From the E-Mail grab bag:
As a long-time CFL fan, I am disgusted at the way this league has treated a couple of recent stars. How the hell is Joe Montford sitting at home when the B.C. Lions have such a weak pass rush? And what about Hamilton? Could the Tiger-Cats not see the value of having him back? Makes the league look bush. Reminds me of the shabby treatment Mike Pringle got. Why didn’t the Eskimos give him one last chance to get 138 touchdowns? Sick of the bush,
I couldn't agree with you more about Montford. He's sitting at his home in Atlanta, waiting for a call. He says he's willing to take a massive pay cut and he says he's sure he can perform at his Hall of Fame level for the next two or three years. Truth is, it isn't only B.C. and Hamilton that could use an upgraded pass rush. Most teams in the CFLare suffering from the same malady.Some clubs are turned off by Montford right now, I'm told, because of his ego. But, hey,most professional athletes have big egos.Heck, most sports writers havebig egos. You almost need them to perform at your top level. My hunch is that, sooneror later this season, a CFL team will become smart enough to resurrect Montford. If not, it's the CFL's loss -- and the fans' loss. As for Pringle, you're talking about the Eskimos, and they're not exactly known for their class. Enough said.
First of all, I would like to thank you for the great coverage you continue to provide on my favourite of all sports---Canadian football.
I would however like to take issue with everyone's thoughts on the "great game" Winnipeg's Charles Roberts hadagainst theToronto Argonautslast Friday. Yes he did rush for 132 yards. But he had 33 carries. That is a 4.1-yardaverage. His team only scored 16 points despite the fact that the Argos could only getsix first downs. Roberts had a below-average game, with the luxury of getting an above-average amount of carries. In fact, after the first quarter, I would doubt that he even averaged three yardsa carry. So please, don't tell your readers that he was "brilliant." It's just not true.
As for Ricky Williams, I feel that due to the fact that the Argos have put themselves in a bind with their import-non-import ratio, it is far too easy for teams to key on Williams. With the injury to Michael Palmer, the Argos have to take Williams out when they go to a five-receiver set. That makes it far to easy to key on him on first down. I believe if he was in on passing downs, he would be able to get the surprise gains on draws, that many other backs get. For the record, I was a little upset when the Argos signed Williams, Not because I feel signing him was wrong (as far as I am concerned, when the Dolphins and NFL allowed Toronto to sign him, the suspension was no longer an issue), but because I still think John Avery has a lot to offer if healthy. He looked really good to me in camp this year, and I think he would have had a big year. But as an Argo die hard--I've been to all but fourhome games since 1981--when I was 13, I support my team through thick and thin.
Sorry for being so long winded, but I think it's pretty cool when a writer such as yourself welcomes feedback from the readers.
I'll take Roberts over Williams -- in the CFL -- any day. Williams doesn't seem to understand that thefield is wider up here. He runs inside, and has had little success because of it. Roberts knows how to take advantage of wide turns and shifty moves. I agree with you about Avery, though. I think it's a shame that he's sitting around, doing nothing but practicing with the Argos. Truth is, even though Avery wasn't much the past couple of years, he knows the CFL better than Williams and excelled in Edmonton. And, even though Williams is recognized generally as one of the premier running backs on the planet, I would take Avery over him -- in the CFL.
Outstanding coverage in your CFL Reports. Great to see you doing the inside stuff again, like you did on TV. Speaking of TV, what's the problem with these guys doing the games now? On TSN, you can't understand anything Chris Schultz says because he's incomprehensible, Matt Dunigan's all show and no substance and Jock Climie's way too serious, and when he tries to be funny, it's sad. It's all show and no information with these guys.
Keep up the good work Marty,
You can always change your channel when those guys are gabbing.
Is it just me or is quarterbacking in the CFL going downhill?
The best quarterback in the CFL last seasonwas a 42-year-old grandfather. So, yes, it's incumbent upon the CFL to go out and recruit some impressive new, quarterbacking blood. With Damon Allen --the aforementioned grandfather --injured right now, the Argos must count on Spergon Wynn, who hasn't been very impressive. Truth is, there isn't a dependable backup QB in the CFL, unless you want to count Nealon Greene in Montreal and Marcus Crandell in Saskatchewan. Or, if you really want to stretch, Danny McManus in Calgary. Some of the starters aren't much, either. Kevin Glenn struggles occasionally in Winnipeg. Jason Maas has been good in the past, but he's had aroughbeginningwith the Tiger-Cats. Henry Burris in Calgary always struggles at thestart of the season, but he should get going sooner or later. And, besides Allen, Dave Dickenson in B.C., Kerry Joseph in Saskatchewan and Anthony Calvillo are no longer spring chickens, so, to answer your question, it's not just you. The quarterbacking in the CFLisgoing downhill.
What's the story on Tom Wright? Is he staying on as commissioner or not?
If it were up to owners such as David Braley and Robert Wetenhall of B.C. and Montreal, respectively, Tom Wright would already be the ex-commissioner. But the situation now is this: Braley and Wetenhall will get their way after the season, when Wright's contract officially expires. Unfairly -- I think he's done a pretty good job, under the circumstances -- he's a lame-duck commish this season. And the search already is under way for his successor.
I really enjoy reading your CFL report (and your sports column in Metro, when not talking about the NBA, hehe). Anyway, I know I may not be in the majority, but would it be possible to give an update on the Ottawa situation every once in a while?
I don't know how much there is to say at the moment, but as a big Renegades fan, this season is really difficult to swallow. Oh, and Greg Marshall (the big one) for next head coach of the 'Gades. Yeah!
Keep up the great work,
All I can tell you is that Wright keeps saying there is plenty of significant interest in reviving a CFL franchise for Ottawa next season. But I've heard this tune sung too many times with other would-be franchises in the past to believe it just now.
I think it's best that you reserve judgement. Nothing wrong with hoping. And nothing wrong with Greg Marshall as a head coach. He's doing an excellent job right now as the defensive co-ordinator of the Blue Bombers.