Riders 20 - BC 46
Being a Rider fan of late is a lot like being a parent of a child who plays on a really bad sports team. You watch the games out of a feeling of obligation, but the whole time you are mentally debating if anyone will notice if you slip away and go grab a beer or if there is a way to make money by betting against them. The biggest difference between the kid and the Riders is that with the Riders I don't have try to find some positive spin to convince them they weren't awful on the car ride home. With them I can tell it like is... they were lucky Lirim Hajrullahu played just before them and set a new standard for sucking because they were awful on Saturday. (Side note on that kicker reference: Is there something in the water? Because since Thursday I have seen more missed FGs in pro football than I recall seeing in some seasons... and I've watched Chris Milo)
Hard to win a game when your QB plays like crap and that's what Glenn did. I still like him but Saturday was just not his day. It happens. He threw 2 bad picks and it should have been 3 were it not for the fact that Eric Fraser is so terrible at safety I'm surprised he's not starting for the Riders. To be fair to Glenn, its not like our O-line game him much protection. Though I did kind of chuckle on those jail break rushes where Glenn actually thought he could use his legs to avoid pressure. You're old and slow man, just admit defeat sometimes. I find it hard to be critical of a guy like Jamarcus Hardrick failing. We are only playing him out of necessity. But I saw Brendon LaBatte (our top OL) get beat too many times. When he's getting beat, you know we are in trouble. I felt we didn't run enough early in the game. As I mentioned in my game preview the Lions have the WORST run D and we have the best run game (when we choose to use it). Pretty obvious how we should have been attacking them. It would have had the added benefit of taking pressure of Glenn and our line. Yes the run was stuffed early but by not remaining committed to it, we played into BC's strength and away from their weakness... generally not a recommended coaching strategy.
I was starting to worry that a refusal to play Brett Smith was about to result in another coaching termination. It would not have made a difference but Smith should have been in long before he was.
Defensively, we were reminded of what happens when we try to defend a competent QB... we get embarrassed. Jennings made our zone D look like we had garden gnomes out there instead of actual human athletes. At least the BC receivers might have tripped over the gnomes. What really gets me is seeing professional football players repeatedly make mistakes I just spent the last few weeks harping on my 8 year old's touch football team for. The DB's were losing their receiver (the odd time they actually managed to cover them) because they got caught peeking in the backfield rather than focusing on the receiver to be defended. We also failed epically on a couple sure tackles for a loss because the defender attacked the inside shoulder of the ball carrier allowing them to slip outside. This is fundamental stuff. Coverage breakdowns, or just plain getting beat happen at the pro level... but mistakes due to poor technique or ignoring basic fundamentals are inexcusable. Our secondary is poor at the best of times but when they don't get good pressure from the D-line... as we saw Saturday, it increases the issues exponentially.
Simply put we sucked at pretty much everything on Saturday... with the exception of Tristan Jackson's returns and that blocked kick (though its a sad day when Keenan MacDougall is all we have in terms of an offensive spark).
Where to from here? Glenn has been named the starter for next week and I'm fine with that. Of our 4 remaining games, I say give him 1 or 2 more (with the caveat that if games go to hell, he gets pulled). Leave the last 2 games for mostly Smith and a bit of Keith Price.
Other random thoughts:
- Taman's inability to build Canadian depth has hurt us badly this year. First we were forced into starting Rory Connop at DT for ratio reasons even though he was clearly not ready. Now we are forced to endure Matt Webster occupying the space normally reserved for a competent/useful safety again for ratio reasons. This has to be priority #1 of whoever gets our GM job... you won't win games when you start people who have no business being a starting simply because its the only option you have to meet the ratio.
- The more I watch Namaan Roosevelt the more I love him.
- Is there a more underused player than Weston Dressler? How have we not found ways to get our best receiver more involved in our offense?
- To make the remaining games more interesting the Riders should announce that in one of the the remaining games they will be allowing 2 kickoff return TDs purely to make Safeway pay someone a million dollars.
- I demand 10% from the eventual winner if that happens as a sort of finders fee.