Thursday, July 2, 2009

Riders Must Tame Lions

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will look to put the mistakes of pre-season past behind them on Friday as they class with their bitter rivals the BC Lions.

The game marks the first meeting between the Riders and the Lions since the Lions traveled to Mosaic Stadium in the playoffs and beat the Riders.

Both teams were "ravaged" so to speak during the off-season. The Riders lost two of their 'prime time' defensive players and the Lions lost a number of players to the NFL and to free agency.

Without a proven running back and a new look defense, the Lions appear to be ripe for the picking on Friday.
But alas, overconfidence can lead to a teams demise, and if the Riders take this attitude into the game it could lead to a dissapointment at home.

Mission Tips:

When the Riders have the ball....
When Saskatchewan fields the ball on offense, it will be imperative they make things happen early and often. Putting up a lot of points in quick succesion could demoralize the BC Lions. So how will they do this?

Saskatchewan should not be afraid to run the ball to new running back Hugh Charles, who showed flashes during the pre-season. A solid running game will only make life easier for Darian Durant as he begins the transition once again into the starters role. Without Cameron Wake and with the question marks in BC linebacking core, a running game could be the way to go.

If the running game doesn't produce for the Riders, they can throw the ball to a number of talented receivers. If Darian Durant can get the ball out to stars Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler and Jason Clermont, it could be a long day for the Lions.

The Riders would be smart to run a lot of misdirection and plays to catch the Lions off guard. Test the Lions and see if they can handle the test.

When the Lions have the ball...
The Lions don't have a proven running back following Stefan Logan's departure to the NFL, but Saskatchewan should still focus on stopping the running game. Nothing will give BC more momentum then developing a strong running game.

The Riders also need to get and keep quarterback Buck Pierce off his game. If Pierce gets hot the Riders could be in trouble but if they put the pressure on him, he could make some mistakes and turn the ball over.

And of course, the Riders db's will need to keep an eye on receivers Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon. The talented duo could cause havoc in the backfield.

Agents to watch for:

Darian Durant: Darian Durant was named the starter for the Riders and has the confidence of his teammates. If Durant can regain his form from a year ago, the Riders offense could have a great day.
Jason Clermont: Playing against his former team, Clermont should be motivated. The Lions released Clermont in the off-season and Clermont will look to prove he is still a commodity.
John Chick: Chick was injured a lot last season, but he is still remembered for his amazing performance in the 2007 Grey Cup run. Chick is still the leader of the Riders defense and he should be one of the Riders getting pressure on Buck Pierce.

Paris Jackson: Jackson is one of the rising stars in the league, and if the Riders put too much attention on Geroy Simon, Jackson could have a field day.
Aaron Hunt: Defensive end Cameron Wake may be gone, but Hunt still remains on the defensive line. Hunt could be a huge force in breaking up the running game.
Anton Mackenzie: Mackenzie left the Riders in the off-season for the Lions. The outside linebacker will look to have a huge game for the Lions against his former squad.

Agent Roughrider's Prediction:
Both teams may take some time to get into their groove on Friday. Saskatchewan does have the advantage of playing at home with their spirited crowd.

BC will have to rely on the passing game alot with their lack of a running game, and Saskatchewan deploys seven defensive backs.

Saskatchewan's offense appears to be running fine after a few learning curves, but it will be their defense that could determine whether they win or lose.

Riders will win the game 24-10.

Agent Roughrider out...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Calgary-Montreal Headlines Exciting Opening Week

The wait is finally over!

The long heated off-season has withered down, the gruelling training camp has winded down, and the final rosters are set for a new season. Seven teams will be trying to dethrone the defending Grey Cup Champion Calgary Stampeders.

The quest for the Grey cup will begin this Wednesday, when the CFL opens up with a double header. It doesn’t matter how you did last season or what your record was—every team is undefeated and has a chance to become the next Grey Cup Champions.

We have all heard the headlines heading into the season.

