Here we are, almost at March, edging closer to the 2017 CFL season.
I gave up on the 2016 CFL season in last August. At that point, the Riders were 1 and a billion, their chances of making the playoffs basically nil. For the second straight year, the Riders weren’t really worth watching.
And yet I still care.
I just about divorced the Riders once and for all on January 13, 2017, when they traded Darian Durant, my love in an alternate universe, to the Montreal Alouettes.
To KAVIS REED’S Alouettes.
Oh yeah. Kavis Reed is now the Alouettes’ GM. And Jacques Chapdelaine is their coach.
And then Kevin Glenn returned for his third tour of duty with the Green and White.
It feels like some weird reenactment of Groundhog Day.
Then there are the *constant* rumours that Rider Head Coach Chris Jones is teeing up a trade for Eskimos’ QB prospect James Franklin. Add the head-scratching signings of receivers retreads Chad Owens and Bakari Grant and the recent retirement of long-time OL Chris Best and the offseason is not assuage Riders fans’ fears.
But last year at this time Rider fans were swooning over Chris Jones’ free agent signings: Shawn Lemon, Justin Capicciotti and…I can’t remember anymore. That’s how much of an impact those signings made.
Thus far in 2017, with the exception of the signing of OT Derick Dennis, the reaction to the Riders’ free agent signings has been either ‘meh’ or ‘huh?’
But after the past couple of seasons, I have to think that lower expectations are better where the Riders are concerned.
Some other CFL notes, quotes, and jokes:
- While the Riders have seemed like the CFL’s best hot mess given the constant media coverage, that title actually belong to the lowly Toronto Argonauts, who have managed to go through nearly two weeks of CFL free agency without a Head Coach OR GM. This makes me question the intelligence of those players who’ve actually SIGNED with the Argos over the past couple of weeks. But do not fear: in true Argos’ fashion, the Argos have gone south and by all accounts will be bringing back the dynamic duo of Mark Trestman and Jim Popp as Head Coach and GM. This is good for the Argos, as their first season at BMO Field was a certified embarrassment, but there’ll be quite the mess to clean up. If Ricky Ray stays healthy, though, look out; Trestman did wonders for Anthony Calvillo in his last years in the CFL. As for Drew Willy, he might be the unluckiest guy in the CFL.
- If the Riders win the 2009 Grey Cup, Darian Durant is inarguably the greatest QB in franchise history. So who is it? I say Kent Austin given that he won as a QB in 1989 and then a coach in 2007. He was instrumental in getting Kerry Joseph to guide the Riders to the 2007 Grey Cup.
- I continue to be amused by Kavis Reed’s ability to fail successfully, i.e. get promoted even though he’s not been successful in his previous role. It’s widely rumoured that the Alouettes have major salary cap problems, so his job won’t be easy. Especially given his inability to count (see: 2009 Grey Cup).
- Drew Tate was traded to the REDBLACKS. He was worth a fifth round conditional pick in the 2018 CFL draft. For some reason this makes me feel better about myself.
- I’m surprised the REDBLACKS didn’t hold on to Ernest Jackson. He only scored the franchise’s first Grey Cup winning TD.
- Meanwhile, Grey Cup winning QB Henry Burris is beginning his post-retirement broadcasting career by joining CTV Ottawa’s Morning Live show. I would smash my TV if I had to see Smilin’ Hank every weekday morning.
- The Tiger-Cats have been awfully quiet this offseason. Their biggest news has been not re-signing SB Andy Fantuz. He still remains a free agent.
- MATTY ICE re-signed in BomberLand not long after the Riders traded Darian Durant. What I learned watching the SuperBowl, though, was that Matt Ryan is THE ORIGINAL MATTY ICE. I always knew Matt Nichols was a fraud.
- There hasn’t been a lot of noise out of Calgary, Edmonton or BC either, except for the move of popular players to the NFL. The Esks’ leading receiver, Derrel Walker, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Lions LB Adam Bighill is now with the New Orleans Saints.
- This Vince Young talk is ridiculous. If the Riders sign him, they’ll look pretty hypocritical given that Darian Durant is roughly the same age. Rider fans should focus on the loss of Chris Best. The Riders’ OL has a huge hole at right guard now. The Riders should focus on drafting more OLmen in May’s CFL draft.
Next up for the CFL is the inaugural CFL Week held in Regina from March 21-26. Seeing Darian Durant wearing an Alouettes’ jersey will suck. A lot.