Riders Defense- Real issue is Chris Mackenzie-

In case anyone didn't know every offensive coordinator in the league is aware that CHRIS MACKENZIE cannot cover anyone in the CFL-

Mackenzie has terrible football awareness and instincts. He is not a playmaker and rarely makes contact with the football. Mackenzie cannot tackle at all, he has terrible coverage skills.

Since the retirement of EDDIE DAVIS who was solid in coverage, Mackenzie has been targeted by opposing QBS every week. Calvillo practically stares him down and throws deep ins vs him every time they play vs SASK-

Mackenzie is very small, not physical, not fast, he is just not PRO material. Last game vs ARGOS he looked like a grade 7 player trying to tackle a receiver.
Check out how many interceptions MACKENZIE has? TAMAN must have brought this guy in as he is not a playmaker, much LIKE JOHN EUBANKS who also is terrible.

James Patrick is amazing, Lance Frazier is solid, Tristan Jackson has upside and ball skills to make an interception--

I think if you guys find a good NFL CUT import DB your secondary and Defense would be a lot better-- Mackenzie is just not CFL material-- He gets hidden, but those who know the team know that this guy is absolutely brutal at covering receivers-

Interesting, I'll keep an eye on him next game.

ya, him and Graham.. they're both terrible players.

get rid of them both!

Graham is not much better and is an indication of exactly what BC is doing. Both Taman and Wally Buono are not great evaluators of defensive talent including in the secondary.

The Southeastern Conference in the States is where Calgary and Winnipeg do a fair big of their recruting defensive players. Chris Jones of Calgary is well connected in this conference and thus has brought in players such as Demetries Morley and Milton Collins and Winnipeg has brought in Johnathn Heffney and Alex Suber. You look at the quality of defensive players that both Calgary and WInnipeg are bringing and most all name players from schools such as Tennesse, Washington, Oregon State, Middle Tennesse , Missisipi.

Taman and Buono dont have these connections so they give a chance to lesser talented players such as Chris Mackenzie, Nick Graham, in Bc we had Travis Williams, Darren Toney, Tad Crawford, Davis Sanchez, because we couldnt find real players.

In typical Taman fashion he picked up a Calgary Reject in JOHN EUBANKS who is terrible and always gets burned badly. Romero is on the decline but Taman picked him up. Taman has failed to bring in any good receivers? James Robinson is about the biggest joke in the CFL these days, NUNN is horrible.
Taman has failed to bring in any real competition for Durant, and the league has film on Durant and he is not outsmarting any defenses-

Sask with Hawkins back and Willis on the ends with a good halfback can be a lot better and a bigger linebacker to stop the run.

Isn't Graham a rookie?

I thought he's doing decent considering the rokie status. If not a rookie, then I agree with you.

would love to see Eddie Russ rotated in there.

I'm not too familiar with who the options may be, but I do agree with the O/P about McKenzie. Eddie Davis is probably my alltime favourite Rider. . . and seeing McKenzie try to fill his shoes is sad. Last game in particular, I thought McKenzie played really poorly. Hard trying to figure out one aspect of his game (positioning, tackling, coverage, reading the play, whatever) where he was even marginally adequate. . .

Robinson is suspect but he did not too bad in the Toronto game.

Nunn has been a big disappointment.

hopefully this Dallas Baker has something (I don't believe he saw any action last game did he?)

What does this have to with the Topic?

As for your question, Baker was one of the 4 scratched

A lot of pretty interesting comments here. MacKenzie is pretty small, but I once heard that he is about the fastest guy on the team. Until this year, I thought he was doing a pretty good job. As someone said maybe that was masked by the other players. This year he seems to be getting burned a lot and looks lost out there. You would think Coach Hall could coach him up to play better if he has enough talent. I wondered more than once if he was hurt or playing hurt. I agree with you that Taman seems to be pretty good at recycling some washouts and burnouts as opposed to original stars. He may only get the rest of this season to prove that he can find some real original stars for this team. I also happen to think that Coach Jones in Calgary is a pretty sharp football mind. Will probably be a head coach before too long.

because someone in the topic mentioned Robinson's performance earlier.

The Riders are also quite undersized in their secondary. At the end of the day if you are a starting halfback and you are completely unknown throughout the CFL that is clear to me you are not making any plays. The trademark of a good defensive back is the ability to CLOSE and make plays on the football. A guy like Johnathan Heffney is exceptional at making plays MID AIR on the ball.
Chris Mackenzie simply does not have the ability to CLOSE and make a Play on the football. Mackenzie is a track football player in that he will always RUN A good 40 time and always have good stats to back him up, however he is FAST with limited NATURAL football ability. This is why seemingly he is never ahead of a play, he never guess on a route, he never jumps routes, he is just completely out of position and trailing a receiver. He is the type of DB that is always CLOSE to the receiver but never CLOSE enough to actually make a play on the ball.

