Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Players of the Week for week Nine

Among the best of the league this week were:

AJ Harris - RB - Edmonton Eskimos
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection

Dario Romero - DB - Edmonton Eskimos
Runners up-- Mike Labinjo – Calgary Stampeders

Sandro DeAngelis- K – Calgary Stampeders
Runners up-- Noel Prefontaine, Edmonton

Mike Labinjo– DE - Calgary Stampeders
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection

Week Ten

All the breaks are over and the CFL prepares for the Labour Day showdowns, the half way mark of the season and when the serious football starts to kick in.

Friday, August 29-- BC 25 @ Montreal 30 (20,202)
Sunday, August 31-- Winnipeg 6 @ Saskatchewan 19 (30,985)
Monday, September 1-- Edmonton 37 @ Calgary 16 (35,650 )
Monday, September 1-- Toronto 34 @ Hamilton 31 (25,911)


All he's asking for is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

If there's one song on Michael Bishop's iPod that would tell the tale it might be the above classic from Aretha Franklin.

Day one of the rest of Michael Bishop's CFL journey turned out to be a pretty enjoyable experience, as the newest quarterback for the Grey Cup Champion Roughriders took on his new duties for the Green and White.

As the Globe and Mail reports in a story published on Monday, Bishop is finding the atmosphere around Taylor Field to be much more to his liking, leaving no doubt for anyone that the Argo environment was not the most enjoyable place that one might have wanted to work at it seems.

While he leaves all that angst and disappointment from Toronto behind, it would appear that for now anyways, Saskatchewan and Bishop are going to be a pretty happy mix.

Happiness may give way to an unbridled love affair, should Bishop lead the Riders to repeat win of Lord Grey's Mug in November.

Bishop soaks up Saskatchewan hospitality
Globe and Mail Update
August 25, 2008 at 10:58 PM EDT

Michael Bishop's first day in green and white couldn't have gone any better.

He got to run the first-string offence. He had a good day of practice. And, best of all, he says the atmosphere around his new CFL team is nothing like the one he left behind.

“With the success they've had, there's no selfish guys on this team,” the veteran quarterback, who was dealt from the Toronto Argonauts to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday, said yesterday. “I was welcomed real good.

“It's different than Toronto. Everyone talks to everyone, and when you come into a situation like that, you have to feel good about it. From the first time I walked into the locker room, I was greeted. It's a different team and a different atmosphere.”

Bishop, 32, appears to be getting all the respect he feels he was not afforded in Toronto, where, after going 11-1 as the starter last season, he was demoted to backup duty during the first eight games of 2008.

The first-string job appears his to lose in Saskatchewan as the team prepares for its game on Sunday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in front of what will be a packed house in Regina.

“My first day went good,” Bishop said. “I had the opportunity to work with the first group on offence, completed some throws and threw three touchdown passes. It's a good situation to be in, but I know I have to go out and not press too much. But getting this opportunity says a lot about the coaching staff and my new teammates.”

The ‘Riders are taking what would appear to be a big gamble, bringing a new quarterback to a team that opened defence of its Grey Cup title with six consecutive wins before losing two in a row.

But general manager Eric Tillman insists the change isn't as much an indictment of former starter Marcus Crandell, who is expected to be released as early as today, as an admission the slew of injuries to the Roughriders' offence means the team requires a different kind of quarterback.

Specifically, it requires a pivot with a strong arm and nimble feet, someone who can throw deep or to the wide side of the field and also roll out of the pocket.

“Because of the injury situation, we had to alter our offence,” Tillman said. “When we traded Kerry Joseph [to Toronto in March], we felt we'd have a good offensive line and a receiving corps equal to the better groups in the league. But who could've predicted losing half our offence to injury?

“So we've had to change our strategy and need an athletic quarterback to give us pass, rush options and open things up for [running back] Wes Cates.”

Tillman said the coaching staff knew Crandell's departure would be disappointing to the players, but couldn't resist making the move on that basis alone. And he believes the healing process had already come along way by the end of Bishop's first practice.

“Any time you make a change of this magnitude, with a person as highly respected as Marcus, there's going to be emotion,” Tillman said. “In the big picture, you understand that players are people who wear jerseys for a living. They have strong relationships and there's going to be a reaction.

“But we have a strong group and they'll bounce back and you could see that [yesterday].”
The Argonauts, meanwhile, moved on, not just without Bishop, but also veteran safety Orlondo Steinauer.

Steinauer, 35, had been a mainstay on Toronto's defence since 2000. But the unit has been a disappointment so far this year, and there were rumbles last week that changes were in the offing.

Steinauer's release may also be partly a cost-cutting move because the salaries of six-year CFL veterans are guaranteed for the year after league games this week.

