Thursday, October 26, 2017

Riders vs. Alouettes: The Return

Oh how times can change in 17 weeks. Week 1 seems so long ago; when the Riders lost to the Als in the season opener. Questions abounded in Riderville about the quality of our team, coach and kicker. The Als were riding a wave of optimism and were viewed as an early contender in the least… err I mean East. Flash forward 3 months and the Riders are playoff bound and should reach double digit wins (our kicker is pretty good after all too. Go figure). The only thing the Als are contending for is 1st overall draft pick and tax exemption due to their senior citizen status. I still can’t believe we lost that game to them. Then again I can’t believe that of Montreal’s 3 wins, 2 of them were against us and Calgary.

I’m sure Durant had something different in mind for this game when the schedule first came out. Instead of leading a strong Alouette team into his old stomping grounds and making all Rider fans desperately miss our former leader, he instead is getting a pity start because Kavis feels it’s the right thing… that and the Als’ other QBs are terrible.  Most teams out of the playoffs adopt a “play the young guys” philosophy to audition for next year. The Als are playing Durant… though on their aged roster maybe Durant does count as “one of the young guys”. I expect and will be fully participating in an extended ovation for Durant. The guy poured his soul into this franchise and was a key player in arguably the greatest moment in franchise history. He is the second most successful QB this franchise has ever had and deserves to know he is appreciated. Once the game starts though, I also expect and will be fully participating in thunderous boos for every pass he bounces off the tuft (that’s a lot of boos). See it’s possible to respect an opposing player but still mock him mercilessly.

I could list you any number of stats to demonstrate that the Als are terrible. Nine straight losses (by an average margin of 23 points), winless on the road, least points scored, most points allowed and on and on. And it’s not just on the field that they embarrassing themselves. Off the field has been highly entertaining (for anyone not associated with the Als franchise): trading SJ Green for a 6th round pick; cutting Bear Woods and having the GM and coach disagree on the reasons; firing said coach (though he was admittedly a bad coach); pretty much anything involving Kavis Reed (which unfortunately for the Als is everything). They are screwed and the fact that they think Kavis is the guy to fix all this (with his right hand man Joe Mack) is further evidence of how screwed they are. Dig up stupid!

On to the game…
Offensively, we need to get back on track. Last week’s points total was inflated by a punt and INT return TD… and a fumble that set us up on the 3 yard line for our lone offensive TD. Glenn starts and honestly I think this has to be his last chance as the starter. If you can’t produce against the worst team in the CFL then what hope is there for the November games that really matter and involve credible teams? To help him out we need to stay as committed to the run game as we were in Calgary. It may shock you to learn that Montreal has the worst run D so we should be able to ride Richardson to a lot of yards. Still say we need to find ways to get Christion Jones involved in the O and if there was ever a game to experiment, this is it. When we pass, nothing in that secondary really scares but I would certainly be looking to exploit former Rider Tevaughn Campbell (he remains an extremely fast guy with minimal ball skills. Case in point the time he gave up a safety on an interception).

Defensively bring the pressure. For all the things the Als do poorly (aka pretty much everything) they can run the ball effectively (#2 in the League). We need to take that away from them. I have always been a big Durant fan but one of his recurring deficiencies was that he is not good at the hot route. Pressure will lead to mistakes… or balls where the intended receiver is the hash mark. Duron will be manning the corner again. I expect Durant (who is oddly more accurate on deep balls than short ones) to test that. I don’t think Duron is super human on the corner, he can be beat but you are playing with fire because one off throw is all it takes for him to score and that amps up everyone. This is a defensive unit that held Calgary without a TD in 2 games… I like their chances of standing up to a unit that no longer cares and wasn’t very good even when they did.

After a big win over the best team in the league this game has all the potential of a letdown/trap game and I would honestly worry about it… were it not for how bad the Als are. This is a game we should win and should win easily. We have failed to score 30 points only once at home… and that was against the best D in the League. By contrast Montreal hasn’t held a team under 29 points since early August. So essential the outcome hinges on whether you think Montreal can score 30 points against us. Given that they haven’t accomplished that feat in over 2 months I like our odds. Can’t overlook this game still have to go out and play hard but in the end…

Riders by 20… you heard me.


Govind said...

By 20?? You and your green-colored glasses lol.

Montreal has only won 3 and lets examine those three:
1. One TD off a blown coverage and it took bad clock management and a missed FG to beat Sask
2. Vs Calgary. Their best win of the year but got a defensive TD and Messam kicked out of the game.
3. Beat Toronto when Ricky Ray was hurt and missed the game.

Look how perilously close based on that they came to something even worse, like being winless.

Dan said...

20+ point win sounds right.

Als are a crap team but perhaps could have had another win or two if the stuck with Chappy. Not saying he’s much of a coach but at least he sort of knows football, Kavis does not. If Kavis was coach from the start of the season in Montreal we would have one more win.