Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen, the Rider bandwagon is full. Ticket sales for the home-playoff game caused people to jump back on the wagon at a rate not seen since prohibition in the early 1900s. Of course those who were unable to find room on the bandwagon have now begun complaining more than Henry Burris after an incompletion. My sources have forwarded me the initial press release the Riders were going to send out to disgruntled and ticketless fans (the copy that was eventually released was significantly edited):

The Riders would like to apologize for not giving part-time fans who only cheer for the Riders when it's convenient for them the same access to playoff tickets as our season ticket holders who have been cheering for us all season. We would further like to apologize for giving preference to individuals who have given us $250 for a share over people who prefer to spend their money on dirty magazines and cheap vodka. Finally, our sincerest apologies to any of those courageous fans who did not get tickets despite standing in a parking lot over night. While we are unable to discern what impact this display of loyalty has on the team's bottom line or what assistance it offers to the long-term viability of the franchise, this display of unwavering Rider Pride will not soon be forgotten.

Sincerely, your Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Riders Win in OT

First off this week, I finally got around to uploading the last couple videos from Calgary. You can check them out here:

Pre-game Interview with Guy from Ponteix

Now down to business...
Friday the Riders got their 12th win of the season with a 36-29 overtime win in Edmonton. In doing so they also officially eliminated the Eskimos from the playoffs. I've never been so embarrassed to win a game. We were outplayed for the majority of the game and only managed to win because of a penalty that negated a Fleming game wining field goal.

That said, watching the "storybook ending" field goal sail straight through the uprights with virtually no time left on the clock followed by the Eskimos celebrating what seemed to be a season-saving win, only to have the kick called back on a holding penalty was one of my high points for the 2007 season. Just throwing that out there.

17 games into the season and our defense still apparently has no clue what a crossing route is or how to defend it. Message to Richie Hall: if you have a weakness that is so obvious even Danny Maccioccia can pick up on it, you are in a lot of trouble.

In addition to a poor defensive performance, we were subjected to watching Mike Washington play like he had soaked his hands in astroglide before the game. He somewhat redeemed himself by scoring the game tying TD but up until that play I thought that Jason French had snuck back onto the team somehow. Sadly, given that he's still a starter it tells you a bit about how much worse Hill and Marshall must be.

There were a few bright spots in the game though. Congrats go out to Neal Hughes for recovering a fumble during a kick return and punching in his first CFL TD; Stancil and Chick for combining for the play of the game (You'd think by now Edmonton would pay extra attention to an LB blitz but apparently not); and Michael Palmer for having a huge game at receiver. I find it a bit ironic that all season the Argos have been snatching up rejected receivers like Mitchell and Boerigter and the one guy they let go turns out to have talent.

The whole controversial holding call aside, the fact that the Eskimos could not hold on to a big lead in the 4th quarter while playing our back-ups is the exact reason why they deserve to miss the playoffs. When you allow 5 TDs from household names such as Childs, Washington, Hughes and Chick, maybe questionable reffing has nothing to do with you missing the playoffs (again). Danny Maccioccia better start working on his resume because he will likely need to use it this off-season. You're probably asking yourself who in their right mind would hire someone who has a track record of running a championship team into the ground? Well sources say that Jim Popp is very interested in as he sees him as the perfect fit in Montreal.

Tickets for the West Semi Final went on sale to the general public this morning and disappeared faster than Britney Spears' dignity. Within 25 minutes it was sold out! The last time Saskatchewan ticket buyers reacted this quickly to an event at Mosaic Stadium was when the Rolling Stones came to town. So what do a Stones Saskatchewan concert tour and a Saskatchewan Roughriders home playoff game have in common? I know you're expecting the obvious "we might have to wait 20 years before we see either again", but I'll leave that up to the lesser bloggers. The truth is, I think that on some level the Saskatchewan fan base appreciates the fact that whether our guest is Mick Jagger or the Calgary Stampeders defense, there's a decent chance you're going to see somebody score over 60.

