Riders 25 – Bombers 28
Apologies for the lateness of this post, the results of the football game led me to drown my anger/sadness in various forms of adult beverages (and boy howdy did I drown them good). Needless to say yesterday was a bit of a write off.
On to the Sentimonies…
I have a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re going to hear about it.
For today, I will leave the PI call out of this. It was pure utter garbage, we all know it. But if you honestly think that’s the reason we lost Labour Day then you watched a very different game than me. We lost because we only showed up to play football after halftime. Had we not slept through the first half and spotted the Bombers a 13 point lead then we would have won plain and simple. And this is just the latest in an ongoing trend of this team not being even close to ready to play at opening kickoff. Over our last 6 games we have been outscored 112 to 29 in the opening half (that is not a typo). You simply can’t expect to win if you only give half a game of effort. And that lack of preparation falls on the coaches.
And so the remainder of this post will be an open letter to Chris Jones, outlining my many grievances with him thus far.
I implore you Chris Jones. Give us something… anything… some sign that we have reason for hope. We have been a terrible team for 2 full calendar years now. You were supposed to be the one to end that and right the ship. But so far the only signs you have given me do not instill hope. They mostly instill the desire to cue up the circus music or a Benny Hill soundtrack because it will be a fitting description of what is likely to come next. Your reign as GM has been about on par with that of Mike Kelly so far.
You came in and completely blew up our roster, promising to build it back up as a perennial contender. You went out and brought in a bunch of big name free agents to help restock the shelves yet after 10 games about the only success I see are Greg Jones and Otha Foster. Lemon, Chiles, Kashama, and Hazime are gone. Capicciotti, Irvin and Chambers are underwhelming at best. Guys like Brooks, Norwood and King haven’t even seen the field. Thus far all our free agency work appears to be a big swing and a miss.
Then there is our scouting and recruiting. We’ve been told that we have worked out hundreds if not thousands. We’ve dressed what is approaching a record number of players. We had a secret squad of 20 guys. Yet despite all of this what have we actually found? By my count, at best 4 players. Cox is great (pause for immature giggle), Eguavoen is a solid find. I’ll even be generous and grant you Collins and Holley (though I have issues with Holley I’ll get to another time). Four?!?! Out of Thousands. Did we only work out the crappiest football players in North America?!?!? We failed to find even one competent QB to develop so instead we had to trade for a guy and sign other people’s cast-offs. You couldn’t find us an RB, literally the easiest position to recruit for. The interior of our D-line is struggling and the best you can find is a racist who’s been out of football for over a year. If the best you can come up with all of our scouting efforts is 4 players then how in the hell are you going to rebuild our roster?
There’s also the ridiculous attachment to trying to turn people into something they’re not. Our D-line is made up of former receivers and a basketball player. Our starting safety had never played defense before even in college. It’s okay to have pet project, if you think somebody can eventually be moulded into a difference maker but we have like 8 projects on the go and all of them seem to hold prominent spots in our starting line-up. Maybe if we spent less time trying to change people’s positions and more time finding players who actually play those positions we might be in a better place.
That brings me to coaching. Who are you and what have you done with the Grey Cup winning coaching staff we were supposed to have poached? You seem to have no ability to prepare the team to play because we are absolutely dreadful in the first half. We do dumb things like rushing 3 (our ends spend more time in coverage then doing their job), letting QBs who showed up 2 days ago run offensive plays in a game, and not running. There are times when it seems our defensive philosophy is “hope the other team drops it” and our offensive philosophy is “suck and pray we can challenge something”. Some of our issues are talent related but this team has shown that when it actually shows up it can compete with the top teams in spite of that. But our lack of preparedness and questionable play calling need to stop because we aren’t a good enough team to overcome that.
Even the most ardent Rider fan has to look at the state of things and shake their head. I know interacting with non-football players is not really your thing but the fan base is desperate for a glimmer of hope and one of the job duties that comes with being a supreme overlord is being accountable to the fans. By any measuring stick the first 9 months of your tenure have been a trainwreck (unless it’s the CFL refs calling things and then it’s probably a first down).
We are waiting desperately for a reason to believe. The ball is in your court.