Saturday the 0-2 Riders hit the road for the first time this season to take on the 0-2 Ti-Cats. Both teams had lofty expectations coming into this season but have stumbled out of the gates and are still looking for the first win of the season. One team will walk away with a sigh of relief and renewed optimism for the rest of the season. The other will walk away to face endless questions and a torch/pitchfork wielding mob. I’m not sure what is worse an angry mob of steelworkers who will beat you with steel beams (is that what do in Hamilton?) or an angry mob of farmers who will give you a serious ass-forkin’… either way I’d rather not find out.
Coming into the season the Ti-Cats were expected to push Montreal for top dogs in the East. The only real question mark they had was their secondary which was the worst in the league last year, lost their only good DB to free agency and tasked with implementing the new Corey Chamblain-style aggressive, man coverage based philosophy.
Oddly enough though, their main problems lay elsewhere. Their run defense is next to non-existent. They are giving up an average of close to 140 yards per game so far. But even more concerning for the tabbies is the fact that their offense has only scored a grand total of 26 so far this season (almost half as much as the next closest team). That’s just plain embarrassing… like calling out another dude’s name in bed embarrassing. A major part of this is the fact that Arland Bruce is being used about as much as condoms at a eunuch’s house. He is one of the best receivers in the league yet only has 5 receptions for 48 yards.
This has led to Bruce becoming disgruntled and I would go as far as to say it looks like he’s mentally checking out… and apparently ditching his “slave name” is favour of his new name Runako Reth. Admittedly Bruce… err Reth is somewhat of a head case and huge prima donna but it’s something you put up with in order to have a player of his calibre in your starting line-up. As long as you make him the star he will play his heart out for you and turn in production like no other. Toronto made a huge mistake in shipping him out rather than pander to his ego… will the Ti-cats do the same? Here’s hoping Reth doesn’t have his breakout game this week.
The issues facing the Riders are well known and have been discussed to death. Our defense is crap. Obviously lack of pressure and a porous secondary are the main problems. But even more concerning are how piss poor our schemes have been. Ray and Calvillo were consistently able to exploit our formations to get ridiculous match-ups such as a LB on their best slotback. When we are allowing those kinds of match-ups its no wonder we are getting picked apart. I’m not sure if the word “adjustments” is unknown to Hall but he may want to look it up or he may have to look up the meaning of the phrase “on the dole”. Defense was improved from game 1 to game 2 so hopefully that trend will continue
It will be interesting to see what happens when an offense than can’t score faces off against a defense that is easier to score on than a drunk girl with low self esteem and unresolved daddy issues.
Offensively I think we should run the ball down Hamilton’s throat. Out O-line and Wes Cates have actually been playing fairly good but we have just allowed so many points that we’ve had to abandon the run early. Given that Hamilton has thus far had the worst run D in the league, there is no better time to go heavy on the run and show just how good they are. Our receivers need to step up as well (well everyone except Dressler who is some sort of midget demi-god). We can’t afford more drops. Life is clearly playing a cruel trick on me as I’m being forced to like Efrem the Retarded Rabbit. He’s actually looked good so far. As receivers keep dropping off due to injury you’d think we’ll have to start throwing to Clermont by default at some point. I have no clue why we aren’t leaning on a guy with a sure set of hands when drops are an issue but Durant/Berry still seem to ignore the fact that he is even on the field at times. It sometimes makes me wonder if this is like that move the Sixth Sense and Clermont is really dead and only I can see him?
Between injuries and being defensively craptacular the Riders certainly have a number of major obstacles to overcome to earn their first victory. That said, I think the Ti-Cats simply have bigger problems. For all our struggles, we have at least managed to score at least 25 points in both our games something the Ti-cats have barely managed to accomplish over 2 games. And although our defense still makes me very nervous… Kevin Glenn is not Calvillo or Ray on a good day let alone the string of bad days he is currently experiencing. Also, for all the knocks against Greg Marshall he does have one thing going for him… not being Marcel Bellefool (who will be lucky to still have a job by Labour Day). It will be a close game full of profanity directed at the Riders but in the end they will emerge with the first W of the season.
Riders by a Wes Cates TD.