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.