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?)

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