Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prophet Jr's Week 10 Picks

Good news people!! The boy is picking the Riders this week! Alleluia!!

He is also taking BC, Hamilton and Edmonton

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 10 Picks

Here are the Prophet Family picks for week 10.

Prophet Jr's picks won't be up until tomorrow... he was too grumpy/sleepy to do his picks tonight (life is tough when you're a baby).

Rider Prophet - BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Edmonton
Mrs. Prophet - BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Edmonton
Step-Prophet - BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Calgary
Momma Prophet - Montreal, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Edmonton

Monday, August 27, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 9 Results

Well week 9 at least proved that Prophet Jr. was not invincible as he posted his first incorrect pick in about a month. That's the good news.

The bad news is that even though he wasn't perfect he still went 3 for 4 and maintained his lead in the pool.  Collectibely we the masses did better there were a few that matched the boy and even one perfect week so there is at least hope going forward.

The other good news is that Step-Prophet is struggling of late so the second prize is very much up for grabs still. I know that may be of small consolation when a baby is working you over but it's the best I can offer.

Monday Morning Sentimonies: That Blew, Both Literally and Figuratively

Riders 10 – Stamps 17

The Slack Attack, The Bellefeuille Prairie Offense, the current offense of the yet to be formed Ottawa franchise, any hockey team in the fall of 2012, a computer science major, a no legged soccer player ... What are things that have a better chance of scoring than the Saskatchewan Roughriders?

Well that was just awful! Thank goodness we were treated to the dog races at halftime or that whole afternoon might not have been worth my trip. As a side note, we were not so secretly hoping that the dog races would devolve into dog fighting... I had my betting money ready to go. No luck though, I guess we will have to wait until it becomes Michael Vick presents Koas Dogsports.

I’m not going to excuse the play of our defense because they looked awful too but when we only allow 17 points, ugly or not, we should win. Of course that assumes having some semblance of an offense which we clearly do not.

I am also not going to excuse the poor play of Durant but anyone who seriously thinks that a different QB will improve anything clearly isn’t watching the same thing as me. Our offensive game plan wouldn`t cut it in peewee and our receivers are useless. You could put Drew Brees back there but that wouldn`t make our receivers catch or our coaches not be clueless. When Durant was running for all those yards (finally!) you could actually see him going through his reads and thinking to himself ``Dressler: covered. Getzlaf: can`t catch. Sucks, Sucks, don`t even know who that guy is, aww screw it I’ll do it myself! ``

Last night, I re-watched the game (which lately is like the equivalent of cutting your wrists without the scarring). The low point came when Rod Black commented that the Riders had success early in the season with crossing patterns to Dressler but have gone away from that. Yes our offensive problems are now so obvious that someone who marvels at triple salchows for a living can pick up on it.

A deep threat in our offense is if someone mistakenly runs a route beyond 8 yards. Our receivers can’t catch. Our QB is consistently dropping to the exact same point on every pass... and that just so happens to be the same spot that the DEs that our tackles are trying to push wide keep converging on. I am not an accredited football expert (I am just an enthusiastic young man with a sixth-grade education and an abiding love for all God's creatures) but should we maybe try shorter drops for the QB or roll outs or stepping up into the pocket? Our offense is more predictable than the end to the movie Titanic (at least Titanic gives us boobs for the hours of wasted time invested in it).

Based on my observations of the past few games, here are the 5 pillars of the Bob Dyce offensive strategy.
1 – Creativity and unpredictability are passing fads. I want an offense I can set my watch to.
2 - Teams expect you to throw deep, that`s why throwing exclusively short is bound to confuse them and make you invincible
3 – You can drive the length of the field in under a minute with 8 yards passes. Hell, according to Glen Suitor we probably have enough time to shorten them to 6 yards patterns
4 – Leaving defensive ends unblocked will dumfound them and cause them to wander aimlessly around the field
5 – The Shotgun formation is the most superior of all the formations. Nothing can beat it.