Finally, there was a lot of talk this week about Michael Bishop and how he's 10-1 as a starter and an all-star caliber QB. Umm... am I missing something? Among starting QBs he has the worst completion %, the worst QB rating and is 3rd in the league in interceptions despite not playing in every game. He is the equivalent of Rex Grossman last year... a mediocre QB with a defense that carries the team and hides his shortcomings. I predict a Grossman-like fate for Bishop: defense choking in the championship game leaving him to carry the team, and before to long he will be replaced with a much older QB… Paging Damon Allen.

Well that's it for now. This is the Rider Prophet saying: don't worry if you didn't get playoff tickets today. As history will show we are a mere 19 years away from the next one. (Turns out I reduced myself to that after all.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Riders vs. Eskimos IV

Since this is the fourth time this season that the Riders are playing the Eskimos, I'm running out of good material faster than Rita MacNeil's seamstress. So I decided to write a poem about the green and gold...

Ode to the Edmonton Eskimos
A once great team that now really blows
I'll talk about the offense to start the day
Simply put they have none without Ricky Ray
TD's from a running back? They have just 1
And their top receiver is Kamau Incompleterson
A defensive stand just isn't in the cards
Since they are the 2nd worst team in terms of giving up yards
Not to be outdone their special teams is equally as skilled
Allowing 5 blocked kicks and 5 TDs, they're just getting killed
Let's not forget Sean Fleming, kicker extraordinaire
He's missed more FGs than anyone, even that Bomber with bad hair
Finally there's Maccioccia, to say the least he's not great
The Esks would be better off if they auto-picked plays from Madden '08
Tomorrow the Riders will end their playoff hopes once and for all
And so I have to ask "Whose fault is it now Bryan Hall?"

News form around the CFL...
Yesterday the team nominees for year end awards were announced. Looking down the list there are more than a few names that are there purely because "none of the above" wasn't an option when voting. For example: Shannon James, Scott Flory and any Eskimo not named Ray. Although I'm kinda sad that Jamie "The Juggernaut" Boreham didn't get nominated, I still think the Riders have a solid bunch of nominees and wish them the best of luck.

By the way, remember Monday when I said that Nick Setta should be the Hamilton nominee for MVP, Rookie and Special Teams? Well 2 out of 3 ain't bad. Besides I still contend that Setta is their MVP. He has scored 58% of all Hamilton points this year (by comparison Congi has a meager 33% of our points). You know the football situation in your town is in bad shape when being a kicker actually improves your chances of scoring.

The Bombers, desperate for a kicker who doesn't suck, tried to convince Mike Vanderjagt to play for them this week. This fell through pretty quickly as Vanderjagt apparently wanted $200,000. The kicking situation is so bad that Winnipeg has reportedly contacted all the Kick for a Million contestants for a tryout. Sources also say that the Bombers are interested in AJ Gass since he showed a strong leg when he kicked Brock Ralph last year.

The Sean Millington comeback story just keeps getting better. Apparently he failed his physical so the Argos have sent him packing. To make matters worse for Millington, CBC has already filled his old job so he can't go back there either. Man, if all it takes to get rid a bad football commentator is a shot at a comeback, Winnipeg should do us all a favour and talk to Chris Walby. Maybe he can even kick.

Finally, my favorite story this week has to be Jim Popp. In an interview this week, he said confidently that he's not the problem in Montreal this season. Generally speaking, it's not a good idea for a head coach to blame his players and coaching staff without shouldering some of the blame. In Popp's defense though he may have a point, it's not the head coach's fault that his players suck and his coaching staff is incompetent. The person who should really shoulder the blame here is the guy that signed them all in the first place... the GM. Word is Popp intends to express his concerns to the GM but doesn't expect anything to come of it since the GM is kind of a prick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Playoffs Are Coming To Saskatchewan

The year was 1988. A long ago time where Bush was president, Bon Jovi was touring Canada, Sylvester Stallone was working on a Rambo movie and Saskatchewan hosted a playoff game. Now a mere 19 years later, Bush is president, Bon Jovi is touring Canada, Stallone is working on a Rambo movie and Saskatchewan will host a home playoff game. Just when I thought I'd lost the keys to the De Lorean...

