This time of year is always bitter sweet for me. Obviously I’m pumped for the return of CFL football but the downside is that actual games means I need to double my blogging effort. As a notoriously lazy Prophet its quite the conundrum.
As excited as I’m sure we all are for football (at least until the 2nd quarter when you stop recognizing the names) let me remind you that the Riders suck at preseason. Like, really suck. I’m not sure if it’s a record yet (honestly too lazy to look) but their preseason futility has to be approaching historic levels. We last won a preseason game on June 14, 2014. That is not typo. 2014. We won our first preseason game that year and since then have a record of 0-14-1. Yes, you may recall that in 2017 we managed to tie in the preseason… which is almost seems worse than losing. Now it really doesn’t matter since preseason wins have the same value as my person cryptocurrency Prophetdollaz but its still a notable streak of futility that would be impressive if it wasn’t so depressing.
As for what I’m watching for in the game…
1 – QBs
Trevor Harris is off tending to family affairs so the 3 guys vying for back-up will have full chance to shine. One will earn the back-up spot, one will hold a clipboard and one get to exchange his playbook for a plane ticket. It sounds like no one has really separated themselves from the pack yet. Whoever is able to step up when the lights are one will take a big step forward. The cynic in me says that Dolegala is the one to beat. Mainly because he doesn’t likely get the “boys will be boys” treatment on his DUI if the team didn’t plan on keeping him. (I can't be the only one thinking that).
2 – RBs and LBs
Practice can only tell you so much about these 2 positions. We need to see who can actually play when the hitting his for real. Hawkins, Emmonds or Smtih would have to do something pretty spectacular to put either Morrow or Hickson at risk, but you never know.
I’m honestly not worried about our starters at LB (other than making sure Teitz is back to his old self) but depth behind Teitz-Dean-Moncrief is concerning. I will really be watching Kolby Harvell-Peel. I think he’s a guy who makes this team in a back-up role.
3 – O-line
Obviously pretty much every eye in Rider Nation will be glued to the OL. If they perform well, that’s a good starting point. But you can’t read too much into preseason success when the playbooks are vanilla and the opponents are likely not starters. But if they struggle against the future bench-riders/unemployed then there is reason for real/continued concern. Just look mildly competent at one of the tackles… is that too much to ask? I will be interested to see the groupings. Assuming Philip Blake ends up playing guard, one of Ferland or Johnson are out of a starting role. Based on the last 2 seasons, unless he sees a big improvement, it should be Johnson who is in jeopardy.
4 – Who plays themselves on/off the roster
There will be a couple players who make some eye catching plays and increase their odds of sticking around. Usually they aren’t the players with preseason hype. There will also be a couple who make plays that catch eyes for the wrong reason and make the statement “Now for the easiest part of any coach's job. The cuts.” a reality. I expect a couple too many men due to substitution errors, many offsides on both sides and illegal formations galore.
Historically the home preseason game is when we play the Official Rider Prophet Preseason Drinking Game. Rising liquor prices have all but ended that but in the off chance the Riders actually come through with $5 menu that includes beer, I’m posting the rules for anyone who wants to partake. (I assume no responsibility for any personal, professional or medical issues that arise from your decision to participate in this activity).
1. Every dropped pass or fumble you drink
2. Every time the announcer screws up drink
3. Drink two if a flag bearer is out of formation during pre-game
4. Every time count, illegal formation, no yards, offside penalty you drink. Two if its on the Riders Four if its too many men.
5. Every TV Timeout you drink. (note: the game is not televised though I realize they have the timeouts anyway... but hey this is a drinking game after all)
6. If someone calls for a fair catch you shot-gun a beer
7. If a player who is not dressed gets credit for a stat or penalty you drink.
8. If a cheerleader falls you drink
9. If a fullback scores a TD, pound 2 drinks (This is the Jordan Sisco memorial rule)