Thursday, July 30, 2015

Riders vs. Eskimos: We’re Screwed

Spoiler alert: I don’t see us winning this week.

Clearly we have angered the football gods and the cost of our wrongdoings is 2-3 of our starting players per week. The only logical thing to do is get out in front of this and pre-emptively “sacrifice” players. So let’s take Steve Miller and Tino Sunseri out to centre field and break a bone of their choosing with a baseball bat. Hopefully that will appease the football gods. It’s really the only rational thing to do at this point.

This is one of the weirdest seasons I have ever lived through… and I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff over the years. The best way I can describe this is if you took all the injuries from 2008 and combined them with all the sucking of 2011 you’d get the 2015 Riders (just with less Dinwiddie and Bishop… though never say never at the rate we are going). With Glenn out any remote chance we had of winning this week is gone, let’s just be up front about that. The only good thing we had going for us was our offense and now we are sending our 3rd string QB against the stingiest defense in the league in a tough road match-up… I mean there’ s a chance Brett Smith miraculously leads us to victory but there’s also a chance a bus load of bikini models show up at my house asking if they can have a pillow fight in my house while their only set of clothing is in the washing machine. Let’s just say odds are good that both my washing machine and the Riders’ win column will go unused.

Not to give up on Brett Smith before he really gets a chance but I have my doubts about him. Usually even when they struggle you can “it” in a young QB that goes on to have success. I have not seen “it” from Smith. We did the smart thing last week in rolling him out to cut the field in half and make his reads easier. However on one play he badly missed a short out, on another he damn near ran for a first down before deciding the throw the ball. Tough situation to come into and maybe he looks better now that the initial nerves are gone but I have my doubts. Edmonton is damn good defense. They will know and attack Smith’s limitations. I expect them to run blitz and focus on keeping Smith in the pocket and basically daring us to beat them through the air.  If we are to have any chance of offensive success the key will be misdirection. Esks will be looking for Smith to roll out so fake the rollout and run a reverse the other way. They will be looking for the run so put Messam, Allen and Demski in the backfield and make them try and guess who’s getting the ball. Try some different receiver or tight end screens. Have Smith test the defense with his speed running the ball. High percentage plays that still keep the Esks from pinning their ears back and killing us with pressure. Edmonton has tough run D but maybe we should try something crazy like giving the league’s leading rusher more than 4 snaps.

Defensively, Shaqir Bell will run all over us like pretty much every RB we’ve faced. You can count on that. I personally don’t think Matt Nichols is very good (never have) and I think Chris Jones is slowly coming around to that conclusion as well. If we can somehow keep things close I could see Franklin making a second half appearance again. Nichols is slowly being phased out of the picture in Edmonton. I actually expect our defense to keep things close for the first half of the game but a lack of offense will keep them on the field and wear them down late in the game. Any remote chance of us winning also likely requires either our defense or special teams to score a TD. Though given that our defense struggles to even get a turnover the aforementioned pillow fight is probably more likely.

Short of Edmonton defaulting the game due to all their players being placed under quarantine for a suspected deadly disease, I don’t see any scenario that results us winning on Friday.

I will still watch and cheer and pray for some kind of miracle but honestly if we can keep it close and lose less than 2 people to season ending injury that’ll be doing alright.

Eskimos by at least 2 scores.

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