It’s A Tardy Top 10 Tuesday On An Up/Down Week!

To say it has been an interesting time in the world of sports would be an understatement! The Prairie Football Conference season kicked-off the CFL is in full swing and believe it or not we are almost in training camp mode.

In no particular order here are my thoughts from the world of sports from the last seven days.

10 – Offensive Offence: Yes, the Saskatchewan Roughriders understand that there offense needs to get better in a hurry especially with three west division opponents in the next three weeks. That being said I’m not sure that it is a personnel matter. In fact I think the Green and White are out thinking themselves. The Riders entered their game with Montreal as the top rushing offence in the league, the Alouettes had the worst rushing defence. For whatever reason the Riders decided to put the ball in the air as opposed to running the football and trying to capitalize on that mismatch.

9 – More Offensiveness: The other troubling observation from Saturday’s game is that there almost is a mentality of let’s wait for Weston Dressler to return to start rolling. In my opinion that won’t happen. He will have an immediate calming influence when/if he returns. Let’s not forget, however, when Andy Fantuz returned from the Chicago Bears camp that he wasn’t the same player and some could argue still isn’t. Assuming that Dressler may pick up where he left off may be a long one.

8 -But Wait There’s More! News from the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Rod Pedersen, that Justin Pallardy should be met with mixed emotions. For whatever reason Chris Milo has struggled in the field goal department. Greater football mines than me would say that professional kickers have to be money from 40-yards in (a minority stretch that to 45 yards) and Milo hasn’t been this season. Pallardy will bring in competition to push Milo, but the field goal department isn’t the only thing that the Rider need to examine. Milo’s kick-off average is amongst the worst in the league, that translates to better field position for the opposition. Fortunately, the Riders smothering defence hasn’t made that into a big factor.

7 -Well at least…. Yes, at least we are not Montreal. The Alouettes could be pictured beside the term dysfunctional in the dictionary. Let’s start with the quarterbacks; Troy Smith is all but done as an Alouette after being mercifully hidden on the 6-game injured list. In comes Alex Brink no disrespecting his talent but there is no way that he can succeed in Montreal! After one series on Saturday night Brink met with QB coach Jeff Garcia, spoke to receivers coach Turk Schoenert, then called upstairs to offensive coordinator Ryan Dinwiddie before speaking with Head Coach Tom Higgins before heading out for the next series. Simply put too many messages for a young player.

6 – But Wait There’s More II! The dysfunction in Montreal can be traced from the top down and really it’s nobody’s fault except for a lack of communication. Tom Higgins was brought in as Head Coach by ownership without the approval of the GM and then Head Coach Jim Popp. The action was justified as Popp was investigating opportunities south of the border, so Higgins was ownerships contingency plan. Popp’s plans didn’t work out and he signed an extension with the Als to stay in charge of football operations, so his job now is to sort out the mess on the field. That’s why he has brought in consultants upon consultants to try and help with a coaching staff that he is not invested in.

5 – Oh and one more thing! Higgins won’t last long in Montreal as the players have sensed that lack of trust from higher than Higgins and are ruling the roost. When too players had to be restrained from getting to the Head Coach when he decided to go for one as opposed to a two point convert after Duron Carter’s 120 yard missed-field-goal return. The two points would have tied the game but instead he opted to go for just one despite an anemic offensive performance. Long story short the inmates cannot rule the asylum.

4 – I Hate to say I told you so… but! Who knows what the future will hold for the Toronto Argonauts but so long as the Canadian Football League remains a 9-team league those in charge of scheduling have to get rid of the short week. Yes the Roughriders won on their short week in Ottawa and Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers then loss to Toronto in the second half of their short week. In turn the Argos lost their second game of the week to B.C. Long story short the competitive inequities are huge as teams cannot prepare for a game with one day of practice AND as a fan these games are lopsided and not entertaining. A re-evaluation of the schedule is a must. And yes I warned of this when Ottawa was granted an expansion franchise and I said that there needed to be two teams added in order to make the expansion viable!

3 – A question that you will hear on an upcoming episode of View From the Sidelines. Does Toronto deserve the CFL? AND does the CFL need Toronto? Interesting debate! Think about it dissolving the Toronto franchise could save the league. No more embarrassment from short weeks, no more embarrassment from 12,000 fans in a 50,000 seat facility, no more headache trying to find a home for the team that no one wants, and no more focus off the field putting the spotlight on the field. All goo reasons the biggest though could be a dispersal draft! Could you see Ricky Ray selected by Montreal? The Alouettes franchise would be saved as they would get instant credibility on the field back with a quarterback that they desperately need. Very much like when the Saskatchewan Roughriders selected Kerry Joseph.

2 – In the PFC: What a start to the season for the Saskatoon Hilltops and Regina Thunder! A 19-16 OT thriller. OK thriller may be the wrong word but these two heavy weights went blow for blow and it was great to see an intense hard-hitting defensive battle. The Hilltops missed two field goals in regulation which could have swung the game in their favour (albeit from 53 and 32 yards, What a leg on Thorarinson!) and Regina couldn’t figure a way to punch the ball into the end zone instead settling for short field goals. The two teams will hook up again in two weeks at the new look Gordie Howe Bowl and I can’t wait!

1 – Don’t Blame Jarred. A number of folks I have spoken with are down on Hilltop Quarterback Jarred Andreychuk and point out the fact that he only completed 6 passes in Sunday’s loss. Keep in mind though, that he had a number of drops, pressure in his face all afternoon and what may become his greatest receiving threat in Evan Turkington missing the game due to injury! The Hilltops will improve and I like what I see from this team.

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