Simpson is just flat out better at RB than Garrett. Garrett will be battling for a second Import RB spot with Wil Ford. Winnipeg is alos looking for either Volney or Woodson to stay healthy and fulfill there potential giving the BBs a third RB option from the Non import part of the roster
While I like Simpson better, I don't know if you can say he is "flat out better". Garrett has done pretty damn good with us too. But we don't know yet how his knee will be, and Simpson just seems to have a better team attitude. Money will come into the equation, and Ford would be the cheaper option (as would the Canadians you mentioned) - but it would be pretty scary if we had both Garret and Simpson on the field together!
I think that you can see that simpson's time in the NFL have benefited him greatly and I truly believe he is just better. He arguably could be the best back in the CFL at this point. Coming out of last season he was one of four RBs that seperated themselves from the rest of the RBs. In that group you could include Harris and Cornish Canadians as well as Kory Sheets the best RB to get no awards.
He could be a reason for the CFL to add another post season award as the top newcomer to the CFL. A player who is not considered a rookie do to his time in the NFL but is new to the CFL as more of these type of players are entering the CFL and having instant success. a couple of CB in Burnett and Watkins come to mind as well but were recognized as all stars.
Winnipeg with most likely the worst QB situation has the best RB situation. Bonified all star and physical speciman in Simpson. Former starter Garrett and top back up last year in Ford along with two Canadian RBs with a lot of potential if Healthy in Woodson and Volney.
Montreal has Jennings, V. Anderson, Rhodes, Messam, and possibly Whitaker (when healthy) in the mix for the starting spot. It all depends on what Hawkins wants in his starter. Does he want a power back, or a Westbrook type?
Oh, I agree that Simpson was (is) something special. I just think you're not giving Garrett his due. You have to remember that he only came into the season at the last 3rd of the year, after that crazy game against Toronto where we lost almost everyone to injury (Buck, Elliott, Reid, Volny? and a few others). Looking at his 500 yards in 2011 doesn't give him justice - he had multiple big games well over 100 yards, and the big semi final at home where he ran for 190 yards against the Cats.
The guy was also something special and most likely would have had the rushing title last year if he didn't get hurt in training camp. Now that said, that (and Simpson's great attitude as I mentioned) is why I am higher on Chad.
???????? Yep, he was only 1 yard and 18 games short of being dominant. That, plus running behind that vaunted O Line the Bombers fielded last year, would have made him a gimmee for the title. :roll: :roll:
Hamilton has a fair battle for the starting RB position at stake come training camp & into the regular season. Martel Mallett coming off an Achilles injury ... Chevon Walker coming off an explosive start or the 2012 season but limped to the finish. Add newcomer CJ Gable ... It'll be interesting.
I think we'll see this kind of situation amongst the majority of teams year in & year out both here in the CFL as well as south of the border in the National League. Teams are deploying running-back-by-rotation-platoon strategy. There are very few teams who have that "franchise" RB anymore. The shelf life or usefulness of a stud running back in this era is just shy of the expiry date on yogurt! Teams are using these guys up. Grinding them into the ground & tossing them aside for the next young guy faster than a musician hops on & off a groupie!
Cheaper, younger, faster ... versus ... tougher, experienced, durable. Unfortunately, football management seem to favor the former rather than the later!
Just take a look at how the RB position has fallen & declined in the last decade or more of NFL Drafts. Take a look at all the veteran RB's released from both CFL & NFL teams as of late. The running back position has become a commodity. Specialization is hard to achieve as a player & even harder to reward as a team due to wear & tear.
All that being said ... I fully expect many starting RB battles in the various upcoming training camps. As a backup IMPORT RB, you have to be able to do something else that just carry the mail. Return punts/kicks, cover punts/kicks ... Something. With the uniqueness of the ratio, you gotta be able to something else.
Austin is stock piling good Canadian Players at positions such as DE which will convert into quite a few good special teams players and they still have one yet unsigned.
If I remember right Walker started the season as one of the two kick off returners with Giguere.
I believe that Austin is prepared to go with a modern two back system somehting that Cortez could not quite get into place for many reasons some of which players dictating what they will or will not do.
Mallet with Walker as the change up back and a better kick of returner from last year I believe is Austin's plan going into training camp. Whether they come out of camp that way who knows
It's sadly the nature of the position now. Everyone wants to play RB, and quick speedy, juke and jive running backs are dime a dozen, because you can get away with it in college and getting touchdowns and scoring is how you get looked at by scouts and media. There's no reason no to bring on one, if only as a backup because there are so many and unless they are exceptional, you can get what you need out of them in a mere 2-6 years (if that). Unless you are the type who can also smoothly transition to another position or are a terror on special teams, you will have a short career.
