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 3rd 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 piñata 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…