Friday, September 30, 2011

This Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

This blog comes live to you from Calgary. As I type this,  I sit in a hotel room across the street from McMahon Stadium (the jury is still out on whether its named after Vince or Ed). We are in the midst of the annual Rider Prophet Road Trip. Me, Mrs Prophet, Media Consultant, Man in the Bush and a cast of other ne’er-do-wells have made our annual pilgrimage to Canada’s answer to Texas. When we bought these tickets prior to the season this seemed like a far better idea than it does now (I have no comeback for “Riders Suck” other than yes, yes they do).

Actually I’m not as pessimistic about our chances as most are. Yes we did just get beat like a rented mule (where does one rent a mule? And why does one beat it?) in our last game but we are 3 and 1 under Miller. By comparison, the Stamps are 1-4 over the past 5 games... and quite frankly I haven’t been impressed with the Stamps this season other than a game or two.  

The Stamps are an odd team to figure out. They have recently benched their top RB yet they have the #2 rushing attack in the League. They also are tied with us for most points allowed yet they have allowed the 3rd fewest yards.  They aren’t playing all that great but they do have 7 wins.  Statistically, Burris and Durant are pretty much equivalent... minus the distance between their front teeth which Burris wins in a landslide.  He also leads in embarrassing bra pictures and dirty tweets.

If we have any chance of winning we need to try and start playing sometime before the 3rd quarter.  Seven times this season we have failed to score in the first quarter.  It’s embarrassing how slow starting we are.  I don’t know if Ken Miller’s Metamucil  takes that long to kick in or what but we essentially give teams a 15 minute head start and that can’t happen... especially on the road.

As with every game against the Stamps, the key will be taking away that read option play and forcing Burris to throw, For how shaky he has looked so far this season I would take my chances with him passing.  With Lance Frazier back and Sean Lucas firmly back on the bench I actually like our chances of being able to defend the pass... unless of course Burris manages to fool Big Poppa Pump Fake Nick Graham.

Offensively, we just need to do something, anything... provided it doesn’t involve snapping it towards the heavens. I think the Stamps’ halfbacks are oeverrated. They have never been that good and they are just the product of people actually not being scared to pass outside on the Stamps this season. If we can make good use of Dressler and Hill underneath, Chris “The Stampeder Killer” Getzlaf should be able to resume his “I only catch TDs” status.  The Stamps have the least sacks of any team so Durant should at least have time to make plays.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve already hit the bottle of Weisers, maybe it’s the fact that I had 6 kinds of meat for supper and literally have meat on the brain but I really think we have a good shot at winning tomorrow. And if that happens look out Calgary because I will be beaking the crap out of you... odds of causing a fight would be fairly high.

Riders by a Durant Rushing TD

Watch for the Prophet on camera tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Michael Bishop Is Back!!!!

Amid what has been an otherwise downer of a week in Riderville, comes news that absolutely made my week.

Michal Bishop has returned to the CFL, more specifically the Blue Bombers where he accomplished such memorable feats as this...

Seriously that never gets old!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tuesday Sentimonies: Random Thoughts

The sorry excuse for a football game we were forced to endure has been analyzed to death. We sucked, BC didn’t and it resulted in us kicking our ass. I won’t go into great detail about it but here are some random thoughts I had.

-          Hard to blame the defense on this one, I mean sue their inability to stop the Lions led to longer drives than most people’s morning commutes but they held the Lions to 6 points in the first quarter despite being on the field for pretty much the whole time. It wasn’t their fault the offense couldn’t do anything.

-          Not sure why Parenteau felt the need the try and toss his snap attempt into the Western Pizza Party Zone. If someone was ever in need of a centre that didn’t need to snap, Parenteau would be the ideal candidate. Unfortunately here in the real world, snapping is a key part of the centre’s job and one Parenteau continually struggles with.

-          Durant should just know better than to attempt a pass on Ryan Phillips. For whatever reason, Phillips has his number and always, always picks him off. That said Dallas Baker need s to some back to that ball, Durant’s passes don’t have enough zip to just sit there and wait for those long outs.

-          This has by far been the worst year ever for half time shows. Must have blown the budget/all the good ideas last year. At the rate they are currently going the last home game will feature some random guy sitting in a folding chair a centre field doing his taxes.

-          Bring back mascot soccer!

-          Barring that I want hobo fight.

-          If I was BC I wouldn’t have conceded that safety. I would have flipped off the Riders and punted... not like we were going to punch in a major.

-          I’ve seen better runs in my underwear than the Riders have mustered lately.

-          Efrem the Rabbit of Subpar intelligence needs to be in the slot and needs see the ball more in the absence of Fantuz... plain and simple the guy makes catches. Plus I need some rationale for upgrading him to just plain “Rabbit”

-          At least Korey Banks bouncing off the uprights rewarded those of us brave enough to stay for the whole game with some entertainment.

