Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Tuesday Afternoon Edition

Riders 23 – Eskimos 20

I won’t lie, I was a tad worried about our chances in this game. We were in a stadium that we always struggle at, we gave up a pick 6 early, we took a too many men on the field penalty because someone who wasn’t even on FG formation mysteriously decided to insert himself in the game, we had a touchdown negated because Chunky Adams didn’t report as an eligible receiver, we ended up playing a rookie at corner… yeah things definitely weren’t looking good. Yet somehow we managed to overcome all of that and come away with the win and a share of first place.

Hats off to our defense. After getting embarrassed by Ricky Ray last week, they stepped up big time, allowing him to complete just over 50% of his passes and allowing no passing TDs. They also held Stamps to just 13 yards and Mann without a catch (no small feat). They kept the Esk offense in check all night despite Darian Durant doing his best Michael Bishop impersonation. I was pretty worried when I saw Tamon George out there consistently but I thought he played alright for it being his first game. As for Leron Mitchell, I swear the poor guy is cursed. Last year, he looks awesome on special teams in Game 1 and breaks his leg to start off game 2. This year he looked really good on the corner but ends up pulling a hammy before halftime. He’s becoming the new TJ Stancil… really awesome on those few series when he’s not hurt.

Offense was a mixed bag. Obviously I was less than impressed with Durant’s 3 picks but I
’ve come to terms with the fact that this is what we will get from Durant all year: great plays mixed with bad plays. The thing that has always impressed me is his ability to fight through the mistakes and do what’s needed to win the game. I was shocked to see that Cates managed to rush for over 100 yards, it sure didn’t seem like that watching him. He still seems very tentative in his running. If he can put up 100 while running like Henri Childs just imagine what he could do if he ran like he did at the start of last year.

I though that Jamie “The Juggernaut” Boreham was a real difference maker in the game. His running punts into the wind really helped with the field position battle and on one occasion he even ended up extending a drive by deciding to hold the ball and run. He’s the only punter I know whose kicks actually improve when he kicks on the run.

The Renauld Williams touchdown may go down as the worst series of events leading to a TD in Rider history. Luca Congi made a FG but it was wiped out by a too many men on the field penalty. Then 2 of the players went off the field so we had to take a timeout because we now had too few people. Then Boreham punts followed by a series of grown men flailing themselves in the general vicinity of a loose ball (the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Man In The Bush reported on an after party during Gay Pride week) that somehow ended up with Rey Williams in the endzone with the ball. I’ve never seen anything quite like it (and hopefully never will again).

Other random observations…

Seeing Keith Shologan go in motion to the slot was the funniest thing I have seen in weeks. Nothing like seeing a 290 lbs D-linemen in a full out sprint (though if the play clock were any shorter he might not have made it). The scary thing is that since he was going in motion, you know there’s a play in the book somewhere that involves him running a route and getting a reception. Can you say Shologan streak?

- A close second was seeing an Edmonton defender desperately holding onto Fantuz’s hand as he casually reached the ball in for the 2 point conversion.

- How amazing was it that 62,000 people attended that game? That is unheard of in the regular season and is certainly great news for the league.

- As great as Shologan in motion was, in terms of hilarity it was trumped later that night when I saw Michael Bishop bounce a pass off his slot back while attempting a quick screen to the wide receiver. Just when you think Bishop has found every conceivable way to embarrass himself, he proves you wrong.

It may not have been pretty but it was hard fought victory in a tough road game. Hopefully they can keep up that momentum because we travel to another tough stadium on Friday to face the Lions.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Riders vs. Eskimos: Third Time’s a Charm

Well after failing twice to beat the Eskimos on our home turf we are now faced with the daunting task of needing a road win in Edmonton to avoid a season series sweep. Commonwealth is a place that we have struggled to win, having only won there once in the past 4 years. And if you’ll remember, the only reason we managed that solitary win was because a questionable holding call negated a game winning FG by Sean Fleming in his final game at Commonwealth setting up an Henri Childs TD (equally as rare as a road win in Edm) in OT to win. The fact that we only managed to beat a Maciocia coached team once in 4 years tells you just how much of an advantage home field is (it certainly wasn’t coaching proficiency that won those games).

I’m really not sure what to expect in this game. In our first meeting we were destroyed on the ground. This past week we got carved up through the air. We're running out of new ways to embarrass ourselves… though logically that leaves special teams as the next aspect to choke and, just our luck, that’s an area that’s been less than stellar all year. Crap.

