NOT THE CFL NISSAN TITAN POWER RANKINGS: DURON CARTER EDITION

An iron curtain has descended across the CFL, closing off any information or insight into why Duron Carter was released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Either no one really knows the reason, or no one wants to be the person who reveals the reason.  Those closest to the situation probably have some idea why he was released, but perhaps they don’t even really know the reason.

Here’s my take on the Duron Carter situation.

I have a friend who is a great guy to hang out with, but only for a limited amount of time.  I’ve figured out that I can only take spending a finite amount of time with him, and then he ruins everything with the way he is.  If someone were to ask me to describe him, everything I would say would suggest he is a great guy.  He’s smart, generous, interesting, funny.  But he’s exhausting.  There would be no way to explain why I had to limit my time with him, and no way to explain why he’s exhausting.  That’s what I think is the problem with Duron Carter.

Mr. Carter seems like a good guy; maybe a great guy.  Gregarious, generous, friendly, interesting, smart, talented.  But maybe too much of him will get on your nerves to the point that you can’t take it anymore. Can anyone put their finger on why he gets on their nerves after a while?  Yes and no.  Maybe they can describe the things he does, and maybe some of it sounds kinda bad, but none of it is a “deal breaker”, so to speak.  None of it explains why he had to be released.  None of it explains why he became so overbearing that he had to be cut.  You just had to be there.

Professional sports teams tolerate hyper-talented prima donnas all the time.  Sometimes they build championships around them. They work around the ego, the behavior, the crying and complaining.  Why couldn’t the Saskatchewan Roughriders tolerate Duron Carter?

At the 2018 Grey Cup, I was sitting beside the girlfriend of one of the Calgary Stampeders.  Her boyfriend had played for the Montreal Alouettes during the time that Mr. Carter had played for them.  She said she couldn’t stand Mr. Carter.  I asked why.  She couldn’t give me a concrete answer.

I assume that Chris Jones isn’t even bothering to explain why Mr. Carter was released, any more than the Montreal Alouettes explained why they released him, because he realizes there is just no point.  It would never make any sense, so he doesn’t even bother trying.  He’s just gonna take the heat and move on. He probably feels bad because, both professionally and personally, Mr. Carter brings a lot to the table.  But he had to go. And it’s impossible to explain why.

So either the rest of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offense is going to have to step up, or it’s going to wither on the vine and die an unloved death around mid-October, 2018, along with Chris Jones’ NFL aspirations.

And that’s the other thing.  I do not believe there is anyone in Rider Nation that wants to win more than Chris Jones. I realize that there are so-called “die hard” Roughrider fans who bleed green, charter members of Rider Nation, and original residents of Riderville, and so on, but Chris Jones’ entire personal and professional life revolves around football.

Any member of Rider Nation, no matter how devoted, does not face the loss of his or her livelihood or the potential derailment of his or her career if the Roughriders lose a game or miss the playoffs.  If Chris Jones fails here in Saskatchewan, he can likely forget an NFL gig.  At best, he will be coaching a Division II or III U.S. college team or a high school team in Sacramento or Georgia for a few years, after which he might get a job as a defensive coordinator somewhere in the CFL.  He will not likely get another GM job or head coaching job.  Even if such a position is possible in the future, it will not be until he has spent years working his way back into consideration for a head coach position.  And he ain’t getting any younger.

My point is this.  It is highly unlikely that Chris Jones made the decision to release Duron Carter capriciously or carelessly.  Far more likely, he agonized over the decision and eventually made it because he thought, all things considered, it would make the Saskatchewan Roughriders a better team.  The problem for him and the rest of us is that we will not know whether he made the correct decision until the end of this season. For most of us, if it turns out to be the wrong decision, we can get drunk and call into the Fifth Quarter on 620 CKRM to complain about it, and then get back to our lives.  For Chris Jones, it potentially means the end of his lifelong personal and professional aspirations.

That’s all I can come up with, because none of this makes any sense.

