The first third of the CFL season is over and I think it is safe to say it was a rather unspectacular beginning to the 2015 campaign at least it was in the eyes of this blogger.
Yes, there were close games, but there was also a lot of fan apathy and in my mind, that trumps close games because viewership is declining. How much is viewership declining you may ask. Only 600-thousand watched the Riders-Eskimos game last Friday night. That is a poor number and while the Riders record may have something to do with it, so does the play this year. One only wonders if the CFL is taking notice.
There is no one out there, and I mean no one who could have forecast what the first six weeks would like for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It might have been the worst six week stretch in team history and it may not get any better Saturday night in Toronto. There were signs of life from the defence in Edmonton, but they still need to put some things together. Brett Smith looked alright in his first start despite being inexplicably pulled and I am guessing he will improve on his effort in Edmonton, Will it be enough? If it isn't, I am guessing some players will be told not to come back after the bye week as new players will be in and ready to roll. Mark Legree, Steven Miller and Devin Watson will provide some energy and it will be nice to see Tristan Jackson back as well.
With Legree and Jackson back, what does that do to a Rider secondary that has been very soft this year?
Have the new rules accomplished what the CFL wanted? Scoring isn't up the way they thought it would. The only thing up is passing numbers. I think the CFL erred tremendously in the way they brought in the new rules and going back would just make them look foolish. The new rules are here to stay, but it looks like we are seeing a softening when it comes to illegal contact as defenders are starting to be allowed to handfight and gain position for the ball.
At the one third point, there is talk the Eskimos are the best team in the league right now. I would probably give that honour to Hamilton. Edmonton has four wins in five tries, but two of those victories came when Brian Brohm came in for an injured Drew Willy which left Winnipeg weakened and the Eskimos also played a Saskatchewan team with their 3rd string quarterback. Edmonton has a long ways to go before they convince me they are the best team in the league. Let's see them play Calgary and Hamilton first.
--Patrick Kane, what are you thinking? Something didn't go right last weekend in your world and whether you are charged or not, you need to take a good look in the mirror and smarten up a little. You have the world at your feet son, don't screw it up!
--After Gregg Zaun's rant on Yordano Ventura Monday, I am becoming more and more convinced he could be Canada's next Don Cherry. He already goes to the same tailor as Grapes by looking at some of his wardrobe.
--With Mark Lowe and Latroy Hawkins being acquired by the Blue Jays, I don't know if we will ever see Aaron Loup, Liam Hendriks or Brett Cecil in a close game again this season. If you are a supporter of the Jays, this is a good thing! If you have Loup in a crappy relievers pool, this is a bad thing! His absence of late means I have slipped to 2nd in said pool.
--Michael Sam will apparently play for the Alouettes against Ottawa tonight. If he's good enough to keep playing he will. If not, he won't. I really don't think he has taken pro football seriously as he seems to want to cash in on his notoriety. If that is what we wants, that is what he will get as the CFL is his only avenue back to the NFL.
--Congrats to Sam Steel for making Canada's summer U18 team that will play at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Pats fans should be very excited to see how Steel does in his sophomore season. He won't be the only Pat to have a great season.
--Congrats to the Regina Red Sox for moving into the Saskatchewan Division final against Weyburn. Game 3 of that series will go at Currie Field Monday night. Get out there and cheer the Red Sox on!
--Rory McIlroy doesn't need to play in next week's PGA Championship so if his ankle is not 100 percent, don't bother. There will be many more majors for McIlroy to compete in.
--Who is your number one pick in an NFL fantasy draft this year?
--"Vacation" either looks like a classic or a complete dud. I may have to check it out to make a decision.
--The stars of High Impact Wrestling do their thing in the 20th annual Pile O Bones Rumble tonight. It is black tie optional. Everything starts at 7 at the Hungarian Club.