Happy Hump Day Rider fans. Rider Prophet here getting set for a big game in Calgary against the 5-4-1 Stampeders.
Coming off a game where we were beat in every phase of the game, the Riders are looking to rebound in a big way. At first glance, this game should be cause for concern. We are on the road, playing an above 500 team on a 2 game winning streak. But then you look a little closer and realize that (a) you can hardly qualify this as a road game since at least half of McMahon Stadium will be filled with Rider fans and (b) Calgary's 5 wins have all come against the 3 worst teams in the league (Hamilton, Toronto and Edmonton x3). Now I'm not saying Calgary will be a push-over, I'm just saying things aren't as bad as some people are making it out to be.
The Stampeders have two very different sides to them. Offensively they are very dangerous. They have the 2nd most potent offensive attack in the CFL featuring such weapons as Reynolds, Copeland, Lewis and some QB I've never really heard of (Borris is it? Sounds Russian). Defense is a completely different story. No one in the CFL has allowed more points than the Stamps. Higgins is apparently a big fan of the Phoenix Suns philosophy: don't bother playing defense and just hope to score more than you're opponents. There are more holes in the Stamps D than there are on the highway between Regina and Calgary.
Unfortunately the Riders will have to beat the Stamps without star receiver Matt Dominguez. It was revealed yesterday that he suffered a sprained MCL last game and will be out a minimum of 4-6 weeks. While you can never replace a guy like Dominguez, it's not the end of the world since we still have good receivers like Flick and Fantuz. Plus Yo Murphy is ready to play so at least we have a solid veteran to step in at receiver. Tillman also brought a couple NFL cuts in for a look at receiver, although one on them was injured during his first practice. I guess when Austin told him they needed him to play like Dominguez he took it a bit too literally.
Overall the Riders seem to respond well to adversity so I see the Riders pulling off a close win on Saturday.
Here's a little Stamps joke to get you ready for the game:
Q: Why does the Calgary Stampeders' website suck?
A: Because they can't put three Ws together.
Elsewhere in the CFL...
Much to the dismay of many people in Riderville, Regina product Jason Clermont signed a contract extension with the BC Lions, putting to rest the speculation that Clermont was Saskatchewan bound at the end of the season. Apparently it was a lucrative contract that Clermont couldn't refuse and included a travel allowance. So basically that means that in the last six months, Buono has managed to retain the services of Buck Pierce, Rob Murphy and now Jason Clermont by making them "offers they couldn't refuse." And all this time I thought it was Matthews that was known as "The Don".
Toronto is in the process of dumping all their QBs. They cut Eric Crouch last week and then followed up by trading Mike McMahon to the Alouettes. In terms of healthy quarterbacks that leaves only Bishop and Butler. When asked for comment about who the Argos would use as their 3rd stringer for the remainder of the season, a spokesperson replied that it doesn't really matter who suits up as their 3rd QB. I couldn't agree more. I mean what are the odds of a 3rd string QB in Toronto getting called into action?
Trevor Gaylor was fined this week for making disparaging comments about the refs. I can't believe I'm about to defend an Eskimo (but then again given the team's inability to defend players on other teams, I doubt they would be able to defend one on their own team either) but here goes... I personally don't think that Gaylor's comments were any worse than what other players like DJ Flick said so I'm not sure why Gaylor was singled out. (On a side note, now that I just stood up for an Eskimo, I feel so dirty that I need to go take a shower).
That's it for now. This is the Rider Prophet saying... If you are one of the thousands making the annual pilgrimage to Calgary, drive safe and try not to catch anything. Our own Field Reporter Dom Dufour, the self proclaimed "Man in the Bush", will be at the game so check back later for his report.