In the CFL though, a consistent, 5 yard running back who can block is what you want and is much harder to find, especially after the NFL has had their pick. Those are the only running backs with any longevity.
Following Hammer's last comment, these are some fine comments by all again.
It would seem to me that there is a catch-22 for the CFL to fill the RB position and keep such players for long, as more versatile backs have also become more common in the NFL via the increased use of spread offences or spread sets in otherwise pro set offences with the traditional tight end as is still run by most teams.
I love to see them succeed in the CFL, as in my opinion it is a more complete game for the running back position.
Consider for example why Kackert was taken over Cory Boyd who apparently now is still on the hunt for new work.
Running back by committee has become the new normal in place of the "bell cow" back carrying the ball well more than 20 times per game. Since the 2006 Indianapolis Colts with a horrible running game (and as a fan I know it's still bad), winners include the Giants twice with a committee of backs or New Orleans or Green Bay with subpar running games.
More of the NFL backs are smaller and more mobile though have legitimate blocking skills for all those passing downs. Often only a good chip or low block is required to buy time for the QB and not a pancake against any given DL or big LB.
Good hands for the flare/screen pass are a must in the NFL any more. Being able to split out in the slot position to run some routes is a high bonus. Remember the great Marshall Faulk?
Take all of the above, plus any special teams versatility and capabilities, and you have a solid CFL starter and/or backup as opposed to the guy who made a high living in college just running the ball from the backfield behind a superior line compared to the competition but not having to do much else.
Those backs in college, who roll over and dominate that vastly inferior competition in any given conference, are sometimes the bigger backs at 230+ too who often can't make the shift to pro football to become feature backs or starters because they just don't have much else to offer beyond beefcake and a few moves.
I agree you see this with Canadian RBs coming from the CIS and is the reason many are moved to FB.
For import RB they often spend 3 or 4 years as special teamers, returners, back ups, or practice roster players where they continue to work on these skills.
Then you see what we had last season in the CFL with Chad Simpson who spent most of his time as a returner and Korey Sheets who played some games on the 53 man roster early in his career but finished up as a practice roster player.
Now both have come to the CFL with a whole new skill set as all around backs and also in prime years of 25 to 30 yrs old but did not take the game to game pounding in the NFL so there bodies are still fresh and mature and hence you see how they were both of all star calibre and able to do so many things.
Lumbala coming out of Calgary this season can hopefully become a good back up and return player at the RB position to start with learning to block and pass catch and be able to become a starter one day like cornish did coming out of the NCAA
What about Noel Devine? He's still on the roster I see and he's quite versatile after having been scouted by Montreal since high school the last I read about his past including his fine time at West Virginia with Pat White and Steve Slaton on those awesome teams.
I agree with Devine but the Als are looking to make him into one of the new CFL hybrid RB/SB/Returner much like a thigpen, Andre durie, Jock Sanders in SASK. It is becoming a hot position for a CFL team to have a player like this and Devine is that guy in Montreal. SO it is hard to to put him in just as a RB so I can see what everyone is saying here. It is just a new position that is arising on a CFL roster to help with the 42 man roster Devine and others like him will take up only one roster spot and won't be a starter per say when the line ups are announced but as a back up RB whether 3rd or 2nd depending on the ratio for that game. a 5th 7th or even a 5th receiver depending again on needs at other positions and also a return spot on special teams whether he be the main back two guys on kick offs or a guy in the level above to handle a shorter kick.
Thats a lot of responsibility and having such a player is invaluable and a smaller type 42 man roster in the CFL for game day.
Definitely. I only left him off the list because I would be shocked to see Devine win the starter spot. As steve said, I think he's being groomed to be more of a hybrid change-of-pace guy (a la Andrew Hawkins in recent years) than to be the back carrying the ball for five-yard runs between the tackles.
I'm actually quite excited to see what Devine can do this year. IMO he didn't get a fair shake at all last season, either on offense or on special teams.
I agree the special teams Unit blocking on Kick off returns was said by many to be unmotivated and it was not until injuries hit that Devine himself came off the IR and began to be used slightly as the Hybrid RB/SB. I suspect things will be different this season as he is a good talent whose skills should translate