve gone on record here at Pro Perspective and have said that Collins is a future STAR here in Saskatchewan.  It’s Collins’ outstanding potential, mixed with the depth of the rest of this unit, that makes the deletion of Denmark justifiable.  


Don’t forget folks, for as much as we’ve talked about Rob Bagg and Namaan Roosevelt having a career year, there’s a multi-faceted score-zone threat in Kendial Lawrence that teams have to deal with, and the kicker here is that Nic Demski comes into the 2016 regular season after having a FANTASTIC Training Camp.  #9 may have had the most consistent camp out of everyone.  

 

This receiving core has plenty of talent and it allows Ricky Collins to find his way without any pressure.  The group is also in good shape if an injury or two hits.  Ryan Lankford who ran with the 1s for a good chunk of camp, and Josh Stanford, are guys that this coaching staff can have confidence in if needed in a crunch. 

 

There was some heavy competition at the Receiver position during Training Camp.  I really liked what I saw in a couple of guys who didn’t make it, specifically Kyle Kawamoto.  He did everything he could to make this final roster, but in the end it’s a huge feather in the cap to guys like Demski, and Collins for coming in and competing.  Keeping Denmark on the roster would have been AWESOME, however it would have also taken reps away from some young guys that have the potential to be special.

 

For those of you who’ve followed me closely during the Saskatchewan Roughriders Training Camp, I consistently talked about the impression that Dillon Grondin made during the early weeks of June.  Now some of you may think that his release would come as a surprise to me considering I was clearly a fan of his, but it underscores the important point of understanding WHO ELSE IS IN THE ROOM.  

 

That SOMEONE ELSE, in this case, may be Jordan Reaves!

 

We talked a lot about Reaves this camp, specifically about his unbelievable athleticism.  This is a kid that came into Florida as a SAFETY, and is now playing at Defensive End.  With small 42-46 man rosters and the ever present ratio management issues, teams simply cannot keep everyone.  

 

I’d be interested to see how Grondin graded out during the exhibition games, and how quickly he managed to process information at the pro level.  I can talk all I want about what I saw ON THE FIELD; however, the film is the ultimate evaluator.  Hopefully the young Jr. out of the Windsor Jr program didn’t have troubles in the playbook department.  Some of the best football players in the world never catch on simply because they can’t get a handle on a Pro scheme.

 

At any rate, despite his passport, Grondin may have expendable when one looks at the skill set of a guy like Reaves who Coach Jones can take and put all over the place in his system of Defence.  Right now it may come down to Reaves, and even a guy like Levi Steinhauer (who has also proven how multiple he can beoffering more value RIGHT NOW.

 

Another thing that Ridernation should be happy about, and needs to be considered with todays cuts, is that now that camp is done, players that have been out of the spotlight get to step back into the equation with the MAJOR evaluations being.  

 

For example, up until this point, we’ve barely mentioned Canadians Matt Webster, and Graig Newman.  

During one of our very first training camp discussions, we spoke about guys being moved around to unfamiliar spots, and the fact that it was the controllable factors that those players focused on that would make or break them.  That conversation alone was an illustration of the two veteran Canadians plight.

 

Newman and Webster took those moves in stride and made the most of the reps they were given.  Now that training camp is over, and Newms can get healthy, the fact that they’ve had a crash course in multiplicity bodes well for their opportunities to contribute.

 

Both of those players can now be a factor when it matters, and I’m sure they’ll take a spot on the opening roster vs. a starting spot on the depth chart in the Green and White game.  We could have very well been reading about the release of Webster and Newman if the vets had gone around pouting about not being in familiar spots.  Thankfully, the Riders have two more PROs in the room because of it.

 

All in all, don’t lose your mind when debating about the cuts that were, and weren’t, made.  Before you guys know it, one of the players you finally agree on won’t be here either.  We can’t be surprised if there are bodies getting flown in and out over the next couple of week’s folks…Shoot, for all we know, the roster could have changed by the time you finish reading this sentence. #JustLikeThat

 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to be a good group, and in the coming days we’ll get further into that.  The problem is that right now it’s a whole lot easier to be a nay-sayer than an optimist because of the mix of 2015's record and the current anxiety caused by change.  


With legacies cemented by Grey Cup rings, and Chris Jones' staff understanding that they're here to WIN and not make friendly decisions, it makes unfortunate sense that Hazan Hazime (who can play on both sides of the Line of Scrimmage) gets the nod over local talent like Aaron Picton.  

 

None of the decisions made today were easy.  This was a competitive camp all across the board and the team that is about to get unveiled to Ridernation is a DYNAMIC one.  

 

The players that are in the locker room today were made better by the players who are not.

 

No looking back now.  2016 is FINALLY getting started.

 

#ProPerspective