“Will Tiger Cats finally make the playoffs?”

“Will Calgary repeat as Grey Cup Champions?”

Now, it is time to find out the answers to these questions.

Prediction Time:
Every week I will predict the winners of each game. Disagree with my picks? Comment down below with your picks and see if you can do better

Wednesday July 1
Game One: Hamilton Tigercats vs. Toronto Argonauts

Another instalment of the Hamilton-Toronto rivalry—what a perfect way to start the season.

Two underachieving teams last season, the Tabbie and the Argos will both have something to prove this season. A win over their biggest rivals would be a welcome start to the season for both teams.

Both teams retooled a lot over the off-season, with Toronto adding Zeke Moreno, Rob Murphy and Dominic Picard; and Hamilton adding Alexander Gauthier, Dan Goodspeed and Brandon Guillory.

It is also the debut of two new head coaches. Bart Andrus will look to right the Argos sinking ship and Marcel Bellefuile will begin his first official season as Tabbies head coach.

For Toronto, a big key to the game will be shutting down the run. Hamilton has bulked up on the offensive line and have talented running back Terry Caulley carrying the rock.

If Toronto does this, they will put more pressure on Hamilton’s starting quarterback, be it Kevin Glenn or Quinton Porter. On offense, they need to try to establish some sort of running game. If they are successful in this, Kerry Joseph will have less pressure on him and settle into his grove.

For Hamilton, a big key to the game will be containing Kerry Joseph. Joseph is known for scrambling with the football and it is usually bad for the defense when he does.

If they do this, it will force Joseph to settle in the pocket and throw the football, which he struggles with. On offense, Hamilton should look first to establish the running game. Hamilton ran all over the Argonauts last season, and should be able to do so again.

This game really could go either way. Both teams have a different look and will be desperate for a win. Hamilton is at home however, and they will have a faithful crowd behind them hoping for the start of something great.

My Pick: Hamilton

*Game of the Week*
*Game Two: Calgary Stampeders vs. Montreal Alouettes*

The second game of the doubleheader is the Grey Cup rematch from last season, when Calgary traveled into Montreal and claimed victory.

With both teams rosters pretty much intact, this game should prove to be a very heated one—and undeniably the game of the week.

Anthony Calvillo has returned for another season, determined to lead the Alouettes to the Grey Cup.

The Stampeders however, will be celebrating their Grey Cup victory and won’t want the Als to spoil the party.

For Calgary to win, they will need to attack Montreal’s defense through the air and on the ground. Montreal has the ability to put up a lot of points and Calgary may need to score a lot of points to win.

On defense, it is really hard to stop the Alouettes offense, but if Calgary can shut down the run and get pressure on Anthony Calvillo then they may be able to hold Montreal in check.

For Montreal to win, they will need to also put up a lot of points. Sometimes the best defense against Calgary is a good offense, and the more Montreal has the ball, the less time Henry Burris will be able to go to work.

When Calgary does have the ball, Montreal will need to contain Henry Burris and get pressure on him, or else he will torch their defense.

Common knowledge would say that Calgary would win this game.

They are the defending Grey Cup Champions and are playing at home. But Montreal is angry following their Grey Cup defeat, and while Calgary is celebrating their Grey Cup victory, Montreal will be there to play football.

My Pick: Montreal

Thursday July 2
Game One: Edmonton Eskimos vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

In an intriguing third game of the season, the Blue Bombers will travel into hostile Commonwealth Stadium.

Stefan Lefors, Edmonton’s third string quarterback last season, is now the starter for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He will square off against quarterback Ricky Ray—one of the best in the business.

What makes this game so intriguing is that we don’t know what to expect from either team. Winnipeg has question marks at the quarterback position, and Edmonton is being lead by former defensive coordinator Richie Hall.

For Winnipeg, as hard as it may sound, the key is to get Ricky Ray off his game. Ray can pick a defense apart, but if Winnipeg can put pressure on him, it will force Edmonton to turn to the running game, where they don’t have many proven options.

