Friday, July 19, 2019

Riders vs. Lions: Need This One

Saturday night it’s a battle of two teams that would be winless were it not for hapless Argos. It’s the first of a two game set and while it’s still early in the season, the next 2 weeks could go a long way to determine who will finish last in the West. As I see it, if we win both… life is good. If we win 1… there’s still hope. If we lose both… the actual apocalypse will seem tame by comparison to the doom and gloom that will engulf the province.

Before the season started, if we had been placing bets I think many would have correctly predicted that this game would feature the offense with the least yards and the second least points (less than 20 per game). Most would have incorrectly assumed that offense would be led by the back-up Rider QB… not Mike Reilly.

So yeah, the Lions got issues. It’s not a shock to many that spending over $700k on a QB and an additional $250k on a guard (a freakin’ guard!) would lead to roster deficiencies elsewhere. But many (myself included) assumed that an offense featuring Reilly throwing to Burnham and Duron would at least be mildly competent. But that is not the case. First and foremost the BC O-line is horrific. They couldn’t block an inanimate cardboard cutout of a defender. Let that be a lesson that if you are going to blow your wad on a QB maybe invest in some serviceable tackles. The O-line issues are compounded by the fact that BC’s RBs are the worst I’ve seen in a long time at pass blocking. They are never in the right place. Finally their personnel issues are compounded by terrible play calling. Despite their complete inability to keep Mike Reilly from getting killed, they routinely run pass plays where there is no route less than 15. It makes no sense.

That said you can’t take any offense lead by Mike Reilly lightly. Our defense should be able handle things but they can’t coast through it. They need to give full effort. It starts up front where our front 4 should have a 5 sack minimum. They should absolutely manhandle the BC O-line. Johnson and Evans have been quiet this season and that needs to change. We also can’t let BC establish a run game as I’m sure they will try. Keep BC one dimensional and that will ensure Reilly stays up close and personal with the Mosaic turf. Having Marshall back should help stabilize the secondary… though Means is still out there and you all know I think he’s awful. Whoever is on Duron should do all they can to keep him from getting involved in the game. Keep the ball away from him and keep running your mouth and Duron is good for a least one major penalty. BC has the third most turnovers so getting one or two of those would go a long way to winning this game.

In terms of our offense, it would sure be nice if they decided to do something again. A strong running game would help. BC has decent run D but William Powell is supposed to be the motor than runs our O so lets get him going. One interesting deficiency of the Lions is their D-line. One would assume that with Claybrooks at the helm… and decent talent in Willis, Coleman and Louis they would be a strength but they are not. They have just 7 sacks and they aren’t getting a push from their big guys in the middle. To help Fajardo get his mojo back I suggest using Thigpen and Moore for high percentage passes where they get the ball in space. Grymes and Lee are good at HB but BC’s corner’s should not scare us. Arceneaux will make his debut and you can bet he wants to prove himself to his old team. BC has allowed the 3rd most points.

Special teams will also play a factor in this game. Up until now BC’s has been terrible. Their punting was awful so they wisely brought in Josh Bartel. Their returns have been non-existent so they brought in Ryan Lankford (who had a 42 yard punt return against the Riders in week 2 as a RedBlack). BC has the second worst punt coverage so we’ll have chances there. Not sure at this point if Jones or Lauther are a go.

From a record perspective, we aren’t that different from the Lions. But there are just different feels to both teams in spite of that. We have been inconsistent as all hell this season but we have seem glimmers of hope. BC needed a missed field goal single to beat the Argos. There hasn’t been a lot to be hopeful about since free agency for them. Reilly is getting killed and BC will likely find a way to get him sacked during the coin toss. The Riders should be healthy and rested coming off a bye and have the home crowd on their side. Maybe I’m just an overly optimistic homer but this is a game the Riders should win and will.

Riders by 12.


Anonymous said...

Odds on BC winning the GC were 5-1. There were a few who had them 4th, I had them last. Why? The OL was going to be a problem from the get go despite having Chungh & Figueroa, a very good LT. But Husband, an underrated G & Olafioye @ RT retired - big losses. Until Lankford this week they had ZERO import backup behind the big 2 except the Mexican in the Global spot. So when Burnham sat out a game they had 4 Cdns strarting in their 5 receiver set & they aren't that deep there. I looked at their defence & Lemon was gone, Elimimian, Awe & West All-Star Foster were gone along with both of their CB's from last year - 2018 All Cdn Orange to Edm, Rose to Wpg. You're exactly right - $1MM to Reilly & Chungh is crazy especially since word out of Wpg was Chungh is great @ the run game, mediocre @ pass protection. You also called it correctly on Reilly & the deep passes. He was getting killed in Edm behind the same OL who've allowed 1 sack in 160 dropbacks this year. Harris gets rid of the ball quickly & the offence is designed to take advantage of his strengths. Reilly's terrific in the deep game & that's how he racked up the yards in Edmonton. But you need to hold the blocks awhile & this OL in BC can't hold it even for 3 step drops & they continue to try to throw deep. As for Duron - # 2 in targets in the CFL going into this week, not even top 20 in yards. Time to put the "best receiver" nonsense to rest. There is talk BC is looking at dropping him (again) though why when I don't see anyone better around & they are so thin @ import. Won't happen but they need to get him going. Should be motivated for the Riders. I would not be surprised to see a sweep either way. I think the Riders are further ahead at this point talent wise but the most important position is QB & in my book it comes down to Reilly & Fajardo. I do expect BC to try & take pressure off by using the run & dump passes. But who knows.

Anonymous said...

Chungh apparently out for the game Saturday. Ouch. How long before Hervey picks up the phone & calls Olafioye. Show him the money, Ed.

Bryce Taylor said...

Given our history of losing games we should win (and vice versa) I'll reserve judgement until at least the end of the first quarter. We seem to be in last year's funk where we just want the offense to not be a direct liability...except our defense isn't nearly as dominant as it was either. Good thing we all bleed green because it's never easy.