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.