There are more than enough reasons to believe the Renegades are headed for disaster, including another out-of-the-playoffs finish in 2005. But there is also argument for a turnaround in fortunes, and his name is Kerry Joseph.
No way Joseph will experience the injury problems that plagued him and crushed his team's chances last season. And you saw what he can do when healthy, leading the Renegades to a 3-0 start before hurting a foot that only has fully recovered this winter.
Joseph is at least 10 years younger than the quarterbacks of two East Division rivals -- Hamilton's Danny McManus and Toronto's Damon Allen -- and anxious to prove he's better. Meanwhile, Montreal has lost its best receiver (Jeremaine Copeland) and three of its starting five in the secondary.
The Renegades will be up against long odds, for sure, but if Joseph can lead them to a winning season, it might help all the team's other problems disappear.
HERE'S THE BEEF: Enthusiastic or not, after three straight national titles and 78 wins in a row you'd think more than 30 people would be out to greet the Carleton Ravens basketball team upon its arrival home from Halifax earlier this week. What's the school's enrollment, 2,500? Thirty people is, like, five carloads. Or maybe two, since it is a college crowd we're talking about ... This is not good news for criminals in the nation's capital. The Ottawa police department this week hired two locally-grown former CFLers: Darren Joseph (who played for the Rough Riders, Roughriders, Argos, Alouettes, Renegades and Lions) and Jason Mallett (Blue Bombers, Roughriders, Ticats). Both should excel at tracking down and tackling bad guys trying to outrun the law ... Also a new Ottawa cop is James Ramsay, who was a policeman for the Plymouth Whalers when Stephen Weiss was their top player ... Joseph's signing by the boys in blue kills the Renegades' chances of talking that fullback out of retirement. But maybe Bruno Heppell could be convinced of the pleasure he'd derive proving to the Montreal Alouettes he's got some football left in his somewhat battered 33-year-old body .... It really shouldn't take the 67's more than five games to dispose of the Barrie Colts in this current opening round, best-of-seven OHL series. They have better goaltending and more scoring depth. In fact, it's that balanced attack in particular that makes them Cheapseats' pick to win their conference. That means a third trip to the Memorial Cup in seven years, providing all goes according to plan and London wins the West ... Next time Brian Kilrea retires, his logical replacement as coach of the 67's would be Pat Higgins, a very bald man who currently does a fine job scouting for Jeff Hunt's team and also enjoyed success behind the Ottawa Senators (CJHL) bench a few seasons ago. Thing is, Kilrea looks about as close to retirement as he did two decades ago. In other words, not very. He sure showed more passion than any 70-year-old we've ever seen the way he justifiably exploded on referee Ian Smith in Game 1. And don't you kinda wonder exactly how it is that he was able to make mid-season trades for a guy that turned out to be his leading scorer (Chris Hulit) and a defenceman (Brad Staubitz) who has to be the toughest in the OHL?
MORE NEWS, VIEWS: Jesse Palmer proved he'll one day be a good football analyst when, during the Super Bowl, he honed his hand-talking skills working alongside Sportsnet's Jamie Campbell. But there's certainly no rush for him to make the career switch when the New York Giants are going to pay him $1.5 million (US) over the next two years to hold a clipboard with those very same hands ... If I'm Eugene Melnyk, I'm thinking about replacement players like Lance Galbraith and Dan Tessier. I'm thinking of finding out what a guy like Martin Havlat makes in Europe, and offering him a chance to double it by crossing the lockout line. I'm planning to cut ticket prices in half. As for the 2005-06 hockey season, I have four words: Bring the sucker on ... Those in the know say not only is it doubtful Jesse Lumsden will be selected in the NFL draft, but that it's highly unlikely he'll be signing any type of contract down south without a certified NFL agent. Most guessing is eventually he'll wind up as a "decent" CFL player ... A warming thought -- Lynx tickets go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m., as the home schedule starts just three weeks from today with a doubleheader (first pitch, 1:05 p.m.) against the Rochester Red Wings ... This collection of thoughts is coming to you from Markham, where the typist just watched the father of a 13-year-old Mississauga boy display all the characteristics of a mass murderer. Apparently, he wasn't pleased about a number of things, including that his team didn't "PLAY THE $%&*@ BODY" a little more often. Scary. Very scary.