Sunday, September 30, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 14 Results

The boy is back... it was a 3 point week for Prophet Junior. Mrs. Prophet and Momma Prophet also had 3 point weeks. Step Prophet was the best of the bunch this week with a perfect 4. I put up a solitary point (its becoming apparent that my family has more propheting abilities than me).

Here's the top 3 through week 14

1 - Jim, Mrs. Prophet - 31 points
2 - Prophet Jr. - 30 points
3 - Steve, Tom - 28 points

Friday, September 28, 2012

Riders vs. Lions: S,A,T,U,R,D,A,Y Night!

Thanks to the wonders of the CFL schedule makers,  Saturday marks our lone home evening game this regular season... also thanks to the wonders of the CFL schedule makers, it kicks off sometime around midnight. It’s a good thing the camera’s face the east end because all the old people on the west side will have to leave at halftime because it will be hours past their bedtime and the stadium will look empty.

The season series sits at 1-1 with the Riders winning the first meeting and the Lions embarrassing us in the second meeting. The home team has won both meetings so far so hopefully that’s a good omen.

You have to know that it will be a tough challenge when you facing the top team in the CFL. Unfortunately for us injuries are compounding an all ready tough match-up. Hawkins, Mick Williams, Shologan and Russ are all out. That’s a third of our defensive starters and with all due respect to Zach Evans and Robert Rose, there is no way a junior player and a guy who showed up 2 days ago don’t mark a downgrade. Getzlaf is also banged up... well to be fair that probably doesn’t affect the game the way he has been playing.

As good as the Lions have been playing, their offense hasn’t really been all that impressive. If their defense wasn’t so dominant their record could be very different. As evidence to this, consider the fact that Geroy Simon is their top receiver and the receiving force that is Chris Getzlaf has more yards than him. Or the fact that BC only has 3 more points than us this season... and we know how intimidating our offense has been.

The Lions spread the ball around to all their receivers making it hard to key on any one. The real engine of their offense though is Andrew Harris (you know the Canadian RB that doesn’t moon the fans... at least not yet). He leads the league in yards from scrimmage and is as dangerous as a receiver as he is as a RB. LBs will need to be sharp to keep him in check. Our patchwork DL will need to help out by clogging up run lanes and making life miserable on Lulay (like they did on Glenn last week). Given that BC has the best OL in the league that is easier said than done.

In terms of receivers, Arland Bruce is the scoring threat we need to be wary of. The slot combination of Simon and Bruce scares me this week because we are being forced into starting Milt Collins at HB. I’ve said it repeatedly but Collins is not very good inside. Go back and watch any TD Getzlaf scored against Calgary in 2009 or 2010 and you will likely see Collins (either as safety or HB) not covering him very well.  The Stamps attacked it last week and you can bet a talented QB like Lulay blessed with veteran slots will also attack that weakness. Maybe James Patrick can finally earn his pay and help shut things down inside (you can always hope right). I’d actually prefer to see Patrick at HB and Butler at safety but what do I know.

Shutting down the BC offense is a challenge but doable (our defense has been playing som every good football of late)... overcoming the BC defense will be a far, far greater challenge. BC leads pretty much any defensive category worth mentioning: most sacks, least point allowed, least pass yards allowed, least rush yards allowed (a microscopic 70 yards per game), most arm bars, most throat slashes, most ill-advised comparisons to Jesus. Even with Khalif Mitchell sitting this one out due to injury, our offense is likely facing its toughest challenge of the season. And it’s not exactly like we are sending an elite unit to do battle with Stubler’s defenders. We have an O-line that struggles against pressure and a receiving group that consists of Dressler and 5 other useless hacks running routes and dropping the few passes that go their way. Were it not for 2 tremendous RBs and a veteran QB who should be healthy enough to run this week we’d be screwed.

You can bet BC’s gameplan will be to stack the box and force us to throw. We will need to do things to counteract that. TE leaks outs and quick hitters (like the Dressler TD last week) will slow down the front 7 and prevent them from just attacking Sheets/Sanders. We also need to take some shots downfield to prevent them from stacking the box. I’d say throw it up to Carr but given how we have used our tall receivers in recent history, he’ll be running exclusively short ins.  So I guess that leaves Dressler, praying hyper extending Getzlaf’s elbow somehow restored his receiving skills, or praying that the BC Lions forget about Hargreaves as he wanders aimlessly downfield. Durant will need to play outstanding for us to have a chance. I actually think he will do well provided he remembers to account for all LBs in his passing reads.

