All signs point to Drew Willy getting the start this weekend. So to honour his second start of the season, I am selling my remaining I Heart Willy shirts at sale prices. Let everyone know just how much you love Willy by getting yourself one of these...
If you are interested send me and email.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Riders 25 – Stampeders 29
If the Riders don’t ultimately end up hoisting the Cup at the end of the season, this season will be defined as one of missed opportunity. During our losing streak we had opportunities to secure wins in almost every game but let them slip away. That unfortunate trend was on full display in Calgary on Saturday. The defense came out fast and furious and sent the cocky as hell Stamps reeling. We had opportunities to put this game out of reach in the first half… but ultimately could not capitalize. Despite that, we took the lead into the second half and had an opportunity to at worst shut up the Stamps and at best keep our chances of finishing first alive… but the team as a whole let that slip away too. We were told that we brought in all this veteran talent to build a team that would be strong enough to avoid the collapses that killed our young team last season… they are running out of chances to prove that is actually the case.
I was blown away by the intensity and the dominance that the D started the game. Our D-line made a very talented Calgary OL look were imported from Winnipeg. Calgary was the League best at holding onto the ball yet we attacked them for 4 first half turnovers. Now the O was of course unable to capitalize (which I will get to shortly). The second half came though and that defense that seemed it could simply will us to victory fell by the wayside. In an ironic twist, Drew Tate made our D look like the brain dead guys you’d like to punch. Penalties, blown assignments, making Fuller into an instant star, you name it. It wasn’t the level of play we are used to from that unit. To be fair they were likely tired (both from being on the field lots and carrying this team for weeks on end) but to beat a team as Calgary you need to play a full 4 quarters… anything less just won’t cut it.
But hey, at least they put in 2 good quarters… which is more than our offense. Might as well rename them noffense. (Yeah that was a bad attempt at a joke but I figure if they don’t try, why should I?). The problem is its not just one aspect. Receivers are dropping catchable passes, Durant is making bad read (and also seems to have developed some weird eye stigmatism that prevents him from seeing running backs who don’t have defenders within 10 yards of them), and the play calling remains highly questionable. Now far be it from me to try and question the abilities of a reputed offensive genius but here is an example what I see as issues with play calling. Clearly our line was having issues blocking the Stamps and our insistence on trying to keep passing rather than counter the pressure naturally led to…sacks and punting situations. Even more maddening was the fact that on multiple plays we tried to block Charleston Hughes (the best DL in the league) with the likes of Sheets by himself, Dan Clark by himself and air by itself. And there air was likely the most effective at slowing him down. Hughes is a menace so any play that does not involve at least one true O-lineman on him is pure idiocy. I’m made drunken sandwiches at 3am that made more sense than that. We refused to try and counter the pressure with draws and screens (except that one attempted screen where the O-linemen were behind the RB they were supposed to be blocking for). No Sanders to shake things up. No nothing. The problems with this O are multiple and run deep. I only hope we are holding back to blow everyone away in the playoffs with awesomeness we all assumed has passed us by… at this point that’s all I got.
Bottom line is that Calgary is the best team in the league and anything less than a full 6 mins on both sides of the ball. We failed at that and predictably came up short. Disappointing but I guess all we can do now is focus on the West-Semi and beating the Lions
One last thought: Did anyone see what the first penalty on Anderson was? He annoys the shit out of me and I curse him regularly but I honestly didn’t see an infraction for once.
Friday, October 25, 2013
The following post is approved by white Andrew Green.
PS – I have been alerted to the existence of a black Gene Makowsky. I desperately want to complete my racially incorrect tag team so if you have one or know someone who does please contact me.!!
Now onto business…
Saturday the Riders close out their season series with the Stamps at McMahon Stadium (Still find it odd Mike McMahon got a stadium named after him). This is the deciding game in the series with each team taking a game on home turf already. If the Stamps win they lock up first. If we win, we still have an outside shot at first but more importantly send a message than even if the playoff path goes through Calgary we can beat them. This is a marquee match-up (which unfortunately likely means that TSN will assign Rod Black) between arguably the top teams in the leagues. Top 2 scoring offenses, top 2 stingiest defenses, top rushers, top sack attacks, top O-lines, plus they hate each other. I mean take your pick. This should be a rare treat of a game late in the season where little is left at stake.
