So, anything big happen this week that is drawing more attention than the game itself? When you look back vs what other teams have gone through, the Riders have been fairly lucky regarding major injuries to the starting QBs. We probably haven't seen something this major since Nealon's broken leg 10 years ago. It's time to get behind Tino Sunseri and hope he can get the job done. Based on the availability of veteran QBs who might be available, I would just as soon trust in Tino. We knew going into this season, this could happen. So Tino Sunseri goes into Hamilton on the road for his first start, much like Darian's and Kent Austin's careers.
Probable starters: Riders - Sunseri, Tiger-Cats - Collaros. It's Tino time. As with any young QBs we are going to see some mistakes like taking more sacks by holding the ball too long or turnovers. If he keeps the latter to a minimum, with the running game and D this team should still be ok. When Sunseri throws on Sunday, watch to see if he throws from his elbow like I suspect. This would speed up his release. He will not have the scrambling ability of Darian, or Collaros for that matter. Collaros was pulled off the 6 game list a bit early for Hamilton when Lefevour got hurt. He filled in well for Ricky Ray in Toronto which is how he landed the Hamilton job. He's shown in the past to be a good decision maker and has the ability to scramble whne things break down. Edge Tiger-Cats
Probable starters: Riders - Allen, Messam, Ford, Tiger-Cats - Madu. I am just guessing, but based on his POW award and performance in Winnipeg, Anthony Allen may have earned the stasrt. No matter who starts, all our running backs continue to be effective. Messam is showing some ability to catch the ball that I did not expect. CJ Gable is out for Hamilton meaning their starter is probably Moses Madu. I recall him getting into the game in Regina and thinking based on the rain and flooding that day, Moses was an appropriate name for that game. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - T. Smith, Bagg, Dressler, Getzlaf, Swain, Tiger-Cats - Tasker, Gigeure, Fantuz, Ellingson, Grant. It's good to have Getzlaf back. Hopefully he is operating at full speed. Hard to say if Schilens will dress for this one or not, even if he is on the 46. If he doesn't, Pierzchalski will be our only extra receiver. It's hard to give much of an opinion on our receivers from last week when we used the passing game so little. I guess they did a good job of blocking. Unlike week 1, this is a healthy group of Hamitlon receivers. They are a good group, with the one thing missing being that top end speed guy who can run by you. Recently acquired Sinkfield would have to supply that. Even
Probable starters: Riders - T - Fulton, Heenan, LaBatte, Clark, C - Picard, Tiger-Cats - T - Olson, Figeuroa, G - O'Neill, Simmons, C - Filer. The Rider line continues to chug along opening big holes on the ground for our backs and doing a decent job of pass protection as well. I thought Dan Clark didn't have as good a game as he did on Labour Day. I wonder if he was having trouble hearing the signals. Hamilton has a few changes from the last time we saw them. Different centre, O'Neill moves to guard, and Simmons also moves inside. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - DE - Chick, Foley, DT - George, Walker, TIger-Cats - DE - Norwood, Scott, DT - Laurent, Bulcke. There's nothing much to say about the Rider line as they continue their strong play. The only newsworth item this week is that Trevor Guyton, who I thought was playing well as he subbed in is being replaced by Markus White. If the coaches like him enough to see him over Guyton, he must have something. Brandon Boudreaux has played well against us in the past so I won't miss him not being on the end for the Cats. Even though he is not listed as a starter, Lyndon Gadosh should be in the lineup for Hamilton. This kid's huge and makes Hamitlon's front a lot better. I like the Rider line better, but the gap is closing. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - MLB - Kilgore, OLB - Brown, Peters, Tiger-Cats- MLB - Reed, OLB - Lawrence, Harris. Same group for Riders that started last week. We haven't been able to say that at linebacker for a while I don't think Kilgore has struggled as much as a lot of fans seem to think from what I am reading. Granted he hasn't made a lot of impact plays either, but I saw him make some plays last week. The Cats have changed up their linebackers a bit. Simoni Lawrence is still there at OLB, but Reed at MLB is new to us. Harris was out the last time we played the Cats. They will use Canadian Frederic Plesius too. Even
Probable starters: Riders - CB - Williams, Jackson, HB - Maze, Harris, S - Brackenridge, Tiger-Cats - CB - Breaux, Stephen, HB - Murray, Stewart, S - Butler. No changes in our secondary this week either. We saw more passing yards against that we have been used to in recent weeks, but in a lot of cases, the coverage was right there, and the Bomber receivers made some good contested catches. When the game was on the line, Wiliams made the play with a pick. Rico Murray has move to the secondary from linebaker where we saw him in hte first game. He's a good cover guy. We are all quite familiar with Butler. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Jackson, Dressler, Tiger-Cats - Sinkfield. Interesting that even though Green is back on the roster as an extra defensive back, he is not returning kicks. With either Tristan Jackson or Weston Dressler, the Riders suddenly have an explosive return game. Recent pickup (from the Argos) Terrell Sinkfield handles the returns for Hamilton. He didn't do a lot of returning in Toronto. Edge Riders
Probable starters: Riders - Milo, Tiger-Cats - Medlock. Milo continues to have his ups and downs this year, missing from under 40 in the first quarter. 73% is way too low. Medlock in contrast is at 87%. Edge Tiger-cats
Probable starters: Riders - Milo, Tiger-Cats - Medlock. There was nothing wrong with Milo's punting last week. That was a pleasent surprise. Not only did he kick for over a 46 yard average, he placed them well so we ended our dubious streak of giving up return TDs. Looking at Winnipeg's return average in that game of 7, that's almost a 40 yard net. If he keeps that up, should we have him do all the jobs? I know Chamblin does not believe in one guy t odo it all. Medlock's only averaging 42.5, but Milo has only done it for one game. Edge Tiger-Cats
When the Riders have the ball
Well this becomes the biggest wildcard in this game. How will the Rider offense and TIno Sunseri play? I don't think the base of the game plan changes. We will try and run the ball effectively and protect the football. That has been the game plan with Durant at QB, so if anything you would think it gets more conservative with Sunseri. Not so fast thought. Remember in Sunseri's first action Cortez was not afraid to call pass plays for him. I know the calls were more conservative last week, but in that game we had a big lead while in BC we needed points. I am fairly certian that I heard Cortez say he doesn't shrink the playbook for Sunseri. The only difference I see is that he is going to call plays that Tino might be more comfortable with.