That's right Rider fans, by now you know that this weekend the Riders clinched their first home playoff in 19 years... unless of course you have the perceptive abilities of a CFL official, in which case you are oblivious to the home playoff game and are probably trying to invent a penalty to compensate. "Illegal catching of the forward pass, Saskatchewan number 3..." (Although I suppose they just make those calls for the good of the game.)

Mark your calendars and get your tickets while you can Rider fans... Nov 11th will truly be a day to remember.

Onto the game...
The Riders had actually clinched the playoff game two nights before taking the field this weekend thanks to a Stampeder loss, so it probably wouldn't have surprised too many people to see the Riders mail it in on Sunday. Instead it was the Ti-cats who mailed it in en route to a 38-11 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders (or "the players that were too good to make the Ti-Cats", as they are known to some.)

Yet again, Nick Setta did all the scoring for Hamilton, notching 2 FGs and a punt single. I find it ironic that the Ti-cats spent half a million to sign Casey Printers as their "franchise player" when Nick Setta should by all means be the Ti-cat nominee for MVP, Special Teams Player and Rookie of the year. Now that's a franchise player!

Hamilton is so bad it's almost comical. Yesterday alone they managed 2 penalties for illegal formation and 2 more for having 13 men in the huddle. Apparently the players have difficulty counting to 12 and just start guessing when they run out of fingers... What do you think would happen if Szarka was on their team... still too soon?

For the Riders, Scott Gordon set the tone for the game early on when he laid a huge hit on Brock Ralph over the middle. As one of the fans in my section so nicely put it "That's how we do it in 306 baby!" Holmes also did a fantastic job filling in for Wes Cates (though I have to admit he looked more like a receiver than a starting RB out there... not that it was a bad thing). It should come as no surprise that Gordon and Holmes had big games as this was their final chance this season to pour salt in the wounds of their old team. It made me glad to see that we have a coaching staff that actually uses players' talents: Gordon hitting like a cannon ball and Holmes doing pretty much everything else.

Joseph continued his strong play, throwing for a TD and rushing for 2 more. He is now only 1 TD away from tying Doug Flutie's single season record for most rushing TDs by a QB. And in case you didn't know, here are a few more Joseph stats for you: He's 2nd in passing yds, 3rd in passing TDs, 3rd among all players in rushing TDs and one of the least intercepted starting QBs in the league. All this from a guy who had his salary cut by over 1/3 and had to compete for the starting spot in training camp. Saskatchewan fans haven't seen that type of "I'm going to do what's best for the Riders" attitude from a quarterback since Henry Burris signed with Calgary.

One final bit of CFL news for you today... Apparently Sean Millington's 2nd comeback has been put on hold as talks between Millington and the Argos broke down last week. Who does this guy think he is? Larry Johnson? Message to Millington: You're a CBC announcer who retired 5 years ago (and again 2 years ago). You're not exactly in a strong bargaining position! Note to the Diesel: The mere fact that the Argos were interested in you has more to do with their bizarre need to sign CFL rejects than your playing ability. I think they like the security of knowing that their players are experienced in signing contracts, which guarantees that the first 5 minutes of their career as Argonauts should flow smoothly.

This is the Rider Prophet signing off.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Calgary Videos... Finally!

Well it took 2 weeks but I finally managed to upload the video footage from the game in Calgary. Enjoy:

Pre Game
Prophet and Gov
Prophet and Doozler
Prophet and Norm
Prophet and Guy From Ponteix
Prophet and Helmet Guy
Sign Off

Post Game
Prophet and Man in The Bush
Prophet and Gov
Prophet and The Pulse
Sign Off

I realized as I was posting this that I'm missing 2 clips so I'll track them down and get them up right away.

