Riders all talk and no action this offseason

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders' offseason has been slower than their alleged receivers.

As of Thursday, the CFL team had announced a not-so-grand total of zero player acquisitions since its 2005 season mercifully concluded 103 days ago.

The Roughriders' brass did come out of hibernation last week to confirm the re-signing of defensive tackle Scott Schultz, but he was already under contract for 2006.

Schultz is an important player, but the Riders need to build upon their core group. Adherence to the status quo will not suffice. But, so far, that's what the Riders are force-feeding their fans, who have every reason to be rankled.

At one point, it sounded promising. The Roughriders were reportedly interested in obtaining quarterback Kerry Joseph from the Ottawa Renegades.

"We're talking to a bunch of clubs -- four other clubs about lots of things -- and we're hoping to have a holiday present,'' Roughriders general manager Roy Shivers told our man Darrell Davis on Dec. 5.

"We're not trying to stand pat. We want to make a couple changes.''

We're still waiting.

Instead of adding key players, the Riders are booting them out the door.

Case in point: Paul McCallum.

The veteran kicker confirmed Wednesday that he has signed with the B.C. Lions as a free agent. McCallum, whose family resides in Regina, wanted to remain a Roughrider. Saskatchewan head coach Danny Barrett had stated that the team's priority was to re-sign its own free agents.


Then why did the Roughriders offer McCallum a 30-per-cent pay reduction? (That is McCallum's version of events. Shivers and Barrett are typically inaccessible to the media.)

Instead of tendering a token offer, the Roughriders should have been forthright and informed McCallum that he did not fit into their plans.

Barrett has told reporters that he covets players who "want to be part of what we're doing.'' McCallum fit that description to a (kicking) T. Adios, Paul.

The Roughriders' brass plans to find another kicker or two. These are the same football mavens who managed to select the reluctant Ducarmel Augustin sixth overall in the 2004 Canadian college draft. Eighteen picks later, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers claimed a promising punter named Jon Ryan.

(Ryan is from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. This may be news to the Roughriders' hierarchy. Clip and save.)

Add "punter/placekicker'' to the list of voids which Saskatchewan needs to fill.

That list also includes "front-line quarterback,'' "receiver who can run the 40-yard dash faster than Star Jones'' and "middle linebacker.''

Middle linebacker Barrin Simpson was a rare jewel in a generally ordinary crop of free agents. He signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers within hours of testing the open market.

And on it goes. Shivers -- that renowned judge of talent -- has yet to find a keeper at middle linebacker. But give poor Mr. Shivers a break. He has only been the Riders' GM for six years.

Mind you, the Shivers regime has been able to develop starting quarterbacks -- albeit for Winnipeg (Kevin Glenn) and the Calgary Stampeders (Henry Burris).

Uh, congratulations.

Marcus Crandell is a fine person who piloted the Stampeders to the 2001 Grey Cup title. But is he THE answer? That has yet to be established.

By now, it is painfully evident to people who are not headquartered at Taylor Field that Nealon Greene is not the solution to the Roughriders' quarterbacking woes. Even so, Greene remains in the Roughriders' employ.

Meanwhile, a passer of some promise -- Spergon Wynn -- is traded from Winnipeg to the Toronto Argonauts. All is quiet in Riderville.

Of course, the identity of the Riders' passer could be irrelevant. No quarterback -- not Ron Lancaster, not Kent Austin, not even Smilin' Hank -- could prosper in collaboration with the Roughriders' pedestrian pass-catchers.

While nothing is being done to address glaring deficiencies, the no-news Roughriders are in the midst of an early-bird season-ticket campaign.

Some of those early-birds might want to awaken the Riders' management.

..ouch, that should raise some eyebrows in the Queen City.....

The Rider fans have got to be impatient with the "Rebuilding" quote that Shivers has been using for six years....(Six years...has it really mean that long?)

