The 2007 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Rough Riders seem to be in a bit of trouble going into the 2008 season.
With the subtractions from their team overriding the additions many people have asked, "Can they repeat?"
Well, I think they should be worrying more about making the playoffs then attempting a repeat as the Grey Cup champs.
Let's start with some positives. They added some nice key players such as Quentin Griffin, Steve Morely, Glen January and Stephen Jyles on offence. On the defensive end, they also added Ronald Flemons and had Omarr Morgan returning to the green and white.
Although those seem like some nice additions, the losses are a lot more costly. Now I know they needed to free up some cap space, but I cannot see us doing anything this year.
We lost arguably our three best players: the league's Most Outstanding Player Kerry Joseph, along with Fred Perry and Reggie Hunt. Throw in Corey Holmes and our Coach of the Year, Kent Austin, and that is going to hurt the Riders this season!
Going into training camp and pre-season, the Riders starting quarterback is Marcus Crandell. His backup will be Drew Tate, Darian Durant or Stephen Jyles. There is also a chance it could be the Riders sixth-round pick, Teale Orban, but I highly doubt it.
Looking at the two best quarterbacks for every other team in the league, I would rather have any one of them as the Riders' starters with the exception of maybe Ryan Dinwiddie as our starter.
*Means former Riders.
B.C. Lions: Buck Pierce, Jarious Jackson
Edmonton Eskimos: Ricky Ray, Jason Maas
Calgary Stampeders: Henry Burris*, Dave Dickenson
Montreal Allouettes: Anthony Calvillo, Marcus Brady
Toronto Argonauts: Kerry Joseph*, Michael Bishop
Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Casey Printers, Richie Williams
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Kevin Glenn*, Ryan Dinwiddie
See what I mean? Any one of those players would be better than Marcus Crandell in my opinion. He is a good backup, but no longer starter material. Also, the three quarterbacks with stars beside their names are arguably the best three quarterbacks in the league.
Now I like Eric Tillman. I agreed with absolutely everything he did last off-season and regular season despite 90 percent of Rider fans disagreeing. He did a great job and hey, they won a Grey Cup. But I have absolutely no idea how it can get close to happening again.
My prediction, is that the only way they make the playoffs is if they beat out Hamilton and Montreal for the third spot in the east on a cross-over.
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