Did the Riders make good choices at the trade deadline?
ethan butterfield – Contributor
Short answer: Yes, Long Answer: Yessssssssssssssssssssssssss…
Well I guess it’s a rebuilding year, the Riders woes continued as they dropped to 2-14 for the season with a 35-24 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. So let’s set the scenario, the Saskatchewan Roughriders dealt Kevin Glenn to the Montreal Alouettes in return for a fifth-round draft pick. Then, they moved that fifth-round pick and Canadian running back Jerome Messam to Calgary for kicker Tyler Crapinga and a third-round draft pick along with the right to a negotiation list player.
As far as decisions go, I believe the Saskatchewan Roughriders were right with the trades they made over the deadline. To be blunt, Kevin Glenn, although a great insurance policy, wasn’t really making waves as the Riders’ QB. To be fair though, he was leading the league in passing with 1,483 yards, but after his injury (suffering a torn pectoral muscle) he couldn’t really get that spark back. That added to the fact that when he returned to the Riders, they were pretty much out of the playoff race, and there wasn’t really a point for him to continue at the QB position.
Trading him off gives the Riders an opportunity to develop second-year pivot Brett Smith and kick things off with him, which hopefully will mean he’ll be good enough to back up Durant when he returns. Then there’s Keith Price, also in his second season with the Green and White, who looks really good. Price made his CFL debut Saturday night and completed his first pass in the CFL for a touchdown. It looks like he’ll be getting valuable playing time if he keeps things like that up. Another thing about Glenn taking off to Montreal is it allows him to continue to battle for a playoff spot – something which was not happening in Regina – and keep his hopes alive for that ever elusive Grey Cup, just like how Ray Bourque went to the Colorado Avalanche for a better chance at the Stanley Cup.
As for Jerome Messam, he wasn’t under contract for next season. So, picking up a third-round pick in return for someone who could potentially leave for nothing at the end of the season seems to be the more productive move. If the Riders organization does feel that Messam is the one who should be running, however, they could just bring him back by resigning him during the offseason. Statically speaking, with 826 yards and two touchdowns, the move was probably a good decision. Back to the main point, though, with this season being a lost one, the Riders needed to start rebuilding and one of the keys to any rebuild in the CFL is the Canadian Draft, so acquiring extra picks can’t hurt.
What about Tyler Crapigna? Will he be good enough to replace Paul McCallum? Only time will tell. Crapinga did manage to kick a game-winning field goal during his time with the Stamps. On Saturday, he made his debut with the Riders against Edmonton; he was 1-1 for field goals and 3-3 for extra points. He has the makings of a good kicker, but we’ll find out what he’s all about during a pressure situation.
Now with all this being said, I think it’s very conclusive that the Riders have made the best decision for their franchise. Will their choices bring them towards another Grey Cup? Who knows? Frankly I doubt it, but as of right now, these are right moves that they needed to make. It’s more than likely to be a long, cold winter in Saskatchewan, with lots of time to debate the pros and cons. Probably still won’t win the Grey Cup for another few years.
john loeppky – sports editor
It’s hard to argue with Ethan here. I will say this though: the Riders didn’t go far enough. I disagree that the Riders made a good decision at the deadline because they didn’t do enough to improve their team.
Unpopular opinion alert: I think it’s time to move on from Darian Durant. He has been significantly injured over the last few seasons and might just be on the downside of his career. If the Riders are going to struggle, then they might as well do so while developing some new talent.
Secondly, I’d like the higher ups for the Green and White to explain to me the rationale behind trading for a kicker this late in the season. Why wouldn’t they just keep the man with the best-fertilized lawn in Regina (Paul McCallum) for the rest of the year? Short of spewing insensitive garbage about prairie folk or driving the team bus off of a buffalo jump, there isn’t much he could do to worsen the Riders’ season.
Side note: if I was forced to judge that particular case, my only critique of the defendant would be that he should have dumped more manure. It is one of the greatest tragedies of the last decade that those hilarious hooligans got the wrong house.
Better yet, can we replace the entire team with the Rams? Actually, maybe the Thunder would be a better choice. The only chance the Riders have of improving substantially through these trades is if they teleport to an alternative universe that offers a Madden-like feature where GM Jeremy O’Day can alter each of his players’ ratings and then reintegrate them back into our reality. I’d like to see Matt Dunnigan’s face when Tyler Crapinga goes from Rider newbie to kicking 60-yard field goals like he has been transported straight from the set of The Replacements to save the franchise.
Sadly, in order to save the season, it would take more than an entire roster undergoing a video game-like makeover. No, at this point, we might as well send each player a get better soon (as in become a better football player) card instead of a get well soon one. Here’s your tough love, Rider players, courtesy of Hallmark.
It’s time for an overhaul, people. How a CFL team can struggle to find talent when only competing with less than ten opponents for players always boggles my mind. You can’t blame it on the ratio. The blame sits squarely with those who facilitate football operations across the league.
Also, this is not a league that relies as heavily on the draft as other professional circuits. Stockpile picks in the CFL and you are accruing a few practice squad-quality players hoping and praying for the diamond in the Sasky sod. Our offense isn’t the main problem. The issue is that the defense has decided to become method actors for an entire season, a la Daniel Day-Lewis, in order to do their best approximation of human sieves. Just call the 2015 season kitchen sink theatre! See, Mom, my theatre minor is coming in useful! It’s helping me make vast generalizations through sports commentary! Huzzah!
At this juncture, I’m not quite sure what would be an acceptable answer. Is it too late to for trade for the entire cast of The Longest Yard?