Monday, October 31, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Merciful End

Riders 10 – Stampeders 36

I think I speak for all of Rider Nation when I say, thank god that is over! It was a long painful season full of disappointment and lacking anything resembling hope. Usually the end of the season leaves me wanting more Rider football. This season, I ever so grateful there is no more to endure.

I was thinking about it and this is probably the worst season I can remember since way back before Roy Shivers took over. Sure we sucked in the early 2000s but you could see something slowly building. We sucked in 2011 but at least we fired Greg Marshall during the season (Remember when he said we haven't seen the last of Greg Marshall? Maybe he will make his return about the same time Andrew Harris finds out who tainted his supplement). We sucked again in 2015 but again, we had a mid-season firing to instill some hope. 2016 was actually worse from a wins perspective than this season but again, we were slowly building towards something. 2022 offered nothing. No progress, no improvement, no plan, no hope.  

I’d rather not spend much time talking about Saturday’s game. Before halftime we had managed to let Calgary recover their own punt and gave up an 85 yard TD on a QB sneak. That right there tells you all you need to know about the game. Defense had clearly checked out as they allowed the Stamps to run for over 300 yards rushing. Offense was their usual useless self. I’m so glad we dressed Cody Fajardo as opposed to Dolegala or Lewis. Really proved be a useless move for the organization. Somehow the Stamps managed to dress 3 QBs but we determined that was simply impossible. 

There were exactly 4 things that I will make note of.

1)     Lanier is a stud. He played just 11 games but had 9 sacks. If there is a way to keep him in Green and White he is the #1 priority along the D-line by far.

2)     Alford is also a stud. Casually rips off another big return.

3)     Sankey sets a record. I mean, the fact that he had to make so many tackles is an indictment of our defense as a whole but Sankey is one guy who never gave up and is a stand up guy on and off the field. Good on him for setting a record.

4)     Dean gets 100 tackles. At his age, coming off major injury… to see him get all the way back to where he did was awesome.

Only thing I might add is that our disgraceful O-line will at least be immortalized for their futility as we set a CFL record for allowing 77 sacks. More than any other team since they started tracking that. Never forget.

Now we all wait with bated breath for the upcoming Craig Reynolds press conference. Changes are coming. But for those expecting a house clearing. Expect to be underwhelmed. For one, I expect the franchise to opt for consistency over radical change. For two, the coaching salary cap will greatly limit how much we can do even if we want to. O’Day, Dickenson, Maas and Shivers all have 1 more year on their contract. Unless we are replacing them all with unpaid interns, we simply can’t clean house.

I’ve said all along that O’Day survives and I stand by that. I think the team would like to keep Dickenson but from a marketing perspective I simply don’t think they can sell fans on another season of him. He clearly could not hold the team together through adversity. So we fire Dickenson. Hope to hell Montreal is stupid enough to poach Maas and pray that no one offers Shivers an “Assistant Head Coach” role to poach him. That’s my guess anyway.

Hopefully by next Monday I have something to discuss that presents some hope for us fans.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Riders vs. Stamps: One Last Time

When the schedule makers drew this up I bet they were expecting a massive finish to the regular season with huge playoff implications. Instead they get 2 teams going through the motions, one eager to get to the next game and one eager to be done with the season. It’s kinda like preseason, except we don’t have 70 players in camp so its like 3 back-ups and our regular starters. So we aren’t even really evaluating anyone. So all of the bad football with none of the underlying purpose. 

True to brand this season, the Riders found a way to mismanage a meaningless game. Simply put, there is no reason for Cody to dress in this one. It should be split with Fine getting a half and Dolegala getting a half. Hell give the practice roster QB Levi Lewis a quarter for all I care. But no. When asked Dickenson said he would “try” to get Dolegala on the roster (as if he’s not the guy making all the decisions) but that Cody would be there for sure. You'll try?There are 3 explanations for this:

1 – Dickenson is stupid and trying not to hurt Cody’s feeling rather than making the hard/right decision.

2 – We are so tight against the cap that swapping Fajardo for Dolegala would put us over. (Honest to god, exceeding the cap in a year this craptacular would just be the icing on the cake)

3 – Cody has some performance incentive in his contract that triggers if he plays and we are just trying to do right by him.

If it’s 3 then I can understand. Having a reputation as a team that does right by players is a good thing… but I highly doubt that is the case. If it's 2 then even more scrutiny needs to come to the job O’Day has done. Can’t rule out that possibility but 1 seems most likely. Things are so bad in Riderville we can’t even tank effectively.