PS - We're gonna host a playoff game!! More on that story later

Friday, October 19, 2007

Riders vs. Ti-Cats II – This Time Its Personal

Sunday the Ti-cats roll into Mosaic Stadium for round 2 of a home and home. With a win the Riders can lock up their first home playoff game since 1988. They would also be only 1 more win away from their best record in an 18 game season. More importantly a win would mean that we did not lose to Hamilton this season, forever separating us from crappy teams like Winnipeg and Calgary.

You want a sign that things are going good in Riderville? How about the fact that we managed to sell out a game in late October, where the forecasted high is 5 degrees against the worst team in the league?

While fans are doing everything they can to attend this game. Players are doing everything they can to avoid it. Abou-Mechrek, Jones and McCullough tried their best to get suspended for this game, Cates' foot is "hurt", Washington's "uncle died". One Rider even went so far as to cut off his fingers so he didn't have to play the Ti-cats again.

All joking aside, best wishes to Chris Szarka as he recovers from a nasty table saw accident. On the bright side, at least now Szarka won't take any holding penalties... too soon?

With Casey Printers out this week's game won't be near as close as last time. Look for the Riders to give the home crowd a good show and lock up the home playoff game.

Of course any Rider talk this week wouldn't be complete without mentioning the myriad of fines assessed to the team and its staff. When all was said and done fines were handed out to Abou-Mecherek, Jones, Tillman, Austin and organization as a whole. Word on the street is that the league will use the proceeds of these fines to help improve the reffing situation in the CFL. I think this is a great way to get the most mileage out of the money, since apparently a donation of this size to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind is fully tax deductible.

In other news... Sean Millington?! Are you serious? For some reason when I read that Millington was coming out of retirement to play for the Argos I got a feeling of deja-vu... Maybe it's because the exact same thing happened in 2005. Millington joins a reputable list of has-beens that the Argos have taken a chance on this season. In fact, the Argo's contacted the Rider Prophet about coming to play for them but they broke off talks when they found out that I hadn't been cut by another CFL team yet. Their loss I suppose.

I'll wrap things up this week with a joke...
A guy walks into a bar with a dog under his arm. The dog is wearing a Ti-Cats jersey, helmet and is holding Ti-Cat pompoms. The bartender says, "Hey! No pets allowed in here! You'll have to leave!" The man begs, "Look I'm desperate. We're both big fans, my TV is broken, and this is the only place we can see the game!" After securing a promise that the dog will behave and warning him that if there is any trouble they will be thrown out, the bartender relents and allows them to stay in the bar and watch the game. The game begins with the Ti-cats receiving a kickoff. They march down field, stall at the 30 and kick a field goal. With that the dog jumps up on the bar and begins walking up and down the bar giving everyone a high-five. The bartender says, "Wow that is the most amazing thing I've ever seen! What does the dog do if they score a touchdown?"
"I don't know," replies the owner, "I've only had him for four years."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday Picture

Even John Madden wants to hear what the Rider Prophet has to say.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Riders' Wins Hit Double Digits

For the first time since 2003, the Riders will have double digits in the win column and finish with a winning record. On Sunday, the Riders knocked off the Ti-cats 40-23 to earn their 10th win of the season, putting them only one win away from cementing a home playoff game. In related news, Rider fanatics have already been spotted scoping out prime spots along Albert St for the "inevitable" Grey Cup parade... a yearly tradition after beating the Ti-cats.

How about Andy Fantuz?! He runs that corner route as good as anyone in the league. He finished with 3 TDs and 240 yds. Which, for the record, was 37 yds more than all of Hamilton's receivers combined.

Although we did win handily, it's still worth noting that our defense had some troubles. Seriously how bad is your coverage when a guy can fall down while making a diving catch and still have time to get up and run 5 yds for a TD?

