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.


Anonymous said...

The Marshall idea on QB sneaks is a great idea.
I thought the offence played pretty well. Tuck was an interesting weapon and Lenius and Cody were both decent.
This experiment of overpaying for Moncrief & Sankey has been a big mistake. The secondary is so weak as well

pantsonfire said...

Said Lois Lane to Superman.
Please help the Riders, I'm a fan.
I've better chance with kryptonite
Than saving Riders from their plight.

2-8, worst in league last 10 games but beat Hamilton & they're ikely in. Sadly, that won't solve their problems. Full review needed in off season. And big changes.

Ethan said...

Good read. I'm ambivalent on Fajardo. The Rider issues run much deeper than that but we have a complex issue with Cody. In 2 parts, my take.

The Jason Maas/Cody Fajardo Tag Team

Maas had a reputation as a QB "whisperer" long before he came to Regina. But as an OC he had Burris in Ottawa, Reilly in Edmonton & then Harris. All of these QB's were established veterans, not young developing QB's. He did have Franklin for 1 year. Yet Franklin only started the last game when Reilly was rested. Because Maas believes in his starter handling even 3rd & short situations, Franklin really didn't touch the ball much. (And what's the rationale behind a QB with a bad knee/leg getting piled up on short yardage).

McAdoo got a Western MOP nominee out of Fajardo his 1st year as a starter. It is debatable whether Fajardo has progressed or regressed under Maas. The point is moot. Maas is likely moving on next season.

The Cody Fajardo Conundrum

At this point is Fajardo better than the presumed starters for any of the West clubs next year? I'd rank him behind Collaros, Rourke & Maier. Cornelius is hard to get a handle on. He started his 18th game @ home vs the Als in week 17. An interesting stat is that he has over 4,000 yds passing in those 18 games, which would have ranked 2nd behind Fajardo the last time the CFL played a full schedule. His upside is unknown but the Elks for the next 2 years have, with Tre Ford, arguably the 2 fastest QB's in the league & the biggest arms. (Cornelius ran a 4.7 40 yard @ his NFL combine).

With only Collaros & Adams not under contract in the West & Collaros unlikely to go to Regina, is there a better option with the Eastern starters or Adams? I'm not convinced. The likeliest outcome is signing Fajardo for another year @ a CAP friendly salary. That is assuming Fajardo wants to go back to being the whipping boy in Regina.

Dan said...

Nice finger on the pulse of the nation with this post Prophet. The mood of this exactly reflects the feeling out there. Blahhh! Bleck! Other similar words!

Rider Prophet said...

Anon 1 - Offense has good plays here and there but they don't produce enough points and don't move the ball with any shred of consistency. Disagree on Sankey and Moncrief. Both are hugely important players. We rely a bit too much Moncrief in coverage but hes a good player.

Pants - poetry always makes it seem sadder

Ethan - Its a fair point about "if not Cody, then who?". Not an easy answer and assuming we get a new OC, there is a case for giving Cody one more chance for lack of better options.

Dan - Blahh is it. I haven't felt this blah about the team in a long long time.