Canadian Talent

With the Als having to add a Lambros to the roster (although in fairness I believe he was injured in pre-season), Lyle Green and Kelly Bates coming out of retirement this wk. for Calg. and B.C., as someone pointed out today, how is the league going to be able to stock Ottawa with Canadian talent without diluting the product?

We keep hearing about the need to develop a Canadian QB, but is the CFL developing the other positions? Or are the players just not talented enough?

Here with the Als we can ask this in regards to Deslauriers, Desriveaux, Steenbergen, Matte, Chima.

Just asking.

Personnally, I don't think that there is enough Canadian talent to designate 7 as starters; to me,this number should be no more than 6 and preferably 5. I do know that it will not change soon, but I surely hope that once/if Ottawa comes back to the League that it will be reduce to 5. I don't want to decrease the total number of non-imports but only the starters. Imagine if 1 or 2 of our OL or Emry get injured. When you notice the signing of a Green who has not played for 3 years or so and a Bates coming out of retirement or a Landros who practice for 2 days, you realize that we are low in canadian talent.

In the last 3 to 4 years/drafts,can anyone name a Canadian all-star,other than an OL? I can't. I am not saying a starter,but an All-star; Emry has not been an all-star,yet.

With regards to canadian QB, there is no one good enough to be a starter,even second; if ever one comes OK,but I don't care if one comes or not;I want the best talent,at least as QB.


First, I would say (and I know this will sound like a mantra!) that there has to be interest in a sport to develop talent. This is definitely the case in hockey. Every Canadian boy and girl straps on skates from a young age and heads down to the local arena. Not so in football! There are indeed high school teams, college teams, and various junior teams around the country, but not nearly to the same extent as with hockey.

Second (and I have raised this thorny issue before), the US has schoalarship programmes for sports. Many economically deprived young Americans might never had had the opportunity to go to school and develop their talent otherwise. Yes, I know there have been many stories about cheating, having others do their term papers... These football programmes have provided trememdous talent to pro football, and the CFL has most surely benefited from this. The CIS has contributed also, but to a much lesser degree.

Finally, there is money. Running a football programme is expensive. You have to have sponsors, alumni, or government involvement to promote and fund the sport.

So, when a highly talented Canadian player does come along every now and then, there will be 40 American-born players better skilled than him. It's simply a numbers game! Coaches, when faced with the weekly dilemma of who to dress becuase of I/NI ratios, have to field the team with the best players; that's the only way you can have a legitimate shot at championship. Sadly, that means that many Canadian players have to bide their time. In some cases, that time never comes.

Now, there have been some bright spots. For whatever reason, football has gained a good foothold in Quebec. Years ago, football programmes at U de M, Laval, and elsewhere were a joke - not any more! There are good football players from Quebec on most CFL teams now. Reason? Both universities decided to invest a little more in their programmes, had some sort of recruiting... Result? - good football teams and good players. So, there's no magic formula - you just have to do it. Now, is there enough interest in the country to make that happen coast-to-coast? I, for one, would definitely like to see it.

I don't understand what the problem is. Every team plays the same number of imports. all this mean is 7 more Canadian need to start and everything being equal the available talent is split between all teams.

You have guys like Matte, Woldu, Barker, Brouillette,Steenbergen,DeAngelis,Messam,Sisco sitting around in civies. There is no issue.

There was a time where there were 9 teams and more than seven starters and the league was doing just fine.

Maybe the answer is to increase the number on the active roster. This of course has implications on salaries, salary caps... BUT - if the CFL wants to ensure that teams field the best players each game, this would give them some flexibility. Secondly, to increase the I/NI ratio.

I think what Richard is saying is that it's rare for a non-OL Canadian to be an elite, all-star talent in the league. And I agree with him. We should reduce the number of Canadian starters when (if?) Ottawa returns to the league. I dislike playing Canadians just for the sake of it.

Guess we have another point to disagree on. I for one prefer to see our local Canadian boys on the field. Seven, is such a small number to begin with. In fact for me, I would like to see that number increase slightly to give some of them more of chance other than on the line.
CFL Canadian Football League.

Exactly what happens. If you remove the 4 or 5 Olinesmen starting on every team that leaves 2 to 3 Canadian starters in "skilled" positions. Your going to tell me that there are less than 25 guys in this country who can play ball ? Please...

Fact is 90 percent of coaches are American and since the CFL does next to no development, it's easyer for them to plug in imports.

Precisely, Hfx. Added to that is more clement weather in the US, so American boys get to play longer seasons. Football may not be the official American sport, but to all intents and purposes, it is. I would love to see that kind of passion for the sport here.

It is no small credit that in spite of long odds, many of our Canadian boys have distinguished themselves over the years. Hopefully, with enough interest, investment, and training, we will not need I/NI ratios; our boys will be able to make it on their own merit.

Until then...

No, it's not that they can't play, but that they're not more than mediocre players compared to most imports from the US. A country of 35 million whose main national sport is hockey simply isn't going to produce anywhere near the number of quality players as a country of 350 million where college football sells out 60k stadia and the amount of money thrown at football development is off the charts. We don't invest money in developing football at grassroots, high school, and college levels, and we don't have the population base to produce large numbers of quality players.

