Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Smile A Day - October 20th

Fairy Tales Aren't Supposed To End This Way.

The stage was set and for a fleeting moment it looked like the Saskatchewan RoughRiders led by a 41 year old quarterback coaxed out of retirement might actually win the game over the Edmonton Eskimos.  The Riders actually held on to a 13 - 4 lead over Edmonton and Kerry Joseph, the 41 year old quarterback had thrown a touchdown reception to Brett Swain.  Touchdowns against Edmonton this year have been few going back to a 24 - 0 whitewash by the Eskimos a few games ago.
But that was then and this was now.  Back then the Riders had two green behind the gills rookie quarterbacks and neither were moving the ball with authority.
This was now.  Leading the team was the veteran Kerry Joseph who in years gone by had actually led Saskatchewan to one of their infrequent Grey Cups.
The stage was set.  The house was full.  Everything was going to plan until that disastrous third quarter.
Kendall Lawrence took the second half's opening kickoff and ran it back 95 yards for a touchdown and suddenly the Eskimos were ahead 14 - 13.  Still no problem right ?  Lots of time for the veteran QB to engineer a couple of game winning touchdowns.  I mean this is a fairy tale right and in fairy tales there's always the good guys (Kerry and the RoughRiders) and the bad guys, those pesky Edmonton Eskimos.
However it was veteran Mike Reilly who took over the game for Edmonton and engineered a touchdown of his own to put the Eskimos in command.  To be sure the Riders and their veteran leader didn't roll over and play dead.  Joseph did put together another touchdown drive with a pass to Korey Williams but it was pretty much over by then and the Eskimos prevailed with a 24 - 19 win.
That eliminates any chances the Riders had to host a home playoff game.  On top of that now they must get something together and soon to keep the BC Lions from passing them into third and force the Riders to cross over into the East Division for the playoffs.  Joseph didn't have a bad outing going something like 17 for 36 for a couple of touchdowns but he also served up two interceptions that didn't help the Rider cause.
In some cases he didn't get help from his receivers.  Chris Getzlaf continues to suffer from a severe case of the dropsies letting a couple fall out of his hands that should have been caught.
Although he didn't single out anyone Rider coach Cory Chamblin didn't sound very pleased saying after the game there are still some guys who don't understand what it is to give their best each and every play.  He added he will be looking for guys who can do that before the Riders go into the playoffs.
Whether that means he has some cuts in mind from the National Football League, no one is quite sure.
He did say that Kerry Joseph will get the start against Calgary in the Riders next game.  And really does it matter who starts?   If and that's a big IF, Darian Durant is healthy by playoff time then unquestionably he would be the Riders starter.  One has to think that a Darian Durant at 75 or 80 per cent would be better than anything we have seen so far.
Still can't help but be thinking though that even with Kerry Joseph playing, it would be a mistake to give up on Tino Sunseri and what he has shown in a couple of games.  Sunseri seems to better coming off the bench.  Perhaps the Riders should have looked at Sunseri in the fourth quarter of the Edmonton game.  At this point what do they have to lose?   Chamblin seems to be coach that has all his allegiances on one player.   Rob Ford wasn't getting the job done at running back against Edmonton.
Why not turn to Jerome Messam and see what he can do?  Some how the concept of winning as a team has been lost to this group of RoughRiders and that is on their coach.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Smile A Day - October 18th

                                         Well that's what friends are for.  They keep you from falling

Kerry Joseph - Has the "Best Before" Date Expired ?

Heres a little numbers game for you 1 & 4 and 41.  What do they signify?  The Saskatchewan RoughRiders are 1 - 4 in their last five games. And they turn their fortunes over to a 41 year old quarterback to begin
Chapter One of the unbelievable 2014 season and the miracle quarterback when the Riders host the Edmonton Eskimos on Sunday.  To say it is a huge game would be the understatement of the year.  The Riders have made the playoffs, that much we know for sure, but if the Riders want any hope of hosting a playoff game at Mosiac Stadium then this is  an absolutely must game.   The Eskimos come into the game with ten wins and five losses.  The Riders are at nine wins six losses.  The Eskimos won their opening encounter, remember that 24 - 0 embarrassment a few weeks ago.  If the Eskimos win this one they go up by four points but more importantly they will have won the season series against the Riders.   The Riders remaining two games are against Calgary and then Edmonton again.
It seems almost a forgone conclusion that 41 year old Kerry Joseph, pulled out of retirement, will get the start for the Riders.  And really what other choice do the coaches have?  Tino Sunseri has shown flashes, all too infrequent and not long enough to consider him capable of beating anyone, let alone the Eskimos.  Seth Doege has been a total flop in any of the appearances he has made.
That leaves Joseph.  Head coach Cory Chamblin stated a couple of weeks ago that they brought Joseph in to do more than hold the clipboard.  So here's your chance to start the veteran.  Why not ?
To be sure Joesph's "best before date " has expired.  But he says his arm is still good,  he says he is probably not as fast as he used to be but if the Riders can get three games out of him before the playoffs start and get that all important home game, then the fairy tale is complete.  Well no, not complete.  A real Cinderella type fairy tale would have Kerry Joseph hoisting the Grey Cup in six weeks or so and the Riders celebrating a second Grey Cup in a row.
So what are the Eskimos saying about facing Joseph"