For the second time this year, a brawl broke out in a Rider game... What do these two incidents have in common? If you said 'the Riders got robbed both times', you are correct! For the record, I also would have accepted 'the referee couldn't speak English'. To be honest, I'm a little disappointed in Mike Abou-Mechrek and Jermese Jones. Not for getting ejected from the game, but for not paying attention. Just weeks ago, they watched from the sidelines as Sherko Haji-Rasouli and Rob Murphy remained in the game after coming to their quarterback's defense. Abou-Mechrek and Jones should clearly have known that the generally accepted form for pivot protection in the CFL is liberal punches and the occasional chokehold.

After the game, Rider captain Jeremy O'Day explained his anger towards the officials (which netted an objectionable conduct penalty) by saying that it seemed the refs were pulling numbers out of the air when deciding who should be ejected. From what I understand, the officials were originally planning to eject 53, 67, 62 and 34, but ultimately only showed Abou-Mechrek and Jones the gate upon realizing that Saskatchewan didn't have anyone wearing 62 and that George Reed hasn't suited up in years.

Jermese Jones explained his anger over the situation by saying that he was asking the officials why he was getting ejected and no one was able to tell him. I guess it would have been wrong for them to say "you've been ejected under the Corey Rodgers provision." At least there’s some precedence.

Message to Kent Austin: DJ Flick apparently responds very well to personal issues and not practicing. Last week his family was involved in a nasty car accident so he missed practice all week to be with them. He proceeded go out and rack up 157 yds. This week his wife gives birth to premature twins. He doesn't practice again but still manages 87 yds and a TD. While I wish no more hardship for Flick, it really does seem to boost his on-field production... Maybe he has a beloved puppy or something that could befall some tragedy. (Note: The Rider Prophet does not advocate killing animals... even if it is for noble causes).

It wasn't all good news this week though. I was always convinced that Matt Dominguez's knee was worse than they were letting on. My suspicions were confirmed when he was finally placed on the 9 game injured reserved list thus ending his season. I wish Matt all the best in his rehab and hope he can be back in green and white come '08. It's truly unfortunate, but Dominguez should look on the bright side - at least he's not a horse, because if he was he would have been shot 3 times by now.

Speaking of horses that should be put down... The Stampeders managed to beat the struggling Bombers, lead by a strong performance by a returning Henry Burris. By my calculations Burris is overdue for his annual fall collapse, but it's still coming. Rider Prophet will keep you posted on Burris Choke Watch '07.

This week Edmonton showed us all what they do best... collapse in the 4th quarter. Somehow, back-up Stephan Lefors managed to lead the Eskimos to a lead over the league leading BC Lions. Then part way through the 4th quarter Maciocia must have reminded them that they are the Edmonton Eskimos, at which point they promptly went out and lost the game.

Q: What's the difference between the Eskimos and a loonie?
A: You can get 4 quarters out of a loonie.

Well that’s it for now. I once again apologize for not having the video from Calgary up. I seem to have misplaced the cord for my camera and am currently trying to track down another one. Look at me making repeated excuses for failing at a simple task. Now I know how Danny Macciocia feels.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Riders vs. Hamilton

It's Friday and another weekend of CFL action is just around the corner. Rider Prophet here, gearing up for what could be a historic week in Riderville.

After a 19 year drought, the Riders could finally clinch a home playoff game this weekend. Any combination of Rider wins and Stampeder losses equaling 2 guarantees us a home playoff game. This is such a lock that not even the Riders could screw this up.

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Before we can start thinking about a home playoff game, we need to first concentrate on our game in Hamilton on Sunday. That's right, for the first time this season we face the mighty Ti-cats. A team which boasts such amazing stats as: Least points scored, 2nd worst in the league in total offense, and a defense which has given up more yards than any other in the league. Maybe it would be more accurate to call them the Ti-can'ts. To be fair though, they do lead the league in 1 category... most field goals. That means the key to winning this game will be to contain Hamilton's biggest offensive weapon Nick Setta.

