Saturday, 25 October 2014

Was That Danny Barrett Back Coaching The RoughRiders?

You could be excused if you thought that it was former head coach Danny Barrett answering questions at the post game media scrum following the Saskatchewan RoughRiders 40 - 27 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.  Remember Danny Barrett?   In the course of a forgettable season where the Riders lost often and many times convincingly Danny Barrett always told the media that he saw many positive things out there.  Barrett was ushered out the door after a half dozen seaons in which he posted a recorcd of 57 - 68 - 1.  Those were times when the mediocrity of the team was almost a given.  Times that we thought were passed.
But there was Cory Chamblin answering the media questions and finding many positives despite the fact that the Riders had a total meltdown in giving up 25 unanswered points to the Stampeders.  Remember to this was a Stampeder team that did not have Jon Cornish in the line up.  Horrors had he been there.
To be sure there were some positives.  Chris Getlaz got back in the groove catching several passes including his first touchdown reception in 17 games.
But the negatives far outweighed the positives.  In a small market like Saskatchewan the media seems almost afraid to ask the tough questions so it was generally agreed it was a pretty good showing by the Riders.  Really how low have we sunk?
Kerry Joseph at quarterback, threw three interceptions, one was returned for a touchdown, regularly missed open receivers and seemed more confused than Seth Doege on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Keith Toston who was touted as being a game breaker finally got his chance to play.  He broke one run for 40 yards, then fumbled, was sat for awhile, came back and dropped a couple of passes thrown right into his arms.
And then there was the total collapse.  25 points scored against in the fourth quarter and it was over.
But still Chamblin saw positives and even more seemed to paint a kind of it's everybody against us mentality.  Words to the like of " I told the men in the locker room that everyone is against us and they have to be tough.
Really who in Saskatchewan is against the Riders?  Who in Saskatchewan could be satisfied with a five game  losing streak?.  Sure Darian Durant is injured.  Sure that is a big loss.  But everyone suffers injuries and everyone moves on.  Championship teams don't make excuses and injuries are just an excuse.
Compare if you will the Saskatchewan RoughRiders to the Montreal Alouettes.  The Alouettes floundered opening the season at 1 - 6.  Quarterbacking was their problem.   What they had just didn't get it done until they went to their third string quarterback in Jonathon Crompton.  He was shaky at first  but coach Tom Higgins stayed with him and the result is the Alouettes moved to first place in the East Division.
Who knows where the Riders might be if they had stayed with their young quarterback Tino Sunseri.
One thing we know for sure.  It couldn't have been any worse.  They have lost the last two games with a veteran Kerry Joseph who was supposed to turn the ship around.
Well at least Kerry Joseph has a coach that sees positive things.  Come to think of it, didn't Kerry Joseph play for Danny Barrett at one time and we all know how that turned out.  Who says history can't repeat itself.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Smile A Day - October 23rd

                                             I'll just wait in here until the weekend

Credit Grigsby and the Bombers On This One.

There have been inuendos.  He's a cancer.  He's a trouble maker.  He's not a team guy.  And to his credit the newly aquired Hamilton TigerCat Nick Grigsby has not fired back.  He has answered questions intelligently and carefully about his recent release by the Winnipeg BlueBombers.
When asked by reporters yesterday why he was released by the Bombers Grigsby replied, that's not your concern.
When asked if he was a trouble maker in Winnipeg he replied.

"I laugh at that.  Even the guys in Winnipeg, they laugh at that too.  Those guys are my brothers in there.  It has nothing to do with any player.  I always get along with my teammates and I love my teammates.

So why was Grigsby released?  Well to be sure we know he did not react positively to beoing a healthy scratch against the Edmonton Eskimos.   Apparently the Bomber coaches wanted to take a look at running back Paris Cotton.  And apparently Mike O'Shea liked enough of what he saw of Cotton to tell Grigsby that he would not be dressing against the Calgary Stampeders either.
And the rest as they say is history.  To be sure Grigsby didn't display a team first attitude and that's on him.  But can you really blame him?  This isn't high school football.  This is a profession.  Jobs are on the line.  His job.  And ofcourse if he is any kind of professional he wants to play.
So is Grigsby a quitter.  With the Bombers mired in last place and no hope for a playoff berth did he quit on his team or did his team quit on him?

"A lot of people are making it sound like I am a quitter.  There is no quit in me at all.  I haven't been raised like that.  I was out there grinding with the guys and those were tough times over there.  I loved the city.  I loved everything about the place.  It was just a business decision.

If you take Grigsby's account that it was just a business decision then you really have to give him credit for taking the action that he did.  Consider the case of recently ex Saskatchewan running back Will Ford.  Ford was released by the RoughRiders yesterday.  Another pretty good player that could help a team headed for the playoffs you say?   But he can't play for anyone this year.  Because Ford was released after the deadline by the Saskatchewan RoughRiders he can sign with any other team in the league this year but he can not play.    Grigsby demaned and obtained his release prior to the deadline.
The TigerCats signed him and he is expected to play this weekend.  Ford can only watch from the sidelines somewhere, unlikely to be signed by anyone, and wish about what could of been.