So call for Willy all you want but he will be handicapped by the same receivers and play calling so unless he can pull a Mr Perfect and throw a streak to himself I don`t see that improving anything.

I was getting excited for Labour Day... now it’s slowly being replaced with a feeling of dread.

Other random thoughts:
-       It should be supremely concerning when the opposing RB runs up the middle on us repeatedly, at will... even when you stack the box.

-       I like Shomari but when an RB is causing that much havoc inside the hashmarks, the MLB gets the bulk of the blame (probably why Joe Lobendahn is on flight into Regina as we speak)

-       Love how in the same game Getzlaf got booed off the field and got a standing ovation. That said I didn`t realize that we had collectively decided to help Getzlaf get out of his slump by cheering like he was a retard that won a medal at the Special Olympics every time he makes a catch. Must have missed that memo.

-       One of the few positives is the emergence of Mick Williams. 

-       Efrem ``The Retarded Rabbit`` is our best option when Dressler is covered. I`m not his biggest fan but put him back in slot given how bad our other options there are.

-       Given how well the D responded to Chamblin`s verbal beration maybe he should try it on the rest of the team... coaches included.

-       What happened to all the ``Taman is the greatest GM ever`` talk that was so prevalent in July?

-       How much do you think it would cost to get LaPo back? Let’s start passing around the hat.

-       At some point between now and next season Barrin Miles will take over as DC from Richie Hall. Each successive loss increases the odds that it will be sooner rather than later.

-       Can we bring back the crappy kicker that we liked?... we are tiring of the crappy kicker we all think is a douche.

-       That said, a punt that results in -4 yards seems to defy the laws of physics.

Thank you Calgary for blocking your own FG attempt... we appreciate the show of sportsmanship.

-       If this season keeps up its current pace I am going to increase my booze budget dramatically.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Riders vs. Calgary: Turning Things Around

That first Calgary game seems so far away even though only a few weeks have past. We were undefeated at the time and 4-0 was easily within reach… I won’t go into how that game ended or the tailspin of the next 3 games since it would likely cause me to start punting Prophet Jr’s stuffed animals around the house to appease my rage. It’s actually a fun thing to do provided you don’t mistake the baby for one of the animals… and before anyone calls social services, I’m kidding (it only happened once and I blame Mrs. Prophet for putting that fur coat on the boy).

Anywho, Saturday we have the chance to get things back on track against the team that derailed our season. Despite the misery and woe surround Riderville, I actually think we have a great chance at winning this game.

The Stampeders rely entirely on 3 people for success. Cornish, Lewis and Taylor. Without success from them, the rest of the team is quite frankly not that intimidating. I mean really is Kevin Glenn passing to Chris Bauman going to strike fear into anyone but Stampeder fans??

Problem is, stopping these 3 is easier said than done. Taylor concerns me the least of the 3 since our coverage teams are lights out (except when DeAngelis fails miserably at FG attempts). Cornish is a threat but one that is easily eliminated. Almost half of Cornish’s rushing yards came in one game, and that was against Hamilton who has atrocious run D. Other than that his rushing high is 68 in a game. Teams have clued into the fact that if you eliminate Cornish the Calgary O because a lot less dangerous… even Richie Hall figured out that concept in our first game (limiting him to 39 yards rushing). While I hope we don’t go as far as the overt gooning that the Argos employed last week, I hope we do make life miserable for him.

That leaves only Nik Lewis. Who unlike the other 2 is bloody hard to contain… just ask his belt. Last game Lewis ripped us for 98 and 3 TDs. Brackenridge is a great cover man but Lewis ate his lunch… both figuratively and likely literally. That needs to stop. Don’t even worry about the other receivers as they are an afterthought…Lewis has receiving seven TDs, all other receivers combined have 3 (one of those is the aforementioned offensive powerhouse known as Chris Bauman). Best way for the D to take out Lewis is make life miserable in the trenches for Glenn. Pressure the heck out of him and force bad throws.

