Some interesting and enlightening points of view. To be sure the Esks are no longer the “Best in The West”. That distinction belongs to B.C., for the time being at least.
Since the time of your post, Disciplineand punish, several interesting things have happened. Thought I might add my two cents.
On the offensive line, unfortunately, Tim Prinsen has retired and Dan Comiskey has been traded (family issues). Joe McGrath should be ready to step in and start and Bruce Beaton has come back out of retirement. They need to replace Prinsen at center, even with an import if necessary although a Canadian would be better.
The top rumour/story in the paper this week has Terry Vaughn going to the Renegades. Apparently the deal is all but done with the Esks supposedly getting draft picks. I would hope that would allow us to get Ottawa’s selection in the draft this year and pick up another Canadian lineman. The other scenario of course would be to pry a Canadian OL from the Gades for Vaughn. Perhaps all this is wishfull thinking, but we will see.
As for the Defense, we now have Joe Montford at rush end. He gives us a legimate threat on every play. As for the talk of him being over the hill, I will wait and see. He is a personal trainer away from football and was selected defensive player of the year in 98, 00 and 01. We have also added Kelly Wiltshire and Davis Sanchez in spots where we previously used imports. I would think this move will allow us the luxury to bring in an import on the OL if necessary.
As far as recievers go, well Ed Hervey is still a huge deep threat, possibly the fastest in the CFL and Mitchell and Tucker are both proven all-stars. Although it would be sad to see Vaughn moved, this will give more touchs to the other three. Brock Ralph did sign south of the border with the N.Y. Jets, but Canadian Andrew Nowacki needs playing time to show whether or not he can live up to his billing. All in all, I think we will be fine at reciever.
Lastly, the offensive backfield. Personally I thought we struggled there last year as well. Mike Pringle was a great back in his prime, but in the last couple years has lacked the speed to take it outside. A lot of his yardage last year came in the third and fourth quarters as defences began to tire. The two kids we have right now are both said to have tons of speed and ability, but I think the jury is still out until we see them in game action and see what they can do. I am really hoping that they brought Canadian Dietan Dubec in to play fullback. He played tight end in college so obviously has hands and did play fullback in high school. If they can convert Bertrand to FB, they sure as heck can move Dubec back there. Mike Bradley will still be around as back up, but not sure he is consistent enough to start.
Jason Maas. He is not my all time favorite either, but he has put up the numbers in the past and certainly is a competitor. My only knock is that he does not seem to be able to get over the hump and win the big game. I have never been a fan of Khari Jones and could care less if he is here, except that he gives a #2 that has at least played in the league.
I think we will be right in the thick of things barring major injuries. I do agree that our running game and offensive line remain somewhat of a question mark at this point, but I think the defense will be much improved.
I am a huge die hard Eskimos fan so please don’t make me talk about our coaching staff. It’s depressing right now. I’m hoping that I will have to eat my words on this, but that’s the only way to describe that right now.