Riders 23 – Stamps 24
For how ugly the weather was leading up to the game (I mean like offspring of a Hamilton Cheerleader and Manitoban Uncle-Daddy ugly), it actually turned out to be a decent night for football. Personally I wouldn’t have cared if the weather was crappy, I was just pumped to be back in the stands. Back with the folks in our section. Back with the best game day host in the stadium. And back being increasingly gouged for booze.
This game lacked a lot of the excitement of the previous one but as for a preseason game I thought it served its purpose. There were some good things but also enough bad things to bring the team and fans back to reality a bit after the hype following last game. Became pretty evident which areas will need to be worked on if we want to be successful in the regular season.
As per usual for the preseason, here are my random meandering thoughts on the game.
- We got problems on the O-line. Big problems. Yet again Heenan looked overmatched and out of place. His play actually made me wish for the return of Neufeld (which if you know me, you know I’m far from a Neufeld fan). Valdez may not be amazing but you gotta think he’d do a bit better with the starting group. More concerning though was the fact that it wasn’t just Heenan as the problem. Fulton struggled and we were just completely unable to block the pass rush off the edges at times. It’s the same issues we saw in the WSF last year. Durant needs time but the line just kept letting them through in groups like they were on the guest list or something. Durant got a bit of time on that 3rd quarter TD drive and low and behold the offense moved the ball. This needs to be priority #1.
- Well Geroy certainly did a good job of allaying fears about his durability and age and how much money we have tied up in him. Yikes! I really hope my concerns about him turn out to be false but he is not off to a good start.
- I really liked that quick slant to Taj Smith we ran right off the start but then we never went back to it for some reason. One thing that has consistently bugged me about our offense and Durant is how we can’t grasp the concept of the hot route to ease the pass rush pressure. Hope that is just a product of not wanting to show the full playbook.
- I’m shocked at how much we used Sheets this preseason. The guy is entrenched as the starter, no need to wear him down this early in the season. I love watching him run but should save it more for when it counts.
- Our D-line looked a lot less superhuman against an OL that wasn’t a patchwork of crap. Not overly concerned but this will hopefully temper some people’s ridiculous expectations.
- Carlo Thomas has impressed me this preseason. He looks to be a solid addition to the secondary. Also, really like Machooooooooooo!
- Still not sold on Brackenridge at safety. Just don’t see him being an impact player there. Prefer him at LB.
- Levi Steinauer will make this team. And I’m not just saying that due to the requirement for us gingers to stick together. Great hustle on all plays. With all the injuries to our special team vets, he will be a welcome addition.
- As if there wasn’t enough reasons to hate Ricky Foley... now he starts taking penalties on offense. Damn him! Pretty sure the ref was just from Ontario and that was the only player he recognized. Time count 95. Offensive pass interference 95. Illegal kick 95. Illegal substitution of an import 95.
- Were it not for Greg Carr being a pussy, Tino Suneri may well have led his second straight TD drive for a come from behind win.
- Would really like to believe that all of Getzlaf’s catches are a sign that his dropsies are behind him... but we’ve been burned before.
- Jock Sanders is a good returner but he will need a tiny bit of blocking in order to accomplish things.
- So by virtue of Brody McKnight not looking all that spectacular, seems Milo has won the kicking job yet again almost by default… hows that for instilling confidence? At least Schmitt looked good.
- That segment where they showed Gainer eating a stuffed ref doll and half assed dancing for a really long time was the definition of awkward time fillers.
It wasn’t a great game but we came out healthy (save for Simon) and know what we need to work on so you can’t expect much more from a meaningless game.
Final cuts come down Saturday and here are some names I expect to see on that list: Hill, Armitage, Vonk, Harper, Riley, McKnight, Matechuk, Miller, Sumlin, Taylor, Wellman, Dorsey, Ferri and my pick for surprise cut Eddie Russ (unless he gets “injured” before cut day)
Also not convinced Greg Carr has earned a spot yet, though if Simon is hurt we may need to keep him. Dan Clark may be relegated to the practice roster again. Guess we will find out this weekend