“Sometimes in football, you are faced with having to make difficult decisions involving good people,” Argos GM Adam Rita said in a statement. “Today is one of those times. We believe this move will help us improve our secondary and ultimately win games. We have some young talent on our roster and we are looking forward to seeing them on the field.”

Monday, August 25, 2008

The congregation at Canada’s football cathedral awaits their Bishop

Developments over the weekend out of Toronto heralded a move that was long expected and for many probably expected as far back as in the off season when Saskatchewan first sent Kerry Joseph to Toronto.

But now, as the Labour Day yardstick grows closer, Michael Bishop has moved on from the Toronto Argonauts, or to be more correct he’s been moved on.

Bishop was traded to Canada’s hotbed of football this weekend, as he learned the details of his transfer to the Saskatchewan branch of the CFL, in exchange for a conditional draft pick in the 2011 selection derby .

It’s probably a change that should have happened back when the Argos acquired Joseph from the Grey Cup champion Riders, and indeed the fact that Bishop remained on the training camp roster surprised more than a few CFL fans as the pre-season and then regular season got underway.

While the Argos found themselves flush with quarterbacks, as the year progressed there appeared to be no way to satisfy both Joseph and Bishop in the Argo camp, in fact as the Argos have struggled, the rifts between both QB’s and the coaching staff have appeared to become more pronounced.

Neither QB really secure in the confidence of their coaches, neither really excelling when the need was there the most. In short something clearly had to give, and this weekend it was Bishop that was moved out of the east with a westward destination.

He had previously been placed on waivers, a testing of the waters by the Argos which was made public much to the organizations embarrassment and much to the chagrin of Bishop who found less and less to trust about his bosses as the season progressed.

With the trade he is reunited with his former offensive coach from the Toronto days in Ken Miller, a comfortable fit that should benefit both Bishop and the Riders as they begin the second half of the season and the key Labour Day Classic to come this weekend.

Where all of this leaves Marcus Crandell, Stephen Jyles, Darian Durant and the rest of the QB's that have been floating around in Regina these days remains to be seen, but it would appear that somebody(or two) is soon to be moved off the depth charts in Riderland with Crandell expected to be the first to leave.

As for Bishop, there will be no longing glances back at his old Toronto squad, while he may miss a few of the Argonauts individually, his quite angry sounding comments in Sunday’s Toronto Star, certainly paint the picture of a guy that has had more than enough of the way he believes he was treated by Argo management and ownership.

He now has a chance to work with a clean slate in Saskatchewan, perhaps finally reaching the potential that he has shown glimpses of over the last few seasons but never fully developed on a consistent basis.

Rider fans, who regularly fill Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field, will certainly be hoping that a newly freed and now very motivated Bishop will help to keep the Rider atop the west and on track for a defence of their Grey Cup championship come this November in Montreal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Players of the Week for week eight

Among the best of the league this week were:

Avon Cobourne--RB--Montreal Alouettes
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection

Keron Williams-DT-Montreal Alouettes
Runners up-- Gavin Walls, Winnipeg

Dominique Dorsey--KR/PR--Toronto Argonauts
Runners up-- Graeme Bell, Winnipeg, Larry Taylor, Montreal

Davis Sanchez--CB--Montreal Alouettes
Runner up-- Arjei Franklin, Winnipeg, Doug Brown, Winnipeg

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Final snaps of August 2008

We return to chronicling the quotable thoughts each day of the CFL universe.

August 31-- "We weren't on the same page but we came in and got the first win and that was important"
August 30-- "If it's not going well, we won't hesitate to play Richie"
August 29-- "I'm so excited about Monday. It's killing me"
August 28-- "Whenever they give you a chance to make plays, or an opportunity to change the game, I enjoy it"
August 27-- "I think it's a real sign that the league is doing well, that Canadians are rallying to our league and showing great support"
August 26-- "It's an honour to learn more about the history of the game and be a part of it"
August 25-- "That's football, and you have to deal with it. I have to be in better position so it doesn't happen"
August 24-- "Everything that was said in training camp was a lie"
August 23-- "We didn't do this to send a message, we did it to make our team better"
August 22-- "There are some things that you can learn in losses"
August 21-- "Penalties have killed us in the past, and they've hurt us this year"
August 20-- "That's good because half of the fans will be ours"
August 19-- "The way I'm looking at it right now is the time I'm not in there I'm not getting any bruises"
August 18-- "I think he's highly motivated. I don't think he gets a lot of credit for what he's done"
August 17-- "Before I wanted to be an Olympian, I used want to play for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers."

Opening Kick Offs August 2008

After our wee siesta from the week to week of the CFL, we pick up our daily review of the main stories of the CFL.

