Good day Rider fans. Rider Prophet here, gearing up for the final week of the regular season. Saturday the Toronto Argonauts roll into town to face the Riders. This game will be a treat as we haven’t closed out the regular season at home since 2000.
My how things have changed. Last time we played the Argos, they we’re competing with Edmonton for 3rd in the East. Now they can clinch 1st. Dominique Dorsey was just a back-up to Brashir Levingston. Now he’s the East’s nominee for Special Teams Player of the Year. And Rocky Butler… well I guess not everything has changed.
Toronto boasts one of the best defenses in the league: least yards allowed, least points allowed and most INTs. Oddly enough, the offense boasts very similar stats: fewest yards gained, 2nd fewest points scored and a QB who throws more INTs per pass than any other starter. The Rich Stubler philosophy apparently permeates through the whole team, not just their defense.
For the Riders, injuries continue to be the story. Mike Washington suffered a season ending knee injury at practice this week. Other Riders who will likely sit out due to injury include Adams, Stancil, Murphy, Cates and Holmes. The injuries to our top 2 RBs prompted Eric Tillman to sign Josh Ranek. In addition to being a pretty good back, Ranek also meets 2 of Tillman’s major screening criteria in that he’s played for both Ottawa and Hamilton.
I think it will be a close game with our league leading offense playing their lead leading defense. Look for the Riders to win one for their home crowd in a close game. The difference will be a record setting rushing TD by Kerry Joseph. Which will finally answer the age old question: “Kerry Joseph is a better _____ than Doug Flutie?”
Speaking of Joseph, huge congratulations go out to him for being named an all-star and the West nominee for League MOP! His leadership and outstanding play is one of the main reasons the Riders have done so well this season. Of course not everyone was happy for Joseph… Henry Burris was very surprised and angry that his "good friend" got the nomination ahead of him. Admittedly, Burris had a pretty good season but let’s do a quick comparison: While Joseph is 1 rushing TD away from tying Doug Flutie’s record for rushing TDs by a QB in a season, Burris is one interception away from tying Al Brenner’s record for most INTs in a season. While Joseph led his team to 12 wins and a home playoff game, Burris led his team to a sub-500 record and 3rd place. While Joseph is a class act who always acts very professionally and supports local charities, Burris is a whiny prima donna who punches babies and clubs seals (while I have no evidence to support these allegations, one can only assume that they are true).
Finally, three members of the Edmonton Eskimos were fined this week for comments they made following the controversial holding call last week that negated Sean Fleming’s game winning field goal. Given how depressed the Eskimos must be after missing the playoffs again, this just seems like kicking them while they’re down… or as it’s more commonly called, AJ Gassing them.
That’s the way I saw things this week. This is the Rider Prophet signing off.