Riders 27 - Argos 19
For the first time in 4 years, the Riders are starting the season out on a winning note. They did so by closing out a close game... unlike last season where our first few games were full of late game collapses. A lot of the "oh my god, we're screwed" mentality that had built up since the last preseason game dissipated. Don't get me wrong, we were far from perfect and have things to improve on if we want more of these thing called wins but starting the season out on a winning note it a huge positive.
How about that defense? Expectations were sky high for this unit coming into the season and they did not disappoint. How great is it to have Charleston Hughes terrorizing other teams and not us anymore? Dude was a monster with 3 sacks in his first half... well 2 sacks and falling on an already down QB but it still counts. At some point I will stop hyping Derrick Moncrief but today is not that day. He is so good. Through 3 quarters the D held James Wilder almost completely in check and allowed just 5 points (3 of which were entirely due to Tre Mason fumbling). The Argos went 2 and out on 6 of their 8 first half drives (that stat courtesy of @TSN_Marsh). They let up a bit in the 4th allowing Ray to mount a comeback but hung in there and snuffed out the comeback attempt with a pick 6 to seal things. I'll just ask that you focus on the nice pick Marshall made and not the tourist hit Gainey was laying out (it was second only to that idiot fan getting de-cleated in BC). D needs to be the strong point of this team and they certainly were on Friday.
Offense was decent and really if our D keeps playing like this decent is good enough to win. Collaros didn't light it up but certainly looked more comfortable. He really spread the ball around, finding 9 different receivers. He also protected the ball, having zero turnovers on the night. I'm just glad we can finally stop talking about how Collaros hasn't won a game in years. I was mainly praying for anything above train wreck in terms of O-line performance so I was pleasantly surprised. They had their struggles early but straightened things out and finished with a decent night. What surprised me the most was actually seeing us run. We ran 26 times. That's normally like a month's worth of running for McAdoo (as I type this I hope to god this doesn't mean we don't run again for 3 weeks). We also didn't randomly insert a back-up QB. McAdoo is still our OC right? We are going to need to produce more than 1 offensive TD going forward but I think they will improve and this was a good starting point.
Overall it was a performance in line with what we expected. Very strong D leading the way, offense doing enough to get by. This was a good test to start the season as the Argos are a good team.
Other random thoughts:
- I still can't fathom how there were 2 penalties on a play involving Duron and neither went against him. It just doesn't seem right.
- Lauther certainly has the leg strength, if he improves on his consistency he might finally find himself some permanent employment in this league.
- You know the D is playing good when he barely notice that Sam Hurl is starting.
- Tre Mason has some nice burst to his game. Needs to hold the damn ball but certainly could be exploisve
It's early & the schedule is set up for a good start. The Riders need to take care of business in the West. They beat each team handily once last year but still lost 6 games. Nichols will be back by the time they see Winnipeg, Esks are having their injury problems now so could be healthier. The good news is the early schedule but everybody should be in top form after a few games so, barring injury, the big dogs will sort themselves out when the head to head comes. My biggest concern for the Riders is this - they were relatively injury free last year. What happens if, like Edmonton, a couple of import DB's go down? We have 1 import on PR & Carter as depth. The same situation is there on OL, LB, for imports, OL, WR & RB for Nationals. For the life of me I can't understand why we have a dozen LB's & no DB's. The top teams carry 9 or 10 on the roster. A couple more on the IR & PR. You can always move a DB into the LB spot. Not so much the other way around. I Know Jones likes LB types on the ST but really playing with fire here.
Anon - And Nick Marshall is hurt. Depth will be tested a lot sooner than we'd all like. Its a concern not doubt
Just like that down 1. Didn't expect that so fast. I see Cox, who I thought would stick with Riders, as well as Bond, signed with Esks. Not sure How Bond fits in there unless they go 3 imports on OL. Could be looking at O'Donnell @ RT where he's played some or Bond @ RT. Too big there IMO. Cutting Bond may come back to bite us especially if we get injuries. Bond who allowed only 7 pressures last year was beat out by Harrison who was replaced by Bladek? I don't get it. Why go after him in free agency if you can't afford him?
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