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