Tristan Jackson on the other hand has the ability to play wideside corner as he has a good vertical jump and has good ball skills in balls in the air. 3 years ago he started for Edmonton and displayed his aerial ability blocking a Jarious Jackson long out pattern--

The Riders Defense can drastically improve with Hawkins or Wilis emerging with the solid linebacker group, and Mackenzie replaced with a solid import halfback and a new short import corner who can play.

Thanks for some great insights in this area. The only problem is that now I'm going to be watching the guy more closely and I suspect I will quickly become more frustrated with this player. Mr. Taman better get busy building some contacts in the southeast. They used to say that Eric Tillman was well connected to the SEC. Are there any examples of players he found there that ended up here or in Edmonton? What do you think of Freeman becoming our next middle linebacker? He seems like a beast who is well suited to the position. Definitely a playmaker. Thanks again!!

Ultimately the GM is responsible for Player recruitment. The Coach and QB can only work with what they are given. In this case a big part of the Riders problems are due to injuries, Nfl tryouts, but a huge part starts with the GM TAMAN.

Taman's job is to bring in good talent from the States and in Canada so that the team's product on the field is entertaining.

CFL castoffs and players in Decline- This is a sure sign of a GM with no solid connections in the NCAA universities. If you look at picking up players such as Dareo Romero, John Eubanks, James Robinson, Jason Clermont (no longer starting material) Barrin Simpson a few years too late).

Terrence Nunn, James Robinson, are fast athletes, I am sure they practice well, look fast and lean and quick, but the reality is they are terrible football players. These guys are not playmakers? Gm's who are not skilled like TAMAN will always fall in love with a player with explosive straight line speed such as ROBINSON and Nunn. However they usually cannot catch and have terrible football instincts.

Chris Mackenzie although TAMAN did not recruit him falls into the same category- He ran the 6th fastest 40 yard DASH at the NFL COMBINE-- WOW so he is really fast right? SO a CFL team takes a chance on him and starts him. Fine I can live with giving a guy with obvious bistering speed a chance to start. But consider this my friends--
Mackenzie in 33 games has 0 interceptions. He has tons of tackles which is not a good sign. Ok so he runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash and has ZERO interceptions? I don't know who is evaluating players but you guys might want to start watching this guy because he is fast but has absolutely no FOOTBALL ACUMEN and is lost on the field- This guy is short and stocky and is not a playmaker--

If you look at the RIders of a few years ago while I understand that the Riders had CHICK and BAGGS and Rey Williams and more of a pass rush, the secondary with Frazier and Eddie Davis , Morgan was able to give teams flts, espeically DAVIS with his blanket coverage skills-
Since Eddie retired the Pass Defense has never been the same again-

Tristan Jackson a returner is playing corner for you guys, although to Jacksons credit he does make plays on the ball. He has already made more plays on the ball this season than Mackenzie has in his 33 games starting for the Riders.

Look at Winnipeg, Calgary and you are well aware who their halfbacks are-- Johnathan Heffney, Alex Suber, Brandon Smith and Keon Raymond-- No one on any other team would know who Chris Mackenzie is, which is a bad sign as he never does anything but tackle players-

yea the Riders seem to have this issue when it comes to getting quality DB's.

well I guess they'll need to do some serious soil searching when the cuts are done...

Riders never had a problem stocking the roster with quality DBs under Shivers or Tillman, because they understood that it is possibly the toughest position to fill (other than QB) so it must be prioritized. With Taman this area seems not only to be a low priority, it seems to be an afterthought.

However I'd like to defend McKenzie. He has made strong plays in the past. He looked bad on 2 or 3 plays in Toronto in particular but at least he didn't get burned deep, not that Toronto put it up long much.

But when you look at the secondary overall they are clearly undermanned. Their best guy is Tristan Jackson. he has played great. But even him, I would not want to see trying to cover Nik Lewis or SJ Green 1 on 1.

Nick Graham has had the most troubles getting burned.

But this is not about who screwed up and who gets 10 lashes in the town square. This is about why does the Riders secondary not have the personnel that the other 7 teams have? Who's responsibility is that?