BC is as tough of competition as we are going to face and in front of what should be an amped up home crowd, I’d actually be tempted to give us a shot on this. But we just have too many injuries and too few good receivers this time around. If we had the likes of Shologan, Foster, Mick Williams and Russ in there then i think we could squeeze out a win. As is though, I think we will play them close but come up short in the end.

BC by 10.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Doin' It In Denver 2012

Just a reminder about the sports trip to Denver that our friends at Major League Tours are putting on. Details are below if you are interested.

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 14 Picks

Here are our Week 14 Picks. Be sure to have your picks in by kickoff on Thursday.

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Slaying The Stamps

Riders 30 – Stampeders 25

Now that’s the Rider team I like to see. Sunday’s game was far from perfect but they proved that if they do the right things they can hang with and beat good teams. What are those “right things you ask” well: run the ball a lot, take shots downfield, protect the QB, don’t turn the ball over, make your best receiver the focal point of the offense, show a little creativity on offense (i.e. something that isn’t a 7 yard pattern), stuff the run, pressure the QB and force the QB to try and beat us through the air with little time to make his throws. They are all simple and painfully obvious but in our loses all year we have failed to do some or all of these. When we do these things we win. That and overtly threaten people’s employment, we can’t forget about that.

Now we’ll never know who Chamblin was planning to fire if Cornish hit 100. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy about that but I’m still mildly curious who it would have been. But given how fired up the guys on D seemed to be take stuff Cornish maybe next week he can make a similar threat to a receiver not named Dressler. We made Cornish our bitch all day, so much so that by the end he was taking off his pants and just offering us his backside.

I have been highly critical of our OC and offense in general this year but I have to give credit where credit is due. They played/called a good game. Durant played a solid game, unspectacular but he made smart decisions, moved the chains and didn’t turn the ball over. It was probably the most effective I`ve seen him without him using his legs. I really liked the call and execution on the Dressler TD. As I mentioned before stretching the field (even though we didn’t always connect) and leaning on Dressler were huge. Really liked how we used Sheets and Sanders (not sure if Sheets is hurt or the team just realized that he won’t make playoffs if we ride him too hard... there`s a Willy joke in there too but I’m sure you can figure it out on your own).

When will we learn? Bad things happen when you throw to Getzlaf! I honestly can’t believe we won after starting like that. Sadly, Taj Smith made Getzlaf look like an all-star by comparison out there. It’s becoming painfully obvious that we have no reliable receiver above 4 feet tall. We better figure out what the hell we are doing with Carr (and no I don’t consider one pass for 9 yards figuring it out) because it won’t be long before Dressler starts getting octupled. Big congrats to the O-line for a job well done.

It was nice of the defense to finally show up before giving up 2 TDs like in previous weeks. And they showed up looking to inflict pain, no only on Cornish but on Kevin Glenn who was harassed all day back there. It should come as no surprise that it took Calgary next to no time to remember that Milt Collins was an awful HB (decent corner  but terrible inside, just ask Chris Getzlaf, a large part of his Stampeder killer fame is thanks to the coverage skills of Collins). Russ looks to be out for a while so hopefully we come up with some other option to replace him. It was sure nice of Glenn to throw that perfect hook route to Lobendahn (world`s easiest pick). Maybe someone should remind Glenn that Lobendahn hasn`t been a member of the Stampeders since training camp... he must have missed the memo. We also did a great job shutting down Lewis, which is hard to do... I mean seriously it would be easier to keep him away from the buffet table than keep him from making catches.

It wasn`t pretty... I mean we did fumble twice in the first 2 possession, endure Taj Smith dropping balls like he was going through puberty and attempt an awfully executed gamble in a punting situation. But all 3 phases of the game made plays when they needed to and the end result was a much needed and deserved win.

Other random thoughts:
-       I love Odell Willis at the end of the game... `You call that roughing the passer? I`ll show you roughing the passer!`` Poor Kevin Glenn.
-       It was obvious that Durant`s hip was not 100% when we expanded Willy`s short yardage duty to include 2nd and 3.
-       If all we were going to do was run on that fake punt why not just stay in punt formation and direct snap rather than giving the Stamps time to read and react to a non-punting formation?
-       On that Sanders fumble I think whatever the call on the field was was going to stand, evidence was not conclusive either way, lucky for us the refs sided with us first.
-       Wow did that one Stampeder coach send his headset flying after that failed 3rd down attempt!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby - Week 13 Results

The streak of the boy struggling and the masses putting up a good week continued which is good news for you guys.