There’s no point in doing my normal game preview. So here’s a few things that would be nice to see on Saturday:

·        Baker get 1000 yards. I know 1000 is an arbitrarily pumped up number but he needs to 65 to hit it and as one of the few bright spots on this team, I feel he deserves it.

·        Larry Dean is 3 tackles short of 100. Given that we can’t stop the run that feels like an easy mark to exceed but it would be a nice cap to an amazing comeback year for Dean.

·        Charleston get a few more sacks. Not sure he has enough playing time left to hit first all-time in sacks but I would love to see him continue to climb the all-time list. He currently sits at 5th. Remember how happy we were when we thought he got a TD? It’s been a steady slide to misery from there.

·        Its too little too late but seeing Lanier back out there will be nice. He is a force along that D-line that we sorely missed.

·        Dare I ask for 2 offensive TDs?

·        One more Alford return TD. His returns have giving us fleeting moments of pure joy in what is usually a painful 60 minutes. He touches the ball like 5 times a game usually deep in our own end and is still our best chance to score.  

·        Bo Levi Mitchell get picked off. Preferably by Nick Marshall. Bo picks are always good for what ails you.

·        Bo Levi Mitchell retire from football some I’m not subjected to months of chatter about him becoming a Rider, or worse, us actually paying him a boatload of money mistakenly thinking he can enliven our offense.

·        Rather than dumping Gatorade on the coach post-game, the players just hurl the whole jug at Jason Maas in the ultimate of ironies.

While I’m sure we are all more eager for the Monday press conference where the team hopefully announces the changes it will be making to try and avoid another trainwreck in 2023, we got one more chance to watch Rider football this season first.

I’d say enjoy the game but let’s more accurately go with tolerate the game.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Monday morning Sentimonies: Officially Official

Riders 21 – Stamps 32

Saturday night all the talk about playoffs and mathematical chances was put the bed for good and what had been painfully obvious to many for weeks now became official… the Riders will not make the playoffs. A part of me is relieved because I was getting sick of people talking about our playoff chances.

Full disclosure, I was not at the game (and judging by the stands, not many others were). I would like to say it was a sign of me protesting an awful season. But the truth is, that I would not have been there even if the game was worth watching. I was playing a gig in Rouleau. Our band has made sure to keep our November calendar open because, at this rate we may end up playing the Grey Cup halftime show by default, unless the Riders opt for an “imagination halftime show”. I did watch the game though.

I could talk about all the usual reasons we lost like I do every week. Such as no protection from the line and a defense that looks tired and can’t tackle or generate a sack/turnover but that was all expected and I think we are all getting tired of talking about it. I do want to talk about the big story going into the game: Mason Fine. Our dumpster fire of a season is giving him the chance for a 2 game audition for 2023. And you know what? I thought he looked alright. He’s not the second coming of Doug Flutie and our offense still only put up its usual 14 points but for a young guy in a tough spot with crap protection against a very good defensive front, I though he did well. He showed poise in the pocket. Didn’t appear overwhelmed or out of place and made some nice throws. I saw him make quick decisive throws from the pocket more in that game than I saw Cody make in September. He also was smart enough to take my advice and lean on Baker. I’m not ready to anoint him a fulltime starter yet but unlike his predecessor Isaac Harker (whom he supplanted) he looks to be progressing and developing and at least looks like he has potential. I do have to say that his TD pass to Shaq was some god awful mechanics. Didn’t plant his feet and kinda side armed it. But the pass was still perfectly placed. Fine gave me something that has been desperately lacking in 2022… hope.

Our coaches seem intent to make his job as hard as possible and sabotage him. Early in the game he threw a beauty pass to get a much needed first down. He was promptly rewarded for his achievement by being replaced with Fajardo so he could a useless QB draw that went nowhere. Fine comes back in on the next play and throws another 1st down. Like, what the hell were we doing? How exactly did we think that would improve that drive? Fine was feeling it, let him play. I also don’t understand the need to have Fajardo in for short yardage. If Fine is gonna be your guy he will probably need to run plunges. Why not let him? What’s he gonna do? Lose us the game? We have that well under control.