If the Cats decide to give Gaydosh a lot of work, that's is going to be a formidable middle with two 300+ tackles. The interior of our line is going to have a big challenge with the Hamilton interior. We have seen the Riders will run outside more than in recent years. We might see some of that to try and get the big guys moving side to side. Teams probably game plan to make stopping the Rider run a priority under normal circumstances these days. With Durant out and an inexperienced QB in, I expect that even more tomorrow.
With Hamilton more than likely geared up to stop the run, look for Cortez to make use of the play action game. Based on his limited reps, it seems to me that Sunseri does the play action fake well and really sells it. We might be able to make use of that tomorrow. Messam has made some big plays in the passing game in recent weeks. In a two back set, faking it to Allen / Ford and then hitting Messam in the flat might get him out in space. Good lluck to the defensive back if he gets up a load of steam in that scenario. Tino's first pass was a screen last week. Again he showed good patience to sell it. Being youg, Sunseri is a little more fearless too. Look for him to take a few more shots deep on pass plays. He's got the arm to get the gall there. If the lien gives him time to throw he could connect on those. He's going to have to read blitz and get the hot read out too, as I am sure in 2nd and long, the Cats will come after him.I think Rico Murray is the guy the Cats would like to get on Dressler. Courtey Stephen is a guy I think we can go after.
Once again ball security will be huge, We got away with a couple of turnovers in Winnipeg. We haven't seen that in recent weeks. Our running backs have to keep the ball secure. Tino has to be careful on his throws. We know that Craig Butler is a ball hawk and will be lucking from his safety spot. Murray is a ball hawk too. I am expecting our o-line to come out fired up tomorrow determined to protect our young QB.
When the Tiger-Cats have the ball
Is it even worth discussing the Hamilton running game? Barring a major change in philosophy from all year and most of last, the Cats just don't run the ball. They have the 2nd least attempts in the league ahead of only Ottawa, and that's including games where they had CJ Gable playing. Last week even though they had a big lead, Modu only had 9 carries. What you have to worry about with Hamilton running backs is the passing game, as they like to throw the ball to the backs. Peters and Kilgore will be busy tracking Modu out of the backfield. The only running i fear from the Cats, is Collaros taking off. In the last two weeks, Willy got a few big first downs by running. Our pass rush has to keep Collaros contained.
Hamilton has a deep group of receivers so this will be a challenge for our defense, but it plays into our strength with our pass coverage. When healthy Fantuz is the main guy in the middle for the Cats, How Maze, Harris, Brown handle him will be key. The negative on the Weldon Brown matchup is the size mismatch. A perfectly thrown ball means Brown has no chance. I like our guys' cover ability. There isn't a particular matchup that scares me. Hamitlon runs a lot of plays that gets the ball to guys like Tasker and Ellingson quick and let them run with the ball. Our tackling will have to be solid.
If our front four can get pressure on Collaros and we can drop our back 8 in coverage, we should be able to contain the Hamilton offense. One thing I noticed that Winnipeg do was between changing the snap count and having their centre swing out, they seemed to figure out how to stop Brackenridge from getting a free run into the backfield. Maybe we need to change that up? I did see one time T-brack facked the blitz and that got freed up Maze to get the sack. Normally a run and screen game will be used to slow down the front four, but I keep calling for Hamilton to do that against us, and they never do.
When I looked at the schedule, this game did concern me. It's the 2nd of two road games in a row, in Hamilton's new stadium it's another loud hostile environment, early start etc. And that was with Darian playing. Even if we have faith in Sunseri, there are going to be growing pains with him. Having him in ensures that the team won't look past this game so it won't be a trap game. Worst case scenario would be if we get off to a bad start and Hamilton goes up 10 or 14-0. If we get in a situation where Tino has to throw to bring us back, we could be in trouble. That's where interceptions could happen. If we are tied or ahead and can stick with our balanced attack we should be ok. Winning the turnover battle and establishing the run will be even more important than it has in recent weeks. If that happens, then in Tino we trust.
My score: Roughriders 24 Tiger-Cats 20
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