Vanstone: Roughriders’ Shaq attack is coming back in 2022

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Vanstone: Roughriders’ Shaq attack is coming back in 2022

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Rob Vanstone expects a bounce-back season from Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans, whose 2021 campaign was ruined by a broken leg. Columnist

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Rob Vanstone expects a bounce-back season from Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans, whose 2021 campaign was ruined by a broken leg.

Columnist Rob Vanstone expects Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans, shown last year at the CFL team's training camp, to enjoy a bounce-back season in 2022 and recapture his all-star form.
Columnist Rob Vanstone expects Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Shaq Evans, shown last year at the CFL team’s training camp, to enjoy a bounce-back season in 2022 and recapture his all-star form. Photo by Brandon Harder /Regina Leader-Post

Robservations …

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• Stay tuned for a “Shaq bounce-baq.” The strong suspicion here is that receiver Shaq Evans , who was often a frustrated figure during an injury-plagued 2021 season, will recapture his 2019 CFL all-star form when the Saskatchewan Roughriders reconvene in the spring. Evans suffered a broken leg in Week 2 and, honestly, he is to be commended for playing in as many games as he did (seven, playoffs included) following an injury of such severity. Given a fresh start in 2022, Evans could easily equal his breakout 2019 totals of 72 catches and 1,334 yards.

• As a first-year CFLer in 2018, Evans had 50 receptions for a team-high 785 yards, but without a touchdown and with too many drops. This visionary was convinced that K.D. Cannon would provide the deep threat that the Roughriders so desperately needed in 2019. The answer, as it turned out, was Evans. He specializes in proving people wrong.

Dog-nosticator goes 4-fur-4!

• My oft-tweeted growler, Candy , correctly predicted the winner of all four of last weekend’s NFL divisional-round playoff games. Who’s a good girl?!

• Candy “nose” who will win Sunday’s conference finals: The Kansas City Chiefs (over the Cincinnati Bengals) and San Francisco 49ers (over Los Angeles Rams). My picks: Chiefs and Rams.

• As for the Green Bay Packers: Rodgers, over and out.

Something about Murray

• Thursday was a 40-year milestone in the remarkable career of Murray Mandryk , the Regina Leader-Post ’s political columnist. On Jan. 27, 1982, Murray first set foot in our newsroom. All these years later, he is still at the top of his game, holding politicians to account, asking pertinent questions, and demanding answers that the public deserves to hear. I don’t always agree with him — because, after all, he does cheer for the Las Vegas Raiders. Boo!

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• My favourite Mandryk one-liner was delivered following a touch football game. Following one of the worst games of my life, I decided to punctuate an interception-plagued showing by throwing my cleats into Wascana Lake, not far away from our favourite field. Upon disposing of said cleats, I returned to the field and quipped: “That’s the first target I’ve hit all day.” I was proud of that line for a matter of milliseconds, before Murray classically quipped: “Why did you untie your cleats before you threw them in the lake?”

Hall-abaloo

• I keep seeing references, from people who really should know better, to the NFL Hall of Fame, CFL Hall of Fame and NHL Hall of Fame. The actual names are Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame.

• A regret: I never interviewed recently retired quarterback Michael Reilly during a CFL career that makes him eminently worthy of enshrinement in the (please note correct terminology) Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Everyone who has spent even one second chatting with Reilly raves about him as a human being.

• Roughriders legend Joey Walters was a better receiver than David Williams, a 2019 CFHOF inductee.

• Free, unsolicited advice to the CFHOF selection committee: Pick at least one Canadian player this year (see: Jeff Fairholm ). The 2021 player inductees were all Americans. It is the CANADIAN Football Hall of Fame, remember.

Roll credits …

• Nice people who deserve a plug: Rod McDonald, Pam Gillies , Dennis Sobchuk , Ed Staniowski , Kim MacDougall, Peter MacDougall , Glenn (Chico) Resch , Carter Haroldson , James Reimer, Gerry Hill, JP McConnell, Joel Keller, Aydon Charlton, Sydney Matheson, Noah Richard Upshall, Jack Upshall, Michael Reilly, Joel Pickering, Derek Taylor, Karen Mercier, Ken Eskdale, Nathaniel Hackett, Jack McNeill, Luke Hornung, Kieran Poissant, Mark Heise, Don Hewitt, Tim Wicijowski and, with best wishes for the next 40 years, Murray Mandryk.

rvanstone@postmedia.com

twitter.com/robvanstone

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