I have said this since day one.
Riders will never get the cup again.
Good teams rebuild after a a losing year.Riders once again show no improvment.
They just seem to slap their fans around.
What have they done?
Lets see what my argos have done so far.Stokes,Wynn,crouch.
It is not like the riders are scared of paying money.They were the third highest payroll last year.Make a trade.
Hey riders, when your team doesn't make the playoffs next year.Who will you blame?Paul won't be the answer!!!


I hope it's war...nothing like a good old boy stand off..
Media has lots of Buck shot to load... lots of inactivity in the Rider circle..
Even the defence, was suspect towards the end of the year..

touché ... :wink:

Maybe the Shiv isn't doing anything so that the fans' low expectations can be surpassed. Last year he (and many fans) were beaking about how good they would be. That didn't seem to work out so maybe he is trying another tack.

Or possibly the Board of Directors (who couldn't afford to fire him and DB) have kept him on a tight leash with respect to trades and signings. Like the Hypocratic Oath - first do no harm. So this year everyone will be going through the motions while they look for someone to take over next year. Then next year, they can start another rebuilding program with a new team, and who knows, one of these years they can finish with another 9-9 record, go on a three game winning streak, and fluke out another Grey Cup.

I do not blame Rider fans for their lack of patience. If you do goals for a job and you have failed each dead line where would you be. It was a 5 year plan going on 7. It is time to show up and the managment team and the players better show their stuff this year. Or it will by like the sinking of the Titanic at Taylor field. I agree I think the board has restricted a lot they can do. After all they could go out and spend like crazy and get no wear. They have to approach this season carefully but very serious for the fans. They are in the last quarter down a touchdown. This year they have to do something.

why does Saskargo only reply to rider topics? I like to see her comment on other teams, like the Argos or Bombers.

...the Riders knew that acquiring a competent talented qb. would be no1 in the off-season....they have made no effort in that direction....could have gone after Wynn....but nope....they also have a disenchanted Keith ...and a suspect manager...could be a long year for them...UNLESS ....some great move is made to improve their offense....we'll see maybe a trade to the Rens ....k.k. for Joseph.. if they can revive that one .. which is doubtful..it would give them a lift....... :roll:

I wish they could papazoola, I wouldn't mind seeing Keith leaving town, especially for a competent qb.

Considering we need to have at least two of our present three QB's upgraded, I agree we need to start making some serious moves or signings. Personally, I would cut Butler loose and try and trade Greene, If we can get something in return. If not, put him on waivers too.

Greene is worthless really. And now that I think of it throw Butler in there as well. I think they need to get Crandell some receivers that can catch the ball and well are faster then the snails they have now. IMo
If they do that Crandell can get the job done he has done it before.

Actually, 05 does make sense on this topic..
Crandell can get the job done, some what like Burgess , when he was a Bomber.
Don't throw the ball away, let the defense win the game...
Only difference is that the Bomber defense at the time, was alot better than Crandell's defense.

...right on hank....the Bomber defense was awesome in those days... right now...I look at Bombers qb......and Riders qb. situatiuon about the same ....Glenn VS. Crandell....could be a toss-up.... but Glenn's nos. ...really started to improve last year.and I believe the Bombers are going to bring in someone to really push him....could be his big break-out year...looks like the Riders ....are gonna stand pat... :roll:

.......IMO there is something going on that we do not see in the public eye.....Shiv and Barrett are competitiors and I would have to believe they would be doing whatever they can to improve the riders.....like last year when we all thought the riders were pinching pennies and then found out they ranked 3rd in team spending there is a hidden story here that won't be revealed until later.....

If you keep planning Grey Cup parade routes down Portage & Main, she just might take you to task for those comments! :wink:

.......hey, there's some news out of Regina today......a non-import kicker......and two other signings......finally some action from Ol' Roy.......

jm02 had the inside scoop on Pikula so I knew about that already. Nice signing by the Riders, looks like a decent non-import kicker.