Fact is 90 percent of coaches are American and since the CFL does next to no development, it's easyer for them to plug in imports.
Imports are better-trained, on average, than Canadians. Look at Saskatchewan. They hitched their wagon to Canadian receivers, but now that Fantuz is gone and Bagg is done for the season, where are the NI replacements? Nowhere, because the odds of finding a Canadian receiver of Fantuz's quality are slim.

I know we have our nationalist delusions, but we have to face facts. Canada just doesn't produce enough quality football talent to justify the current number of NI starters per CFL team. It's a development issue.

We just disagree on that, there use to be 11 NI starters for 9 teams with maybe 10 to 20% the quantity of college players we have today. You are right that on average a CIS grad is not as seasoned as big conference division 1 starter no question but you need to play to get better. So if you had a higher Ni starter mandate, they would develop quicker by playing more...

The only argument I agree with is that by increasing the NI count the quality of the game would go down a bit and after 5 years things would be right back to where they were quality wise and when teams would get hit with injuries to their NI starters they would be juggling their roster the same way they are now with seven.

The reason is money, teams want smaller rosters and this doesn't allow for much development and even less so now with this idiotic SMS system. Team's practice rosters shouldn't count towards the SMS and shouldn't be limited but instead players would have to be under 26 years of age and on the practice roster for a maximum of two years and be composed of at least half NI. Practice roster wasn't meant to place 29 year old ex NFL'ers...

We are definitely on the same "page" disciplineandpunish.

While I feel that the numbers of non-imports starters should be at 5 or 6, I would also like the roster/players dressed be expanded by 2. If 2 more players were dressed,this would have no impact on the cap,since they already get paid and improve the game/the players. Don't you think that the Dublanko,Matte,Steenbergen would learn more/become better if they were playing rather than be extended on 1 game injury list,from week to week?

McCuller and Steenbergen have basically the same age but,fortunately for McCuller, he is better prepared to play. He played in the NFL-pre-season-and his college experience at North Carolina State is above what Steenbergen received at Calgary.In 3 years from now,our non-import could be better but he is not today.

If the numbers of non-imports starters were to increase,the games will deteriorate and the advocates of this measure would be the first ones to quit/look elsewhere.

I am a proud Québecois/Canadian and love Canadian football and we have very good and good canadian talent but not enough.


Perhaps when Ottawa comes on the scene ( I will believe it when I see it) they might be granted 3- 4 or more import NCAA players instead of grabbing all of our best NIs.This would make Ottawa more competitive by allowing them to retain these few during their their playing lives. I am supportive of retaining our NIs and not adding more imports.

They've already defined the expansion draft. Its fairly complex but if you goodle it, they breakdown how it is gonna happen, of course that's if it happens...

Sorry gentlemen, as mentioned, prefer more Canadians to less. This is suppose to be the Canadian Football league. As Hfx states, they will only improve by playing. I for one, would be willing to see these Canadians develop and play that having more imports coming up from down south.

Sorry gentlemen, as mentioned, prefer more Canadians to less. This is suppose to be the Canadian Football league. As Hfx states, they will only improve by playing. I for one, would be willing to see these Canadians develop and play that having more imports coming up from down south.

I have to agree
What is annoying however is seeing talented Canadian talent sitting on the "bench" (IR, practise roster)
Especially in positions that are "traditionally" dominated by imports

I'd like to see greater incentives for teams to play their Canadian talent more
Truth be told...I wouldn't mind seeing more of Deslauriers...for instance
It's all well and good for such players to perform in pre-season games
But without a regular and serious shot at can they possibly raise their game?
It must be very frustrating

Might be a chicken and egg thing here. :wink: To me, you earn a shot at starting by being good enough to start. If Deslauriers were good enough to be a starter, I think he would already be one. League-wide, I'd say there is a definite gap between quality Canadian starting receivers (Fantuz when he was here, Getzlaf, Bagg, Peterson, Stala, Durie) and fringe players filling out ratio quotas (Deslauriers, Bauman, Brock Ralph, etc.). Again, it's not that Canada doesn't produce good football players; it's that we don't produce enough of them to credibly satisfy the current NI starter quota.

Trestman's no fool. If he thought Deslauriers could do as good a job as an import receiver like Bratton, don't you think he'd do it? He went Canadian at kicker for that reason. He cut a respected veteran import in Reggie Hunt to make way for a NI middle linebacker in Shea Emry. So I don't think he's averse to ratio-busters. But they have to be good enough. It can't just be about the passport.

And that is basically all she wrote, d&p!

I, too, am a proud Canadian. But, where it comes to football, we simply do not have the numbers of professional-calibre players for all the reasons discussed in this string. To field a potential GC winner, you have to go with the best players. So, this I/NI ratio thingie has every coaching staff in the country doing a country two-step each and every game. This or that player is injured - what is the ratio situation? Is X good to go? Who should we put on the 1-game injury list? Who moves to the active list? the practice list?....

The only way to fix that, I humbly submit, is not to put in players to "learn the game" on the field, or to activate NIs simply because they were born here, but by investing, long-term, in the development of players. Now, the question is: is there the willingness, determination, and finances to make this happen?

If the NI was increased, all 8 teams would be in the same boat with regards to finding good Canadian talent.