On offense, Winnipeg should attack Edmonton’s front seven with rising star Fred Reid. If the running game is working, it will open up the passing game where talented receivers Derrick Armstrong, Romby Bryant, and Terrance Edwards will look to reek havoc.

Edmonton on the other hand, will look foremost to stop the run. Fred Reid is one of the rising stars in the game and if they stop him, it will put pressure on the inexperienced Stefan Lefors. On offense, Edmonton should try to establish the run, but if all else fails, they should make sure Ricky Ray is protected then air the ball out.

Stefan Lefors may have success in the league, but it will likely take him a while. He is competing against one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and an improved Eskimos defense.

If Lefors plays solidly, the Bombers could pose a challenge to the Eskimos, but if not it could be a long day.

My Pick: Edmonton

Friday July 3
Game One: Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. BC Lions

Returning to the stage of the Western Semi-final, the Riders will look to avenge last season's loss at home.

The game will have plenty of hype going into it, as former Rider Anton Mackenzie will return to Saskatchewan and former Lion Jason Clermont will face his former team for the first time.

It is always a bitter battle when the Lions come into Regina, and with the question marks surrounding both teams, it should be interesting to see how the game plays out.

For Saskatchewan, getting Buck Pierce off his game will be key. BC doesn’t have a proven running game, so if Pierce is put off his game, the Lions will be in trouble.

On offense, Saskatchewan should look to get the ball to their playmakers. If Darian Durant can get the ball out to playmakers Weston Dressler and Andy Fantuz, it could be a long day for the Riders.

For the Lions, pressure will be the key. Darian Durant could be thrown out of his game—and into bad reads and turnovers—if the Lions put consistent pressure him.

On offense, if the Lions can develop a running game, it would shift the momentum in their favour. And of course, if all else fails, Buck Pierce just needs to get the ball out to Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon.

Both teams have a lot of question marks heading into the season, and this game could go a long way to determine the answers. Saskatchewan does have the home field advantage, though it hasn’t always been an advantage in this series.

My Pick: Saskatchewan

My Record: 0-0

Agent Roughrider out...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Possible New Recruits

It's been the talk of Riderville... is Etchevarry's defense really all its cracked up to be?

Rider fans have been sceptical about how the Riders defense will peform this season, rightfully so after two dissapointing pre-season losses in which the defense in particular looked far from spectacular.

So what are Agent Roughrider's thoughts on the matter?

After the inital dissapointment has passed and thoughts of the season being thrown away before it even started have dissapered, Agent Roughrider has not given up on the defense yet.

It is pre-season after all, and that is never an indicator to how the season will unfold.

With that being said, if things don't turn out good for the Roughriders, there are some options they could look to bring in to fix their defense. Some potential new recruits who could shine in the Green and White:

Jojuan Armour: As much as it would dread Rider fans to see Armour in the Green and White after playing for the Stampeders last season, he may be a helpful commodity in the linebacking core. Armour would add size and experience to a small linebacking core. And what's more, Armour would hold a grudge against the Stampeders.

Jerome Haywood: The 280 pound defensive lineman could add some bulk to the Riders d-line. Scott Schultz is getting older and the Riders are also lacking in size with players like Keith Shologan.

T.J. Hill: Hill isn't a huge linebacker, but he may be a better option then Tad Kornegay. Hill was the Alouettes leading tackler last season and is very quick at the linebacking position.

Reggie Hunt: A former Rider, Hunt's reunion with the Riders would be very benefactory. Hunt is aging but he could start right away at the outside or middle linebacker postion for the Riders.

Agent Roughrider out...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Neal Hughes, Gene Makowsky: MIA

Well it was cutdown day in the CFL yesterday, and the Riders were in on the action terminating a number of players. But, in two moves on the report that will definetly be unsettling in riderville, running back Neal Hughes has been placed on the nine-game injured list and Gene Makowsky has been placed on the injured list.