The other thing is, the secondary wouldn't get exploited so bad if they had pressure from the end spot. Why don't the Riders have at least one capable rush end like the other 7 teams have? Again - Who's responsibility is that?

Freeman is a playmaker- HE plays at a high level of intensity that the rest of the defense needs to play with. Freeman has good speed, hits hard and is intense- Thats what you need from a middle linebacker a good tackler who can fill the gap and make the tackles sideline to sideline- Freeman is your best player on Defense at this point in the front 7--

Terreas George has the right size to play Defensive End- Finally a player who looks big enough to actually disrupt the other teams O line- Ramond WIllis looks like he has potential-- Hawkins returns I think the pass rush should be FINE--

Eric Tillman is very well connected throughout the entire NCAA colleges- He has found players from all conferences, and a lot of good players from the SEC conference---

Tillman has recruited- Korey banks- Misissipi state- Jason Armstead- Missisipi- John Grace- Marshall- Kai Ellis- Washington- DJ Flick- Slippery Rocky university-- Kerry Joseph- Mcneese state- Josh Ranek- South Dakota State-

Weston Dressler- North Dakota State--

Currently for Edmonton which he revamped in 1 season he was able to find the following players from major SCHOOLS--

Weldon Brown - Louisiana TECH-- Won several defensive MVP awards and is a playmaker-

Marcus Howard- Georgia-- SEC school major program good chance the player is decent--

TEd Laurent-- Mississipi-- SEC school again- 23 years old-- Tillman has roots in Missisipi

Scott Mitchell - Rice-- Good football program--

Damaso Munoz- RUTGERS-- Scarlett Knights are solid-- Ray RICE baltimore Running back and Kenny Britt from Titans went here-

Wopamo Osaisa- Stanford-- DB -- Solid PAC 10 school known for their secondary-

Jc Sherrit- Eastern Washington- SOlid playmaker, like Cahoon playing middle linebacker- Born player here--

Chris Patrick-- Nebraska-- O line--

Rod Williams- Alcorn State-- CFL interception leader at 24 years OLD-- A good DB with future upside--

Marcus Henry-- KANSAS-- good receiver big and fast-- Played vs good competition- Texas schools-- Oklahoma-

As you can see Tillman recruits from everywhere- He has connections in every REGION where guys like TAMAN's connections are limited--

The CFL today is nothing more than a battle of the GM's-- If you look at who in the past few seasons has been on the TOP it has been Jim POPP (Alouettes) vs Calgary (Huffnagel) Sask did attend 2 grey cups but that was due to TILLMAN's roster and even last year it was in DECLINE when TAMAN took over--
It's like a situation where POPP and HUFFNAGEL seem to get to PICK first and PICK the fresh FRUIT while the Tamans and Buono get the Stale Fruit or the lesser desired Fruit- The quality of players that MONT and CGY and WINNIPEG now are finding are better than the players that TAMAN is recruting-
Just look at the difference in size and weight- From a physical standpoint I have not seen the Riders looking so Skinny as a team, they used to be big and strong with Zarka, Shultz and Baggs and Chick- Now the current version is shaky, small on defense--

Winnipeg GM is doing a wonderful job recruiting standouts on both sides of the ball-- Quite simply if you look at it certain coaches and GM's are not good at recruting--

Look at player CHANGE to determine how good a GM is-
Look at Winnipeg, Calgary and MOntreal- How many players have they CUT or brought in and shipped out? NOT Very many-

Look at BC, SASK, 2 teams with poor GM's- BC has brought in and shipped out over 15 players already- Sask has fired coaches, brought in new pass rushers, receivers, as there is no consistency--

Good GMs dont miss on TALENT evaluation, the guys they bring in become STARTERS-- THe bad Gm's like TAMAN and BUONO miss routinely on their players and thus cut them and bring in more players or other teams castoffs such as JOhn Eubanks.

The problem is TAMAN, he hires MARSHALL who is a rookie but was an easy scapegoat, now there is no more scapegoat and the next to be fired should be TAMAN himself--

Gridiron Guru, after watching the Banjo Bowl, I had to return to your original post because I was watching the D more closely, and noting how terrible #39 was looking against one Terrence Edwards. Notwithstanding the fact that he took a pick back for a TD, he was beat badly numerous times. Riders have to find someone who can cover a lot better than that. Rest of D is looking real good now, but they can't cover for this guy forever. You sure had that pegged, GG!!

How would you like your crow? I’ll make it however you want it!

Jee, Riders looked pretty good yesterday!!..

how's that lack of talent coming? hmmmmmm.....