Busy day yesterday and could not watch game. I kept checking TSN app and thiongs looked great until the kickoff return.
I think Dan Clark experiment might be done. He's been around 3-4 yrs and his stepping in hasn't gone well for Clark. He's been exposed on numerous plays and the squad will have to address O-line depth in the offseason. Too bad he got hurt but I wonder if Labatte is ready to come back or if Watman/Vonk get a guard spot? Or use an import? Is Vonk game ready or was he was he all the depth we could get and stash on the PR.
Keep in mind these comments aren't negative based. The reality of this season was the RedBlacks were going to hire 20-24 Canadians. They got 2 good ones from us in Evans and Sholy. But the non-import pool of talent needed to grow by 20-30 players (including PR's) and the talent pool became deluted. Every team lost some non-imports............just to what extent.
Labatte out and Best recovering. This is when you find out if the next generation is able to make the next step. Clark has struggled. I hope we see more of Watman even though they think he'll be the next centre.
Injurres to hughes, Levi, Hurl (only 102 games), free agent losses of Newman, Evans. It just got to be the perfect storm for the team where they can't stable the Cdn depth they have enjoyed for the last 2-3 seasons. We just had too many injuries to nonimports and we don't have the depth.
Shomari.....unless they have him doing anything special on ST's I don't see him being too special. We needed Cdn depth, we got him back, but I hope his cheque isn't too large on the cap?
Special teams.......injuries have hurt this unit. Bartel is starting to not produce and Milo has been so so. Oddly enough Milo was a FA signing just into the FA period? We upped his $$ and he stayed. Just bad luck that Milo is now not really a coveted asset that we can hold over the off-season for trades, etc? He likely stays around...........but the club will have to look south for a young import who can cover all three trades (kicks, FG, punt). You can easily use an import kicker but they need to do 3 jobs...........currently we have 2 spots for non-imports kicking and both guys have underperformed.
We just can't flip with the field with Milo kicking off balls to the 15-20 yard line. Compare to Schmitt last season it is no comparison. Combined with penalty filled returns that take us back minus ten or cover teams that can't cover...........this is a significant problem and they don't have the horse power to fix it.
Therefore, they will limp into playoffs in 4th. They will lose in Hamilton in the 1st round (unless Tor/Ham/Mont all can make the playoff if they win 3 more games). Doesn't matter if Darian is back..............he won't be 100% and do we really want to risk further damage to his arm standing behind a O-line that is limping along right now?
We just don't have Cdn depth, or enough of it. Every team has holes or exposure points. Injuries will bring this to the forefront. We're banged up right now and have been for 4-6 weeks. Early on we were great with injuries......the bug has taken its toll. We were also not sure what would happen if DD went down and we've now learned a lot about that situation.
We'll go into the off-season with a GM on the hotseat. He will have numerous things to sort through, add receivers to the list of shortcomings. A deep draft might allow us to get 1-2 kids in the top 12-15 picks to step in and play (like Ainsworth and Watman). We just need it. Hughes will retire, regrettably. They need a solid draft process.
As for DePalma getting dropped. Well he dropped the ball a few times. Given opportunities and he dropped a few. When he caught it and ran he looked magic..........but you can't drop balls. How many drops have we had at receiver this year, compared to last year. Last year receiving was solid. Getz won't make it to 700 yards. Bagg started off on fire and has been held in check as of late. He's been our best receiver, #6. Schillens and DePalma maybe dropped their way off the team. I think Swain has done enough to come back and no longer be a CFL rookie. Our receiver stats are way down but due to us running the ball very well for the first 9-10 weeks.......and then a QB who went down and we could not find a replacement??
Just the way we are playing, the team just doesn't seem to have it. That kick return buried a lot of those guys yesterday and that can't happen? But we have given up 5 returns for TD's. It pretty much happens weekly now..........so you are spotting a team 7 points.........
Defense still looks good. D-line is good. linebacking needs a few bodies and we need a true MLB........another project for Taman in the off-season. DB's........There were ranked one of our really strong points and at times they sure looked it. But I think for any defense to dominate you need all 12 going. I think we're just missing a few tools at MLB and then this unit can really go. But for the minutes they are logging as of late you can't pin very much on the defense???