Well it takes something or someone pretty special to move the the story of whether the starting QB can play or not to the 2nd page, eclipse more anti-Bomber talk , sweep last week's special teams failures aside, and basically push everything else nto the background. Well that tells you how special Weston Dressler is. It's not like the Riders needed a lift with a 5 game win streak going, but if there was a spot on the team needing a lift it was the passing game. We get it just in time for the annual Labour Day game which for the first time since 2005 is an important divisional game. These next two games are huge. A win on Labour Day gives the Riders the season series. A loss and they are staring at a season series loss without coming up with another win in Winnipeg.
Probable starters: Riders - Durant, Bombers - Willy. Wow Willy took being Durant's understudy really seriously, but someone should tell him he can stop immitating Darian now. I mean banging your finger on a helmet to suffer the same type of injury? That's going too far. Sounds like both QBs will play. Darian's first half against BC was similar to his first game against B.C. in that he moved the ball but settled for FGs. Maybe the TDs will come now with Dressler back. Drew Willy still has good numbers, and once again, provided late game heroics for a come from behind win. Overall, his numbers have been trending downward in recent weeks. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Ford, Bombers - Grigsby. Grigsby is leading the league in yards but has a pretty ho-hum 4.6 average. I think him leading the league is as a result of injuries to others (Harris, Cornish), and the Riders early season play till you fumble program. Paris Cotton was impressive in pre-season but is maybe still not recovered from injury, because he hasnt done a thing so far. Last week's 1-2 punch was provided by Ford and Allen for the Riders. The first time against Winnipeg it was Messam. All three may play or you never know, it could be Allen who sits to make room for Dressler (doubt it). That's pretty crazy based on his performance last week. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders: T. Smith, Bagg, Dressler, Getzlaf, Swain, Bombers - Kelly, Kohler, Moore, Denmark, Watson. So yeah the Riders plan on having this guy play for the first time this year. You might have heard of him. As others have said this will help all the other receivers. Getzlaf will now see #2 coverage, Taj #3 etc. It's unreasonable to expect that right away though. It's going to take Weston a week or two to find his groove. The Bombers will throw a better group of receivers at us this time. Nick Moore and Cory Watson will both be in the lineup. Dresssler can swing this matchup back in the Riders favour, but not yet. Edge Bombers.
Probable starters: Riders: T - Fulton, Heenan, G - LaBatte, Clark, C - Picard, Bombers: T - January, Howard, G - Greaves, Jones, C - Morley. I feel a little nervous when I hear that Chris Best is out. It was around this time last year that Best got put on the (then) 9 game list and seemed to start the month line offensive struggle. That being said, Dan Clark played well filling in for Picard at centre so hopefully he does the job again. No there are no plays where you can run a guard eligible passing play. The Bomber line has a few injuries. You don't see this often but they have 3 imports on the line, with Neufeld out. Edge Riders
Probabe starters: Riders - DE - Chick, Foley, DT - George, Walker, Bombers - DE - Peach, Fraser, DT - Turner, Thomas. He may not have had a sack last week but John Chick was still a big factor with a few hits on Glenn and a huge tackle for loss on Harris. With all the succes Chick is having, the other three guys are going unrecognized. Walker and George are playing well in the middle. Big surprised with Fraser keeping his job even though Jason Vega is healthy. That can either be a good sign for Fraser or say that Vega is under performing. Probably depends on which fan base you ask. Anderson is wisely keeping his mouth shut about the Rider o-line this time. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - MLB - Kilgore, OLB - Harris, Peters, Bombers - MLB - Wild, OLB - Dunn, Sherman. I can't get a read on how good Kilgore was in his first game. The Riders completely shut down the Lions run game but he only had a handful of tackles so did he help clog things up or was it the tackles? I expect him to get better and more prominent with more game action. I didn't see any big mistakes from him. Macho Harris is playing well in Browns's spot. Did I jinx Weldon by getting his jersey?? Ian Wild is quietly having a good year. I thought Johnny Sears was back for the Bombers but guess not. Dunn is still starting in his spot. I am hearing some grumbling from Bomber fans about Kuale being back in for Kromah. Until Kilgore proves himself I'll stlll give the Bombers the edge here but the gap has closed from the last game. Edge Bombers
Probable starters Riders - CB - Williams, Jackson, HB - Maze, Turenne, C - Brackenridge, Bombers - CB - Randle, Bucknor, HB - Washington, Johnson, S - Leggett. No concerns about the Rider secondary after last game. In fact, you have to go back to the last Bomber game to find evidence of this secondary getting beat for significant plays. Teams are trying to go after Tristan Jackson on the wide side but he's holding it down. Chris Randle has made the trade from Calgary worthwhile. Leggett has played well at safety, but he's no T-Brack. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Jackson, R. Smith, Bombers - Stoudermire, Cotton. Had the Riders lost last week, it would have been the result of our shoddy coverage. Things don't get easier with most likely a motivated Stoudamire returning kicks for the Bombers. No season is perfect and picking Marshay Green over Stoudermire is looking like one of this year's mistakes. If Tristan Jackson is still dinged up, Ryan Smith may continue to return punts. Stoudermire coming back and wanting to prove himself, and what we say in BC last week, scares me. Edge Bombers
