Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Another Loss

Riders 5 - Eskimos 30

So there were no miracles performed on Friday. Brett Smith could not walk on water, nor could he turn our losing season into something more palatable. But hey, at least he didn't utterly embarrass himself... unlike some other Rider QB that played in that game. The game went pretty much according to script. The winless team with 3rd string QB got pounded by a team with a winning record and one of the best defenses in the league. Predictably as well I had to pour increasingly stronger drinks as the game went on in order to endure it.

Brett Smith actually didn't do too bad given the situation. He had happy feet, he made some mistakes but he also made some good throws (some of which were taken back due to penalty). I would be okay with him starting a few more games to see if he progresses. As previously alluded to I see no reason for Tino Sunseri to have a job as a anything but a hair model. He does not belong on a professional football field. I don't care how little of the playbook Keith Price and Blake Sims know, there is no way they can be any worse than Tino. At this point an empty chip bag would likely be more useful under centre.

My main issue with our offense was how we completely let Edmonton dictate our game plan. Predictably Edmonton run blitzed and dared us to run and while I get that we can't just blindly run into a pile of defenders, that doesn't mean abandon the run completely. We are a good running team, how about showing some balls and seeing if we can run despite the strong opposition? We let Chris Jones take away our run game without even a fight, leaving a rookie 3rd stringer to carry the offense on his arm. Its a ludicrous strategy. We might as well have just asked Chris Jones prior to each series which offensive plays he was okay with us using.

Friday was actually the first time our defensive line decided not to be useless. The main factor was Alex Hall actually having his first good game of the season. Overall the defense was probably the best I've seen all season... not saying they were good, just improved by our low standard. We still can't get off the field on second down, or defend the pass. It's probably the least creative defense I've ever seen. Apparently Chamblin's answer to our lack of pressure is blitz Brackenridge... on every play, the same way every time. The only blitzing philosophy I've seen that was worse was the Scott Gordon safety blitz (aka Gordon disappearing into a pile of players while adding nothing of value to the play).

The bottom line is that 2015 is now officially over for the Riders. If you think I'm being overly pessimistic then you should watch the following Jim Mora rant.

All attention should now be placed on building a team for 2016. We essentially now have a really long preseason. So we should be evaluating all our practice roster players with some live game action. I want to see Keith Price get some playing time. We should also look at cutting ties with anyone who does not fit into the plans for 2016.

Coach Chamblin is one guy I think should stay (I also know that given my luck, 5 minutes after I post this he will be fired). He did not suddenly become a bad head coach. He did just fine in 2012, 2013 and the first half of 2014. He is a good head coach... he is just a really awful defensive coordinator. If he could relinquish that he could once again focus on his actual coaching duties. I bet you would see his game management improve. He's done some dumb things this year but I do not want to see him fired. If you want a scapegoat maybe you should be looking at the guy whose job it is to provide talented players for the coach and build depth.


Skot Kortje said...

The brevity of this week's Rider Prophet Sentimonies speaks loudly of your exasperation. I was hoping you would have a burning bush sermon. In any case, as usual you make a good assessment. Sometimes reality sucks.

However, despite what rational football minds might say about the Riders prospect at this time, there are some positives. We lost our quarterbacks, our newly acquired all-star linebacker, and a slew of others. And our D just hasn't been good enough when they needed to be. No excuses there. But they are getting better.

Reasons I feel good:

- Knox and Doughty are solid rookie finds for the linebacker corps.
- special teams coverage has been stellar.
- field goals are no longer a crap shoot.
- Messam is a beast, Allen is a sleeper counterpunch.
- Dressler is still Dressler. Ryan Smith really is Dressler 2!
- Richardson, you must admit, is far from a bust. He's money.
- Getzlaf will stop going offside.
- The Oline has stayed healthy, so far. Best has made it past 6 games!
- We're only 3 games behind the Bombers. League parity will play into our favour if the Riders turn the corner.
- Maze has disappointed so far this year, so has Macho. I think they improve. Maybe the return of McGree and T-Jack reignites the Wolf Pack.
- the DLine is better than they have been playing. Lousy schemes through many of these early games, I think, have hindered their results. The Edmonton game showed that they can put pressure on, and that the BrackenBlitz gets a clean shot.

If somehow Brett Smith can engineer 2 victories in their 3 August tilts and Glenn is able to return by Labour Day, all is not lost.

I'll be at the game here in Toronto on Saturday. My hope is that a miracle is in the making and Smith steals game one. It's about Brett Smith now, for sure, but also about disciplined play. The penalties have to be curtailed. The defense has to force turnovers. Demski has to take a couple to the house! None of this is impossible!

It's not over til September. The ship can still sail! Some bad breaks til now, but real Rider fans should see that a good team was assembled by Taman, and Chamblin is a great leader. This is not 2011.

My two cents.

Anonymous said...

I like the optimism by the dude above. He's not wrong.

I see this as a better club than the Montreal team that had a disaster start last year but finished the year in the playoffs. Sure it was out east but outside Edmonton, the West doesn't look powerful this year.

Something I liked in Taman's press conference this afternoon was his emphasis that Chamblin gets paid the be the head coach not the defensive coordinator. I suspect that a message has been delivered and that we will start to see him put his focus in the place it belongs. Just the same, we are seeing progress by the defense. Hope it continues.

It's all going to depend on how Smith develops at QB and how long until Glenn is back. Chamblin's got a history of being very streaky. If we can start winning, you never know.

I refuse to drop down into a depression of misery and negativity like the forum. The rest of the season will be much more fun that way.


Rider Prophet said...

Skot - I agree with pretty much all your points. Knox and Doughty both have room to grow but are at least showing potential. Teams has been good. I will fully admit that Richardson blew away my low expectations of him. Getzlaf is Getzlaf you gotta take the good with the bad usually it nets out to good. O-line has taken a lot of penalties but overall the protection has been better than I expected. Maze has been avearge at best. Macho has been bad. I'm not sure I've ever seen him play as bad as he did in Edmonton. Maybe we need to put LeGree in his spot and move him back to CB or HB? OUr D schemes have been simpler than I run in 7 year old touch football. The line has underperformed up until last game.

Cheer loud at the game. I've seen strange things happen in the CFL maybe an upset in TO will be the next.

Dan - You nailed it with Chamblin being streaky. That's what's been so frustrating. Had we won the 1st Toronto game for example I think we would be in a very different place in terms of record. I think we will get some wins this year and you are right that we are by no means eliminated yet. I will still be in the stands screaming my lungs out and hoping for wins but the reality is that at a minimum we need to go 8-4 to finish the season to make the playoffs... I haven't seen anything in this team yet this season that leads me to believe that will happen.

I don't think things are anywhere near as dire as 2011 when coaching was a disaster and talent was lacking.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Mr Prophet.

I always enjoy your posts. They are among the best stuff available.