-          I hate Ryan Dinwiddie but even I was calling for him way earlier than he got in. I was just hoping he’d get sacked or throw a pick or something.

Message to the Riders... dig up stupid!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Boourns!

My apologies but the last few days have been ridiculously hectic for the Prophet so I haven't had time to draft my sentimonies... you know other than the fact that it was so embarrassing it made that questionable half time show seem like quality football.

Hopefully I'll have some up tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Riders vs. BC: Must Win

Saturday the 4-7 Riders take on the 5-6 Lions at Mosaic Stadium and the stakes are higher than Afroman (do people still remember Afroman?) If we hope to make the playoffs we need to win this game. While it’s still technically possible to sneak in if we lose it would essential take simultaneous miracles being granted by Jesus, Allah, Buddha and few deities that we’ll need to invent to make it happen.  BC is a game ahead and would win the season series with a victory effectively meaning we would need to win 3 more games than them over the final 6.

When we last faced the Lions, we handed them their first victory in an epic battle of 2 craptastic teams. This time around both teams seem to have turned things around. We have won 3 straight, they have won 4 straight. I personally think BC is slightly over hyped since of the last 4 wins 2 have come against the hapless Argos and 1 came against an Eskimo that was starting anyone with 2 hands and a pulse at receiver. Their win over Calgary last week proved they were more than just products of a favourable schedule but still I’m not buying into the hype.

Still BC is playing good football. Their defense in particular is playing at a high level after finally getting some stability in the secondary. They have the 2nd most takeaways, the 2nd most sacks (a mere 1 sack behind Swaggerville), have the #2 pass D and most importantly have allowed fewer points than any team this season (though that may just be a product of the aforementioned favourable schedule). They have a powerful front 4, some ballhawks in the secondary and Elimimian hitting people hard pretty much everywhere in between. It will be a struggle for our Fantuz-less offense to overcome. That said when you look at how well our O-line fared against the Bombers, we should be able to do the same to BC and buy Darian some time to find receivers downfield. I would like to see Efrem the Rabbit of Subpar Intelligence and Cary Koch get some more looks this week as I think the D will key on Dressler and Getzlaf leaving them open on medium routes. A run game would also be nice but we seem to be morally opposed to running more than a few times a game so I don’t see that happening.

After getting spoiled by facing the 2 worst offenses in the league over past 3 weeks, our D will have to actually face an actual offense this week. A big loss this week will be Lance Frazier. Patrick will play his spot which is fine since JP can play any position well but that means Sean Lucas gets back to being a fulltime starter which scares the crap out of me. Our defense has been solid since he got benched and I don’t think that is just coincidence. If I’m Wally I would be shifting around my receivers hoping to get Lucas matched up on Bruce or Simon since that has TD written all over it. Also either of those 2 putting a double move on Nick “Big Papa Pump-fake” Graham (credit reader Stefan for the nickname) ranks up there on the “Things that scare me list” right between Man in the Bush’s overly touchy hugs and Ferris wheels (seriously you will never get me on one of those death traps).

We have been susceptible to the run this year but that doesn’t concern me since nobody runs less than the Lions... well except us but as I said that’s a moral opposition thing. BC’s leading rusher is currently Jamal Robertson who has been a healthy scratch for the last 3 games. Key to beating the Lions is to try and eliminate the big plays to Simon and Bruce (way easier said than done). Lulay is playing okay but if we continually force him to drive the field I’m willing to bet he will start making mistakes.

The other thing that will be important in this game is special teams. As always seems to be the case BC has one of the most dangerous return games in the league. Tim Brown is shifty and quick so our coverages will need to be tight on kicks.

I think these 2 teams are fairly evenly matched and the winner will boil down to who makes the least mistakes. A big return or a turnover will likely be the turning point in what I expect to be a tight game that takes at least 3 years of my already dwindling life expectancy. In the end...

Riders by a Cary Koch TD (hey he’s gotta start getting some looks eventually)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Well At Least We Won

Riders 30 – Argos 20

In retrospect we probably should have seen a game of that quality coming. I mean this was the 2 worst teams in the CFL squaring off after all. At one point in the first half I probably would have fallen asleep were it not for 3 drunks and punching bag that we noticed in one of the side streets. Now that was entertainment... unless of course you happened to have parked your car on that particular side street. The important thing however is that the Riders won... when you are trying to dig yourself out of a hole this big you have to take the wins anyway you can get them be it pretty, be it ugly, be it offspring of Jason Maas and a Hamilton Cheerleader. Good teams find ways to win and the Riders did just that.

