Monday, September 18, 2023

Monday Morning Sentimonies: EE is for Embarrassing Effort

Riders 36 -27

So much for that whole “we play better at home” narrative. Despite leading for the majority of the game the Riders found a way to lose to the visiting Elks. Actually “found a way to lose” is far nicer a way of putting it than they deserve. Edmonton imposed their will on us and we didn’t look interested in fighting back.

Its time we had a conversation about our defense. They were the reason we lost that game. Offense had its issues but 27 points should be enough to win. We got massacred on the ground. We apparently did not bother game planning for Kevin Brown. By himself he put up 175 yards on the ground. 9.2 yards per carry. We could not stop him and didn’t really seem inclined to try. What were our linebackers doing? You know other than taking some terrible angles on tackles. I know the secondary is testing its depth with Williams, Dalke and Milligan out. Its pretty clear Washington is practice roster/injury fill in guy. But still they weren’t great. The TD to Lewis was purely because Marshall got lazy and quit covering their best receiver… in the redzone. 

I have been a huge fan of Jason Shivers since day 1 but I think it’s time we start asking some questions. Friday marked the 6th time this year and 3rd time in the last 4 games that we allowed over 30 points. No team has allowed more points than the 389 we have. Edmonton is a distant second at 365, but they have played one more game than us. The defense is not working anymore. They carried us through the early part of the season but have quickly devolved into bringing us down. 

As mentioned, offense wasn’t perfect, but I though did enough. Dolegala delivered 3 TD drives and his only turnover was more just an unfortunate error by his receiver than a QB issue. Here’s the thing I noticed (and I’m also assuming defensive coordinators will easily pick up on). Jake has very obvious tendencies. He LOVES passes to the outside. They made up the overwhelming majority of his passes. We were screaming from the stands for him to look inside. The few times he did, he found Bane for TDs. He needs to work though that before it becomes an issue opposing defense exploit. I do like that we were able to get the run game going. The issue with the offense was that they only put in 3 quarters of work. With the game on the line in the 4th this is what the O manage: 2 and out (8 yard drive), 2 and out (4 yard drive), safety, desperation garbage time drive ending in a failed hail mary. Not only did the O fail to produce points, they allowed point. 

This is not a one time thing. In the last 4 games, we have been outscored 48-8 in the 4th quarter. We just pack it in after 45 minutes and display no killer instinct or ability to close out a game. When it becomes an ongoing pattern like that, its on the coaches. Our ability to close out games may be the perfect metaphor for Craig Dickenson’s tenure as head coach. Strong start but by the 4th, just limping towards inevitable failure. 

I don’t think the season is lost. Odds are we sneak into the playoffs still (though its definitely not  a sure thing). But the more I watch Dickenson coach the more I see Danny Barrett. Nice guy. At his best we can beat any team in the league. At his worst we can lose to any team. You never know which team is going to show up week to week. If Dickenson wants to extend his stay here in Saskatchewan he needs one hell of a finish to this season. 

Other random thoughts:

-        I am convinced there was blatant holding on the Kevin Brown TD

-        On the second deck the draft beer taps weren’t working so they had cans… unbelievable how much faster the lines moved. Order a beer, here’s your beer. No need to wait 5 minutes for someone to slowly pour it. Take note.

-        Personally I though Tesher was awful but my kid loved it and I’d rather endure some crappy halftime shows than have the league not try to engage younger fans.

-        Attendance was supposedly 25,000 (the lowest ever at new Mosaic for a regular season game). There were not 25,000 people there. Expect even less next home game.

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