Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Darian Durant Out

We are entering unfamiliar territory. While Durant was prone to getting banged up and missing the odd regular season game, you have to go back to his breakout season in ’08 to find the last time he missed significant time and even that year he was healthy come playoff time. We have just taken for granted that Durant will be there when needed. While there is a remote chance he could be back for the playoffs (just how stringent is the CFL’s testing for steroids?), all signs point to us having to make due without our unquestioned leader for the rest of the year. And man does that suck.

Since the news broke, their have been 2 equally ridiculous camps develop. One that feels our offense will improve without Durant and one that feels we are beyond screwed and might as well just preemptively forfeit our remaining games and focus on 2015. Clearly this crazy world we call “reality” lies somewhere in the middle. I like Sunseri but if you think that Cortez has been ignoring all our good passing plays and will now suddenly re-introduce them now that Durant is out then you live in a make believe world of unicorns, leprechauns and Bomber Grey Cup victories. We are deliberately running a conservative, turnover/risk averse, run-based offense and that will not change. Sunseri can throw the ball but he lacks the experience and wisdom of Durant (go back and compare gunslinging ’09-’10 Durant to the poised veteran ‘13-’14 Durant), he lacks the leadership of Durant and the ability to take the team on his back. Quite frankly, I don’t have the same faith in Sunseri as in Durant to scramble for a 1st down when we absolutely need it. I’m sure he’s capable but with Durant everyone just expected him to and he’d usually deliver. So there is no denying that the loss of Durant will impact our offense. There is no way this can be seen as anything but a big negative.

However, if you think this adversity is insurmountable you clearly have not watched this team at all this season. Our much vaunted defense is still here last time I checked. We still boast the most dominant ground game in the CFL. We already have 8 wins. If there was ever a favourable situation for a young QB to step into this is it. We don’t need Sunseri to be a superstar to have success. I expect some struggles, I expect some mistakes and turnovers. But I like what I have seen from Sunseri since he showed up here. He is more than capable of keeping our passing attack relevant and taking advantage when teams stack the box to stop the run (which I expect we will see a lot of until Sunseri establishes himself as a viable passer). More importantly the players and coaches seem to have faith in him. Simply put if the coaches didn’t trust in the guy we would have brought in a vet in training camp.

On that note there is talk/speculation that we should/will be bringing in a veteran QB. Not sure where people get this stuff short of turning to mind altering drugs for inspiration. Simply put there are not any good veteran QBs just sitting and waiting for a call. If they were good they would still be working. The fact that they are sitting waiting for a call should tell you something. Only two names come to my mind, that being Steven Jyles and Adrian McPherson and Sunseri is far and away a better option than both of those, combined. Would you prefer we give Michael Bishop a call and see what he’s up to? That turned out fantastically last time. Let’s have some faith that Sunseri is better than the unwanted scrap heap out there. Then there is the notion that we should trade for Henry Burris. Aside from the fact that Rider Nation would literally self destruct at the notion, this is just practically speaking not going to happen. Even if the Riders were interested (which we are not), and even if we were able to afford his grossly inflated salary (which we can’t), there would be the matter of what we would give up in exchange. Ottawa is not about to let Burris go for a conditional 6th round pick. They are going to want young starting caliber players. The kind of young starting caliber players that are currently a major factor in our success. It would not make sense to weaken one aspect of our team just to get a QB with a track record terrible performances when it matters most. Besides as sad as it is for a 1 win team at mid-season, the Redblacks could still make the playoffs.

Sunseri is our guy. Better get comfortable with that idea.

We wish a full and speedy recovery to Durant. He can’t be replaced by one man, the void will need to be filled by the 43 other players on the roster stepping up as a team. No one is going to feel sorry for us so there is no time for moping.I bet even Durant would tell us all to quit moping and have faith in this team.


Dan said...

Cortez & Chamblin have made it very clear that avoiding turnovers is job one. As long as our game planining and play calling with Sunseri stays consistent with this (and it will) then we will be okay. Sunseri doesn't have to try to do it all for us to win, just avoid mistakes.

I'm feeling really calm about this because I have huge confidence in all of Chambln, Cortez & Taman. They've proven to have good judgement and they've shown that if another adjustment needs to be made, they just make it happen.

It's going go be interesting the rest of the way.

Ronbo the Riderfan said...

I'm disappointed in losing Durant but not terribly worried. Sunseri can hand the ball off as well as Durant, we still have an awesome o-line, and a great defense. Sunseri is 'competent enough'.

On another note, I think Wpg's performance last Sunday was probably their best of the season, with any other team in the league they probably would have won. I was at the game, everyone I encountered was friendly although after the game they were visibly in pain.