This is it, for the last time, we will see a Rider game at the old stadium. Thanks to all of you who shared memories of Taylor Field (for old times sake). Here are the links to those threads
Here we go!Apologies, specifically to he who accused me of being a fair weather fan for not posting a column every week, assuming last year’s debacle meant I was no longer a supporter of the CFL in general. That is simply not the case. Last week was spent in a classroom learning about how to do educational research and left me no time to write a column. Sorry. I still like the CFL, though, I promise.My class is over and I’m ready to rock and roll. I must insert a caveat before I get started on Edmonton vs. BC that I was kind of half reading a fascinating textbook about how to conduct educational research as I watched the game (imagine George Costanza’s “Risk Management” experience), but I think I have a pretty good handle on it. First off, let’s take a look at Steven Jyles. In four weeks, the man has passed for well under 800 yards. He has two more interceptions (3) than he has touchdowns (1). He has lit up opposing defenses for an astonishing 50 yards rushing. And yet his team is 3-1. Wait, what? These are Heath Rylance numbers. Heck, they’re Alex Brink numbers (though I would take Brink over Jyles right now in a straight up trade). Anyone taking the pressure off of disgraced former Roughrider GM Eric Tillman should give their head a shake. Jyles isn’t doing anything. He isn’t managing games. His defense is winning. At least with Buck for 8 minutes and then Brink/Elliot for the rest of the game last year in Winnipeg, their D was dominant but the quarterbacks at least looked like they understood the mechanics of football. Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing though. Edmonton fans have exactly as much faith in their 1st and 2nd sting quarterbacks: zero. The pair combined for about 200 yards passing last Friday though. That’s pretty good. Edmonton’s defense is pretty legit, though. I will give them full credit. Sure, they gave up about 450 yards, but they made big plays at the right time. They remind me a lot of the Rider defense (for the first 3.8 games, but I’ll speak to that later) in that they don’t force a lot of two-and-outs, but they don’t give up a lot of big plays, either. J.C. Sherritt gets a lot of love from Idiot Rod Black, and he earned the manlove. Joe Burnett showed great hands on two horrible Travis Lulay passes to end up with close to 150 interception return yards and a touchdown. None of the Eskimos receivers were close to either of those numbers. And by the way, Shamawd Chambers has played a decent game and a half. He made a circus catch because he dropped an easy pass. Tone down the love, TSN. I have to say I was not surprised, but still saddened by the inane “let’s see more out of Drew Willy” thread on riderfans.com on Friday. Darian has made one particularly poor decision in FOUR GAMES, and we should be looking at a guy who comes in only in situations when we don’t want to risk a potential injury to a much better player? Compare what reigning CFL MOP Travis Lulay has done this year so far to Darian Durant. Lulay has about 120 more passing yards, but the same amount of passing TD’s and four more interceptions. Lulay’s pick late on Friday was just as egregious as that thrown the night before by Durant. Better make the call for whoever it is that backs him up, right? Get serious.Next, what in the name of all that is holy was Khalif Mitchell thinking? First he almost makes Simeon Rottier the star of next year’s War Amps commercials. Then he says, “I just went to turn to the right and his arm was still caught on my chest, he was just holding me and I just turned around and his arm was there. It was a football play.” Sure it was, Khalif. And Ron Artest was just celebrating by flailing his arms wildly about and James Harden’s head happened to get in the way. Does Mitchell not realize these games are televised? Had he seen the replay when he made that comment, specifically when he looked back in disdain at Rottier as he writhed in pain? As a teacher, I hear a lot of terrible excuses, and not even my grade 12’s would be brazen enough to have tried this excuse.I don’t really know what to say about this game. Yeah, it was tight for the most part. There were some huge hits, a couple of big plays, and a near dearmputation. But I was still bored, and that is saying something when my other option is a textbook that is dryer than dry. I’m looking forward to this week’s matchups, though, specifically those on Saturday. Hopefully we’re limited out after a day on beautiful Dore Lake, Saskatchewan, and make it back to the cabin in time to watch. Random Notes• Love seeing Chris Williams get taken out from behind after bumfumbling around doing hotdoggy garbage. Love it. • I also love the Mr. Lube Loverboy ad for some reason. I think it’s the expressions on the faces of both the 80’s dude and the Mr. Lube guy singing “TURN ME LOOSE!” at the end that does it. • I hope Eddie Russ isn’t out for too long. He’s a really nice guy and has been playing beyond expectations so far this year. My fingers are crossed.• Thank you, London, for hosting the Olympics and taking the Idiot Rod Black off our hands for a couple of weeks. I hope he falls in love with the drab weather (which matches his commentary) and stays there forever. • Man, is Winnipeg awful. Awful. They are in huge trouble, and they cannot blame this on starting with four straight games on the road until they win one at home. I don’t see that happening any time soon.• Speaking of the Idiot Rod Black, I caught a frame or two of the TSN Pins Game 10 pin bowling extravaganza and was stunned that the powers that be gave that assignment to Vic Rauter. I thought bowling would be right up Black’s alley (groan) as it goes at just about the right speed for his tiny walnut brain to process what’s happening, and there are only two people to fawn over.• Anthony Calvillo doesn’t look that great this year. He is labouring around a lot more than one would think if it’s just a sore-shoulder.• Jon Cornish is nowhere near as good as Andrew Harris thus far. No comparison. • Oh by the way, Ztella, while I’ve got you here, can you not use that fat discount that you get for working for the Forzani group to buy a freaking belt? I’d bet the team might even spring for it. When we told you to tighten your helmet, we didn’t think it would be at the expense of your pants. • Yes, Rider Nation, we choked. Hard. But I know I was expecting a 1-3 start while guys gelled and we are 3-1. Yes, it could have been 4-0, and maybe they took their foot off the gas pedal. However, poor play calling down the stretch, injuries to our secondary, and 3 games in 12 nights had just as much to do with it. I’m excited for Saturday afternoon and think we bounce back, 28-19 Riders.That’s it for me for another week. Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter @mr_rondeau for more of the same if you like my style.
