Sunday the winless Riders travel to the land of poutine to play the undefeated Als. Objectively looking at things, unless the Als do the traditional French thing and surrender we are pretty much screwed. I mean i have been racking my brains all week to think of a reason to be hopeful... but so far it’s been harder to find than a French woman who shaves her armpits.
I mean they have the league’s leading passer, leading rusher and highest scoring offense. We counter with the league’s most giveaways, lowest scoring offense, most points allowed, worst pass defense, and least sacks. But we do lead the league in one notable category: kickoff return yards (though that is only due to the fact that we get scored on so many times that we return kickoffs more than any other team. It’s a quantity over quality thing)
How’s that for a motivational speech? ... Don’t laugh I borrowed it from Coach Marshall.
Calvillo is playing like a man possessed this year. I’m pretty sure he just wants to make damn sure he will break all of Damon Allen’s record this year so he doesn’t have to come back for another year. Personally I want to see him break all the records early and then spend the rest of the season running nothing but QB draws to see how close he can get to Damon’s rushing records. I mean he’ll already hold every passing record worth holding, as well as the record for most times he or someone in his family overcame cancer (seriously at this rate it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that his kid got cancer over the offseason but beat it and Calvillo go on to have another ridiculously successful season) , why not try to add some rushing records?
Bottom line is, the Als are solid at pretty much every position. One guy who especially scares me is Brandon Whitaker. He’s making the Als look like geniuses for ditching that overhyped Cobourne. In the last game, the Argos covered everything deep leaving Whitaker open for like 100 receptions. Question is, given the Richie Hall soft zone mentality, how many more receptions will he get against us? The only weaknesses I can see on the Als is that their secondary isn’t anything special and Josh Bourke will be sitting due to injury meaning they will be starting a new tackle. But those are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.
Of course no discussion of the Als would be complete without discussing their effeminate and testicular based names. It must be hard for the Als play-by-play guy to avoid sounding like he’s describing a gang bang: “Shea and Diamond are in the middle with Dix on one side on Cox on the other. Cox and Dix converge and nail the tight end and Diamond and Shea are there to clean up the mess.” Only in Quebec I tell you.
As for the Riders, its gut check time. They need to step up and show their testicular fortitude less they be emasculated by Montreal’s Dix and Cox (which really aren’t that big). They’ve already seen one of their cohorts get shipped out and if the rest don’t start improving their play they could be next. Its not about wins and losses, its about playing with heart (like Shane Falco). If all 42 players played with heart and 100% effort, the wins would take care of themselves.
The way I see it, if the Riders hope to compete with the Als they will need a huge game from Durant and Dressler. Problem is that requires a receiver other than #7 to be good enough to pull attention away from Dressler. Durant also needs to use his legs to extend plays, buy time for big passes (which the Als can be vulnerable to) and chew up yards.
Defensively Richie’s philosophy has always been eliminate the run and make team one dimensional. Problem is that would suit Calvillo, Richardson, Green and Bratton just fine as they are likely not intimidated by our secondary and would be content to carve us up through the air. Hopefully having James Patrick back will help stabilize that unit. Its damn near impossible to confuses a man who has literally seen every ever play invented over his career but we need to try. Disguise some coverages, do an homage to Etch and send a ridiculous blitz, anything to knock Calvillo off his rhythm. Calvillo gets rid of the ball quickly and even if he didn’t it’s not like our ends would get to him so our linemen need to get their hands up and try and block site lines and bat things down. Defense have a tough test but we’ve proven in the past that it can be done.
Overall I expect a better performance by the Riders (mainly because they really couldn’t get worse unless they forgot their pants and scored on themselves). There is a lot of heart in that locker room and they will come out looking to prove they aren’t the laughingstock they have seemed to be so far. That said, I think Montreal is just too good at this point. I can see us keeping it close but in the end we are trying to fight fire with a scented candle. We will move in the right directions and the wins will come... but not this week.
Als by 17