In a normal year I would be relishing the chance to pen my annual Labour Day post (half of which is generally dedicated to insulting the Bombers and the inbred halfwits that populate their home province). The Bombers even took the courtesy of serving themselves up on a platter this year. They are a terrible team. Just 3 wins. No offense to speak of. A QB situation so desperate that they had to bring in Matt Nichols just to improve at the position and will likely be reduced to starting Brian Brohm. I mean this is a dream situation for a purveyor of irreverent commentary such as myself.
There’s just one problem… As bad as the Bombers are, the Riders are much worse. I mean pretty much anything I say can be countered with “0 and 9” or “have you seen your defense?… because we sure haven’t” and so forth. The Riders’ propensity for craptasticness (now there’s a combination of words I bet you won’t see anywhere else) is really putting a damper on my ability to insult the Bombers and their fans who are plagued by terrible hygiene and a 1st grade reading level.
But what would Labour Day be without trash talk? (even if both teams are so terrible that it essentially becomes an argument over which STD is the least bad) So let’s get to it!
Sunday we get the highly anticipated Brohm v Smith match-up that is sure to take the “Classic” to new heights. We also get to see what happens when an offense that couldn’t score even with assistance of Bill Cosby takes on a defense that couldn’t stop a team made up of amputees, the elderly and mannequins. I’m jacked up for this game as usual but if we are being honest with ourselves, there will likely be highly quality football being played in neighbourhood parks over the weekend. The Bob Dyce era begins Sunday… though it would be more appropriate to call it the Bob Dyce period or occurrence as it will only last for the next 9 games.
Offensively, Brett Smith has been given a vote of confidence by Dyce and O’day… and the entire province for that matter. I haven’t seen an issue unite a province quite like the benching of Smith did in a while. As much as I like Smith, he needs to play better for us to win. If we look at it objectively he is completing just over 60% of his passes, averaging under 175 passing yards throwing at least a pick a game. Now Smith is not in this alone. A competent OC would use his big RB who is averaging 7 yards per carry to take the pressure off the young QB. I have my doubts if that will ever happen under Chapdelaine but one can always hope (Allen is sneaking back on the roster so that’s a positive sign we might actually run more). Winnipeg has allowed the second most points and have the 2nd worst run defense. That said I have noticed a marked improvement in their play over the past few weeks, particularly in the front 4. After 6 games they had just 7 sacks but over the past 3 games they have added 11 more. Keeping that pass rush at bay will be key. If we let them run wild I expect they will force Smith into making mistakes. Run the ball (please, please, please) and use quick passes to get the ball out and slow down the pass rush.
Defensively, I will really be watching see if there is a noticeable change with Chamblin gone. I’m not expecting any earth shattering changes but it will be interesting to see if Quick runs things a bit different now that he has full autonomy (well any autonomy really). Our defense is an embarrassment so it’s not like he can do worse. Consider that the Riders have allowed 190 point after halftime this season (average of 21 per game)… there are teams that haven’t allowed that much in total.
Brian Brohm is likely to start the game (though I highly doubt he goes the distance. Expect Nichols or Davis to make an appearance). Brohm has a QB rating of 32… 32 (the only thing that exceeds that is the average IQ of a Manitoban). Pairing a terrible QB with the Bellefool offense (if you can even call it an offense) predictably leads to an anaemic offense. What does worry me about that offense is Cameron Marshall. He is a big, hard running RB who is hard to bring down even for good defenses. I realize Bellefeuille is far from good offensive mind but I expect even he is capable of determining that running Marshall at us until we prove we can stop it is the best plan. What’s his alternative? Let Brohm throw? Hahahaha. Priority #1 is stop the run. Regardless of who is throwing, I think even our sad sack D can win out if it comes down to a stable of not very good QBs executing the Bellefeuille offense having to win the game through the air. Along with stopping the run our D-line needs to dominate the line of scrimmage. Winnipeg has allowed 31 sacks this year (I’d hate to imagine how much worse it would be if the team didn’t beef up their OL in the offseason). This turnover binge we have been on (6 in the last 2 games after 2 through the first) would be nice to keep rolling. Though if Brohm has any redeeming quality it’s that his passes are so awful to even defenders have trouble tracking them down.
I really find it tough to be this confident about a winless team but I think we should beat the Bombers provided we don’t do stupid things to give them life. Stupid things like penalties, turnovers, big special teams return, failing to defend a hail mary. Avoid the stupid things and we win.
Riders by 10.
I suggest you soak in this game… its might be our only chance to witness a victory in person this year.
I’ll end with a few Labour Day jokes that I’ve pulled out of the vault:
What do you get when you put all the Bomber Cheerleaders in the same room?
A full set of teeth
Why did OJ Simpson want to move to Manitoba?
Everyone has the same DNA
Why is it so difficult to order two coffees in Winnipeg?
It takes them over 15 years to find another cup