Defensive game plan is simple. Eliminate Cornish and force Glenn to make plays under pressure. Even with Darren Stone stepping in for the injured Kromah we should be OK here. Calgary also has more giveaways than any team outside of Winnipeg so hopefully the D can build on the turnovers they got back to against BC.

Offensively for us it’s another story. Not because Calgary is anything special on D… they are rather unspectacular. Least takeaways, 6th in sacks, 5th in points allowed. For a team that is looking to rebound this is the equivalent of a not so attractive girl with low self esteem at last call. I just wish I had faith in our offense to take advantage of it.

It’s very doable, I mean we hung 38 on them last time. It’s tough to break down our O when the players change day by day. At last word Heenan and Neufeld are on the limp so Best and Asiata check in, Picard is also back in. Sisco managed to injure his wrist again so I imagine there will be some juggling of receivers.

Regardless of the personnel the game plan should be the same. A strong run game from Sheets AND Durant… we need his legs to move the pocket around and keep the pass rush from pinning their ears back. Calgary has a questionable safety so I would be running double seam routes all night. Normally that’s Getzlaf’s bread and butter but given that his hands seem like they have been drenched in butter, I can’t be as confident as I normally am in Getzlaf’s “Stampeder Killer” tendency. The Stamps will obviously be keying on Dressler so we need to use Smith or Hill or Sanders or Neal Hughes or somebody to open things up. Lastly for the love of god someone remind Durant to account for LBs on every passing play. D had a big turnaround game last week and now it’s the O’s turn.

One last random note, the Stamps have been awful for shooting themselves in the foot with penalties so if we play aggressive but disciplined we can likely goad them into a few more on Sunday.

Calgary will be no pushover but they are beatable. In front of a packed house of screaming fans look for the Riders to come out strong and make statement. Be loud, be proud.

Riders by Kory Sheets TD (what? It’s not like we have anyone else at this point?)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Support The Prophet

I am a contestant in the 980 CJME Coolest Job Ever contest. The judges are currently deciding between me and 23 other people who auditioned to see who will move on to the final 4.

Check out the rant I did for the audition then comment, like, tweet, facebook or whatever it is kids do these days on the interweb. Help convince the judges they should VOTE PROPHET.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 9 Picks

Here are the prophet family picks for week 9. If you are like me and planning to use Prophet Jr. picks to gamble, all I ask in return is a small % of your winnings as a royalty.

Prophet Jr. - Hamilton, BC, Calgary, Edmonton
Step-Prophet - Hamilton, BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto
Rider Prophet - Montreal, BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto
Mrs. Prophet - Montreal, BC, Calgary, Toronto
Momma Prophet -  Montreal, BC, Saskatchewan, Toronto

Please be sure to have your picks in by kickoff on Thursday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Putting The Offensive In Offensive Attack

Riders 5 – BC 24

When Prophet Jr’s first word is a swear, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be to blame. Not only did I have to endure a dreadful Rider performance, thanks to the wonders of CFL scheduling, I get to follow up that dreadful performance with Monday morning… what a terrible way to start the week!

After 3 consecutive weeks where the defense was the group where most of the aforementioned swear words were directed, I was actually pleasantly surprised with their performance. I will give them a pass this week. They stepped up big time and played really well for the first part of the game… unfortunately while they appeared up to the challenge of stopping the BC offense, they were not up to the challenge of having to contend with both the BC and Saskatchewan offense. It was 2 on 1 and by the end they were tired (understandably so). I was particularly impressed with the pressure of our front 4. BC has a very good OL and the best tackles in the league but you would not have known it judging by the pressure our guys got. Through 3 quarters the D allowed just one TD and held a every potent offense very much in check. I have been very harsh on this group (and Richie Hall) for their craptastic performance over the past few games so I will give credit where credit is due and give them a thumbs up. (That said I did see at least one play where we rushed 3 and dropped 9 and still left a receiver wide open… it honestly boggles the mind).