Prophet Jr. had a 1 point week. I led the family pack with 3. Mrs Prophet had 2 and Step Prophet put up a goose egg.

Through 2/3 of the season here is your top 3.

1 - Jim - 30 points
2 - Mrs. Prophet - 28 points
3 - Prophet Jr, Wes, Steve - 27 points

Friday, September 21, 2012

Riders vs. Stamps: Third Time Is A Charm

Sunday the Riders and Stamps meet for the 3rd and final time this regular season. The Stamps have taken the first 2 meetings but only by a combined 10 point margin of victory. In the first meeting we had them on the ropes and decided to give up and settled for giving it the old college try (and by that I mean trying hard at first but then getting distracted by women/booze and ultimately dropping out). In the second meeting a combination of absolutely no offense and the D allowing Cornish to effortlessly run up the middle on every play sunk us.  Fortunately this time around that won’t be happening... Chamblin guaranteed it.

Yes, the big news this week has been Coach Chamblin saying that if Cornish rushes for 100 yards, someone on defense will be losing their job. It’s a bold move, but it also strongly indicates that Chamblin is already considering turfing someone. Personally, I hope the scapegoat (should there be one) is Matt Singletary, who just arrived in town last week and has yet to see the field. Singletary can then give an impassioned speech to Taman about why he should stay while his pants are around his ankles.

It’s actually a safer claim than most make it out to be as we have only allowed a 100 rusher in 2 of our 11 games this season. Either way it will make things interesting... unless our plan is just to Tonya Harding him during pre-game or have someone stab his leg with a needle full of horse tranquilizers.

If the Stamps are smart they will pay close attention to last week’s game film and watch how the Als used Whitaker to completely embarrass our defense. Cornish can run and catch so I would expect them to do what the Als did and find creative ways to get him the ball in mismatch situations with our d. LBs will have a huge test ahead of them. Calgary’s OL has been playing exceptional of late. Not only are they blowing holes open for Cornish but they are also providing great protection for Glenn allowing him to effortlessly run his quick release pass attack which is his bread and butter. To counteract this we will need to bring a ton of pressure not only to stop the run but also to disrupt Glenn. He isn’t a good enough QB to handle consistent pressure. Blitzing will be key. And not just stacking the box and standing there with our fingers up our nose while Cornish carves through it like we saw last meeting. Outside of Lewis (and Forzani on the streak) the Stamps receivers aren’t anything special so I think our secondary is up to the challenge in blitzing situations. Stop Cornish, Stop Lewis... the Stamps have no offense. Easier said than done but doable. Let’s not forget that despite the fact that Cornish made every defender his bitch last time we played, we still only allowed 17 points. We have the second best run D and have allowed the second least points. We have the ability, we just need to execute.

Offense will get a huge boost with the return of Durant. By this point if you still think Willy should be starting ahead of Durant you are either stupid or a racist. Willy has a bright future, but Durant has a brighter present. He won’t have it easy in his return though. His OL is still suspect (especially off Neufeld’s edge) and it’s not like his receivers have improved since he went down (save for the emergence of Foster). I hope his hip is good to go, because his legs will be key. Also key will be a heavy reliance on the running game of both Sheets and Sanders (who is developing into a nice little weapon). We’ve seen it enough to know that good things happen when Sheets gets the ball so make sure that happens a lot. But running alone won’t win us anything. At some point we need to re-establish a passing game... particularly one that involves using more than 10 yards of the field. I don’t care how good of a QB you have, they will struggling mightily if the defenders can just line up 8 yards deep and wait for the ball to come. We have a big field, let’s use it. Hopefully with the veteran Durant coming back in Dyce will open the playbook a lot more.

One guy who is consistently problematic of us is Charleston Chews. He’s just been a terror and he probably will continue to be. We need to quit making it easier on him though. Any play that involves leaves a DE unblocked by scheme needs to be ripped out of the playbook, fed to a dog, and when the dog craps it out put in a paper bag and left flaming in front of Cornish’s hotel room. We have a hard enough time with the guy when we get a blocker on him, let’s not let him run free.

Calgary’s safety is still the weak link in that secondary so I would attack there. Run some double seams and make him pick between who to cover. He’ll probably opt to cover the guy not named Getzlaf so if he could decide to make Sunday a day his hands choose to work that would be great.

Right now the Stamps are firing on all cylinders and aside from beating up on the woeful Bombers we have been struggling so realistically I should be optimistic about this game but our records mask the fact that we are a lot more evenly matched than people think. Our defense is playing great football (even better if you exclude the first 2 drives of games) and our run game is extremely dangerous. If our woeful passing attack can get on track we should be able to get back to the kind of ball we were playing at the start of the season.