The only other thing that is worth talking about is Mario Alford. What a flat out stud. He now has 4 kick returns in 12 games this season for the Riders. That’s a good career, let alone partial season. He hit the hat trick on Saturday. He already had a kickoff and missed FG TD and completed the cycle with a punt return TD. He was giving effort in the waning minutes of a meaningless game in a meaningless season. We have not had a returner of his caliber since Corey Holmes… and I think Alford is more dangerous than Holmes was as a returner. O’Day has done a lot of bad things this season but he nailed it when he nabbed him for a 6th round pick.

We have one more meaningless game before putting this miserable season behind us. At least we can all get drunk at Grey Cup and wash our misery away… unless the Bombers win again then the whole thing becomes just further misery.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Riders vs. Stamps: Vet Day

The contrast between what this two game set with the Stamps was supposed to be and what is actually is could not be more stark. When the schedule came out this was supposed to be the Riders and Stamps renewing their rivalry, Fajardo vs. Bo to decide the top end of the West division standings. What we are actually getting is Fine vs. Maier in the Riders sad last gasps in the season before missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.

I must say I’m sick of people calling this “the most important game in the Riders season”. The playoff ship has sailed away and left us struggling to tread water in its wake. If we wanted to be in the playoff picture the games against Edmonton and Hamilton were the most important and we blew both those chances. We are not making the playoffs and the sooner people start accepting that the better things will be.

Hell of a start to the week with Cody getting a “vet day” on the first day of practice. It was so painfully obvious that Cody had been benched that even a CFL official couldn’t miss that call. Why Dickenson chose to lie only to change his tune the very next day I don’t know. But it certainly fits the narrative of the clown show this season has been. Does Fine give us a better chance to win? Probably not. But we have seen all there is to see from Cody this year and he ain’t going to win this game. So why not let Fine have a chance and see if he can rise to the challenge? At worst we find out if Fine has progressed enough to bring back in 2023. 

I will say this, as much as I believe the divorce from Fajardo is necessary (for both sides) I still feel Fajardo can be a good QB… just not on this team, with this coaching staff and this O-line. Simply put the organization failed Cody. They failed to give him an OC that put him in a position to succeed and improve his skillset. They failed to give him even a mildly competent OL. They failed him by letting him play when he displayed all the mobility of current day George Reed. Certainly Cody bears responsibility in this as his play just hasn’t been great but the brunt of this falls on the organization. They could have made this work but failed to.

Ok, drama aside there is actually a football game to be played. So let’s talk about that…

Defensively there are 2 things you need to be concerned about with Calgary. First is, they run better than anyone in the league. Carey is a force and Logan is no slouch. Both average over 6 yards per carry. Want to be beat the Stamps, you gotta slow down that running attack. There is a chance we get Lanier back (which would give us a massive boost in the front 4). Other thing you gotta be concerned about is Malik Henry. He is what makes their passing attack work. When he’s out, you notice a marked drop in production. Calgary has allowed a league low 15 sacks on the year (we’ve almost done that in a game) so it won’t be easy getting pressure on Maier. Honestly this is the chance to pull out any crazy schemes Shivers has been sitting on. We’ve got nothing to lose so throw something different at Maier and see if he cracks. Expect Marshall to bite on any chance at a pick. I bet he finishes with an INT and a long TD allowed.

Offensively, let’s be honest. This is going to get ugly. No one has more sacks than the Calgary D. We are on a mission to set the all-time record for sacks allowed. We allowed 7 sacks to Hamilton who is 7th in the league in sacks. I can tell you things won’t get better in this one. We do get Jamal Morrow back. While its too little too late it will be nice to see him back out there. Early in the season he was leading the league in combined yards. We will need him. I should clarify, we should give him a massive workload but we all know he will start strong and get 2 carries after the first quarter ends.  I found this stat surprising, but no one allows more yards through the air than Calgary. So they can be passed on. Last time Fine got meaningful action he threw exclusively to McInnis, Jones and Harty (bold choices). Hopefully with the benefit of a week of practicing as the starter his priorities re-align. McInnis and Harty won’t play so maybe that forces the issue. You want to look good as a QB? Throw to Baker. He’ll make you look better than you should. Kyran Moore is another guy I’d lean on. I’d say Shaq too but he’s been struggling. He’s also quite clearly a Cody guy so who knows how this will go for him. At a minimum if I can see Fine looked poised and move well in the pocket that’s something. Our offense is useless so the bar is set pretty low for Mr. Fine. Pretty much anything positive is just a bonus at this point.

We aren’t winning. This is a meaningful game against a good team. The only positive that will come out of this is that the playoffs (which have realistically been a pipe dream for many weeks now) will officially be unattainable. Then we can stop pretending and focus on starting to make moves to improve this team for next year.

