Saturday afternoon the Riders travel to Calgary for a scheduled ass kicking otherwise known as a game. It would take some pretty powerful hallucinogens or the sudden deportation of at least 23 Stampeders before I could be convinced we have an actual shot in this game. If you haven’t already figured it out, you are in the wrong place if you are looking for bright, happy optimistic reading.
Once again since the Stampeders are competing for first place and we are hosting a glorified audition, I won’t bother doing my usual breakdown of the match-up. Instead I’ll make some general commentaries on things to watch for and the general sucktitude of our team.
Offensively we will obviously be watching the QBs. I’m very curious to see if Keith Price looks any better in his second start now that he finally got a feel for the speed of the game. I would like to see him put together some good extended drives. I still think Brett Smith has a lot to prove as well though. He really needs to establish that he can operate comfortably in the pocket. His mobility is an awesome weapon but he can’t take the next step in his progression until he can be effective without it at times.
We will see a couple new faces offensively with RB Stephen Houston and WR Marcus Davis getting some playing time. Interested to see what they can do. Overall I’m just curious to see if we can not use up all our offense in the first quarter. Even a late garbage touchdown to reward me for making it through the entire game would be nice.
Defensively, all I can really say is buckle up and pray for help… this could get ugly. Between injuries and the punitive benching of Junior Turnstile our starting defense is going to be a scary mishmash of whoever is available. George checks back in at DT. I would normally use this space to implore the team to give Ainsworth some starting reps but it’s becoming apparent that this is a waste of time. Linebackers will likely be Unamba-Knox-Brackenridge . Doughty being injured again certainly casts some doubts on him. I guess that would make him Jake Doubty (I’m sorry it’s the best you’re going to get from me on Friday).
This brings me to the secondary. It sounds like we will be starting the intimidating group of Webster-Green-MacDougall-Jackson-Macho. Now why on earth Jackson is playing halfback instead of Macho is beyond me but I’ve given up trying to understand things this year. I didn’t think it was possible for our secondary to get worse than it has been all year but this combination scares me. If Adarius Bowman can get 200 on us, Eric Rogers might top 300. I just hope MacDougall continues to look useful at safety.
By this point in the season I just hope there are enough positive plays to offset the ass kicking the rest of the game will entail. All I’m asking for is a bit of hope for next year.