As for our offense, short of me learning 3 new languages there are not enough curse words out there for me to describe their performance. The worst part is, they started off good. The first few drives they were doing a good job of keeping the Lions’ D off balance and moving the chains. But it went steadily downhill from the 1st quarter on… so much so that if you were charting it on a graph you would need to add 2 or 3 pages at the bottom to catch the tail end of the downward slope.

I know Darian played like absolute garbage and I am not excusing that but I think we have far deeper reaching issues than our QB which need to be addressed before we have a hope of getting good play out of our QB (regardless of who it is). The problem is quite clearly with our offensive play calling (I know CRF will agree with me on this)… it’s awful!

The crap Bob Dyce is designing makes Marcel Bellfeuille’s offensive attack seem creative and potent by comparison. For those of you who are not familiar with my overt hatred of Bellefool, that last statement would be akin to me extolling the passing prowess of Ryan Dinwiddie or campaigning for the induction of James Johnson into the Plaza of Honour. Bellfefool was awful… Bob Dyce is worse.

Second and 20? Let’s run a hitch screen despite the fact that the DBs are playing up close because we have no deep threat.

BC Pass Rush coming right up the middle on us on every play? Let’s leave DD in the pocket and not make any attempt to make life difficult on the pass rush.

2nd and inches? Lets hand off 5 yards deep… twice!!!

That last one is one of my pet peeves for any team, but especially for the Riders. The is the CFL, the D-line gives you a 1 yard buffer, if you can’t fall forward for the requisite 6 inches on a QB dive then you don’t belong in the CFL. If all you need is inches why move the ball backwards so your back needs to get 5 yards???? And why in the hell would you do it again after it didn’t work the first time?!?!?!?!? When they left Durant in on 2nd and inches I assumed they were going to use what is essentially a free play and try something that might result in a big play. Instead we ran a play that even if it had worked would not have resulted in any more yards that the far safer and saner QB dive. Twice!!! (Insert soon to be learned Swedish swear word here)

Here is a spoiler alert to CFL D-Coordinators (who I assume read this blog as part of their pre-game game planning): If you eliminate Sheets and Dressler our offense becomes as impotent as a eunuch. We have nothing else! Were it not for their token catch a piece I would have assumed Hill and Sisco were healthy scratches. And it would have been better for everyone if Getzlaf had been a healthy scratch… good things don’t happen when the ball is thrown his direction.

Not only do we rely completely on 2 people for our entire offense, we compound things by not even giving the illusion of any kind of deep threat so the secondary just cheats up on all he underneath stuff that we run exclusively. If I can pick up on the glaring weaknesses in our O, it’s no wonder a good DC like Stubler had no problem neutralizing our sad attempts at offense. (Insert soon to be learned Japanese swear here)

I had questions about Dyce coming into the season given that he was our receivers coach last year and our receivers were awful but I was willing to let him prove his worth without Marshall/Miller confounding things. But through 6 games here’s what I have seen:
-       An OC who couldn’t figure to run the ball against the worst run D, in the 4th while protecting a big lead
-       An OC who has yet to establish a passing threat beyond 8 yards
-       An OC who is constantly screwing up shortage yard plays by calling over thought plays that fail rather than running the simple and logical plays.
-       An OC who is reluctant to make adjustments in-game or game to game
So all of you calling for Willy to start can go ahead and clamour but Willy in our current offensive system will fare no better and likely worse (and that is not a knock on Willy’s potential).

Other Random Observation:
-       Do you realize that at one point our line consisted of a rookie import tackle, a junior player in his first real action, a guy whose never played centre, a rookie guard and 2nd year player making his 3rd start? It’s actually a miracle Durant is still walking
-       So can we go back to hating DeAngelis now?

All is not lost, we have a good shot against Calgary, then there’s Labour Day where we always do well and Banjo Bowl where we don’t (insert soon to be learned click clack swear here). So a .500 record is within reach and coming into the season that’s where I had us pegged (just saw us getting there a different way). Our D just picked up their socks after a couple bad weeks so there is at least hope for the offense.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week

It's official. The boy is a phenom!