Stamps by a lot.  

By the way, if you are wondering if this Saturday will the final time the Riders disappoint this season, don’t forget that they still haven’t announced the halftime show. Plenty more opportunities to disappoint are yet to come.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Fall Guy

Here is the situation facing the Riders: they are screwed. Just more of the high quality analysis you’ve come to expect from me.

Since people are still talking about playoff scenarios for some reason, I guess I’ll start there. Seems like a waste of time to me but I’m nothing if not topical. There are 3 scenarios for how this plays out, all based on how the Hamilton/Ottawa back to backs set goes.

Scenario 1 – Hamilton wins both.

Impossible to make the playoffs.

Scenario 2 – Hamilton and Ottawa split the games

Riders need to beat Calgary twice to make the playoffs. A.k.a impossible.

Scenario 3 – Ottawa wins both

Riders need to beat Calgary once. A.k.a next to impossible.

You may think I’m being a tad pessimistic but we have exactly one win in the past 2 months and we only got it because a team was forced into playing a combination of O’Connor and Pipkin. Amongst our 6 wins, the only one that is remotely legitimate is beating the Als. Otherwise we have only beat a bunch of non-playoff teams and BC’s back-ups. The team has been on steady decline since July. You don’t really think that suddenly now playing a team with a winning record that is chasing a home playoff game is the time we pull out of that tailspin? My honest hope is that Hamilton wins this coming week and we lose so that all doubt is removed and we can give Mason Fine and a couple back-ups the start in the final game. That is the best case scenario at this point.

That of course then gets to the question of how deep the knife will cut when the offseason officially hits and we need to look at changes? The answer to that question is deeply rooted in the concept of the “fall guy”. As Chris Carter will tell you, everyone needs a fall guy. And particularly in sports, people's ability to maintain employment when things don’t go well lies in whether they can pin the shortcomings on a fall guy or have to wear it themselves. So let’s take a look at what that might mean for the Riders.

Craig Reynolds – When things go bad in Riderville you can count on people calling for everyone to be fired from the hotdog vendor to the President. For a couple reasons, I don’t see Reynolds going anywhere. For one, his primary job is to make sure the Riders make money and they are. Other than hiring a GM, he has nothing to do with the on-field product. He also has many fall guys at his disposal. Odds are he survives.

Jeremy O’Day – Really mixed evaluation of O’Day’s 3 seasons as GM. On one hand he has brought in a lot of talent. Robertson, Lanier, Sankey, Moncrief, Dean, Milligan, J Clark, Baker, Morrow, Hickson, etc… On the other hand despite the fact that his pre-football ops career was entirely devoted to high level O-line play, he has failed to piece together a competent line for 2 seasons in a row. Now he has fall guys at his disposal. I also believe that a GM gets at least one chance to hire a head coach before becoming the fall guy. You could argue he hired Dickenson but based on the timing of Jones’ departure he was really the only viable option. Odds are good O’Day uses a coach as his fall guy and survives to hire a new one based on a full search.  

Craig Dickenson – The shine is really coming off of his coaching record. His first season was great. His second season was really good. Coming into the season it seemed far fetched to think his job was in jeopardy. But the larger trend emerging is that the team has gotten worse in each season under his guidance. I really like Dickenson but he’s giving off real Danny Barret vibes: great guy, pretty good coach, but pretty good won’t get you to the Cup. Dickenson has only one fall guy at his disposal, Maas. His issue is that unlike O’Day, Maas is second OC and he already made McAdoo a fall guy. You usually don’t get too many chances to make a fall guy in the same role. Odds are good that Dickenson is the fall guy for the Riders in 2022.

Jason Maas – He has no fall guy, which is a not a great place to be. In consecutive season he has led the Riders offense to (checks notes) 7th best offense in the league. If he can somehow spin that into a contract extension he will become the second best negotiator in the world (second only to the guy that keeps getting Kirk Cousins massive extensions). 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Sinking Ship

Riders 14 – Ti-Cats 18

On September 19th, following an embarrassing loss to the Elks I declared the season over and that “the remaining 2 months will be nothing more than going through the motions”. I stand by those words and they may end up being the most accurate thing I write all season. And don’t even try and explain the math on how they are not technically eliminated yet. It's over. We need more wins in 2 games against Calgary than Hamilton gets in 3 games two of which are against Ottawa. We certainly aren’t winning again… do we really think Hamilton fails to be Ottawa even once?