Actually I’m not as pessimistic about this game as most. I still maintain that Edmonton is not that good. Despite the fact that we didn’t play defense until the 3
rd quarter and despite a stupid play by Patrick and a bad burn on Omarr, we still had a chance to win this game. If Edmonton was as good as people seem to think they are, they would have turned that list of Rider errors into a massive lead.

I would sincerely hope that now that we have some film on Kevin Strasser’s “new” offense that our defense will be able to do something… I’d prefer that it take the form of stopping the Esks O but at this point I’d even settle for the LBs to perform a synchronized Charleston as that would at least entertain me. We have the best pass defense in the league and need to prove it this week if we have any hope of winning. It looks like Rey Williams will return from injury so hopefully that will give the defense an added spark. Alexander is still out so Leron Mitchell will start on corner this weekend. While Mitchell is unproven thus far as a DB, seeing him line up in that spot is far more reassuring than seeing Tamon George out there. The key to stopping Ricky Ray from picking us apart again will be to take away his first read, forcing him to hold the ball a bit longer which will give our pass rush time to get to him.

Offensively, we played well last week (except for the dying minutes when we failed to get a much needed first down) but they still need to be better this week. The ground game in particular. 45 yards from Cates just won’t cut it. We need to pound the ball down their throat. I’m confident that if our offense can get on the field more this week, Durant will lead a strong passing attack.

If the defense can limit the passing attack we should be able to win a close one in front of the biggest crowd of the regular season. In the words of Grandpa Simpson “Make me proud… or at least less ashamed.”

Riders by a Luca Congi FG.

The Eskimos made a surprise signing this week, landing Reggie Hunt. After being out of football since last November, imagine the look on The Reaper’s face when he showed up to practice and the first thing he saw was Xzavie Jackson chasing after Aaron Fiacconi with a shovel. I’m sure he must have thought “What the hell have I gotten myself into?!” On that note, what the hell was Jackson thinking?! Though there’s no precedent on the matter I’m going to go ahead and guess that assaulting a guy with a shovel during practice will likely negatively affect your tenure with a team… might land you a WWE contract but won’t do much for your football career.

Xzavie never managed to get close enough to hit Fiacconi with the shovel, but we here at Rider Prophet Media think there’s no better way to start the weekend then by watching someone get hit with a shovel (except maybe a piƱata stick to the crotch), here’s a computer simulation of what the incident would have looked like if Xzavie had connected…

And this is what it would look like if they were lego men…

And lastly this is what it would look like if the coaches had brought in a bunch of children to do the Mexican hat dance to ease the tension…

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Too Little Too Late

Riders 27 – Eskimos – 31

I was excited to see Kitwana Jones come through the tunnel. So excited in fact that I sprinted from the parking lot up to my seat in the second deck to make sure I wouldn’t miss it. Fortunately that moment did not disappoint. He came trough the tunnel jacked up, spiked his helmet and started beaking his former team. Unfortunately, that was about the only part of the game that didn’t disappoint.

Despite what the score and late game surge might suggest, this game was over in the first half. While there were errors made in all phases of the game, the blame lies squarely on the defense. When your defense fails to force a punt in the entire first half you do not deserve to win, plain and simple.

I never realized that Donovan Alexander was such an important piece of the defense. He sits out due to injury and everything goes to crap.

I’m assuming that Gary Etcheverry does not have cable or access to a DVD player because he has evidently never seen Ricky Ray play. The methodical short passing attack that Ricky Ray has made a career out of seemed to catch Etch and his defense by surprise. For the entire first half the defense seemed content to stand around and let Ray move the ball at will. Did Etch owe Richie Hall money and see this as a way of working off his debt? I don’t pretend to be a defensive genius but having the defensive backs give a 15 yard cushion when 90% of Ray’s passes were 8 yards or less seems to make about as much sense as women’s infatuation with that grease-ball douche bag from Twilight.