Friday July 29, 5:00 PM
Roughriders at Alouettes
Full schedule available on Riderville at
Where Technicalities End, Where Heart Begins
Such a simple word, yet such a meaningful one.
I've been absent for a couple weeks, much like the Riders, unfortunately. I come back to tell you about what playoffs mean to me, and why the playoffs are truly where technicalities end, and where heart begins.
I don’t know about you, but I love playoffs. They are the satisfaction at the end of a football season. Let's say the regular season is a steak. Well cooked, thorough, tasty, and definitely worth it. The playoffs are like the seasoning that really brings out the flavour of the steak, and can certainly make or break the steak.
(If that analogy made no sense, don’t blame me, I don’t cook.)
Sometimes people get caught up in the technicalities of the playoffs, certain matchups and so on. Don’t get me wrong, game planning for playoffs is very important. So is having the right personnel, the right sets, knowing the opponents tendencies, etc. (Wait, I just described game planning. Whoops.) It can be the difference between a victory or a defeat.
But the key word in that sentence is can.
I truly believe that what the game comes down to is heart, hustle, the will to win, whatever you want to call it. I'm not a technicalities guy. I don’t know football as well as most hard core Rider fans like myself. The one thing I do know, however, is what it takes to win.
It's cliché. The whole idea of heart is cliché. But it’s the deciding factor for any game, especially a playoff one. It's simple; the team that leaves more out on the field will be the one that comes away with the victory. Just look at the different Grey Cups we have played since 2007.
2007: Unfazed by losing Kevin Glenn, Winnipeg comes out firing, taking an early 7-0 lead. James Johnson runs in a pick to tie it up, and Congi gives the Riders a field goal to end the half at 10-7. Chick forces a fumble, Congi kicks, 13-7 Riders. A blown Johnson coverage creates a touchdown for Winnipeg, but Johnson makes up for it by picking Dinwiddie off the next series. Congi kicks again, 16-14. Andy Fantuz scores an incredible touchdown breaking tackles and diving into the end zone. 23-16 Riders, game ends 23-19. Turnovers are the difference. James Johnson produces three, based purely on great timing and also great hustle. Chick's sack/forced fumble after chasing down Dinwiddie; pure hustle.
2009: I refuse to talk about 2009. I was nine. I was also heartbroken.
2010: A somewhat boring first three quarters leads to an exciting final period. Jamel Richardson pulls one down that he shouldn’t have caught and sets up the touchdown that makes the difference. Fantuz set up our touchdown that made it a three point game by simply willing himself to the 1 yard line. Durant fights for every inch but ends up throwing a pick. Final score: 21-18.
2013: A killer first half leads to an early 31-6. Momentum carries as we end the game 45-23. Considering the only reason Hamilton scored was because the Rider D got lazy, and the fact that Kory Sheets rushed for 197 yards (which is pure heart by the way), I think heart wins this one.
It's a small sample size, but I also have firsthand experience. I've played in big games. I know who's quitting at certain times and who's not. I know that records don't matter, game plans don’t matter (as much) and hustle wins no matter what.
To prove my point: in Grade 6, our team was quite easily the best basketball team in RCBA. We had the best players, we had great coaches, we had a game plan and we were ready to go. Unfortunately, we didn’t play with any heart over the course of the two games and got severely out played.
Opposite end of the spectrum: I was on a hockey team that didn’t perform very well in the regular season. We were middle of the pack, but we stuck together, had a great group of guys and a very good motivational coach and ended up getting third place. We beat a team we were never supposed to beat in double overtime. We ended the game with people collapsing they were so tired. It was the most tiring game I have ever played, and yet also one of the most satisfying.
Here's the thing: I don’t remember what gym I played those basketball games in, what the score was, or even who all was on my team, and I'm not a guy who forgets things. But I remember exactly what the score was, where we played, and who was on my team for that hockey game. You know why? Because one game I gave it 110% and the others I didn’t. I recognize that now. It doesn’t matter what the records are, who has the better players, who has the better team even. It's all about who plays with more heart. It's that simple.
Random thoughts about last week's game:
Page 1 of 3
RiderFans.com Forums are a place to talk Roughriders, CFL, and life with 10,000 of your closest Roughrider brethren. What are you waiting for? Register for FREE and talk some football!
RiderFans.com Live Chat
RiderFans.com Live Chat is a lively place during Roughrider games and other randomly scheduled times. Don't have a buddy to watch the game with, watch it virtually with 50 Roughrider diehards!
Visit Live Chat