Watching Friday’s game you would not have known that the Riders were fighting for their playoff lives. It was the same old Riders, with the same old problems that have plagued them all season. It was also a game painful to watch because the quality of football was exactly what you would expect between 2 teams trying really hard not to make the playoffs but benefiting from a system where at least one will.

I will say this… the defense at least showed signs of life. After a few really rough outings I thought they stepped up. They forced turnovers, they got a sack, they didn’t take penalties, they held their opponents under 20 points. That should be enough for a win on a marginally competent football team. They couldn’t tackle or stop the run at all. In fact, I’m not sure why Hamilton even bothered throwing. Dane Evans was completing less then 50% of his passes and had 2 INTs (one where he basically just gave the ball to Robertson). Wes Hills was averaging over 5 yards a carry. Hamilton should not have been passing. Admittedly our defense's best game in awhile came against a really bad QB and offense in general but at least they showed up and tried.

Offense was their usual utter embarrassment. O’Day and Dickenson have ben quick to point out how injuries have impacted the play of our OL and the continuity. Well Friday we had all out “best” OL: Clark, Johnson, Ferland, Vaughn. No injury excuse and what happened? They allowed a sack on average every 6 plays. We might as well have just placed 5 helmets on the ground and not had actual linemen. The helmets might have at least slowed down 1 or 2 defenders. Reminder that we actually pay someone to coach this OL and we obviously think he has been doing a good enough job to remain employed. It’s might be the second cushiest job in Canada next to senator. Compound awful OL play with Cody’s happy feet and general not being good this year. Compound that with the usually dose of questionable play calling. Compound that with receivers being mentally checked out and dropping the easiest of completions (looking at you Shaq). This offense has no fire power, no consistency, not an ounce of confidence they can actually produce. Here’s some quality logic from the Riders offense: despite being responsible for a third of our yards and half our points, we targeted Baker on less than 20% of our attempts. Why feed the ball to the one guy on the field who seems to make good things happen?

Yet again we did absolutely nothing in the second half. It was the 8th time this season we failed to score even a FG in the 4th quarter and the 6th time we failed to score a TD in the second half. Its pretty obvious that Jason Maas does not bother with halftime adjustments. Fun fact for you: if the games were only 30 minutes long, the Riders’ record would be 8-6-2. But when we are forced to play that pesky second half and our offense doesn’t feel the need to contribute it makes winning pretty hard.

This team sucks. There is no way to sugar coat it. We have talented players but as a team we are brutal. Any joy or fun that came with watching this team has been sucked out of it. The only thing we currently have to look forward to is getting really drunk in November and watching actual football be played by actual teams (well one actual team and the East representative). Mercifully we only have 2 more games to endure. Then we can get on to finding out just how committed the team is to learning from the mistakes made this season and implementing the changes needed to improve.

Other random thoughts:

-        That holding/grounding play in our endzone was such a trainwreck that it perfectly encompasses our offense this season. It also should have definitely been a safety.

-        The sheer chaos on that punt that hit Vedvik was something to behold. For Simpsons fans that is aptly labelled Pulling a Homer (to succeed despite idiocy). First of all Vedvik should have never punted high and straight into a wind. Second, how have you been in the CFL this long and not know that the punter can recover a ball? Someone get Jamie Boreham to give him some life lessons.

-        Also, when its an overly complex and obscure call, why is always Proulx? He’s a very good ref but his insistence on the most detailed explanation possible just further people’s incorrect views on his competence.  

-        Blace Brown is a frustrating player to watch. He makes some amazing plays (perfectly blocked kick, couple great coverages) and then blows some very simple coverages.

-        I like incorporating the FBs into our offense. We dress 3 and they clearly aren’t helping our blocking so might as well make sue of them somehow.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Riders vs. Ticats: Desperation Bowl

 Apologize in advance as I only have time for very abbreviated sentimonies instead of my usual game preview. Please feel free to take 50% of your annual membership fee to compensate.

June seems like such a long time ago. We opened the 2022 season with a thorough drubbing of the Ti-Cats. We seemed to be taking the first step towards a solid season. I will spare you the torture of rehashing the 14 games that followed but... yeah its not been great.

I call the the desperation bowl because there is one playoff spot left and while mathematically nothing can be decided in the game, realistically the winner of this will most likely get the final playoff spot. A sad fight over table scraps for 2 teams that were supposed to be fighting for top spot in their respective division. 

