Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Riderville...and so it begins...

It's often said (actually it's not) that the CFL season doesn't officially begin until the Saskatchewan Roughrider front office makes a baffling personnel decision. I say that the season doesn't start until the Riders make TWO baffling personnel decisions...

So let the season begin!!

It was reported just an hour or so ago that the Riders traded their all-purpose yardage leader from last season, Dominique Dorsey (1,649 yards in 14 games), along with defensive lineman Dwan Epps to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for offensive tackle Eric Wilson (News of this trade isn't even up on the Riders official website yet, so I have no information for you on Eric Wilson - as TSN.ca and the Blue Bombers website apparently had nothing to say about him - probably not a good sign). Dorsey was the player we all thought would be the starting tail-back for the team this year. However, management obviously had other ideas.

(By the by, in case you were wondering, the first baffling personnel decision was months ago when management traded the best QB on our roster, Rockey Butler, to Hamilton for an offensive guard and yet another wide receiver.)

So with no Dorsey on the roster, that leaves the team with 3, that's right 3, running backs heading in to training camp on Sunday. The apparently traded for another RB last week from Montreal, Henri Childs, but he is not listed on the roster on Riderville.com. So as far as I'm concerned there are only 3 running backs on the roster right now, and here they are:

Shermar Bracey: I'm not even going to pretend that I don't like this guy. He was one of my favorite Riders last year when he provided a great change of pace to the water bug-like running of Kenton Keith. At 6'2" 235 lbs. he was a guy that could go out and smash some people right in the mouth. However, he's simply too big to be the feature back in the CFL - I think that Ricky Williams proved last year that big backs don't work real well in the CFL. Bracey is still going to be a great change of pace for the Riders, but he can't be the every down back.

Josh Martyr: A rookie out of York University, where last year he rushed for 97 yards on 21 carries (4.62 yards per carry). He's a decent size at 6'0" 210 lbs but excuse me if I'm not rushing down to the Store to get Martyr put on the back of a jersey. Can you say special teams???

Fred Russell: Another CFL rookie, although Russell has played professional football before, but at 5'8" 190 lbs I can see why nobody really noticed. Apparently he led the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in rushing last year with 522 yards on 150 carries (3.48 yards per carry). Obviously as Kenton Keith proved a small guy can flourish in the CFL and I think the Riders better be hoping Russell follows suit. By the looks of the guys on the roster I think Russell might be the best chance for the team to have a dynamic running back this year. But did I mention he's 5'8"?
* all stats from TSN.ca

So how does that look to you? Feeling optimistic? Apathetic? Terrified? Hopefully the team knows something that the public doesn't about Kenton Keith returning to the team. I mean he's going to have to come back up here anyway for his trial, so why not put a uniform on him and get some use out of him?

From all the noise coming from the organization, new head coach Kent Austin wants to install a pass-happy offense, with 5 and 6 receiver sets. Besides the fact that this won't work due to the team having the least accurate QB in the league (do we think Akili Smith would be an upgrade in this department? how terrifying is that thought), a running game, like it or not, is still an essential part of football, be it 3 or 4 down. A passing attack is only effective because of a running game. Without a running game that demands respect the passing game cannot succeed.

I really hope this turns out better than I think it's going to.

Look on the bright side, the team is mathematically still in contention for the playoffs as well as a home playoff game.

Are we having fun yet?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Meh,
I'm not concerned yet. Dorsey went down every time a gust of wind passed through Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.

I'm liking the prospect of this russel guy - 522 yards on 15 carries!! Oh yeah!! Sorry, i regretted mocking a typo as soon as i did it. I suppose i could delete it, but now that i've put this much typing into it...

It's not like weather plays a factor in the CFL. As the Blades of Steel announcer says, "Pass, pass, pass." I have a good feeling about us making the Tim Horton's Grey Cup this year.

CH

Trebor said...

When I heard over the wire that the riders were involved in a trade, I was thinking...what wr have they picked up this time. The fact that they are lookin to protect the qb is good, but sending away the 'top' rb on the roster rightnow ???

At one time I thought they were picking up all these wr's for trade bait later. Kinda like fantasy football when one guy picks up 3-4 qb's, you know he's going to be trading them for the other skill postions. Doesn't seem to be the cas here though.

I cant say I'm as optimistic as CH, it would be nice but I think weather does play a factor: rain snow, wind gusts....those conditions are when you need to run the ball. Since it doesn't look like the riders will have a running gmae besides qb sneaks i don't think it looks good.

Also one more thing didn't Austin play here ?? Has the front office forgotten that 1 bad game from a rider qb will lead to an upsrising to put in the #2 guy or even #3. is he not setting joesph up for failure?