Jerell Freeman looked lost out there most of the time. We still have trouble tackling consistently… check that, we have trouble tackling at all. But despite all the defensive ineptitude we were subject too, we clawed our way back into the lead and were minutes away from stealing a victory… at least until Omarr Morgan came along. Morgan actually managed to break 2 records last night… one for the longest fumble return and another for the biggest failed coverage of the season. Why on earth would you bite on an underneath route when they need to get big yards to have a chance in this game?!? Morgan’s screw up left Maurice Mann more open than Man in the Bush on a Friday night and cost us the win. Morgan had managed to work himself off my hatred list but managed to work his way back on with that disgraceful display of defense.

For the most part, those rare times the offense managed to get on the field, they played pretty decently aside from a weak running attack. My only knock against the offense was their failure to get a first down late in the game to secure a win. Show some killer instinct LaPo. We were facing the worst secondary in the league, our run game was struggling and passing game doing pretty darn good. So what does Lapo, in his infinite genius, decide to do when he needs a couple first downs to guarantee victory? Run 2 consecutive draw plays netting negative yards. Good work. If you are intent on running you should at least get some blockers in there (i.e. Szarka) and run it down their throats. If you are just going to pussy foot around waiting for Edmonton to tackle you, you might as well just bring back Henri Childs because that was his specialty.

To make matters even worse we were treated to the worst half time show I have ever seen. As if the crappy game and crappy weather weren’t enough, the Riders decided to make the game day a completely terrible experience by allowing
The Special Olympics Presents Stomp to take the field. That was the worst attempt at entertainment I have ever seen… even worse then the time that the band couldn’t play because the stage was too wet so halftime was silent. The only way to salvage that weird attempt at entertainment would have been to have some sort of sacrificial burning in the middle of all those drummers.

So there you go, another disappointing performance by the most inconsistent team in the CFL. When we’re good, we look like a top team but when we’re bad we look like a junior team. We better work things out quickly because with a tight race in the west a couple more performances like this could land us with a playoff date in Hamilton.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Riders vs. Eskimos: Let’s Try This Again

Sunday the Riders host the Eskimos in the first game of a back to back series. The Riders (6-4) come into this game on a 2 game win streak with homefield advantage while the Esks (5-5) come in on a 2 game losing streak. Things are definitely shaping up in the Riders favour. What’s that? …. Oh right… there’s that whole “monumental collapse” thing in week 4 when the situations were pretty much identical coming into the game. Almost forgot about that embarrassing ordeal.

Before the game even kicks off you have to think that the Riders will have the emotional edge in this game the moment that the team is led out of the tunnel by… Kitwana Jones!! It will be awesome to see that again and it will surely fire up the team and the fans.

The Esks come into this game struggling to say the least. They have lost 3 of their last 5 and needed last minute heroics to steal the 2 games that they won. Ricky Ray has looked terrible his last couple outings and the Esks still have one of the worst ground games in the league. Problem is that we all know Ray can still be very dangerous and that hapless run game victimized us in the first encounter.

As many concerns as they have on O, they pale in comparison to the ones on D. They are currently the worst defensive unit in the CFL having allowed the most yards and the most points (over 31 per game). Add to that the fact they are the worst in the league when it comes to sacks, interceptions and creating turnovers. About the only thing they seem to excel at is not allowing FGs (among the least allowed in the league)… though the reason they allow so few FGs is that they prefer to let their opponents score TDs instead (most TDs allowed in the league) but let’s focus on the positives here. It boils down to what I’ve been saying since the start of the season about the Esks: Mo Lloyd may be good, but he’s not good enough to compensate for the lack of talent on the part of the other 11 defenders (no to mention the lack of talent in his defensive coordinator).

Last time we played the Esks we got beat by the run, a 3rd quarter implosion and offensive play calling that was as questionable as that South African sprinter’s gender (though the sprinter had one thing our play calling lacked… balls). Fortunately since that Buffalo Bills-esque collapse we have been steadily improving in these areas. We just shut down the league’s top runner 2 weeks in a row. We have been playing progressively better in the 3rd quarter and I have been very happy with our play calling of late. If we can keep this up we should be fine.

Offensively the key to the game is the passing game. Edmonton has the worst secondary in the league so Durant has an opportunity to exploit them for big yards. We need a strong running game to keep our offense on the field but passing is where our points will be scored. Defensively, the key will be stopping the run. Ricky Ray may be better than Bishop (talk about the understatement of the century) but if he has no ground game to take the pressure off him he will struggle just the same… okay he probably won’t struggle near as bad as Bishop, but he’ll still struggle. Forcing Ray to drop back and pass plays right into our 2 biggest strengths. 1 being our sack happy D-line and 2 being our pass coverage which is the best in the league at this point (least yds allowed, 2nd most INTs).

