Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Thanksgiving Edition

Riders 14 – Esks 9

Well I’m certainly thankful we somehow emerged from that debacle of a game with the win because there are Jacksonville Jaguar season ticket holders who are laughing at us (ps – what kind a masochist would you have to be to pay the subject yourself to 8 Jaguar games?). At the end of the day winning is the only thing that matters… which is another thing the Riders should be thankful for because the Rod Black approved rating for artistic merit was likely in the negatives.

I really can’t say enough about the play of our defense. They are playing at an elite level. What is the most impressive is their level of play despite missing Rey Williams (a rock in the middle of our D), Weldon Brown (who is our most underrated defender), Rod Williams (one game was enough for me to see he can play) and Macho Harris (who is clearly constructed of material purchased at the dollar store). Really scary to think how dangerous a full complement of starters would be. 2 picks, 3 sacks, no TDs, a game saving goal line stand and were it not for that stupid tip to Matt Carter they would have help Reilly under 200 passing. You gotta be impressed with this unit.

By contrast to our defense that is consistently performing at a high level, there is our offense which continues to perform at a level that would struggle to cut it by even Manitoba standards. Not sure how you play that well against a very good BC D and that poorly against a non-playoff team.  I was actually all set to praise this unit again as the first half gave me hope. Runs, screens, draws, even the very Canadian Dressler punt for the single (though for how far that went we might as well just have let Schmitt try). Then the 2nd half cam and led me to believe they had been eating turkey in the locker-room at halftime. There was just nothing happening. Love our commitment to the run but at some point during the 10 runs up the middle for next to no gain maybe we could have considered trying a different kind of run or even mixing in some Sanders to change it up. That said, the run game was the only part of the O that was useful. Passing game was bad. Durant made some poor reads, like that INT to Curran where he telegraphed that pass to Smith so bad that he might as well have been yelling the Edm D where it was going. That killed all the momentum gained from a great INT by the D. Then compounding it was Getzlaf Getzlafing. Fact: Getz would be the leading the receiver in the CFL if he could catch consistently. The frustrating part is he makes the hard caches and Getzlafs the easy ones. That brings me to the failed 3rd down gamble. A – it was a bad call. In that situation with how good our D was playing you take the 3 points and go up 8. B – That said a 3rd down plunge should be automatic. But our line got no push and Willy had nowhere to go. I’m not a huge fan of QBs who go sideways on the plunge looking for a hole (ala Bo Levi Mitchell) but Willy has been stuffed a couple times now and BC blatantly called the hole he was going to before the snap last week so maybe we need to change things up… or just have our line put on their big boy pants and man up. Bottom line though is without a quasi-useful passing attack we won’t be playing much football in November. Cortez needs to call better plays, Durant needs to play better, receivers need to get open and make catches.

Whole situation kinda reminds me of ’08. Our D was playing at an unreal level… our O was embarrassing. Thing is in ’08 we had the excuses of a dozen broken fibulas and a retarded QB named Bishop. Tis season we have no such excuses, talent across the board, no major injuries. That season ended with Mo Lloyd famously commenting that ““You can play against the deaf, blind and the homeless and you will never win a game with (seven) turnovers,''. Now I don’t think we are approaching Bishop-like levels of incompetence but we have a championship calibre D and with a little offensive support could really make a run this year. Gotta get this figured out because the path the big game is paved with better teams than Edmonton.

Other random thoughts
-       How many people saw the Edmonton receiver on the first play that we failed to account for standing wide open on the far side of the field doing jumping jacks screaming for the ball? Had Alex Hall not disrupted the play that would have been an easy TD.
-       What the hell Cory Huclack?!? He hasn’t sailed this many snaps in his entire Rider career.
-       As good as our D played they were damn lucky the Esks can’t catch. A lot of drops on their part really helped our cause.
-       I love how we have just given up on half time shows. “Today’s halftime show is something we already showed you earlier.” Maybe next week the halftime show will be the singing of the anthem.
-       Speaking of the anthem, if the Riders are intent on bringing in singers who take an hour to sing the anthem they should use them in the summer. When its cold I want the anthem sung as efficiently as possible. No time for freelancing when I can see my breath.
-       At first I thought Reilly scored on the deciding 3rd and goal but after watching the replay I was far less sure. Had the call gone against us I would likely have been pissed but there was no clear evidence of him crossing.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

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