We played the Stamps close twice and even almost hung with the Als with our back-up QB, we are a better team than people give us credit for. We just need to prove it and play solid ball in all phases of the game. An amped up home crowd should provide the added boost needed.

Riders by a Durant rushing TD.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Are You Smarter Than A Baby Week 13 Picks

Here are the Prophet family picks for week 13. Step-Prophet's picks will be up tomorrow. Please be sure that have your picks in by kickoff on Friday

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

Here are Step-Prophet's picks
Hamilton, Edmonton, Toronto, Calgary

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Riders’ Willy Comes Up Short

Riders 17 – Als 25

Sunday we were outcoached and outplayed and sadly still had a chance to leave Montreal with a victory. Headline: Als Manhandle Riders’ Willy.

The Als came in with a tremendous game plan... and by that I mean they evidently planned on the Riders’ D never having heard of Brandon Whitaker. The D got utterly embarrassed on the first 2 drives. Honestly they might as well have stayed on the bench and conserved their energy and time on the clock because they offered zero resistance. The good news though, is that they rallied and played tremendous ball for the rest of the game. They really held Calvillo in check (and tried to cripple a couple of the Als for good measure). It would be nice if it didn’t take the D 2 TDs to figure things out (same thing happened against Calgary) but to their credit they at least seem to be able to recover. They need to stop taking idiotic penalties though. On one drive we had the Als stopped on 2nd down twice in a row and took stupid penalties to extend the drive. We simply can’t afford to do that against an offense that good.

Our offense was about as I expected with Willy... it struggled. Willy is rookie, our line is vulnerable to pressure (in particular Neufeld who looks like a boy among men out there), Trestman is too good of a coach not to clue into the fact that he should send pressure early and often. Willy did alright and certainly didn’t panic but he is slow on his reads and extremely indecisive when the first look isn’t there. Once again though I have to call out Bob Dyce for a weak game plan. He was clearly trying to keep things simple and short to make it easy for Willy but he made it way too simple and gave the advantage to the Als D in the process. For one, we refuse to move the QB. Willy was always in the exact same spot so the constant pressure the Als were sending always knew exactly where to go. They never had to think or slow down. Help the poor kid out and get him away from the pressure with some rollouts or pitches or screens. Also, given that every pass was short, the D could cheat up which made the windows Willy had to throw extremely small because the D was never stretched. Willy wasn’t exactly accurate on his passes to begin with (lots of throws were behind the receiver) and that made his life even harder (Als D makes things harder for Willy). Why do we refuse to take shots downfield?!?!? It stretches the D out and opens up the underneath stuff we are in love with, we might actually catch it or we might draw a penalty. But Dyce seems religiously opposed to any pass traveling over 20 yards. Willy is young, not retarded. Show some faith him in to take a shot here and there.

Maybe the latest mediocre performance will finally put this, Willy should be starting over Durant stuff to bed. I’m not writing the kid off and with some more development he could be something special but for the here and now Durant gives us the best chance to win.

Also, we have the worst offense when it comes to driving the field in under a minute. Case in point, end of the first half. We have the ball, 30 seconds on the clock and a long way to go. What do we do? Run for minimal gain. Of course, that makes sense. It gets small yardage and doesn’t stop the clock. We only need to squeeze 36 of those into 30 seconds to get into FG range,  So we take a timeout to sort out play 2... and proceed to try a misguided shovel pass. We honestly should have just knelt if that is the crap we were going to try and run.

Memo to Sandro DeAngelis: Nobody likes you. We only tolerate you because you make field goals. If you stop making field goals, we will stop tolerating you and you will be back to unemployed. Seriously, is he doing home renos again or something?

In the end, we were not going to win a shootout with the Als and our back-up QB (not to mention an offensive plan that is the equivalent of bringing a banana to a gun fight). So we needed to play solid in every phase of the game to grind out a victory. Instead we turned the ball over, missed FGs, allowed the Als to get up early and took a ton of penalties. That’s way too many mistakes against a talented team. We played well enough to give me hope going forward but not to win on Sunday.

Other random thoughts:
-       Mick Williams is awesome. Two deflections on FGs now!
-       How nasty did that hit on Bratton’s knee look?
-       Taj Smith is clearly not strong enough to survive contact like that.
-       Part of me was hoping we’d get 6 more safeties and win that way. There was a point in the game where next to the “cripple them all” strategy it was our next best option.