So regardless of where you stand on the Grigsby decision give both Grigsby and the Bombers some credit for exhibiting class in a tough situation and allowing Grigsby the ability to keep playing.  Some people seem to forget that to the men that play this game, this is their job, this is how they feed their families and make a living.

In the case of Will Ford, the Saskatchewan RoughRiders appear to have forgotten that.

The last word to Grigsby

" God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.  It was his plan for me to be in this place at this time".

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Smile A Day - October 22nd

Ford Gone, Grigsby A TiCat, CFL Musical Running Backs.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders have announced the following transactions:
· RELEASE international running back Will Ford
· RELEASE international quarterback DeNarius McGhee
· RELEASE international receiver Eron Riley  

The Canadian Football Leagues game of musical running backs continued today.  Will Ford was one of three players released by the Saskatchewan RoughRiders.  Ford joined the Riders July 22nd after being released by the Winnipeg BlueBombers.  Ironically Ford was pushed out of Winnipeg by running back Nick Grigsby who in turn was tossed away by the Bombers after Paris Colton showed some promise.
It's a dirty game this world of professional sports.  Cruel to the core.  Grigsby has landed on his feet in Hamilton showing up today on the practise field of the TigerCats.
  It has been a tough year for Will  Ford.  The death of his younger brother in an automobile accident, then the release by the Bombers and now the Saskatchewan RoughRiders toss him aside.   The running game looked to be one of the Rider strengths.  It was called the three headed monster.  With Ford, Jerome Messam and Anthony Allan sharing the touches the running game looked strong.  For some reason the Riders went away from the three headed monster coinciding with the injury to Darian Durant.  The result has been a long Rider losing streak, the loss of a home field game in the 2014 playoffs and literally backing into the playoffs.
Coach Cory Chamblin made a couple of statements following the loss 24 - 19 to Edmonton.
One was that there were a number of players who didn't know what it was like to play championship football.  That was odd considering his team are the reigning Grey Cup champions.  Ford didn't play with the Riders last year, didn't experience the championship, so was he one of the players the coach was singling out as not giving their best effort?
Also released by the Riders today were receiver Eron Riley and Denarius McGhee.
Nothing very earth shattering there.
So the Riders running game for the final two games of the season will rest in the hands of Anthony Allan and Jerome Messam.  
Is Chamblin finished with his changes?  You would not think so as the blame for the Rider losing streak certainly can't be laid on Riley or McGhee and it would be unfair to put the blame on Will Ford.
Is Ford done for the season?  Well Nick Grigsby landed a spot in Hamilton after an unhappy parting with Winnipeg.  Canadian Football League teams heading into the playoffs would do well to take a good look at the versatile Will Ford.  Look to see him again soon.

Grigsby resurfaces. He's now A TigerCat

The down beaten ex Blue Bomber has resurfaced.  Nick Grigsby is now a Hamilton TigerCat.
If you recall yesterday I predicted that Grigsby, leading the league in touchdowns scored, would be signed by Hamilton and that's a great thing for both Grigsby and the Cats.
First Grigsby will come under the watch of head coach Kent Austin.  Austin is a no BS kind of coach that calls things the way they are.  If Grigsby has learned anything from his experience in Winnipeg it would should be don't try that stuff in Hamilton under Kent Austin.  On the other side Grigsby gives the TigerCats some added ammunition as they try to clinch first place in the East.  First Grigsby can run the ball and second he can catch it as well and then make some things happen with extra YAC yards.
What happened in Winnipeg?   How does one fall from the penthouse to the outhouse in such short and dramatic fashion?   Well really only Grigsby and head coach Mike O'Shea really know what went down in Bomber land.

Grigsby was a healthy scratch for a game against the Edmonton Eskimos which the Bombers lost 41 - 9.  Apparently coach O'Shea wanted to take a look at Paris Cotton and liked what he saw.
Grigsby was told he would not play against Calgary either and that's when as they say " the poop hit the fan".
Grigsby immediately demanded that he be released.  The Bombers obliged.  To their credit the Bombers haven't done any name calling or putting Grigsby down.  The Bomber response was basically Grigsby asked for his release and it was granted.
Grigsby was a little more blunt.  On his Twitter feed he indicated he had been backed into a corner by the Bombers.  There was a reference that he may have been lied to and a terse comment along the lines of the Bombers know what they did, ask them.
At any rate Grigsby's time as a Bomber is done.  He is now a TigerCat.  It's really to bad it is so late in the season.  What a great story line it would have made.  Grigsby returning to Winnipeg to face the BlueBombers.  Unfortunately we will have to wait for next year for that to happen.  Bombers are just winding down yet another disastrous season and will miss the playoffs again.
It's amazing what losing does to a team.  The Bombers rolled out to a 5 - 1 start.  Grigsby and quarterback Drew Willy were the toast of the town.  Since game six it's been all down hill for the Bombers and now Grigsby is gone.
Over in Riderville it's a similar story.  The Riders were 8 - 2.  Darian Durant was injured.  The team is on a long losing streak and now Coach Cory Chamblin is questioning the heart of some of his unnamed players.  The big difference between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg is that the Bombers took a risk, if Grigsby was the problem, and got rid of him.  Here Coach Chamblin continues to question his players desire and work ethic but never does anything about it.
Anybody remember a guy by the name of Kavis Reed?  He did the same thing and now he is gone.