The only thing that worries me coming into this game is special teams. Our foibles (good word) in this area have cost us big on numerous occasions. Tristan Jackson’s punt return TD was the catalyst to the Esks’ comeback last time. Hopefully Kitwana will be looking to knock his former team mates senseless.

Edmonton is not that good of a football team and if the Riders play anywhere close to their potential they should have no problem proving it on Sunday. Look for the Riders to come out pumped up for the hometown crowd and exact vengeance on the Esks for last time.

Riders by 10.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: What Did We Learn?

Riders 55 – Bombers 10

So apparently Michael Bishop’s vow following the Labour Day Classic that the Bombers were “going to kick their asses” was about as accurate a prediction as most of his pass attempts. Also, Mike Kelly’s claim that “Our team is as good as they are” was about as good of an assessment as the one he made about Stephan LeFors ability to be a starting QB.

But those weren't the only lessons learned during the Banjo Bowl Massacre of ’09. Here are a few more…
  • Michael Bishop is comically terrible… not that we didn’t already know that but I feel as though his 9 of 20 for 98 yds and 2 picks performance deserved special mockery.
  • Sadly, Bishop is by far the Bombers’ best QB… as evidenced by Bryan Randall getting picked off on his first pass attempt and going on to complete as many passes to Riders as he did to Bombers.
  • The Bombers must be kicking themselves for releasing Jason Armstead before the season because he would have been by far their best option at QB (what a throw!)
  • Andy Fantuz is back. As nice as that toss from Armstead was, it really should have been an INT if it weren’t for Fantuz ripping it out of the defenders hands.
  • The reverse to Brock Ralph still has yet to work… but I guess they say persistence pays off eventually.
  • Darian Durant just keeps improving. I really think that him spending the bye week in the film room will turn out to be the turning point of his season.
  • Turns out we can score in the 3rd quarter… and we’re still undefeated when we do so
  • Rob Bagg is awesome… just wish his first name was Travis or something so I could coin the phrase “You’ve been T Bagged!”
  • Our patchwork O-line seems to have finally gelled. They gave up no sacks and powered a strong running attack by Wes Cates.
  • Our defense is now firing on all cylinders… in particular John Chick, Sean Lucas and Lance Frazier.
  • The flash cards that the Bombers used this week were not any more effective than the whiteboards used last week in terms of helping the offense execute plays. Wonder what they will try next? Lite Brite? Spirograph?
The win leaves the Riders in a first place tie with the Stampeders at 6-4. It’s really too bad that Winnipeg wasn’t still in the West because I would love to see Michael Bishop embarrass himself a couple more times. Oh well, you’ve gotta be happy with a dominating win but let’s remember that it came against one of the worst teams in the CFL. The real test will come over our next 3 games, which are against western opponents. For now though continue basking in a strong showing by the Riders and comical embarrassment by the Bombers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

That's It We're Going Back To Winnipeg!

Sunday the Riders travel to that peepee soaked heck hole known as Winnipeg for the annual Banjo Bowl. I still think that since Troy Westwood is no longer in the league that we should rename the annual game based on more recent inflammatory comments... but evidently the Blue Bombers do not support my “Crotch Bowl” proposal. Maybe they’d like it better if we switched it from a bowl to a cup.

History is on the Bombers’ side in this contest as they lead the all-time Banjo Bowl series 3-2. History, however, is about the only thing on the Bombers’ side for this game.

Last week we saw exactly what you can expect from the Bombers… an offense that relies entirely on Fred Reid for success and completely implodes when he is contained. They have a QB who is a turnover machine, an O-line that can’t block and a middle linebacker too stupid to handle the relatively simple opening coin toss. The rest of their defense has a couple standout players, but as we proved last week they can be made to look very average.

Things don’t really get any easier for the Bombers. They were clearly outmatched by our players last week and this week our roster will be even stronger. Our offense will be bolstered by the return of Andy Fantuuuuuz and our special teams will received a huge boost from the returns of Neal Hughes, Leron Mitchell and Kitwana Jones. Winnipeg was a worse team than us last week and we have improved significantly heading into the rematch while they have not. That doesn’t bode well for the Bombers. Maybe Kelly will try and bolster his defense by starting a former Grey Cup MVP cornerback. I mean, James Johnson was directly responsible for the Bombers’ last Banjo Bowl victory in 2007.

