Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Ugly

Riders 10 – Als 43

Off the field the Riders were honouring the Riders of the 1960's. Apparently though the players and coaches didn’t get that memo and chose instead to emulate the Riders of the 1990’s.

Since I am a person who likes to focus on the positives I will provide my thoughts on the game using a technique called the compliment sandwich. That is where I open with a positive then move onto a negative and then I end with a positive.  Okay let’s see, positive… Stevie Baggs and the defense as a whole turned in another good performance. Negative… with the exception of the defense our team turned in a performance that wouldn’t cut it in junior football. And another positive… umm… umm… ah... the dreadful performance made leaving the stadium a very quick and efficient process since most people had left by the 4th quarter stretch.  

Our offense might as well have just stayed in the dressing room because they didn’t accomplish anything on the field.  Our O-line had no answer for the fierce Als’ pass rush, and Durant... well, his play made me long for the return of Nealon Greene (yeah it was that bad).  Seems fitting that his nickname is double D because he looked like a useless boob out there.  We amassed just over 200 yards offense, the bulk of which were in garbage time.  The only time they were able to accomplish anything was when the defense handed them the ball at the 4 yard line. When I saw the ever reliable Jason Clermont fumble, I said we might as well pack it in because if he can’t hold onto the ball, we’re just not meant to win.

While Durant’s performance was next to non-existent, I feel the need to comment on our other QB. Durant’s playbook contains pages and pages of plays.  Stephen Jyles’ consists of a sticky note saying 2 things: “Take Snap. Fall Forward” yet somehow he managed to screw it up.  At least he didn't get lost on the way to the huddle.

Another addition to the “I screwed up the simplest of tasks” list was Johnny Quinn.  Apparently, “run forward instead of sideways” is a concept far beyond his comprehension.

While our players on O did little to nothing, I also have my concerns about our play calling.  I have never been sold on LaPolice as an O-coordinator. He’s a great positional coach but I have never really been impressed with our offense since he took over. Yeah the players struggle but at some point this has to fall on the coach for either not having them ready or not adjusting his play calls appropriately.

While I give our defense credit for doing as good as they did despite playing the entire game, they still had issues.  Our pass rush was completely neutralized by a strong Montreal O-Line, and even more concerning was that we are completely unable to tackle the running back.  

Is there something in the constitution that gives teams from Quebec an exemption from taking penalties? Honestly! I’m not blaming the refs for the loss but you can’t tell me that Montreal didn’t hold 1 or 2 times. Not to mention that having 13 men on the field makes it pretty easy to block a punt.

I’m all for fair play but when Anthony Calvillo is still in the game late in the 4th quarter with a sizeable lead trying to embarrass us even more, someone should have taken a penalty and run his ass over. I was actually happy to see Cobourne get hurt while running in a TD on a 3rd down gamble.  That’s karma man.    

Montreal is by far the best team in the league so losing to them is not cause for major concern but getting utterly embarrassed is.  Hopefully the team can rebound next week… they have some busy practices ahead of them because they have a lot to work on.

Joining the Riders in practice this week will be recently acquired standout college QB Graham Harrell.  While his college career is extremely impressive I will reserve my excitement until he actually accomplishes something up here. He may be touted as the QB of the future but then again so were Drew Tate and Dalton Bell and that hasn’t exactly panned out as planned.  

Around the CFL…

- I’m shocked that Buck Pierce found a new way to injure himself.  He is now officially cemented as the second coming of Dave Dickenson.

- Are people ready to admit that I was right and that Edmonton is not a good football team? They put all their money into 2 players and assumed that they could carry the other 40 players to victory. While I don’t think Richie is a great Head Coach, you can’t put this mess all on him. Not even the great Vince Lombardi could have success with the little talent on this roster.

- Did anyone else catch Glen Suitor call the Stampeders first 1st down of the game “Calgary’s biggest first down of 2008”?

- Toronto is perfecting the art of the implosion and are even finding new and creative ways to do it.  This week it was the old failed-wildcat-for-6-the-other-way play.  Wonder what they will do next week to top it?

- Hamilton is perfecting the art of vengeance.  First Otis Floyd helps the Ti-cats beat BC, then Kevin Glenn does the same to Winnipeg. Will Dave Stala be able to do the same to Montreal?  … well clearly no, but for now the Ti-cats are enjoying their first winning record since 2004.

- Evidently Winnipeg should have spent less time spying on Hamilton and more time actually practicing. Though I’m sure Mike Kelly considers this loss to be a non-issue that will be handled internally.

Lastly this week, I would like to acknowledge the work of an unheralded member of the Rider Prophet team.  When it comes to shameless promotion of the blog there are few who do it as frequently (or as shamelessly) as my PR Guy.  If you have recently been approached by what you thought was a talking bear telling to visit this blog… it was in fact not a bear but PR Guy. (I tried training an actual bear to promote the blog while riding a unicycle but that led to some unpleasantness, a few scars and a cease and desist order from the Humane Society). Anywho, kudos to PG Guy for attempting to grow my fan base beyond the current 7.5 readers.  To show my gratitude for his effort I will be rewarding him with a lofty 15% pay raise.  As an added bonus this increase is entirely tax exempt given that his base salary is 0.

Note to other members of the Rider Prophet staff: Given the limited budget we are dealing with, the pay increase given to PR Guy will necessitate a few changes to this year’s company picnic. This year it will be at the office, no food will be served, the only activity will be work, and the picnic is cancelled. 

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