So earlier in the season Hamilton decided that the fastest way to improve their fortunes would be to bring in a top-flight quarterback, Casey Printers. That's worked out real well so far. Printers fell victim to the injury bug before he had the opportunity to work out the hand cramps caused by his NFL clipboard holding days. In the few games he has played in he hasn’t be that outstanding. Based on the results so far, I have to think that if Hamilton thought they could sell more tickets by bringing in a famous Casey, they would have probably been better off to go with the puppet that used to live in Mr. Dressup's tree house. Seriously, for $500,000 I bet they could have got Finnegan and the tickle trunk thrown into the deal too.

Sources say that to compensate for poor ticket sales, the Ti-cats have introduced a new line of cologne. It's a little different though - you wear it and the other guy scores… Unless you're Nick Setta, apparently.

Another interesting storyline to follow this week will be homecomings. This will be the first time Flick, Boreham, Justin, Smith, Holmes, Gordon, Kornegay and Hill get to face their old team. Also it will be Armstead and French's first chance to show off their talent to their former team. This means we can expect Armstead to dance around for a long time on kick returns for a 1-2 yard gain and French to drop passes when he’s wide open since that’s what they both do best.

Based on how many guys on our roster will want to stick it to their old team, I see us winning in a big way on Sunday. Plus we're playing Hamilton.

Around the CFL...
Dave Dickenson will be suiting up this week for the Lions when they play Edmonton. According to Dickenson, dressing for the game is just part of the process for returning to play and he isn't likely going to see action. Right... because really, what are the odds of a 3rd stringer in BC being called into action? Then again, given that the Lions are playing the Eskimos I guess the chances of the pass rush posing any kind of danger to a BC QB is next to nil. Anyone else find it kind of ironic that the QB depth chart is the exact opposite of what it was at the start of the season?

Apparently Stamps QB Henry Burris has been medically cleared to play this week against Winnipeg. Many are amazed at how quickly Burris recovered from his dislocated shoulder. Not me. I highly doubt that the fact that Burris' "miracle recovery" coincided perfectly with the strong play of Ben Sankey is purely coincidence. In fact, sources say that Sankey is one more decent game away from being cut due to the clause in Hank's contract that states that the Stamps aren't allowed to have a capable back-up QB on the roster.
That's it for now. This is the Rider Prophet signing off.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Memories of Calgary

Well it's been 3 days since the Riders big win in Calgary and my head is finally clear enough to put some coherent thoughts together. So without further adieu here are my thoughts on the Thanksgiving weekend.

There's nothing quite like the atmosphere of a Rider game in Calgary... beautiful day, a cold can of Pilsner, some Frontlyne in the background and thousands of fellow Rider fans whooping it up in Cow-Town after a big Rider win. All in all it was a great weekend, unless of course you were a Calgary sports fan in which case it was a terrible weekend. The Flames lost... again. The Dinos lost to the Rams. And of course, the Stamps fell to the Riders.

Don't get me wrong, this was by no means a convincing win. In fact, the game was about as pretty as a Hamilton cheerleader... but we won and in the end that's all that matters. After the game I was talking with Paul Lapolice and I congratulated him on the win. He said "Yeah but we got 3's when we should have got 7's". I told him that I all I care about is 2's. (PS - the above conversation was not about a game of Go Fish between me and Paul. Though if we did have one I would easily win).

How great was it to see #29 directing traffic in the backfield again? He just makes the whole secondary play well as a unit. Even James Johnson, didn't seem to suck as much with Eddie back on the field. That says quite a bit about Eddie's talent, since making James Johnson look good is about as easy as making Mike Ricci look good.