Prophet Jr. just put up his 3rd straight perfect week and is on a 9 game perfect streak. We are all screwed.

Only 1 person is within 2 points of him  and only 2 people are within 3. I recommend you take my approach by mitigating our loses and gambling on the boy's picks.

As soon as the boy can type, I will be announcing my retirement. I always knew the day would come when he would be better at something than me... I just assumed it take a few more years to happen.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Riders vs. BC: Stop The Slump

Sunday the slumping Riders take on the surging Lions. It’s hard to believe how much things have changed in the 3 games since we last played. We went from the toast of the league to some sort of stale bagel (sorry I know that was weak at best, in the future I will work harder on my breakfast analogies). The BC Lions have gone from talk of them having lost “it” to once again being atop the league.

As a side note, anyone who was writing off the Lions based on their start obviously has a short memory. The Lions had 1 win by this point last year, so they are 3 games ahead of a pace that saw them win the cup. July tends to be to the Lions what they 4th quarter has been to the Riders.

Anywho, back to the game.  In many ways the BC Lions are like the anti-Riders… you know beyond the obvious of being on a winning streak and their coach being white. They have myriad of reliable receiving options but none are their go-to guy, talented offensive tackles but vulnerable interior, a reliable defense and a kicker you’d probably like to punch… well I guess in that regard we are the same. They have also made fewer rosters moves so far this season than we make in a typical week.

Offensively BC has been effective but unspectacular. They have fewer points than us and Lulay has less passing yards than Durant and more INTs (I can only assume that means BC fans are calling for Mike Reilly to get a shot). But they are getting the job done. What they do have is the best pair of Offensive Tackles in the league, the #1 run game in the league (averaging an impressive 139 yards per game) and a league low 5 giveaways. Novel concept hey? Protect the QB, run the ball and don’t turn it over and you’ll have success.

Outside of Harris, they haven’t had any real dominant guys on offense. Simon is their leading receiver but he’s currently 13th in the league in receiving (behind the reliable hands of Getzlaf… take that Mr. Best Receiver Ever!). That said they do have 5 receivers with over 140 yards which speaks to how much they spread it around. Will be challenge for our D to keep all those options in check and account Lulay’s ability to run.

Fortunately we will no longer be handicapped by Nick Graham on corner as he was cut yesterday. He didn’t leave town though as he mistakenly tried to get on the early flight and ended up trailing the real one by about 15 minutes. Turenne steps back in and while I’m not convinced he’s anything to rave about, he has that whole “not being Nick Graham” thing going for him which is good enough for me.

It will be a struggled to get pressure off the edges since BC’s aforementioned tackles are dominant. I think Sholgan and whoever lines up with him inside have a real shot at getting pressure up the middle. If it were me running the defense I would be running blitzes and stunts designed to target rookie Matt Norman… unfortunately its Richie Hall running things so look for a lot of 3 man rush (that will inexplicably still leave 3 receivers open). If our LBs can contain the run game then we have a real shot at keeping the Lions in check but given how good we just made Jyles look, I don’t like our odds against an actual QB.

Sad defensive stat of the day: The Riders have a league low 9 takeaways… 8 of those came in the first 3 games. We need to start getting turnovers again if we want to get back in the win column.

Offensively, we will be running one of 3 plays: Give it to Dressler, Give it to Sheets and hope for a miracle run, or praying for the hacky sack play… sadly both the last 2 currently have better odds of working than attempting to pass to Getzlaf. We need somebody… anybody to emerge as a reliable number 2 option. I’m getting so desperate I would even take Sisco at this point. It’s actually amazing how we have managed to become the third most potent offense in the CFL when things are things bad in terms of personnel.

Hopefully Dyce learned from the success he had with Sheets last week and continue to give the guy a steady workload. Even without Arm-Bar Mitchell, BC still has an imposing line… especially when you consider that Pat Neufeld will be starting again and we will have Chris Best at Centre (which is a bit concerning to say the least). BC has allowed the least yards and second least points this season so we have our work cut out for us. They will clearly be game planning to eliminate Sheets so we need to be prepared to counter with some play action and 10-15 yard passes… the caveat there is Durant needs to account for Bighill at all times or his INT count will grow.