Game plan remains the exact same as last week: contain Fred Reid at all costs. You can bet Kelly will try and throw some wrinkles at us in an attempt to spring him but going against a weak O-line I’m very confident in our front seven’s ability to stop Reid and force Bishop to embarrass himself through the air.

Defensively, I would expect Winnipeg to come out very aggress
ive. They lead the league in INTs and have a pretty decent run D so we need to be careful. Last week we used the right mix of slow methodical drives and shots downfield (we just need Durant to hook up with the receivers when they get open deep) to keep them off balance. We need to continue that, and a big part of it comes from Cates. Whether by running or catching out of the backfield he needs to chew up yards to open up things for our receivers. Since our defense is guaranteed to create turnovers, if our offense can control the ball we will be set.

I’m fully aware that Michael Bishop had a pretty big game at last year’s Banjo Bowl but given that he doesn’t once again have the luxury of playing against a really bad Bomber defense I don’t expect an encore performance. Well that’s not entirely true… he will once again be completing long passes to the Riders.

While I expect Winnipeg to play a lot better at home, they just are
n’t as good of a football team as we are. The return of Fantuz, Hughes, Jones and Mitchell will be more than enough of a boost to overcome the change in home field advantage.

Riders by 10

Those of you brave enough to travel to Winnipeg to see the game live may want to invest in nose plugs and a bulletproof vest… but should you survive the smell and rampant gang violence keep an eye out for the whiteboards the Bombers use to call plays in. My sources indicate there’s a good chance you will see the following

Or this...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Aww Yeah!

Welcome home Kitwana

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Belated Labour Day Edition

Riders 29 – Bombers 14

Like most Canadians the Rider Prophet celebrated Labour Day by not performing any labour whatsoever (the irony is not lost on me). So even though it’s no longer Monday or even morning for that matter here’s a belated edition of Monday Morning Sentimonies…

I knew the Bombers were a brutal football team but I assumed they were intelligent enough to get through the coin toss before their first screw-up of the game. Evidently I gave them way too much credit. I was actually hoping that Mike Kelly would throw the challenge flag and ask for the first ever video review of a coin toss.

My game ball goes to Michael Bishop who went out there and did what he does best… serve up INTs in groups of 3. I knew you had it in you Bishop. It’s wonderful to finally be able to benefit from his failures (it’s also a lot easier on my blood pressure). Although I thoroughly enjoyed his on field performance, it’s what was occurring on the sidelines that absolutely made my day. In an effort to try and accommodate Bishop’s mental retardation, the coaches have started using giant whiteboards with numbers on them to signal in the play calls to him from the sideline. It’s hilarious to watch mainly because most peewee teams wouldn’t need to sink that low. But then again if there was ever someone who could redefine stupidity at the QB position, Bishop is that man.

While Bishop certainly did his part to secure the loss, he wasn’t the only former Rider whose shortcomings finally benefited the green and white. Steve Morley and Glenn January (and the O-line in general for that matter) were completely overpowered by the dynamic duo of the Pigeon Toed Wonder and his partner Captain Diabetes (aka Baggs and Chick). I guess it should come as no surprise that 2 lineman not skilled enough to start for the Riders couldn’t hold their own against our starters. The worst was when the Bombers were on our 1 yard line at the end of the first half and their O-line was so porous that Mullinder and Chick managed to get into the backfield with relative ease.

The defense as a whole did exactly what they needed to do - give Fred Reid zero room to move. In addition to our line getting consistent pressure, we also used James Patrick very effectively to add extra pressure. Patrick was actually more useful in his safety blitzes on Sunday than his predecessor was on all his career “blitzes” combined. And how about Tad Kornegay… he had a huge game.

Memo to Mike Kelly: When we run WR reverses they work because we use a lightning fast receiver (Dressler). When you run the same reverses they net you negative yards because you use Brock Ralph (who has not previously, nor will he ever be, described as lightning fast). Seriously, why not just run the reverse to Oosterhuis, at least he'd be harder to bring down.

