Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bye Week Blues

Well it’s that time of the season that is loved by players and hated by fans… yes it’s the bye week. This week is a true test of patience for Rider fans as news about the team is about as easy to come by as Olympic medals are for Team Canada…Okay that reference is not entirely fair since there has been at least one Rider news story this week, so it would be more correct to say news about the team is about as easy to come by as Olympic medals are for Team Uzbekistan.

With the West Division on hiatus for the week, I am forced today to comment on the East Division (or as it’s more commonly known, the “retarded cousin of the West Division”), which is normally about as painful as reading Reed's Black's comments. Fortunately, though, this time around the East is such a gong show that it would be travesty not to devote an entire post of my hilarious commentary to it.

The week opens tonight with a showdown of the 2 worst teams in the CFL… Hamilton and Winnipeg. I’ll start with the Ti-cats. This season has confirmed 2 things about the team. 1 – Jesse Lumsden is ridiculously injury prone. When he’s on the field he is without a doubt the top RB in the league, problem is he will never play a full season let alone 3 consecutive games. 2 – Casey Printers is indeed brutal. The Ti-cats are the only team I know whose chances of winning greatly improve when their starting QB gets hurt. I’m not sure how they can justify paying $500K to a guy who has put up a whopping 0 passing TDs when the back-up (who they pay a fraction of that price) managed to throw 3 in one game. At this point they would have been better off to invest the $500K in actual printers, since that would at least provide some benefit to the team. With Williams under centre the Ti-cats are a better team… they are by no means a dominating team but they are mediocre and fortunately for them mediocre is good enough to contend in the East.

Onto the Bombers, who are definitely living up to their name. They were early favourites to repeat as East champs and on paper there is no reason they shouldn’t have. The reality is though they are 1-6 and the team is in complete disarray. Their new kicker is terrible, their old kicker is calling out the head coach in the media, their star receiver is struggling to amass the measly 200 yards he needs to break the all-time receiving record mainly because his old body has been too injured to even make it onto the field, the RB is completely useless (whether its due to play calling or individual performance is up for debate), and they can’t figure out what QB gives them the best chance at not embarrassing themselves. This week they have decided to sit Ryan “The turf was blue at Boise State so sometimes I get confused when I try to find my receivers“ Dinwiddie in favour of Kevin Glenn who looks like a scared little girl on the field since breaking his arm. This week they added Jason Armstead in an attempt to bolster their return game and receivers (normally the phrase Armstead to bolster the return game is an oxy moron but given that the alternative is Fred Reid it is actually a fair statement in this case). In my opinion, Doug Berry is indeed the problem. Quite simply put, the players don’t seem to respect him (not that I blame them for disliking that head case). I don’t see things improving anytime soon for the Bombers… and that suits me just fine given that Labour Day and Banjo Bowl are coming up. Keep up the good work Mr. Berry.

Next we move on to the top 2 teams in the East (though I use that term reluctantly as top in the East is about as big an accomplishment as the participant ribbon I received at my grade 8 track meet)… Montreal and Toronto.

I’ll start with Toronto, which continues to be a gong show. Rich Stubler is a prime example of someone who was promoted to their level of incompetence. He was a great D Coordinator but is a terrible Head Coach. Kerry Joseph clearly misses Kent Austin and the Rider offense. He has thrown only 4 TD passes this year and 6 INTs (he only threw 8 INTs all of last season) and he just generally looks lost out there. Admittedly, he doesn’t have a lot to work with given that his O-line is terrible and last game his best receiver was the 3rd string QB, but still Joseph is certainly not looking like an MVP. Last year, the Argo offense was as bad as this year but the defense and special teams were able to carry them to wins. This year however the defense looks terrible (as evidenced by 2 losses to Hamilton) and can no longer compensate for their complete lack of offense. As with Winnipeg, the Argos’ problem is coaching so until Stubler is axed or relegated back to the defense, things will not improve.

This brings us to Montreal, who are the only legitimate team in the East. As long as they win 2-3 more games they will pretty much clinch 1st in the division. Calvillo looks 10 years younger this season, Avon Coburne is a beast and the Montreal O-line (the worst in the CFL last year) is mysteriously really good this season despite no major player changes. Basically the Als only obstacle to playing for the Grey Cup at home will be if a West team crosses over (correction… WHEN a West team crosses over).

Finally this week, it has been brought to my attention that former Rider Colin Scrivener has been charged with attempted murder after a man was beaten and thrown from a 3rd floor window. Just to be safe I would like to rescind all Colin Scrivener jokes previously made on this blog… especially since I live on the 3rd floor of my apartment building.

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