Friday, August 12, 2016

Riders vs. Stampeders: Take 2

Amid a growing storm of allegations of roster violations and pre-pre practice squads, believe it or not there is still an actual football game to be played. Saturday night the Stampeders are in town for game two of a home at home set. In the continuing theme of honouring the past during the farewell season, the team will be honouring the 80s. I’m sure we are all eagerly awaiting the next game where they honour the 90s and Reggie Slack is brought back (maybe he was already here on the pre-practice squad).
Much of my pre-game analysis for the last game still stands for this game. For those who didn’t read it, the Coles Notes version is that their offense is really good and our defense is really bad. Rather than rehash what I’ve already wrote I’ll focus today’s post on the adjustment both teams will need to make for the rematch.
Offensively we moved the ball pretty well last game (at least early). The biggest issue was that we were forced to settle for FGs instead of TDs. This has been an issue all season. Our 19 FGs are second most in the league. Our 10 FGs (one of which was a blocked punt) are by far the least in the League. Given that the only thing more numerous than the points given up by our D, is the roster transactions made by Chris Jones, our only hope at victory is scoring at least 30 points. Tough to do that without reaching the endzone multiple times. Our biggest issue is second down conversions. We have league low 39.4% conversion rate on 2nd down despite a league high 7.2 avg gain on 1st down. I attribute that to a lack on anything resembling a credible short game. We run about as often as Steven Hawking and don’t have that go-to second down guy to move the chains. We live and die with the medium to deep shot. When it’s working our offense roles. When it isn’t it sputters.
Last game the Calgary defensive scheme focused on eliminating Roosevelt and I don’t see that changing this week. That means other players will need to step up and not just Bagg. Lawrence needs to be way more involved (both receiving  and runni… oh who am I kidding? receiving only). We need to reignite Ricky Collins as well. Hopefully getting Chiles back will add that extra element to our O. Calgary has somehow given up more passing yards than us (though way less TDs) so there will be open receivers as long as we don’t force it.
Defensively there’s honestly not much to analyze. We are awful and will probably continue to be awful. We allow by far the most points and we have by far the least takeaways and sacks. Unless your fantasy team has receivers from the opposing team there’s not much to be happy about when the D takes the field. How’s that for getting you excited for the game? I think I have a future as a motivational speaker.
The thing is, I think we can win in-spite of our defensive deficiencies. They didn’t play great against Ottawa yet we won. They didn’t play great last game yet did just enough to keep it a close game. That’s exactly what we need. Not great play just a few timely stops… that aren’t negated by penalty. We need to get pressure above all else, if we can’t get that from our front 4 then we need to start sending a variety of blitzes to get the ball out sooner. We also need to create at least 1 turnover, don’t really care if it’s a pick or a forced fumble but something. 
I expect the home crowd to give the team and boost and I expect a more competitive game. I will even go as far as to say that we’ll probably have a slight lead at the half and it will come down to the wire. But let’s be honest here, our only real shot at winning is a shootout and it’s far more likely our offense stalls than theirs.
Unless the league allows the pre-practice squad on the field at the same time as our regular defense…
Stamps by a TD
I don’t think this ending is a foregone conclusion though so let’s be loud in the stands. The deafening roar of the Mosaic crowd will go a long way to making us forget about the team’s troubles. It may even tip the scales far enough in our favour to sneak out a win (I wouldn’t actually put money on that but it is possible)
PS – Don’t forget its Tackle Hunger day so make sure to bring a donation for the food bank.

No comments: