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.