Another thing that makes no sense:  my prediction.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders will beat the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic this coming Saturday.  It’s the only kind of game the Saskatchewan Roughriders ever seem to win:  the one they aren’t supposed to win (not counting, as always, the 2013 Grey Cup, which they were supposed to win and did, in fact, win).

Okay, let’s look at what the Divine Staff at CFL.CA had to say this week in the CFL Nissan Titan Power Rankings.

  1. CALGARY STAMPEDERS

The only reason the Calgary Stampeders are ranked number one on every CFL power ranking is because they are clearly the best team in the league.  They will stay there the entire season unless Mr. Bo Levi Mitchell gets injured.  And they will stay there next week even though they will lose to the Saskatchewan Roughriders this week.

  1. EDMONTON ESKIMOS

From the public comments he has made this week, Eskimo starting quarterback Mike Reilly does not sound like he’s in the mood to lose to the Montreal Alouettes this week.

I am really looking forward to the Stampeders-Eskimos West Final this year.  That should be a hell of a game.

  1. WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS

This team is the Rodney Dangerfield of the CFL (kudos to anyone under 40 who gets that reference).

Even ranked third, I don’t think anyone sees them as a legit threat to win the Grey Cup this year.  Even the Hamilton Tiger-Cats seem to get more press.  Speaking for myself, I’ll regard the Blue Bombers as a contender after I see how they do against the Roughriders in a few weeks.

  1. OTTAWA REDBLACKS

Didn’t this team just blow, a scant two weeks ago, a three touchdown half-time lead to the semi-pro team ranked eight this week? This fourth place ranking seems a little high.

As a rule, I do not believe any East Division team should be ranked ahead of any West Division team unless that team has beaten at least one West Division team, and no, beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders does not count.

  1. BRITISH COLUMBIA LIONS

Someone in the British Columbia Lions organization forgot to read the memo that this year is a write-off and the team is merely waiting to re-tool when it is sold in the off-season. I think it might be Travis Lulay. Or Wally Buono.

The British Columbia Lions are one of three “Jekyll and Hyde” teams this year, with the Toronto Argonauts and, possibly, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, being the other two. With the BC Lions, Mr. Hyde seems to show up on the road but Dr. Jekyll maintains a steady hand at home.

  1. SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS

The Roughriders will win this week only because they cannot possibly beat the Calgary Stampeders.

  1. HAMILTON TIGER-CATS

The apathetic and indolent Hamilton Tiger-Cats are taking the week off. Shame on them.

  1. TORONTO ARGONAUTS

I regard the Toronto Argonauts as the semi-pro East Division twin brother of the West Division British Columbia Lions.  These two teams will face each other this week and there is no point trying to predict who will win.  The Lions have an aversion to winning on the road but the Toronto Argonauts have an aversion to winning, period.

The Argonauts’ current starting quarterback, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, whose name should belong to the guy who reviews European opera on CBC Radio, has revealed himself as a competent and potentially explosive quarterback, but the Lions now have film on him, so who knows what the hell is going to happen.

I believe the Toronto Argonauts will land Duron Carter. Toronto Argonauts’ head coach Marc Trestman, who looks like Alfalfa from the 1930s Our Gang shows when he takes his hat off, is probably the only coach with the patience and expertise to handle a personality like Mr. Carter. It would be fun to see Mr. Carter make the same circus-catch against the Roughriders this year that he did against the Argonauts last year.

  1. MONTREAL ALOUETTES

Montreal travels to Edmonton this week to get pounded by the Eskimos.  Johnny Manziel may or may not be playing.  If Mr. Manziel plays, then Montreal loses by 15.  If he doesn’t, they lose by 25. It’s just math, folks.

I really enjoyed the scathing and disdainful criticism that TSN football panelist and human MOAB bomb Matt Dunigan heaped upon the Montreal Alouettes for the way they secured, and used, the services of Johnny Manziel.  That’s no way to run a professional football franchise.

None of the other TSN panelists are particularly supportive of how Mr. Manziel has been retained and deployed by the Alouettes, but Mr. Dunigan has distinguished himself by his tone and demeanor.

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