The key to winning boils down to one thing (and I’ve said it prior to both previous match-ups)… stop Cornish. In our first meeting we held him to 8 touches and 42 yards… result: we win. In the 2nd meeting he plowed over us for 16 touches and 175 yards and 4 TDs. In Calgary’s 13 wins Cornish is averaging 115 yards/game… in the 3 loses – just 65. It’s so obvious that even a CFL official couldn’t miss it. Priority 1, 2 and 3 is stopping him. He may be a douche bag but he’s a damn talented douche bag! (As a side note it speaks volumes that Cornish is going head to head with Sheets and despite his offseason foivals, Sheets stills comes out looking like the better guy). Last time we played, the Stamps dominated the trenches, got blockers on Rey Williams and had their way with us. We can’t let that happen. McCullough is hardly instilling confidence as faring better than Rey but our D-line is improved and should be able to better handle the Stamp OL and keep our LBs clean and able to stop the run. They also like to use Cote (who is one of the better blockers) so we will need to counter that as well. We can’t completely forget about the passing game as a guy as talented as Price will make us pay and Kevin Glenn (who is about the only Stampeder I respect) is playing great ball. But if we can limit Cornish and force them to beat us through the air, our odds of winning sky rocket. This is the best O in the league for a reason so it won’t be easy but we are also the best D in the league for a reason and should be able to flex some of that defensive dominance again.
Offense also have a tough task with Calgary being the second best D (and us being far from a high performing unit). Calgary has mediocre run D so logic would dictate a heavy dose of Sheets. My guess though is that the Stamps will be amped up to shut him down just out of pride. So we should use that. We still need to run but play action early could lead to big plays. Overall we need a mix. Run Sheets at Charleston Hughes so he can’t focus purely on sacking Durant. But pass early and often to catch LBs when they cheat up on the run. Taj Smith is due for a long bomb. Also, Eric Fraser is not that good of a safety (and a well reputed wuss) so there will be chances to exploit the middle if we send a couple guys deep. They will likely key Keon Raymond and Brandon Smith on Dressler and Getz so that means guys like Smith, Bagg and Simon should have opportunities. Last time we played, Sanders scored on a beauty play might think about dusting that one off again. Lastly, when in doubt, hand it to Sheets… dude will be jacked up to show up Cornish and spite is a powerful motivator.
This game will be tough. Calgary has 13 wins for a reason (and in spite of a lot of key injuries). I expect Calgary to go up early because that’s just how things go. The Riders will claw back into it by half time and the second half will be a see saw, knockdown, drag out fight. My head says take the Stamps, but the way our defense is playing, my heart has a hard time betting against them. Pure gut call but as per usual, D will play great, O will do just enough…
Riders by a Getzlaf TD (who else you gonna bet on against the Stamps?)
If you are going cheer loud. Also try to egg stupid Stampeder fans into cheering contests against you while we are on D… in my experience there are ample people willing to take that challenge.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The season has been one of change for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. As we roll towards the autumn, it looks as though times are taking a turn for the better. A 14-9 win 2 weeks ago over the Edmonton Eskimos and last weekend’s 35-14 win over the BC Lions secured a home playoff game for the first time since 2010.
The season started in spectacular fashion - mainly for Darian Durant and Kory Sheets - as they went 8-1 through their first nine games, setting a record for the best start in franchise history.
From that point, results took a turn for the worse with four straight defeats dropping the Roughriders from a lofty 8-1 down to a more mundane 8-5, before events started to pick up again with back-to-back victories taking them to 10-5.
The one point that must be worrying Roughriders fans, particularly from that forgettable game against the Eskimos, is the fact that they failed to register a single offensive play over 30 yards, and it was the defence that once again came to the rescue. But winning ugly could be the way forward. At this stage of the season, it’s all about winning games and not providing pretty entertainment.
The Roughriders just need to win; they might even be able to attain 12 or 13 wins for the season; fans of US sports betting can be assured that tailback, Kory Sheets, is going to have a huge part to play in gaining those potential victories.
As well as his role in gaining victories for the Roughriders, Sheets has a personal battle of his own to fight out with Calgary running back, Jon Cornish. Cornish is 134 yards ahead of Sheets for the league’s rushing crown with two games to go. However, it seems clear that Sheets would trade in that battle for two wins and a chance at first place.
From the quotes coming out of the live football commentary, Sheets clearly believes he is a better back than his challenger for the rushing title so, for the sake of the team, let’s hope he lives us to his talk in the next few games.
The Roughriders clearly mean business this year. They made a big move last week when beating the CFL trade deadline to acquire Winnipeg defensive end, Alex Hall, to add to their defensive strength, and Hall certainly played his part in that win against Edmonton.
It looks like Saskatchewan are determined not to let this season slip away and are re-gathering their momentum at the right time; it won’t matter now if they end up ‘winning ugly’.