A Look to the Future for Riderville

February 20, 2016 - 8:49am

 CFL Schedule out, Rider sign players depending on Microsoft Ap, rumours of ugly new uniform

It's been another busy week in Riderville, or Jonestown as some with a dark sense of humor would like to call it.

FIirst off, let’s review the Rider schedule.

The last season in Taylor Field or Mosaic V 1.0 if you want to be technical about the whole thing finally has a dance card.

The Preseason game has the BC Lions in on Saturday, June 11th (7:00pm). This is the first time we will see our pretty well completely re-built team and more importantly, if Darian Durant still has the arm and leg for quarterback.

The Riders have a bye in the first week, which means at worst we will be undefeated and there will be no film on us. The season then opens on Thursday, June 30th (8:00pm) with the Toronto Argonauts in town.

Then after two road games including one in Deadmonton, the Riders return Saturday, July 16th (5:00pm) against the BC Lions and the return of Wally Buono. Be sure to catch Wally wandering onto the field and the east side stands yelling,"get off the field Wally!"

Then we see what may be the last game of Henry Burris at Taylor Field on Friday, July 22nd (7:00pm) when the Ottawa Redblacks come to town. Henry got a new back up in Trevor Harris, who was first string in Toronto until Ricky Ray re-signed and Harris is obviously the quarterback of the future in Ottawa. Helping send Henry out will be former Ottawa players Shawn Lemon and Justin Capiciotti.

The Riders conclude a home and home set on Saturday, August 13th (5:00pm) against the Calgary Stampeders under new coach Dave Dickenson. With no Jon Cornish in the Calgary line-up, those looking for a full moon on Taylor Field turf may have to look to the heavens.

At this point the game of the year to date will be Sunday, September 4th (1:00pm) against the Godless Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Classic. This is the last one at Taylor Field and will feature the return of Weston Dressler, Ryan Smith, Keith Shologan, Macho Harris, even Richie Hall and Paul La Police who might have been the Rider head coach. The Riders are riding an 11 game winning streak for this game and it will be an emotional one.

Then on Sunday, September 18th (2:30pm) the Edmonton Eskimos come to town. The Riders will have visited Deadmonton at least twice before this with Deadmonton’s old coaching staff and many players. This is where Rider fans can return the favor.

Kent Austin and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats return Saturday, September 24th (7:30pm) with John Chick in tow. This will be another emotional game, maybe not as big as the Winnipeg game, but it will be fascinating to see the Riders handle the Hamilton pass rush.

The Montreal Alouettes come to town Saturday, October 22nd (2:00pm) with Kevin Glenn apparently making an appearance at quarterback and a receiving corps of SJ Green, Duron Carter, Nik Lewis and Kenny Stafford. This will be a great test of whether taller defensive backs are the answer to countering the AL’s big receivers, although Montreal did contribute two of three Rider wins last year.

The final scheduled home game comes Saturday, October 29th (5:00pm) as the BC Lions come to town. Of course there may be a playoff game, but let’s not ahead of ourselves. The Riders are planning a big ceremony and apparently season ticket holders and owners of Rider shares can be entered every time they buy something from the Rider store from here to May I think. The winners get custom made jerseys, sideline passes for this game and a chance to pull Wally Buono off the field.

If you are looking for tickets, go to Riderville.com for ticket information. When I lived in Prince Albert and North Battleford, I couldn’t do all the games, but the flex tickets provide a reasonable option.

And speaking of applications, MSN Sports on Thursday had a listing of Rider signings - DE Jamil Cooks, 6ft 4, 245lbs; DE Sage Harold, 6ft 4, 245 lbs; LB Dede Lattimore, 6ft 1,  237lbs; OL Kamalie Mathews, 6ft,  295lbs; DB Johnathan Shuler, 6ft 1, 178lbs; OL Joseph Treadwell, 6ft 5, 324 lbs. By 10 p.m., those names were pulled off MSN Sports, which is a weird place to find this stuff to begin with.

Then on Friday the Riders announced the signings of Lattimore, Harold and Shuler, which makes one think someone leaked something early and the rest of the names will be announced later. The Riders did announce international receiver Etauj Allen, international running back Terrance Cobb, international offensive lineman Darryl Johnson and international offensive lineman Kamalie Matthews were signed with the club.

If, like me, you are curious about Chris Jones wanting to get bigger, Allen is 5’9” 185 and was in Edmonton last year where he went from defensive back to receiver. So with maybe three inches on Weston Dressler, his vertical leap must be of Michael Jordan dimensions.

Cobb, I told you about last column. Sometimes the players let the stuff out before it is officially announced and he is a running back that was in camp last year with the Riders but had a foot injury at the end of training camp.

Johnson is 6’4” 295 and has NFL experience. It makes one wonder how many American offensive linemen the Riders are looking for, or if they are looking for depth for the tackle positions. Matthews is 6’2” 310 lbs and was in the Seahawk camp last year as an undrafted free agent. Again, size on the line is speaking volumes.

If the Riders are looking to make a bid on Henoc Muamba, they may have to wait awhile. Muamba is looking at some NFL options and the feeling amongst CFL players is the practice of cutting players before paying them bonuses is crap. There are a few former Rider players who likely share those sentiments and this may come back to bite the league in the rear when players ask why coaches have guaranteed contracts but players do not.

The collective bargaining agreement with one year contracts has not provided many with the big bucks they were looking for and players like former Rider Tyrone Brackenridge – who is apparently looking now at a career as an investment banker – will likely be available for a song, which considering the state of the Canadian dollar versus the American dollar, will have players wondering if maybe moving up here is the best way to stretch their dollars.

As an example of how free agency is a double edged sword, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers cut veterans Zach Anderson, Paris Cotton and Greg Peach with talk that Clarence Denmark and Bryant Turner may be joining them. Winnipeg made a big splash, but they may find they will be short on depth unless they have an exceptional draft and pick up some early NFL cuts. With the Riders cutting big salaries already, it’s how well will they be able to get a team approach going on offense, defense and special teams.

So with the schedule out, the question remains of what will the new uniforms look like in 2016. Adidas has taken over from Reebok and apparently there will be a new look to the Rider uniforms and other teams as well. If you like the former uniforms, you can contact the Rider store through Riderville.com and pick up a uniform for $100 unless there is no name on it then it’s $50 or white Stormtrooper helmets for $300.

While the new uniforms are not expected out until say April, or training camp, the rumor is the Riders new look will include a yoke, which if you remember the Calgary Stampeders wore a solid color around their shoulders. For those who dissed the Signature jerseys, you may really have something to complain about.

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