As the 2023 season approaches, CFL.ca is here to catch you up with the Five Things To Know series. Each article will look at key storylines facing each team this season, while examining off-season movement and where your team might stand in 2023.
The OL is still a huge problem. Harris gets the ball out quickly but a lot of dump & run. That's exactly the kind of offence Maas was criticized for. The Riders have a couple of good RB's but their receivers look to be a downgrade from last year. Wienke is no Duke nor Brescacin in Evans league.. Bane is 26, so is Moore - no comparison in stats or experience. Walker has 1 TD in 2 years & Schaffer-Baker is gone for awhile. I get that Jeffrey is projecting an "explosive, high tempo, scoring machine" & hopefully he's right. I'm not sure I see where that will be coming from.
On the flip side I like the Defence. They'll have to carry the load this year for the Riders to make some noise IMO. And Lauther will have to improve. His Regina tenure has seesawed between good & not so good for 4 years now. This, if the trend continues, should be a good year.
Just a fan ...who hopes for the best.
I do not pretend to know all like others who may be friends or foes to the team of green ... An improvement from last year will be a start in the right direction at least.
The west is always tough and competitive
Bombers and cow town you know will always be there at the top ... They don't leave much room for other teams that struggled greatly the previous season to hold a hope for one or two seed do just making the playoffs should appease the worried fans... And just getting the play offs in the CFL give any team a good chance to get the the cup final and win it
To your point about not being a Duke... That Duke Williams thing was not something that worked out at all last year was it.... There could or could not be some diamonds that nobody knew had sparkle ... It happens every year ... We can only hope.
I do think the Stampeders might have a tougher go of it this year, giving your team a potential opening. They got hammered in free agency but do have a habit of finding good new players we haven’t heard of. We’ll see.
If all else fails you guys can always apply to be moved to the East Division.
I was amazed that after his outright medical release from Buffalo any team picked him up. He had the hip injury in his first season in Buffalo and after re-injuring it repeatedly was given maximum disability and released.
As for the Calgary thing everyone says "oh Hufnagle is still there" and I think yes, but he's likely going to see what Dickenson does this season to judge whether to keep him as GM or Coach or both.....
Are you for real? Anyone who thinks Williams, and especially Evans, are anything more than veteran fodder are just not seeing the game. Evan's had a good couple months early in 2019. That's it. Nothing he has done since 2019 would warrant him even making a roster. Williams? What were his totals last year?
I would be surprised if the Riders finish higher than 5th in the West. O-line still looks terrible, Harris is an even slower QB than Fajardo, and that set of receivers has to be the CFL's worst collection. On the flip side, the RB's look strong again and the defence should be excellent. The Riders have a long way to go to being (and to beating) the Bombers.
What I'm saying is that Brescacin is a bigger gamble than Evans. Brescacin has been a bust. He's played 15 games the past 3 seasons total. Evans doesn't have to do much to be better than Brescacin who, at 30, hasn't done much on his previous 2 teams. With Schaffer-Baker, Lenius, Emilus & Picton, where exactly does he fit in with your Nationals?
As for Duke, Steinhauer is aware of the situation & believes his problems are behind him & he's good to go. Duke is no better than the 3rd guy in Hamilton behind Smith & Addison, if healthy. Clearly the Riders couldn't bring back Duke for numerous issues. I don't think Dickensen is exactly known for facing problems head on - Marino, backtracking on comments when challenged by Marshall. The TiCat brass is unlikely to put up with the sideshow.
Wienke does not bring the same physicality that Duke did. When Duke didn't pan out the Riders needed someone to fill that role. IMO Wienke isn't that guy. So, in both cases what they lost is greater than the return they got on the replacements. Same goes for Bane.
No mention that they hired a new offensive line coach. The line was the gaping problem in Saskatchewan last year. When Dan Clark went down against Edmonton, it became pretty obvious what was holding the line together. There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the O-line, but I don't think that it could get worse than last year. QB and RB stats always get praise when successful, but it all starts up front.
they have no between the tackles run game still. It is s secondary reason the O-Line looks so bad. Those are the plays they get to push off an rather than block, and pushing off takes less energy....
The defence is significantly weaker without Sankey. Dean and Sankey paired up really well last season and were a big part of why the defence looked so good. It was easy to safety blitz for them because Dean could drop into coverage. When he's MLB its not so easy to do that. Plus the pair worked really well as run stoppers and I don't think Dean has the size playing MLB to be as effective as Sankey was.
I can't disagree with any of that. Plus Dean is turning 35 this summer. The defence is what I see as their strongest point but they really only made 3 changes - Marino out, Micah in - that's an upgrade, despite Micah's age. Banks for AC - don't know. Sankey out, Teitz in. Significant downgrade. If the defence doesn't get it done, well, I don't have much faith in the offence being better.
Can't argue with that. Lanier is going to do the heavy lifting there & there was a big hole with Marino out. Dabire is not the answer there IMO. They got Micah Day 1 for a song so maybe getting a bigger fish there wasn't a priority.
I think the big problem in Regina was they had lots of $ to spend but nobody was buying.
They made a play for Lewis, with Harris as bait, but that didn't happen. They tried to get Couture, Desjarlais - that didn't pan out either. And they threw big money @ Bailey, 200K I think, & eventually got Walker for less than half the price. Whether or not Bailey warranted #1 money is doubtful. You gotta want to take that on & Bailey seems content to be a #3 guy behind Lawler & Schoen. They're in tough.
Well, Walker wlll get a lot of targets with Schaffer-Baker out. Does that mean he is back? Let's be honest. As much as I like Walker, & I do like him a lot, he was pretty much on his way out when Mitchell came aboard. Mitchell is the deep ball threat & TD producer that Walker once was. Walker is, unfortunately, no better than the 3rd guy in Calgary & probably the 4th guy in BC, Edm, & Wpg. Which, if he gets a lot of catches early in Regina, says more about the type of receivers they have than where Walker is at this point.