Players placed on the injured list are often not actually injured but in Makowsky's case, it is fairly serious as the veteran lineman went down in Saskatchewan's preseason lose to the Calgary Stampeders. Hughes and Makowsky's injuries will definetly have deep reprecutions for the Riders.

Hughes was really starting to come into his zone. He was a solid blocking back last season and his hands were amazing as he caught a number of touchdown passes. Hughes may have been the starting fullback or shared time behind Chris Szarka.

Makowsky on the other hand, will shake up the Riders on the offensive line and test their depth. The move will force Chris Best to step in for the perennial force Gene Makowsky.

Agent Roughrider hopes that the injuries, though not both extremelly serious, won't be the start of more injuries to come.

Here is a look at all of the transactions the Riders made on cut day:


Non-Import DL Nuvraj Bassi
Import WR Todd Blythe
Non-Import K/P Jeff Bolen
Import WR Brandon Childress
Import RB Jason Geathers
Non-Import DB Sasha Glavic
Import QB Juan Joseph
Import WR Casey McGahee
Import LB Sam Olajabutu
Import DL David Patterson
Import LB Brandon Perkins
Non-Import OL Brad Peters
Import WR Byron Ross
Import DL Seante Williams
Import DB Jerron Wishom

Injured List:

Import RB Wes Cates
Non-Import DB Tamon George
Import DB Denatay Heard
Non-Import OL Gene Makowsky
Non-Import WR Adam Nicolson
Non-Import OL Jordan Rempel
Import WR Gerran Walker

Nine Game Injured List:

Non-Import RB Neal Hughes
Non-Import WR David McKoy
Non-Import DB Leron Mitchell
Non-Import OL Wayne Smith

Practice Roster:

Import DB Carlos Armour
Import RB Justin Beaver
Non-Import OL Dan Clark
Import DB Daniel Francis
Non-Import DB Joel Lipinski
Non-Import K/P Perri Scarcelli
Import DL Joe Sykes
Non-Import DB Konrad Wasiela

Agent Roughrider out...

Friday, June 5, 2009

My Exlcusive Interview with BC Lions Wide Receiver, Jerel Myers

Hey guys. I am now back with another interview. My last interview was about three months ago with Cal Poly cornerback, Scottie Cordier. I was so blessed to have that interview with him and now I am more blessed.

I was just looking up some players from the BC Lions roster. One of my favorite CFL players, Jerel Myers, was one of the names I looked up on Google. I was just scrolling through and found out he had a Facebook account.

Then I though for a second. What if it's just some fake account that a person with no life would make just so he could get some attention? Well, guess what? It wasn't. Not at all. If you look at it, you'll believe me.

I then contacted Jerel as I sent him a message on Facebook. I asked him if I could do an interview with him and I couldn't believe it...he said yes. I was so glad a player from a professional football league would like to be interviewed my some young and aspiring journalist.

Jerel Myers was one of my favorite players. I always checked out his highlights so it can help me be a good tight end in football, and it works! Myers gladly answered the questions with me.

I only gave him seven questions to answer because I didn't want to be a bother with him.

But first, when I show you that, let me give you a little background on this kid.

Myers was a standout from LSU. In 2003, he came out of college. He was labeled as undrafted for the NFL and was signed with the Bills. He played with them from 2003-2004. He then moved on with the Washington Redskins in 2005 but couldn't find success there either.

Finally, there came hope for this kid that had talent for a team. In 2005, he went on to play for the BC Lions of the CFL. He played there and in his first season, he had 36 catches for 473 yards and posted also posted two touchdowns.

He later left the Lions to play for the New Orleans VooDoo of the AFL after the 2005 season. But when Hurricane Katrina struck, he had to play for the new expansion team, the Kansas City Brigade. Myers proved he was a star their, ending his career in the AFL in 2008.

In 2009, Myers returned to the BC Lions, hoping to make a future with the team. I expect Myers to have a great season this year and hopefully getting some great passes from quarterback, Buck Pierce.

