The CFL will start the year-end awards process either today or tomorrow as we will find out what nominees come from the respective clubs. I do not get a vote anymore, but if I did here is who I would be voting for when it comes to the Riders this season.
MOP--I will lean towards Darian Durant here, but had Weston Dressler been healthy, my vote would have gone his way. Durant has had a great season in his first full season as Rider QB and while he has had some stumbles along the way, there has been more good than bad with his play this season. As for Dressler, he was having a better 2009 than his rookie season in which he was named the rookie of the year. Could Durant be named the West nominee for MOP. If Joffrey Reynolds is the Stampeders nominee, I say no. If its Jermaine Copeland, I say yes. Its also yes if Durant should have a mammoth game Saturday night.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER-This is a tough one when you consider Stevie Baggs and John Chick have been so dynamic and such a force this year. The two are the best defensive end tandem in the league and they do make life miserable for opposing offensive lines. I have to lean towards Chick here and he might just be named the league's best during Grey Cup week.
CANADIAN-I know Andy Fantuz has had a great season, but you just can't ignore the way Rob Bagg came on to the scene in 2009. After giving us a glimpse of what he could do in 2008, Bagg came into 2009 on a mission and he has succeeded more times than not when his number has been called upon. He goes into Saturday's finale against the Stamps with a chance to catch 60 plus balls for certainly 800 and maybe 900 yards. I don't think Rider fans were expecting that kind of contribution from the Queens grad.
ROOKIE-One would have to believe offensive lineman Joel Bell wins this award by default as there aren't many first year players that made an impact this year on the Rider lineup the way Weston Dressler did last year. Bell came in early in the season and had no problems adapting to the Canadian game. He has done more than hold his own this year. Another great find by Eric Tillman.
LINEMAN-Gene Makowsky has owned this honour for the past number of years and for good reason. The sure fire hall of famer is one of the best players to ever wear a Rider uniform and is one of the best o-linemen in the history of the CFL. However this year I would cast my vote for Jeremy O'Day. He has been the anchor of the offensive line this season and he has played every game. He deserves the recognition.
SPECIAL TEAMS-Some eyebrows were raised when it was announced the Riders were bringing back Jason Armstead, but he has silenced everyone with his play. Before he showed up, there was nothing special about special teams, but he brought a much needed spark to the return game and more importantly, he brought the team some instant field position. He will break one all the way for a touchdown before this season is over---perhaps on Grey Cup Sunday.
As always, you can agree or disagree with the selections. Your feedback is more than welcome.