Friday, October 10, 2014

Riders vs. Alouettes: Action De Grace

Although you probably assume the title of this post is just full of the grammatical errors that I am prone to, its suprisingly not. For those of you who don't speak french a) you are missing out on drastiucally expanding your array of curse words b) the title translates to Thanksiginvg.

But you probably didn't come here to be lectured on bilingualism.

Monday the Riders travel to Montreal for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Alouettes. Last time these 2 teams met we were "treated" to one of the least exciting games I have witnessed in a while. We will have to see if Sunseri vs. Crompton leads to more fireworks than Durant vs. Brink.

Admittedly the Als have been better since "Straight Outta" Crompton took over. But then again he was replacing Troy Smith and Brink so a one armed blind hobo would likely have also looked good by comparison. Also keep in mind that 2 of their last 4 victories have come over Ottawa. Though they did beat the Stamps so let's not take them lightly. An unheralded key to the Als' resurgence has been the play of their O-line. They looked bad to start the year but have been doing a very good job of keeping Crompton upright lately. Our D-line will need to bring their best if they hope to make life difficult for Crompton. We also need to take away the run (just not sure if we will be trying to stop Whitaker, Sutton or Rutley). If we force Crompton to take the game on his shoulders I think our secondary will win that battle handily... Carter and Green are a formidable pair but only if Crompton can get them the ball. It will really help our cause if our D-line can get pressure without us having to resort to the blitz.The Als also like to involve their RBs in the passing game so our LBs will need be mindful of that.

Of course the biggest concern is the offense. We learned first hand last time how good that Alouette D can be and that was with Durant in the line-up. The big unknown is which Sunseri will show up. The timid one that does nothing or the good one that puts up points. We can win with the latter. The former just leads to drinking. In 2 road starts, Sunseri is averaging 70 yards passing and 45% completion. In the first half of all his starts, Sunseri is averaging 43 yards passing... 43!!!! The is no way we win if he can't do something, anything in the first half. We need to help keep the pressure off him with the run. Sounds like we will be getting both Hughes and Best back which is huge for our blocking. I would run some short crossers, or receivers screens, or TE leakouts early. Start with easy high percentage passes to get Sunseri's head in the game an increase the odds of good Sunseri appearing before its too late. I'm intentionally not discussing Doege or Joseph, its because I figure that if it comes to either of them playing we are likely going to lose.

I would be more confident if this wasn't an early game on the road. Sunseri has been awful in the first half and awful on the road. All things combined doesn't bode well for our odds. But I think our defense will keep it close and generate some turnovers. The addition of Best and Hughes (not to mention Fulton) should give an added boost to our run and pass blocking. Every time I express faith in Sunseri he seems to make me look like a fool so I may regret this next part but I think this is the game where he finally shows up in the first half. I don't expect style points but I do think we sneak out a win somehow.

Riders by a FG.

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