Here's where I get brief. Objectively I think the Riders are a better team and should win this game. BUT... having watched this team's decline over the past 2 months, I honestly get the feeling they will find a way to lose this. Nothing about this team instills confidence. Our best chance for victory is Dane Evans playing like Dane Evans (i.e. handing our turnovers like he runs a free bakery), which is possible. 

Our offense scores so few points they would have fir seamlessly into last night's Thursday nighter. Even if they defense suddenly remembers how not to suck (and as a side note, relying on Blace Brown to spark your defensive play is pretty far down the list of things that instill confidence).

I will be cheering for them, ready to have my heart broken again but I don't see a win coming.

(You are welcome in advance if the Riders get a spite win).

Monday, October 3, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: We’re Not Very Good

Riders 13 – Bombers 31

If you were surprised by Friday’s outcome, I don’t know what to tell you. Nothing that we have seen from this team over the past 2 months has shown anything but a team on the decline. Between injuries and illnesses we have certainly had our share of legitimate excuses. But here’s the thing… Moore and Evans came back from injury, we didn’t get better. Clark and Ferland came back from injury, we didn’t get better. We got to play Winnipeg without the fear of pooping our pants, we didn’t get better. In fact, we seem to be getting worse.

The defense was once the force that powered this team. Now it appears they are worn out from the strain of carrying the rest of the team all season because they are declining. No big plays when we needed them. No sacks, no turnovers, poor tackling, consistently allowing over 25 points a game. The telling sign for me was when somehow our defensive scheme called for Larry Dean to cover Nik Demski (the Nik Demski who has been single-handedly killing us this year, the Nik Demksi I specially warned that we need to limit) deep downfield. That’s bad defensive scheming. And it’s a sign to me that even the one area that does not suck is starting to give up. Through 3 quarters the D did a good job overall but good is not enough for a unit that used to be dominant. Edem looks to have lost a step (or is more banged up than he is letting on). AC Leonard is sure not making a lot of plays for what we are paying him.

Offense produced one solitary TD and 13 points overall. Unless our application to transfer to the east division is approved, that kind of production just won’t cut it. I have been (and continue to be) a Fajardo fan but he’s terrible this year. I still think he can be a good QB but it won’t be here and it won’t be with this OC. Fajardo was awful. Bobbled a snap. Threw more than one pass to an open receiver into the dirt. Feet moving like he’s auditioning for Riverdance. Seriously, get that man some ankle weights to try and counteract his happy feet. Its not like we are putting him in a position to be successful though. The interception will go on Fajardo but it was Tevin Jones’ fault. Do I believe he could have lost the ball in the lights? Sure (and it was a dumb second and 5 play anyway). But even kids are taught by their coaches to play to the whistle. Despite no whistle, Jones gave up and was gingerly strolling back to the huddle while the play was still going on. That is not someone with his head in the game. 

Some competent play calling would help… but we all know that ain’t happening here. In my pre-game write up I stated “I type this Maas is planning an offense based on deep shots”. Sure enough we are out there chucking it deep despite it definitely not being something we are good at and facing the bend but don’t break Hall D. Why? That 3rd down run to LaFrance that got stuffed was the definition of overthinking things. We needed a damn yard, fall forward. Pretty basic play. Yet instead we run some complicated thing were lineman are pulling.  Not only did it not fool anyone (because it was pretty obvious where it was going) it resulted in defenders coming through a huge unblocked hole to stuff the run. And of course with Maas in charge you know we were settling for that FG in the 4th. Ask any person who has even loosely followed the CFL this season what the odds of the Riders’ O getting back into the redzone. We needed a major there, wussed out and 2 plays later the game was over. Every single aspect of the O is a mess.

At this point I’m honestly torn. Obviously I want us to win a game and get into the playoffs. We might even win the East-semi before getting annihilated in the east final (heavy emphasis on might). But I’m honestly torn between wanting that and wanting to us to flame out completely and miss the playoffs as that may force the team to make the changes needed rather than foolishly thinking they are “close” with this group.


Other random thoughts:

-        At least Alford provides brief moments of joy

-        Demski was definitely offside on that one TD

-        I would like to request Nick Marshall resume short yardage duties

-        Dickenson should have been kicked in the crotch for that late challenge. I know he was right but why on earth would you want to drag that crappy game out any longer?

-        If the Riders wants to make big bucks this Grey Cup week, it would hold an official “Airing of the Grievances” event for the fans. Just let me get drunk and yell at O’Day for an hour. I would pay very good money.