To help out Neufeld and the rest of our OL we should use some TE sets and for god sake avoid the empty backfield set! Another thing that would really help slow down the pass rush is if Durant would start using his damn legs more than once or twice a game.

Keep Durant mobile, pound them with Sheets and find someone not named Weston to catch the ball (even if it’s that other midget Sanders) and we should be able to put up points.

Last time it took 2 McCallum misses which Tristan Jackson made them pay deeply for for us to win. I think we will need one or 2 big game changing plays like that again to emerge with another win, be it on D or Special Teams.

Is it possible? Yes. Is It likely? Not really. Game will be very close, very competitive and the Riders will turn in a solid performance but at this point BC is better on both sides of the ball. So…

BC by 8

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 8

Here are the Prophet family picks for this week's games.

Prophet Jr. - Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, BC
Step-Prophet - Hamilton, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan
Rider Prophet - Hamilton, Edmonton, Calgary, BC
Mrs Prophet - Hamilton, Edmonton, Toronto, BC
Momma Prophet - Hamilton, Montreal, Calgary, Saskatchewan

Be sure to have your picks in by kickoff on Thursday.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: You lost to that guy?

Riders 20 – Eskimos 28

Alright I know we are all dying to pile on the criticisms and rant about everything that went wrong in our most recent defeat but let’s try and start the week on a positive note. I specifically highlighted 3 positives:

1 – Bob Dyce finally smartened up and fed sheets the ball a lot. Sheets had 23 touches and low and behold look what results? Over 200 total yards.  The guy is ridiculous.
2 – As much as we all hate the guy, we finally have a kicker who makes the FGs when called upon.
3 – At least we didn’t blow a 4th quarter lead.

Outside of that it gets into a whole lot of ugly… like East German synchronized swim team ugly. Pick any aspect of our game or any player and I could find you a corresponding criticism.

I’ll start with the most glaring weakness: the defense. Congratulations on making Jyles (who is essentially Michael Bishop 2.0) look like the second coming of Doug Flutie. He was just carving up our secondary. The receivers were find holes in our zone coverage so big you could park a bus in there. Compound that with really bad tackling (which is becoming a recurring concern, I mean sometimes it’s like they are trying to miss) and very inconsistent pressure from the front 4 and you have Steven freaking Jyles almost throwing for 300! I expected Graham to suck (and he did) but McKenzie (who is one of our best DBs) had a bad night and Maze made me wonder if I had imagined the fact that he played well at CB previously. Russ looked so-so on his return… I’ll give him a pass on that Koch TD because that was just a perfectly thrown ball… and I don’t think any one including me, Russ or Koch expected that from Jyles. For the record I think the Esks are idiotic for not milking the Greg Carr lined up against Graham match-up all game. It’s not like Graham was going to stop it.

On a side note, I am still bitter at Lance Frazier for sneaking onto the field while we were on offense and committing a penalty. Obviously he is still not over being cut.

As bad as the D looked, they held the Esks to 3 scores (which is an offensive onslaught by Esk standards) which should be able to be compensated for by their counterparts on O (you know the old, when one phase is struggling, the other picks up the slack?). Well if you are expecting help from our O at this point unless the guy’s name happens to rhyme with beets you are looking in the wrong place.