Credit needs to be given to our defense. While I’m not overly happy about the ease with which Toronto was able to drive the field in the first half, you can’t complain about only giving up 12 points when the Argos had the ball for 20 minutes. If we had given up a major on those first half drives I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be celebrating at this point... well maybe the drunks with the punching bag would be. Actually that would make a great idea for a reality TV show, I think I’ll go pitch it to FOX. Now where was I? Oh yes, defense. With the exception of Nick Graham (who is currently averaging 2 bad plays to every good play) I was very happy with the defense, particularly in the 2nd half. JP and McKenzie (who picked a fantastic time to finally learn how to intercept) had nice INTs and Tearrius George (who I will try and refrain from calling Curious lest I inadvertently make and ill advised monkey joke) added a nice forced fumble as the D locked things down in the 4th quarter.

Offense struggled but made things happen when it counted. Chris Getzlaf shot his “I only catch TDs” mantra all to hell with a tremendous performance. Of all the people I would have picked to step up his game when Fantuz got hurt, he would not have cracked the top 3 but props to him for a monster game. I’ve always wondered just how high Getzlaf’s ceiling could be if he could play like that in every game instead of continually fighting the ball like he did to start the season. Durant used his legs well and controlled the ball for the most part and with good support from the D and special teams it ended up being enough to seal the deal. They will need to get better but a win is a win and that’s all I care about. Hell there were times early in the season where 30 points in a game seemed like a pipe dream.

Toronto ended up playing better than their record would indicate and we can’t expect to eviscerate teams every week (we are still a sub .500 team after all). So let’s celebrate the win and get ready for a massive show down next week.

Other random thoughts:
-        Had to laugh when the announcer called a 5 yard pass to Hughes and there was a smattering of applause and he then corrected himself and called a 5 yard pass to Clermont and there was damn near a standing ovation. Really people? Really? 

-          Not a bad game by Clermont though. He may no longer be a go to guy but he proved he can still be useful in small doses.

-          I hope the injury to Fantuz isn’t too long term (it looked nasty) but worst case scenario he can take solace in the fact that at least he accomplished more in his return to the Riders (3 catches) than he did in his tryout with Da Bears (2 catches).

-          After watching Prefontaine put a perfect touch a spiral on that fake punt maybe the Argos should put him in at QB.

-          The Argos should just give up on actually kicking the ball and just start calling a series of progressively more ridiculous fakes.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Riders vs. Argos: Okay This Time Try Not To Suck

Saturday the 3-7 Riders play host to the 2-8 Argos. Every part of this game screams Rider victory to me. In all honesty we should slap them around like Manny Ramirez’ wife (too soon?) But my confidence is held back by one thing… we already managed to lose to this sorry excuse for a football team… and that was with Cleo Lemon in the line-up. Man that one still burns me!

A lot has changed in month that has passed since these teams last clashed. The Riders fired 2 coach’s and brought back a senior citizen who (defying all conventional wisdom and laws of nature) has injected some much needed energy and excitement back into the locker room. We have also welcomed back a couple pretty good receivers, phased Sean Lucas out of the defense, got our kicker to play like big baby who is wetting himself.  We have also dramatically increased scoring and decreased points given up. Quick fact for you: the Riders have allowed as many TDs since Miller took over as they did in Greg Marshall’s 1st quarter on the sidelines.

The Argos have also undergone change over that month… by that I mean they have found a way to get even crappier. I kinda wish that documentary series they are doing on them lasted all season because the gong show they are devolving into would make for some entertaining TV.  To their credit they finally made a positive move and ditched Cleo Lemon… Lemon and Aaron Fairooz should get together and write a book on how to turn a lack of talent/ability into a 1 ½ year stint with a CFL team. Steven Jyles is a better QB than Lemon (then again so is Betty White) but he is still very rusty.

Even if we assume that Jyles will improve the Argos QB, it still won’t address the fact that their receivers are crap (their top receiver barely has 400 yards and is 18th in the league), the fact that the fumble more than anyone, or the fact that their defense gives up more yards and more points than anyone... unless of course Jyles used his rehab time to become one hell of a defensive player. Fact is even if Jyles were an exceptional QB (which he isn’t), he can’t work miracles with the pile of crap Jim Barker has amassed around him.

We all know the Argos offense is crap but it’s how bad the defense is that I find most surprising. On paper a front 4 of Foley, Huntley, Wrotten and Flemons should be the best in the league... but they are far from it. They have the least sacks and the worst run D. Even with the likes of Pile and Shell in the secondary their pass defense is about as effective as the United States efforts to reign in greenhouse gas emissions.

Offensively, key will be just to keep on rolling. Spread the ball around, run the ball early and often and don’t turn the ball over. I could see medium passes to Efrem The Rabbit of Subpar Intelligence being effective if Dressler and Fantuz are being keyed on. Defensively we need to do everything we can eliminate the run both by Boyd and Jyles. Given Jyles’ rust and the overall awfulness of the Argo receivers, if we force them to pass I don’t see them having very much success.

We almost beat them last time and it was in TO and we didn’t actually start playing until the 4th quarter. In front of our own fans, if we play hard right from kickoff, we should pummel them.  

Riders by 14