There was quite a bit of speculation surrounding why the Stamps chose to close their practices all week, and it seems that the answer was that they were attempting to implement a 4-3 defensive package to replace the misguided 3-4 preferred by the equally misguided (and dearly missed, from any Rider fan's perspective) Denny Creehan. Turns out that when your best option at middle linebacker is Scott Coe, maybe 4-3 is not the way to go. Although then again, if your best option at middle linebacker is Scott Coe, you've pretty much already committed yourself to the Phoenix Suns' defensive philosophy anyway. Which works well in theory, unless the Akili's heel of your team is holding up your quarterback.

Speaking of Akili, I have to say that Tom Higgins made my entire weekend when he decided to pull Smith at halftime and put in Ben Sankey. He gave us more of a game than I was expecting, but it was mildly amusing to see a journeyman quarterback who hadn't played a down of CFL football in 3 years badly outplay the quarterback who was once selected with the 3rd overall pick in the NFL draft. Seriously, as draft blunders go, Akili makes Ducarmel Augustin look like a stroke of genius. It should really come as no surprise that a backup QB in Calgary didn't do well though as I'm pretty sure it states somewhere in Burris' contract that the Stampeders aren't allowed to have a QB on their roster that is remotely talented.

Well that's about it for now, check back tomorrow for my thoughts on this weekends games. Also, I promise to have the video footage from Calgary up soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Prophet Goes to Calgary

I just got back from Calgary and I'm still feeling the effects of celebrating a Rider win. I'll have my post game analysis and a report from Man in the Bush a little later this week. I also will be posting the video footage of all the interviews I shot this weekend as soon as I figure out how to transfer it to my computer.

For now here's some pictures from the weekend.

Coach Austin and the Prophet after the game

Shaking hands with Ron Estay

Prophet with the voice of the Riders Rod Pedersen

Left to Right: Man in the Bush, Rider Prohet and Media Consultant

Rider Prophet with the Mayor Pat Fiacco before the game

Kitwana Jones and his biggest fan after the game

Bold prediction before the game

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Calgary Bound

Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving weekend. Thanksgiving is a time for family, football and of course turkey. Though our import players will probably know it better as "liberty bird”.

The Riders are getting ready for a big Thanksgiving Day match-up with the Calgary Stampeders. Not only is it a big game in terms of the standings, it’s also a big game because the Rider Prophet himself will be in attendance. That’s right, Saturday the whole Rider Prophet crew (Man in the Bush, Media Consultant and myself) will be hitting the highway for a weekend of fun in Cow-town! I can think of no better way to spend the long weekend than with thousands of my fellow Rider fans watching the Riders walk all over the Stampeders. Given the long weekend I decided to give today’s post a Thanksgiving theme.

To start off, I would like to address one thing. I keep hearing that this is an “unfair” game and a win really won’t mean that much since the Stamps are without starting QB Henry Burris. This is nothing but Calgary fans being a bunch of sucky babies. Does the lack of Henry give us an advantage? Yes. Should I feel sorry for the Stamps? No. Injuries happen. It’s not my fault that Calgary’s GM didn’t bother getting a capable back-up. Eric Tillman thought ahead and signed us a very capable back-up. BC is the top team in the league and they are playing with their 3rd stringer. Hamilton and Montreal have managed to win games with a back-up QB. So don’t complain to me about a hurt QB (this goes for Edmonton too). Maybe you should go complain to your GM who obviously wasn’t smart enough to acquire a decent back-up… Thanks for Eric Tillman

The Rider offense has been on a roll of late, fueled by the strong play of Kerry Joseph and Andy Fantuz as well as contributions from almost every offensive player on the roster. The Stamps defense by contrast is among the worst in the league, a fact that they apparently didn’t realize until this week (when they fired their defensive coordinator). Seriously these guys are easier to score on than a college girl at last call… Thanks for Calgary’s defense (or lack thereof)

On the flip side, I get to mention a name we haven’t heard in 9 games…Eddie Davis! He’s back!!! This will help our defense more than steroids helped Barry Bonds… well maybe not that much but you get the point. The Stamps do have a great RB and some dangerous WRs but with no one to get them the ball those receivers will be about as useful as Ricky Ray’s throwing arm (too soon?)… Thanks for Eddie Davis… and Barrick Nealy

If you are going to be in Calgary this weekend keep an eye out for the Rider Prophet and feel free to come up and say hi. I will be going around all weekend doing interviews and talking to Rider fans… Thanks for road trips!