I know Durant threw for 400 yards but that is a wildly deceiving stat. One third of those yards came of the hacky sack play to Smith (which I somehow doubt is in the playbook as it was executed) and that ridiculous run by Sheets which had nothing to do with Durant. Take away those 2 plays and really he threw for 268 legitimate yards. Couple that with 2 picks and no passing TDs (full credit on the rushing one though) and that simply wasn’t good enough. I love Durant but the status of franchise QB comes with increased expectations… like carrying the team on your back at times (like he did in ’09 and ’10) and he simply wasn’t good enough on Friday. To be fair outside of the aforementioned Sheets the man is receiving no support (which I will get too in a bit) so it’s certainly not all on him but he needs to be better. Here are a few random things I’ve noticed about Durant this year
- He seems to have lost his “it” factor, he used to stroll out on to the field and casually carve up defense to put up TDs or be automatic on 2 point converts. Now he seems tentative, reluctant to run (why he didn’t just tuck and run when he threw from beyond the line of scrimmage is beyond me) and thinking far too much rather than just relying on his instincts. I don’t know if the coaches are tying him down with a restrictive game plan or if it’s just him.

- He really struggles to account for LBs that drop into coverage. In Calgary his untimely pick when to Malik Jackson and this time it was Sherritt. If I am noticing this you can be damn sure D Coordinators are.

Now as I said, Durant is receiving little help. In no particular order here is the kind of crap he is having to deal with:
-       Pat Neufeld had a visibly bad game… I would have taken the matador blocking of Charles Thomas over that. I don’t care what his passport says, if he can’t protect our QB he shouldn’t be starting.
-       The usually reliable Picard got hurt and I think it affected him. A few snaps that weren’t on the mark plus he got beat a few times.
-       Chris Getzlaf is playing awful… I mean he’s playing even worse that the old inconsistent Getzlaf. Now he’s just consistently bad. I know a few of those passes have been not perfect but sorry for expecting my 6 figure salary receiver to make a freaking play when the ball is in his vicinity!! Durant appears to be committed to helping him get out of this slump by repeatedly feeding him the ball but it ain’t working. Until Getz gets his crap together find a new #2 target.
-       Sad stat of the day. Getzlaf had 2 catches for 23 yards. Sisco had 2 for 17 and a lot less ugly drops. Guarantee Getz is making double what Sisco is. See, this is how bad things have gotten I’m using Jordan Sisco (who I hate) to prove a point. In no universe should I be calling for increased use of Sisco.
-       You know it’s not our night when the usually reliable Dressler even screws up. To be fair, the refs missed a painfully obvious penalty on the play , but still when Dressler fumbled that’s when I knew we were in trouble. He’s all we got.
-       Hate to say it but, bring back the retarded rabbit. Sadly he may be the best receiver we have not named Dressler… or least the most reliable.
-       While Bob Dyce gets kudos for finally feeding Sheets the ball. He gets a far less glowing endorsement of the rest of his game play. I did like how we started out with lots of short quick hitters… but we never progressed from there. I was having flashbacks to the Marcel Bellefool, calling 6 yards outs to Karsten Bailey on 2nd and 10.  I just see no creativity in our play calling. I know the Esks have a really good defense but we had opportunities to do better offensively and just didn’t.

And so there you so, just lick that a 3-0 Cinderella story Riders come crashing back to earth… or at least to mediocrity. I don’t think 3-3 is really that bad of a place for this rebuilt team to be through the first third of the season (I had us pegged to go 2-4) but how we ended up 3-3 is nothing short of maddening. I still think this team’s best football will come in the second half of the season but our coaches have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball if that is to happen.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 7 Results

When I first started this contest I thought it would be good for a few laughs at the expense of a few token people who happened to do worse than the baby. Turns out the joke is on all of us... the boy is kicking all of our asses.

He was the only one to get both games right this week which vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard. Only one person is tied with him and the rest of us (myself included) are doing worse. Bottom line: After 6 game, no one is smarter than a baby.

People we need to pull up our socks, this is getting embarrassing.

The good news is that 5 of you are doing better than Step-Prophet so at least there's hope.

One a side note, if this keeps up, I will speeding up my retirement and be transitioning the whole prophet gimmick to the boy. Clearly he's got the gift.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Riders vs. Eskimos: All Four Quarters This Time

Friday the Riders take on the Eskimos at Commonwealth. Both teams are 3-2 and looking to earn a share of first place with BC. Of course last time we played the Esks, the fans were almost treated to the lowest scoring game since the introduction of the forward pass. With any luck the Esks will pick up right where they left off and our coaches will tell the players that the fourth quarter has been eliminated and replaced with a really long 3rd quarter.