Probable starters: Riders - Milo, Bombers - Hajrullahu. Hopefully a 4-4 preformance gets Milo going. I thought that would happen afer the Ottawa game though! Another game or two of this and I will be convinced. Hajrullahu has been a pleasent surprise this year. Edge Bombers
Probable starters: Riders - Bartel, Bombers - Hajrullahu. Bartell has the better average of the two. Even after last week's disaster knocked Bartel's net average down, Hajrillahu is no better. Edge Riders
When the Riders have the ball
There's going to be a buzz in the air when the offense takes the field as people wonder if we will go to Dressler immediately to get that first pass. Or are we going to intentionally use him as a decoy early and catch the Bombers expecting us to go to him? It's going to be a cat and mouse game. I hope the Riders don't get caught in the Dressler moment and forget who they are. This team has had the bulk of its offensive success on the ground this year, and really gouged the Bomber D along the ground. I think Cortez is too smart to forget that, and we will see the Riders establish the run early. We might also be able to catch the Bomber linebackers cheating towards the line of scrimage and beat them in play action. Normally I would say look for the opposition to game plan against our run. But this is Etch we are talking about. Other than giving us different looks to confuse us, I don't think he will incorporate anything different to stop the run.
Is Chamblin playing possum when he says that that Dressler looks like a newcomer, and it will take time. Maybe Chris Getzlaf let the cat out of the bag when he said Dressler had caught right up. I tend to think cautiously and think we won't see much from Dressler, so look for him to prove me wrong and have a monster day! We didn't get a lot going in the passing game last time in Winnipeg. I don't think their secondary is so good that they can blanket our receivers. We just need to give Darian time to find them. The big issue last time was the holding and 13 man in the huddle penalties. I think at least 6 drives were stalled by putting us 1st and 20. With Dressler back, I am interested in seeing if Getzlaf, Taj, etc are going to find more room. If we can give Darian and our running backs the necessary blocking, our offense can get things done. I said I trust Dan Clark but he is the key. As long as the Bombers aren't coming through easily on his side, the offense should be ok,
When the Bombers have the ball
Drew Willy had a good news / bad news day in his first game agaisnt his old team. The good news was 300 yards passing and 2 TDs. The bad news was 3 picks, including one for the game winner and a fumble. When you hold a team to 17 points, I don't care what the yardage numbers are, I say that's a win for the defense. Willy has shown great composure so far, but this will be a different animal for him tomorrow in front of a Labour Day crowd. Yes he's seen it from the sidelines and even had a lot of work in 2012 when Darian got hurt. But calling signals behing centre in that news will be challenging. I am not too concerned about the Bomber running game. Grigsby might be leading the league but as a team they are only averaging 4.2 yards a carry. The Riders have moved their ave per carry against up to 5.1 which is tied for 3rd, and absolutely shut down the Lions last week. The Als had some success two weeks ago with 2 backs. Maybe the Bombers will try and copy that with Grigsby and Cotton. Having seen that kind of attack before, I would think the Riders can handle it better.
The Bomber passing game against the Rider secondary will be a case of strength agaisnt strength. The Bombers have a deep receiving corps much like what we saw against the Lions last week. The Bombers did not have Nick Moore or Cory Watson (I think) last time so it will be a tougher challenge for the Riders. Last week I thought the Lions would try and pick on Turenne. If they did, they had little success. He's still the guy you'd go after in the Rider D so look for that from the Bomber slotbacks. The two things that hurt the Riders last time were illegal contact penalties and not tracking the ball in the air. Both those deep completions to Kohlert should not have happened. The Riders need to play the ball better cause Willy does like to throw the ball up and have his guys make plays, and guys like Kelly and Watson are big enough to do that.
The Bombers may attempt a lot more screens and short routes in order to neutralize the Rider pass rush. As usual Chick will see the usual mix of double teams and tight end looks.
The Bombers are a good club, and I don't anticipate a route like some previous Labour Days we have seen. However, I do think the Riders are the better team and should win at home. Especailly with the Labour Day crowd and the energy from Dressler's return. The three things that can lead to a Bomber win are giving up big plays on O, turnovers, or big returns like last week. Do not allow at least 2 of those 3, and we should see a win.
My score: Roughriders 27 Blue Bombers 18
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