Offensively, I thought Durant played really well. He came out and organized 2 nice TD drives into the wind and other than that INT, which looked like it slipped out of his hand, controlled the ball well. I am now firmly on the Rob Bagg bandwagon. He is awesome and deservedly becoming a bigger part of our offense with each passing week. How this guy went undrafted is beyond me. When you consider that it cost us a high draft pick for the privilege of having David McKoy occupy our injury list, Bagg is a complete steal. Another big factor in the effectiveness of our offense was the yards chewed up by Wes Cates (160 total yards).

Message to the Riders coaching staff: We are now undefeated when we score in the 3rd quarter… you should try doing it more often.

Despite my skepticism I have to admit that Armstead looked okay out there. He was by no means outstanding but he at least looks to be an improvement at that spot. To be fair though, he was the beneficiary of a favourable scheme. While we usually attempt to block punts at the expense of blocking for our returner, this week we made no attempt to block the kick and had everyone drop back and block for Armstead. So while our returns were a bit better it wasn’t all Armstead’s doing.

One last note: Could they have found 3 stupider people to compete for 25 stacks at half time? Seriously, most pre school children could assemble a 12 piece puzzle in under 5 minutes, why couldn’t those competitors? The only way that half time show could have been worse is if Michael Bishop was a contestant… Stephan LeFors could have used his whiteboard to send instructions in from the sideline, but Bishop would still probably lose as a result of a piece or two ending up in his opponent's possession.

All in all it was a great game and a great long weekend. The only disappointment for me was that James Johnson wasn’t healthy enough to embarrass himself on the field. Hopefully we can maintain this momentum as we get ready for the Banjo Bowl.

Around the CFL…

How ridiculous was the end to the BC/Montreal game?! I’ve witnessed a lot of head scratching errors in officiating over the years but that one has to rank up there among the worst of them. Montreal gets their game tying TD called back because the clock wasn’t right?! Give me a break! Generally a team gets penalized for something someone on their team did. In this case, Montreal got screwed out of a legit TD because of something the timekeeper (who is from BC) did. Ridiculous! True to their Quebec roots, due to the unfair treatment the Als received from the west, they are now threatening to separate from the CFL and form their own system of officiating.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labour Day Classic – Send In The Clowns

It’s been sold out for months, it’s the most highly anticipated game of the regular season and now it’s but days away.

Sunday the Riders (4-4) take on the Bombers (3-5) in the annual Labour Day Classic. Since 1946, the Riders have won the infamous clash 27 times out of 44 and have not lost since 2004. Over the length of the rivalry there have been games that were truly deserving of the term “classic” such as Joseph’s last minute TD run in 2007. Of course there have also been games at the opposite end of the excitement scale such as last year when the game was highlighted by Michael Bishop’s 100 yard passing, 0 TD, 2 turnover performance completely overwhelming an absolutely brutal Bomber team. Classic Michael Bishop… yes. Classic game… hardly.

Normally when Labour Day roles around my pre-game post is filled with jokes and insults directed as the residents of Manitoba. It’s kinda of a victimless crime since most of them don’t possess the requisite 3rd grade education required to read and comprehend this blog. This year, however, I’ve decided to take it easy on our unattractive inbred neighbours to the east… mainly because I feel sorry for Winnipeg fans this year. While they have gotten used to a poor performing team over the years… no fans should have to endure the embarrassing gong show that the Bombers have become.

The team is far worse than their record would indicate and have been a complete an utter gong show since the day Mike Kelly took charge.
  • Fined for breaking league rules… check
  • Willingly acquiring both Michael Bishop and James Johnson… check
  • Caught spying on opponents… check
  • Losing despite spying on opponents… check
  • Horrifying when shown up close in High-Def… check
  • Over $300,000 in salary cap spent on players who are now cut, traded or retired… check
  • Claiming the universally accepted shotgun formation is for coaches who don’t know what they are doing… check
  • Embarrassing offense… check
  • Losing record… check
  • Failed attempt at signing a repeated felon that has been rejected by the NFL… check and double check
I enjoy watching the Bombers fans wallow in misery as much as the next guy but even I have to admit this is a bit excessive.

Defensively the Bombers are actually fairly underrated. Jovon Johnson and Sideeq Shabazz are turning in all-star caliber performances. The Bombers lead the league in INTs and turnovers and are second in points allowed. This poses the question: with a defense this good, why does Winnipeg suck so much?