It’s an interesting match-up. The Riders could be 5-0 if not for 2 epic fourth quarter collapses and the Esks could be 4-1 if not for the fact that they chose to put their fate in the hands of Steven Jyles. If you predicted the Riders and Esks would be dominant forces in the West prior to the season, then you obviously have one hell of a dealer.

I hate to bring up the Ricky Ray thing again since that’s been beaten to death by the media but good lord, can you imagine how good this team would be if they had a competent QB?! Their defense is arguably the best in the league at this point. For how good they are playing the Esks would honestly be better off most games to just kick the ball on first down and let the defense win the game for them.

And therein lays the biggest challenge for the Riders, handling that ferocious Esk D. I won’t lie when Stubler took off over the offseason I assumed they would regress a great deal but they have certainly proven me wrong. Hell they are so far outperforming the Stubler led D of last year.  They lead the league in turnovers and are allowing a microscopic 15.8 points per game (there is a chance Jyles might give up more points to us than the D). That said, injuries are taking their toll on the highly touted font 4 of Edmonton. Sewell, Robinson and most importantly Howard will sit out… and that right there represents a third of the Esks’ sacks so far. Williams and Laurent are still there so our O-line will have their work cut out but it should be moderately easier than last time.

The key to victory for the offense is follow the blue print of last game… don’t turn the ball over. In all honesty the Esk offense is awful so as long as we don’t hand them the ball repeatedly even a mediocre offensive showing combined with our talented special teams will be enough to win (remember our first meeting?). Normally I would recommend going to the swing passes to Dressler and other low percentage passes in this case but JC Sheritt is a demon at busting those up so they will be of limited value. A strong dose of Sheets (you hear that Bob Dyce? Run the damn ball!!!! Especially in the second half) mixed with some increased use of the wideouts (Hill or Smith or, even god forbid, Sisco) should work early and eventually open things up for Dressler and Getzlaf later. Edmonton likes to bring the pressure so hot routes and quick reads will be important for Durant. Also it would really make me feel a lot better if for just one game we could stop using the empty backfield as our base formation. 

We are averaging 30 points per game… even half that much will be enough to beat the Esks. We also have the least turnovers and without turnovers the Esks have no shot at winning.

Defensively, the key will be don’t give up in the 4th… that goes for both coaches and players. As I mentioned, the Esk offense is about as intimidating as non-African marathon runner. They have 7… count that 7 offensive TDs on the year and have only put up more than 1 offensive TD in 2 games this season. Their leading receiver… is Hugh freaking Charles! Their most productive actual receiver just cracked 200 yards (Dressler damn near did that in the first game of the season). They are the lowest scoring offense outside of the Bombers (and by a very narrow margin I might add).  They have the third worse run game. People this is not an offense than can win anything if the defense and special teams don’t gift them the ball in FG range… and even then Jyles will find a way to screw things up.

We have Russ back at half which moves Maze back to CB which will dramatically improve our secondary. Though that will be slightly offset by the fact that Nick Graham will be manning the other corner… well to be more accurate he will be hopelessly trailing whatever receiver he was supposed to be covering. The good news is Jyles is a terrible QB so maybe the combination of Jyles’ errant throws and Graham’s errant coverage will inadvertently result in a pick.

Eliminate Charles, get pressure up front and force Jyles to throw and this should be a very manageable match-up for the D. It’s not like they are going to repeatedly drive the field on us unless we give up the big play.

I know the game will actually be a lot tougher and tightly contested than it looks on paper but still this is not a game we should lose. I mean the Esks managed to lose to Winnipeg for goodness sake.

I’m expecting a very slow, grinding defensive showdown type game that will have all the entertainment value of the world series of chess but I could care less as long as we win.

Riders by 10..