You know Jerel Myers now?

Here is the ultimate interview with BC Lions wide receiver, Jerel Myers:

Josh Dhani: What's it like returning to the BC Lions?

Jerel Myers: Its going to be exciting going back to BC. I see I have another opportunity to take care of my business so I'm going to take advantage of it.

JD: Did you ever dream of playing in the NFL?

JL:Everyone has dreams of the NFL. But things don't always go as you would plan for them to. Ive had a few opportunities but I just couldn't capitalize on them.

JD: What's it like playing with star, Geroy Simon?

JL: Geroy Simon is a great player. He taught me a lot about the CFL game just that one year when I was there. I love to see him play. I still kept up with his play even after I left.

JD: Are you going to miss playing in the Arena Football League?

JL: I'm going to miss the AFL a lot. Playing in that league for the past four years makes you used to a certain type of game and style. It was fun and I hope it comes back.

JD: I heard you actually played in the NFL. You played with the Bills from 2003-2004 and the Redskins in 2005. What was it like there?

JL: It was a good experience. Met a lot of good athletes and good people in general. I hope I get the opportunity again.

JD: What do you when it is the off-season?

JL: In the off season I coach football and substitute at my old high school. That's what I want to do once I finish playing football. I enjoy it as much as they enjoy me being out there with them.

JD: What are your goals for this season with the BC Lions?

JL: I only have one goal this season and that is to help the BC Lions win THE GREY CUP! I don't want nothing more or nothing less.

Good luck this year Jerel. Is wish you all the best. GO LIONS!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BC Lions: Sign Their Five Draft Picks

The Lions have signed their five draft picks from 2009. They agreed to the terms of the deals, but they were not released.

“Each of these players will be given every opportunity to make our roster and I believe they are equally excited about the chance to do so,” Wally Buono told

The five draft picks they signed were Tang Bacheyie (defensive back, above), James Yurichuk (linebacker, photo), Matt Carter (wide receiver, photo), Matt Morencie (offensive lineman, photo), and Jonathan Pierre-Etienne (defensive lineman, photo).

Let's hope these guys perform well this year. Good luck this year, guys, and welcome to the BC Lions!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Looking Ahead to the CFL Player Awards

Though the annual CFL Player Awards are the last thing on the minds of Canadian Football fans right now, it is never too early to look ahead and ponder who will be the top performers of the year. With all the moves of the off-season passed, we can better digress who may shine for their respective team.

In a league packed with star players and rising stars, which players will outperform everyone else. Who will be named the Defensive Player of the Year? Which rookie will be named the Rookie of The Year? And will a player other than a quarterback win the Most Outstanding Player Award.

Here is my take on who will win each award:

Outstanding Player

There are always a lot of players to consider when predicting who will win the Outstanding Player of the Year Award. Quarterbacks always seem to be favoured to win this coveted award and there are no shortages of options to pick.

Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray always put up MOP calibre numbers. Last years finalists Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris could also very well compete for the award.

It may well be a running back who claims the hardware. Joffrey Reynolds is fresh off winning the rushing title and should continue to be strong behind a rejuvenated offensive line. Wes Cates and Avon Coburne will also be two running backs to watch for.

But for my prediction I am not picking a running back or a quarterback. This of course leaves wide receivers. Jamal Richardson, Geroy Simon, Ben Cahoon and Weston Dressler are just a few of the talented receivers to watch for.

My pick however, is BC slotback Paris Jackson. Paris Jackson is a wildcard pick, but he is one of the rising stars in the league and should see more passes thrown his way with the departure of Jason Clermont.

Throw in the fact that BC has no proven running game and defenders seem to key on Geroy Simon, and Paris Jackson could be the bright light on the Lions.

Outstanding Defensive Player

Cameron Wake, had he not bolted to the NFL, would have been the favourites to capture this award once again. As it stands, there are plenty of players who will compete hard to win the award.