Finally, thanks for Long Weekends! Hope you have a good one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Prophet Sighting

The Rider Prophet with the Grey Cup. Is this a sign of things to come?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Riders Win!

In front of another sell-out crowd (the 4th straight at Mosaic), the Riders defeated the Montreal Alouettes 33-22. Finally, after 3 straight weeks of having to lament Rider losses, I get to talk about a Rider win. Which is good because after a losing streak that lasted close to a month I was shorter on decent material than Rob Vanstone since Henry Burris got hurt.

In my last entry I said that the keys to winning this game would be plugging up the middle and covering Thurmon. The Riders were able to do both. We held Payton to 31 yds and Thurmon only accounted for 1/3 of the Alouette passing game (which if you ask Marcel Bellefeuille is a major reason they lost). Don't get me wrong, our defense was by no means stellar (we did allow 410 passing yds) but they at least got the job done.

What impressed me the most this week was the offense. Kerry Joseph seems to have gotten his legs back as he ran for 73 yds and added 355 yds and 3 TDs through the air. As I expected, Fantuz had a monster game and the way he's playing, he should have a lot more to come. It was also nice to see Holmes get a couple TDs. The play of the game however was the DJ Flick TD. I mean Chip Cox had perfect coverage and Flick still managed to come up with the ball off the deflection. I think we can all relate to how hard it is to score when you are Cox blocked.

James Johnson reminds me of a high school cheerleader. He plays football about as well and he's constantly being taken advantage of by the QB. He's absolutely brutal plain and simple. If I never see him in green and white again it will be too soon. Here's a list of people I would rather see line up at DB: Patrick Kabongo, Bob Barker or a garden gnome.

I would also like to once again commend the efforts of Jamie “The Juggernaut” Boreham. I love watching this guy. Most teams have a punter who gets the ball off and then acts as a last resort for tackling if the returner breaks through everyone else. We have a punter who gets the ball off and then tries to outrun the coverage team and either recover the ball or punish the returner if they get it first. His success ratio in this regard is no small feat given that we have guys like Carter and Jones out there

Around the CFL...
If you were watching Friday Night Football you could see the exact moment when the Eskimos season officially ended. In the 2nd quarter, Willie Pile came untouched on an LB blitz and blindsided Ricky Ray. The result was Ray separating his throwing shoulder. That leaves the Eskimo offence in the hands of an unproven southpaw QB who's go to guy is a receiver with a broken thumb. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Calgary, not to be outdone, was forced to play Barrick Nealy after Akili Smith got hurt early in their game. I didn't think there was any way that Calgary's chances could get worse after losing Burris but they did.

It's really a bad time to be a QB in the CFL. Only 2 starters are left: Joseph and Glenn. In the words of Glen Suitor, to be a QB right now "You gotta have the nerve of a riverboat gambler". The injury list seems to grow each week: Dickenson, Pierce, Ray, Burris, Smith, Allen, Bishop, Calvillo, Brady, Printers. Not to mention Maas, Chang and McMahon who were benched. At a time like this, how awesome is it to have Crandell locked up for 2 more years? Given how desperate Edmonton and Calgary must be for a QB, don't be surprised if there's a missing person ad featuring Nealon Greene on the next carton of milk you buy.

That's it for now. This weekend the Riders will be in Calgary and the whole Rider Prophet crew will be making the trip as well. Media Consultant, Man in the Bush and myself will be invading Cowtown, so check back later as we gear up for the game and the road trip.