Friday, August 13, 2021

Riders vs. Ti-Cats: Let’s Try This Again

Saturday night the Ti-Cats are in town looking for their first win of the season. This marks a time of the year that always entertains me to no end. Week 2, people when people ridiculously overreact to what happened in week 1. The Ti-Cats have gone from potentially going undefeated to in deep trouble. Ottawa has gone from laughing stock to people wondering if we undervalued them (they produced 70 yards of offense and won on a fluke pick 6!). Bethel Thompson is on pace to throw 5000 yards in a shortened season. Collaros is an unstoppable force (absolutely… until he gets hurt). So many things to overreact to. The great part about the Riders is that people aren’t sure what to overreact to. Do we overreact to the unstoppable first half? Do we overreact to the nightmare inducing second half?

While we did learn some things in Week 1, I generally do not put much stock in Week 1 results. It’s a small sample size for one. Remember that last season Ottawa started 2 and 0 by knocking off Calgary and Saskatchewan… how did that turn out for them? Also, given that no one played football for close to 2 years, we all expected some growing pains as teams learned how to play football again.

So where does that leave us for the upcoming game?

Well both the Riders and Ti-Cats took similar approaches offensively to game 1. They both came out firing early and looked unstoppable and proceeded to do nothing afterwards. The difference is while the Riders built up a big enough lead before shutting it down, Hamilton was content with just 1 drive. Both will be looking for a bit more sustained production.

Offensively we will be facing a far bigger challenge up front. Last week we played a line of Tavai and 3 rookies and survived ok. This week we play what I consider to be one of the top lines in the league Davis/Laurent/Wynn/Howsare. Considering what I saw out of Jefferson and Boyko that’s concerning. Even without Laurent, that D-line got 3 sacks against a very solid Winnipeg OL. Very solid we are not. As of writing this Dylan Wynn is questionable to play which would be some welcome relief. We will need Maas to draw up a game plan to once again compensate for that weakness. We need to run, and not just in the first half. If Powell gets anything less than 15 carries we have failed. You can bet we will once again be looking to use short passes (hooks, crossers, outs) to get the ball out quick. But with the benefit of game film, I would expect the Ti-Cats to adjust up to take those away. We are going to need to push the ball further down field once in a while to keep that D on their toes (like we saw early against BC). Obviously deep shots to Shaq come to mind but I think we also need to look at deep posts to Moore/Lenius or even 10-15 yards to passes to Picton on the wide side. Also, the next evolution of an offense heavy on hooks and slants is double moves and turning those short routes deep.

Defensively we have to play a QB who is neither a raw rookie or legally eligible for disability payments (though given how the latter carved us up maybe that’s OK). Much has been made about Hamilton’s offensive struggles but remember that they are missing Posey and Addison (you add that to Banks and Acklin and good luck) and were missing Van Zeyl. Winnipeg (who has one of the top D-line out there) utterly embarrassed the Hamilton pass protection. That was the difference in the game. And it shows us the blue print of how to win this game. We unfortunately don’t have a Willie Jefferson and Jeffcoat to do that with. Leonard had a solid game 1 so he will be fine but other than that 1 run stuff I will say I was underwhelmed with Adams. He needs to pick up his play and we need a more consistent push from the interior. If we had had more pressure I don’t think our secondary would have looked as bad as they did in the second half. I expect them to try and get Banks involved early so we need to look to contain him.  Also no cheating up and looking for easy picks (looking at you Marshall).  Acklin and Banks can kill you if they get behind coverage. Masoli is a very hot and cold QB. At his best he can surgically cut you up. At his worst he churns out turnovers like he’s trying to start a bakery. We want the latter and pressure is key to that.

Now that they have an actual game under their belt, I expect a better performance from the Riders… at least a most sustained performance (not sure you can get better than that first quarter). But balance that with the fact that Hamilton is a better team than BC and will also be playing better now that they have a game under their belt. I have faith in Maas to call a solid game plan. I’m less confident in whether our front 4 can get the push we need to be solid on D. Its possible, but I’m not betting on it at this point.

Expect a much closer game. I doubt Hamilton we will be so kind as to spot us a 4 score lead. I think offense will need to win us this one.

Riders by a Lauther FG.


Govind said...

I'm with you on the reaction after week 1. There's a reason in the NFL they refer to the Monday after week 1 as "over-reaction Monday".

Anonymous said...

Well, Laurent is listed as backup so he may not be 100%. But the TiCats have some good talent @ LB with Lawrence & Santos-Knox & a good set of DB's so I think the play action may be a bit more difficult with this group. This is nothing new. Our offensive game plan was pretty much what Maas ran with Harris in Edmonton. Everything you stated here is true. As for the OL, don't know much about Lauderdale but maybe that's a wash. Still big concerns there.

Big thing on D is can we get pressure. Outside of Acklin & Banks, don't know much about the two Whites. They weren't good rushing but Masoli did take off 7 times so he isn't affected by the old injury. Have to watch for that. Also watch for the max protection package with 7 OL. Can't cover the WR's forever. Hamilton loves to run that.

With Addison & Posey out, this is as good a chance to beat Hamilton as you can get. Luck seems to be on our side - 1st Reilly, now TiCats with some big holes on both sides of the ball.

I'm going Lions 100% to win (yesterday I would have said Stamps), Argos to surprise in 2nd week, toss up with Elks & Als but I'll go Elks @ home & Riders.

Rider Prophet said...

Yeah Hamilton likes that 7 wide set. Need to be able to beat that. I have been terrible in my picks this year so I feel like it would be safer to get against the riders for the greater good

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad. 1-3 in week 1. 0-2 so far this week. Only 1 I got right so far - Riders. Look at it that way.

pantsonfire said...

Crazy year so far. I have no words. Pre-season MOP candidates - Masoli, Harris, Mitchell. Have looked awful. 3 TD's, 12 INT's collectively.

Winnipeg, Sask look unbeatable at this point. So much for Riders' OL woes. Maas/Fajardo looking good. BC surprising everyone. Picked last by most. 2 games, total of 2 OFF TD's between Elks & Stamps. Whatever happened to Ellingson?

Hamilton's 13-1 season gone with their 14-0 season. Look awful. McBeth already out in TO, Ottawa got lucky. Now get Riders. Yikes. The best looking team out East right now is the Als. I like them. Really look good. Entertaining.

Stamps get Als, then head to Wpg. Elks get BC & TO away. Can you say battle of the winless come Labour Day? I predict Stamps win in Calgary 12-9, Elks return the favour in Edm 6-3. Winning FG from the 3 as time expires.

After initial bump in attendance, fans staying away in droves @ IG Field, McMahon & Commonwealth. Harris booed @ home before halftime. I get it. Lots of drama week 1. Week 2, even I'm not watching. Recorded all the games. Erased 3 & just watched highlights on TSN. Way too much ugly football. Hope it gets better.

Rider Prophet said...

Wild year.

I don't know what's happening in Edmonton. You have Ellingson and Walker and can't manage a competent offense. Calgary looks like a team where all their offseason loses (that they usually replace easily) are catching up with them. Both could easily be 0-3 to start and 0-4 looks very plausible. BC who should be awful are decent (suddenly i feel a bit less bad about our near collapse to them).

Toronto is turning into what I thought they were. Tons of talent on paper but questionable QB and wildly inexperienced head coach holding them back. Hamilton needs to address their atrocious O-line play or the loses will keep piling up. I want to say awful things about Ottawa but don't want to jinx anything for next week. So i will say that their defense is better than expected.