Insider Talk: Todd Howard’s firing, Duck’s contract, Montreal’s free agent ‘bust’

Insider Talk is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that features anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel people, executives, and agents — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion regarding Todd Howard’s firing, Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges’ contract with Ottawa, the accommodations teams are making for unvaccinated players, and the role coaches play in personnel decisions.

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back next Wednesday for another edition of Insider Talk.

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(Defensive end) Nick Usher has been a real bust for the Alouettes. He makes a lot of money — more than Jackson Jeffcoat or A.C. Leonard — and he’s been invisible since he signed there.




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You media guys make it seem like GMs have all the power, but coaches always want at least some say in the roster. Some want a lot of say. (Ottawa Redblacks’ head coach) Paul LaPolice is one of those guys.

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(Former Montreal Alouettes’ defensive line coach) Todd Howard was not fired because of a vaccination issue. I’m guessing somebody above him made him the fall guy to save their own job, which is usually the case when position coaches are fired midseason.

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Drafting well helps you now more than ever because all the contracts are three years long and capped. You used to have first-round picks making $100,000 or $110,000 by their third year. Now you’ve got starters like (B.C. linebacker) Jordan Williams and (Saskatchewan receiver Kian) Schaffer-Baker signed through 2023 making less than $80,000 each year. That helps your cap a lot.

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Remember a couple weeks ago when Ottawa moved (backup quarterback) Taryn Christion from the practice roster to the one-game (injured list)? That’s because another team tried to claim him off the practice roster.

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The best Canadian receiver (in the CFL) right now is (Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ slotback) Nic Demski. He’s just so versatile.

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(Newly-signed quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’) Hodges made a mistake signing a three-year deal (with Ottawa). If he becomes the starter there he would have had a ton of leverage by 2023 if he’d signed a one-and-one. Now he’ll have to wait until 2024 to get out of his rookie deal.

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It’s getting really annoying dealing with our unvaccinated players, especially on the road. We have to set up a special feed for them to watch film in meetings. We need to send their meals up to their rooms in the hotel. It’s not fun. It’s a real pain in the ass.

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