August 31-- 'Riders romp in Bishop's debut
August 31-- Eskimos confident at last
August 31-- Ticats playing for more than just pride
August 30-- Clemons may return to Argos helm
August 30-- Let's give Bishop some time
August 30-- Edmonton is finally turning around
August 29-- Als hang on for wild win
August 29-- Former Rider Crandell still wants to play
August 29-- Stampeders prepare to repel Ray repeat
August 28-- Roughriders drop the axe on Marcus Crandell
August 28-- Receiver injuries crippling Argos offence
August 28-- Jackson not passing the Buck
August 27-- Argos’ Joseph passes play-calling back to coaches
August 27-- Lions are talking big for a team in last place
August 27-- QB Bishop gets down to business with his new team the Roughriders
August 26-- Steinauer's release the tip of the iceberg
August 26-- Pierce gets the call for Lions
August 26-- Thumbs-down for Casey
August 25-- Argonauts release veteran safety Steinauer
August 25-- Injury sidelines Drew for season
August 25-- Joseph says he never had a problem with Bishop
August 24-- Miller deciding on Crandell's future
August 24-- Buono gambling with a familiar hand
August 24-- Hey, this ain't right
August 23-- Argos trade Bishop to 'Riders
August 23-- Stamps quell some demons with win at BC Place
August 23-- Crawford's 'not your typical jock'
August 22-- Stamps outlast Lions
August 22-- Cracked crystal ball
August 22-- Back to the drawing board
August 21-- Esks' defence crush Riders
August 21-- Lions playbook stolen in break-in
August 21-- Taman on the road again, looking for quality kicker
August 20-- Cobourne and Als teammates dominate CFL awards
August 20-- 'Riders continue to battle injuries
August 20-- Energy and emotion on tap for Esks game
August 19-- Burris best yet to come
August 19-- Esks sign veteran defensive tackle
August 19-- Lumsden set for "must win"
August 18-- It's goofy, I tells ya
August 18-- New back's arrival puts Smith's future in doubt
August 18-- Eskimos promise Roughriders a difficult time on Thursday
August 17-- Receiver won't receive second chance with Lions
August 17-- Air Force recalls CFL player to duty
August 17-- Copeland catchin' new focus

Week Nine

The Eastern based teams (plus Winnipeg) get the week off this week, just in time to reassess line ups, watch the NFL cuts and make plans for the labour Day clashes.

The West has the spotlight with both Edmonton and BC anticipating large crowds for week nine action.

August 21-- Saskatchewan 10 @ Edmonton 27 (48,808)
August 22-- Calgary 36 @ BC 29 (34,221)


Players of the Week for week seven

Among the best of the league this week were:


Richie Williams-- QB-- Hamilton Tiger Cats
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection


Chris Thompson-- DB -- Hamilton Tiger Cats
Runnersup-- Tyrone Williams, BC Lions; Brent Johnson, BC Lions


Damon Duval-- K/P -- Montreal Alouettes
Runners up-- Ian Smart, BC Lions


Brent Johnson-- DE-- BC Lions
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection

Week Eight

We're up to speed again with the week eight results.

Thursday, August 14-- Hamilton 24 @ Winnipeg 37 (25,484)
Friday, August 15-- Montreal 32 @ Toronto 14 (30,521)

Players of the week for week six

Among the best of the league this week were:


Ricky Ray- QB-- Edmonton Eskimos
Runner up-- Wes Cates-- Saskatchewan Roughriders


Jonathon Brown -- DE -- Toronto Argonauts
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection


Dominique Dorsey-- PR/KR-- Toronto Argonauts
Runner up-- Unanimous Selection


Ben Cahoon-- SB-- Montreal Alouettes
Runners up-- Kamau Peterson – Edmonton Eskimos

Week Seven

We begin to catch up with the action we missed while away from the sidelines.

Thursday, August 7 - Toronto 21 @ Hamilton 45 (19,423)
Thursday, August 7 - Calgary 30 @ Saskatchewan 25 (28,800)
Friday, August 8 - Montreal 39 @ Winnipeg 11 (27,674)
Friday, August 9- Edmonton 34 @ BC 40 (30,863)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Players of the week for week five

Among the best of the league this week were:


Ryan Dinwiddie- QB-- Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Runner up-- Unanimous selection


Montez Murphy – LB- Edmonton Eskimos
Runner up-- Kelly Malveaux – Winnipeg Blue Bombers


Ian Smart – KR/PR - BC Lions
Runner up-- Noel Prefontaine – Edmonton Eskimos


Paris Jackson- WR - BC Lions
Runners up-- Kamau Peterson – Edmonton Eskimos