“I’m glad to see him back in the league, he’s a good guy that kind of mentored me a little bit,” said Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly. “When he was here, he didn’t look or act like he was 40. We gave him a hard time about being so old, but really, he was stronger and faster than any of us. And in better shape. Physically, it’s not going to be a problem for him.
“I wish him success, except for when he’s playing us, and then I hope if he’s on the field he gets knocked around quite a bit.”

“He can bring a lot of spirit to the game, him being an MOP and having won a Grey Cup in this league,”  “He can bring experience and a lot of veteran-ship to that team. I wish him the best, but we’re going to be after him if he’s back there behind centre.
“Nothing against him, it’s just how it is. If Kerry Joseph’s back there, we’re coming for him.”  Odell Willis

The one caution the Riders may have to face is rushing quarterback Darian Durant back into action to soon.  If Joseph can survive the final three games, get them some playoff standing, the temptation would be great to put Darian Durant in for the playoffs.   And that could be a mistake.That's the bright side.   The other side of all that is what if Kerry Joseph has a dreadful outing against the Edmonton Eskimos.  What if it is another 24 - 0 or 40 - 9 blowout with another inadequate performance at quarterback.  Horrors upon horrors.
If you think the situation is desperate now a no show by Kerry Joseph will really have the fans and the media questioning whether the Rider coaches and head office really know what they are doing.
When it comes down to it, there is a lot more riding on Sunday's outcome with Edmonton than you think.  A solid performance by Joseph will answer a lot of questions.  A poor performance and another loss will bring about a whole lot more questions including the big one, What do we do now ?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Smile A Day - October 16th

In A League That Needs Stars Blue Bombers Bungle It

Ok to be sure only a couple of people know what's going on in Winnipeg.  There's Nick Grigsby and head coach Mike O'Shea and you would have to presume Kyle Walters, the general manager.
But how does this sound for you?
You're in last place in your division, but you still have a shot at a playoff spot.  You've lost five in a row but you can still turn it around starting with a game against the Edmonton Eskimos.
So what do you do.   You make your best player, running back Nick Grigsby,  a healthy scratch.
That's a nice way of saying, Nick you're benched.  Well it's worse than being benched, you are not even going to dress for the game.  All that despite the fact that you lead the entire Canadian Football League is touchdowns scored and are fourth in yards rushing.  You would think a team, fighting to make the playoffs, trying to end a losing streak could use that kind of production. Apparently not.
Then the Bombers go out and get a good old fashion smack down laid on them as the Edmonton Eskimos win 41 - 9.     Now the losing streak is six games but there is still a chance you could make the playoffs if you start winning.
Next up on the schedule is the first place Calgary Stampeders.   They are 11 and 2 and the class of the league.  It's going to take all hands on deck but there's still a chance right.  I mean the games are played on the field and the Stampeders have to show up just like anyone else.
But then..wait for it, you call you're leading scorer and top running back into your office and tell him he is not going to play against the Stampeders either.  He get's PO'd.  He demands that you release him and you accommodate him.  You don't try to trade him on trade deadline day and see what you can get for him.  No you just release him and insinuate that he's not a team guy.  He didn't have the right attitude.  He's a cancer in the locker room or you take the road Coach O'Shea took and you don't tell anyone anything.  You just hang Grigsby out to dry, let him flutter in the wind and a promising career come crashing down.
Or you leave it to Grigsby himself to do the talking.   Isn't Twitter wonderful ?

To all my fans I love all the support and they backed me into a corner! That I had know other choice! Only they can answer that!
Now to be sure there is something else going on behind the scenes here..  And probably Grigsby has it right when he says only the Bombers can answer that.

But in a league where the fans are asked to pay good hard earned money to see the stars play you can't help but think that the Bombers have screwed their own fans and subsequently all Canadian Football League fans.
The fan reaction on social media was instant and it was almost unanimous.  The Bombers have bungled   
and the league has lost a very good player.
If there is more to the story than that then the Bombers owe it to their paying customers to explain to them while a fan favourite and a star has been ushered out of town.