Well as good as their defense is… their offense is about a million times worse. Dead last in TDs scored, dead last in total yards gained and by far the worst passing game in the CFL (averaging only 150 yds per game). If it weren’t for Fred Reid the Bombers could very well be winless this season.

Personally I’m shocked that an offense led by Michael Bishop is struggling so much… haha! Oh hell I can’t even type that with a straight face. The Bombers, who evidently learned absolutely nothing from the follies of the Riders and Argos, brought back the partially retarded QB in a misguided attempt to jumpstart their offense. The result is a starting QB with the worst completion % among QBs not named Stephan and twice as many INTs as TDs… which should actually be considered a resounding success by Bishop’s standards.

There are 2 keys to victory for the Riders. #1) Load the box and do not allow Fred Reid one square inch. Force Bishop to attack us through the air because we’ve all seen the catastrophic results that can lead to. Given Bishop’s inability to account for the safety, James Patrick should have a huge game (early favourite for Defensive Player of the Week). #2 Attack the secondary. They may lead the league INTs but they give up a ton of yards in the process. Quick passes and timing routes will reduce their chance to ball hawk while still moving the ball. As always, a solid ground game and a special teams that doesn’t repeatedly screw up would be nice but I’m not holding my breath.

Rider always seem to step up big on Labour Day and besides I’m very confident in Michael Bishop’s ability to screw things up royally (c’mon knock yourself out again!). Though I think it will be closer than some are expecting…

Riders by 12

Of course my annual Labour Day post wouldn’t be complete without a Winnipeg joke, so I’ll end with one. Enjoy the game everybody.

An Ontarian wanted to become a Newfie. He went to the neurosurgeon and asked, "Is there anything you can do to me that would make me into a Newfie?".
"Sure it's easy." replied the neurosurgeon. "All I have to do is cut out 1/3 of your brain, and you'll be a Newfie."

The Ontarian was very pleased, and immediately underwent the operation. However, the neurosurgeon's knife slipped, and instead of cutting 1/3 of the patient's brain, the surgeon accidentally cut out 2/3 of the patient's brain. He was terribly remorseful, and waited impatiently beside the patient's bed as the patient recovered from the anaesthetic. As soon as the patient was conscious, the neurosurgeon said to him "I'm terribly sorry, but there was a ghastly accident. Instead of cutting out 1/3 of your brain, I accidentally cut out 2/3 of your brain."

The patient replied "Go Blue Bombers !!”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You Call That Crazy? I’ll Show You Crazy

You’d think that given the absolute gong show that Mike Kelly has been running since he took over the Bombers, he would be glad when other teams do things that take the media’s attention away from him. Apparently that is not the case though.

With the signing of alleged gun toting yahoo Jason Armstead, the media had turned their attention to the Riders. This apparently didn’t sit well with Kelly so he went out and signed a higher profile, more controversial kick returner… Pacman Jones! How do you like them apples Tillman?!

While Pacman is a household name in the NFL, he is a newcomer to the CFL world. With that in mind let’s get to know him a bit better in a new feature I lazily like to call
Getting To Know…

Getting To Know… Pacman Jones

Adam Bernard Jones
Pacman (because as a kid he drank milk really fast)
6th Overall Pick in 2005 NFL Draft, Former TNA Wrestling Tag Team Champion
Secret Talent:
Budding hip hop star as one half of the soon to be rap sensation Posterboyz
Public intoxication, recreational drug use, yelling at valets who make him wait for his car, spitting on women, betting on college games, getting suspended from the NFL and assaulting strippers
Pet Peeve:
When strippers assume they get to keep the $80,000 you shower them with.

So based on the information above let’s predict how Pacman will fare with his new team.

His employment in professional football despite numerous suspensions show just how resilient he is
His wrestling experience clearly indicates that he’s a team player… one of championship caliber to boot.
His tendency for spitting on and assaulting women… well that can’t be a good sign but I guess 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

While many are questioning the logic in this move, I’m gonna go ahead and assume it has something to do with their current kick returner being James Johnson and therefore they were in need of a massive upgrade (that’s right I cleverly turned a Pacman Jones story into a James Johnson burn).

With the Bombers coming to town, I would recommend that any news reporter looking for a good story camp out outside of Dancers (or inside, but only if you’re very very brave). Though I wonder if Jones will truly grasp how far his career has fallen when he’s beating up a stripper from one of the lowest forms of gentlemen’s clubs around for taking his roll of loonies?