Friday, September 9, 2016

Riders vs. Bombers: Banjo Bowl 2016

I find myself in an unfamiliar position as I type this post. Generally I’m in a jovial mood because the Riders won on Labour Day and I’m ready to unleash a barrage or ridicule and insults on our halfwit eastern neighbours… ok halfwit isn’t a fair term, its more technically closer to eighth-wit.  But this year, the Riders will roll into Winnipeg with a whimper. The only thing good about their current record is that it is a number that Manitobans can count to as its taught in the 6th grade curriculum.

Everything I said about the Bombers last week remains valid. None of their wins have come against teams with winning records. Their offense is still mediocre at best. I mean, do know how bad you have to be to only score 1 TD on the Riders D? That’s like a Manitoban only managing to get to second base on their ruffied cousin (or as it is more commonly referred to locally: a traditional marriage proposal). The fact remains that if Crapigna could make a kick or if the refs learned what pass interference actually is, the Riders would have beat the Bombers. But hypothetical victories are about as meaningful as hypothetical mortgage payments.

Let’s focus on the adjustments that will need to be made if the Riders hope to change their fortunes. Offensively, let’s start with receivers running the right routes and Durant checking to make sure they do before releasing the ball. We need to continue spreading the ball around like we did. Last game 5 different players had at least 5 catches. Hard for defenders to key on anyone with that going on. I would suggest running but that would be a waste of time so instead I’ll suggest that we keep Durant mobile. Running yes but not all the time. More rolling out. Even just the prospect of him running will open things up (and take pressure off our O-line)

Defensively, if Cox could be less of a cheater that would be great. (in case that doesn’t translate through the interwebs, that is sarcasm). My only real knock on the D was giving up that big play to McDuffie. Take that one pass away and it’s a different game. I also think we gave up a bit too much to Harris on the ground but that will happen with a back like him. D-line looked competent, it would be nice to see them take the next step to being impactful.

The biggest adjustment needed is by the coaches. We can’t afford to sleep through the first half like we always do. If we get down early in an environment as hostile as Investors Group Field things will unravel very quickly. Coaches need to get the players ready to play.

Amazingly enough the all-time Banjo Bowl series is tied 6-6 (though Winnipeg has won 2 of the past 3). As much as I can’t in good conscious bet on this team, this game is no gimme. While it wouldn’t totally make up for Labour Day, a win in Winnipeg would give a much needed boost to a fan base that is growing weary. As much as I would love to see the Riders shut the Bombers up…

Bombers by a Harris TD.

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