Riders 26 - Bombers 31
It took me a long time to write this. I had to get over strong emotions such as sadness, anger and disappointment. Otherwise this would have mostly consisted of a mixture of swear words and incoherent sobbing. I also had to get over a hangover that resulted from my dedicated attempts to suppress the aforementioned emotions last night. Alas, despite my pounding head, I awoke to a world where the Riders lost, Durant's season was over and scientists for some reason did not develop a miracle cure for a ruptured achilles overnight.
As a Rider fan I've grown sadly accustomed to heart wrenching pain. But Durant injuring his Achilles before even halftime of his first game back from elbow injury ranks up there among the worst. As bad as I feel for the team, I feel 10 times worse for him. No one works harder and cares more about leading this team to another championship. For that all to be taken away so quickly sucks. I pray he has a full recovery in time for 2016.
As if that wasn't bad enough we also lost 3 very important Canadians to long term injury. Emry, MacDougall and Demski. Look, our Cdn depth was sketchy coming into the season but now we are in full on crisis mode... with 17 games left in the season. For god sake pump whoever is left full of steroids (at leas until the League resumes testing). I expect phones of guys such as Woldu, Alex Anthony and even Tino Suneri may have rung last night. I have a feeling this will get worse before it gets better.
Now that I've addressed my sadness, let's move on to the failure and disappointment. The worst thing about Saturday's game was that in spite of being smoten with a crazy amount of injuries, that was a very winnable game... if we were capable of tackling. To call out tackling style embarrassingly awful would a compliment to the crap I saw on display. Not wrapping up, going for kill shots, poor angles. Mistakes that wouldn't cut it in peewee ball. We make even half of those missed tackles and we win the game, plain and simple.
Our defense over all was terrible. Our front 4 were as advertised: talented, solid, imposing, disruptive. The remaining 8 players were whatever the opposite of all those adjectives is. As I mentioned, we had no ability to tackle in the run game. Pass coverage was one of 2 outcomes every down: interference or defender in a trail position in coverage. It was pathetic. Obviously we haven't figured out how to survive in the new rules CFL and that is scary. Brackenridge can't fix all our defensive shortcomings.
Offensively, I honestly think we will be okay. Certainly not as good as if we had Durant leading the attack but the O-line held their own, run game looked good, receivers were making plays, Glenn had a couple ill advised passes but I think he will settle in more and more. Bottom line is we scored enough points to win. But that defense needs a lot of work... and will now have to do so without 2 key Canadian pieces. Honestly not sure how we re-jig the ration to manage Emry's absence. Regimbald/Kankongolo at LB? 2 Cdn DL? Webster a starting DB? None of those are good options and its not like you can just invent Canadian depth at this point.
Based on how things of started I'm going to have to increase my whiskey budget for this season. Buckle up... this is going to be a bumpy ride.
Other random thoughts:
- Kevin Glenn curses every starting QB he comes in contact with. He has never... ever stayed as the back-up anywhere he goes. Hiding behind his unassuming nice-guy look is a clearly someone adept in the voodoo arts.
- Give Winnipeg credit. Willy played a very good game. Their O-line and Cotton were deadly in the run game (albeit aided by our tackling deficiencies)
- Damn you Milo! You had 2 chances at that FG and missed both. Had he actually made that FG we would have been driving for a game winning FG late in the game instead of a TD. Big difference. Be better Milo!
- Telvion Clark had a rough, rough day. He was a terrible tackle (though he fit in well with the rest in that regard) and looked lost in pass coverage. Tackling and pass coverage and kinda important skills for an LB
- Ryan Smith has upped his game. He keeps this up we might even have to start using his actual name instead of "the other Dressler"
- There has to be some loophole that would have allowed Jerrell Freeman to put on the pads and play.
With all of the injuries and lack of ability to actually 'tackle' .. I have to wonder what level of physical conditioning the team reached during training camp. Our D guys can 'hit' but no one can grab on and actually tackle.
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