Unlike Wake however, I don’t believe that another defensive lineman will win the award because no lineman rely stood out all that much beside Cameron Wake. Doug Brown got nominated last year out of the East, but I believed his nomination was questionable.

A few defensive players to watch for this season would be defensive backs Chris Thompson, Baron Miles and Jason Goss. In the line backing core, look for Toronto linebacker Zeke Moreno who will likely make a big impact for the Argos defense, and Calgary’s Mike Labinjo who is one of the rising stars on defense.

My pick is Edmonton middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd. Though it was a tough pick, I believe that Lloyd could potentially have a huge impact on the Eskimos defense. Maurice Lloyd was considered to be the second choice to Cameron Wake last year for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

The only question mark to Maurice Lloyd winning the award is whether or not signing a large contract will affect his play. But, question marks aside, Lloyd has proven to be a menacing middle linebacker and should continue his success with the Eskimos.

Outstanding Canadian Award

Last year, much improved player Kamau Peterson claimed the Outstanding Canadian Award, who will win it this year?

Peterson may in fact be a logical choice to repeat. Edmonton will likely rely on him even more in the passing game and he does catch passes from Rick “Amazing” Ray. You could also make a strong case for last years runner up Ben Cahoon, who always catches a lot of passes.

My pick is Saskatchewan slotback Andy Fantuz. Fantuz has had some recent injury problems which have prevented him from reaching his full potential. But I believe Andy Fantuz is due for a breakout year. With Weston Dressler and Jason Clermont to complement him in the receiving core, Fantuz should face less double teams then he would have last season.

Outstanding Offensive Lineman

Let’s be honest, talking about offensive lineman is about as interesting as rearranging a shoe drawer. However, the award does exist and the competition is usually fierce… fiercer than two linemen fighting for the last chicken wing at a buffet.

Rob Murphy has claimed the award before, but will his success drop playing for the woeful Toronto Argonauts? Gene Makowsky and Scott Flory were both nominated last year, but will their age hurt their chances?

My pick is Hamilton offensive lineman Alexandre Gauthier. It is really hard to pick which lineman will outperform the other, especially without knowing whose running game will perform the best.

Gauthier is a talented offensive lineman and is part of a rejuvenated Tiger Cat offensive line. With running backs Kenton Keith and Terry Caulley running behind him, Gauthier could have a chance to impress the voters.

Outstanding Rookie of the Year Award

There are a number of enticing options this year for the rookie of the year award. Usually offensive linemen don’t seem to win the award, which may change this year as there are a number of solid ones.

My initial thought was to select Jamal Lee, but he may not even see the CFL this season. Other players that crossed my mind were lineman Simon Rottier and slotback Matt Carter.

My pick is Toronto defensive lineman Étienne Légaré. Légaré was viewed as one of the more talented players in the draft and could make an immediate impact to the Argos defensive line.

Of course, there is always the possibility of a player coming in from the states winning the award, like Roughrider receiver Weston Dressler.

Outstanding Special Teams Player

With last years winner Dominique Dorsey gone to the NFL, this years award is really up in the open.

The award could very likely go to a kicker such as Sandro Deangellis, Luca Congi or Noel Prefontaine. Look for return specialist Ian Smart to also garner some consideration.

My pick is Saskatchewan kicker Luca Congi. Congi has improved ever since he got into the league and has developed into a solid kicker. Congi will be challenged by Sandro Deangellis for the award.


Outstanding Player: Paris Jackson

Outstanding Defensive Player: Maurice Lloyd

Outstanding Canadian Award: Andy Fantuz

Outstanding Offensive Lineman: Alexandre Gauthier

Outstanding Rookie of the Year Award: Étienne Légaré

Outstanding Special Teams Player: Luca Congi

Do you have a magic crystal ball that you can use to look ahead and see what will happen in the upcoming CFL Season? If not, stay tuned for my CFL Team Previews, starting next week for a better idea about how each team will fair in the upcoming season.