Well let me apologize right off the bad. It is time for the annual, “spent too much time at Stampede and need to put together a MITS article in somewhat adverse conditions.” The adverse conditions are off course entirely self induced. So I advise you to set your expectations low, or lower than usual, as you go through this. Think of that attitude as kind of a warm up for your mental state going into the annual game in Montreal.
Can Darian play better? Yep. I was quite surprised to see his final numbers at 22-40 considering he started the game with a pretty good percentage. He was under 50% in the 2nd half. But I would say he’s doing enough to win us games right now, and needs more help around him. Kevin Glenn has gotten off to a tough start. A bad throw led to a pick that was the big play in a loss to Winnipeg. Darian’s numbers so far are superior in almost every category. Glenn has already been pulled once and now has his GM saying that Quinton Porter needs some playing time. Edge Riders
Wes Cates has done everything asked of him so far. The only negative with him might be whether he has the wheels to get around the corner or not anymore. Once again we have seen that no matter who is on the roster, Wes will get pretty much all the work. Avon Cobourne was probably the most talked about free agent acquisition in the off-season, but so far he hasn’t made a huge impact for the Cats. He might be getting a little edgy with things not as easy as they were in Montreal. Apparently he was giving it to Maurice Mann for dogging it in practice one day this week. Slight Edge Riders
The big development is the absence of Arland Bruce for the Tiger-Cats. His numbers might be down to this point, but this is a big loss for the Cats. This is a guy the Riders would have had to make a big part of their game plan, and a guy who has really killed us in the past. Bakari Grant draws into the lineup in Bruce’s absence. Dave Stala has gotten off to a slow start as well. Maurice Mann is the guy who has the big numbers for Hamilton so far. There’s a big difference here with Bruce out. Dressler has done everything that has been asked of him so far. Chris Getzlaf has yet to really break out. I am not ready to throw in the towel on Terrance Nunn just yet. He needs to be more consistent but he has shown me flashes. One thing I like about him is that he is fearless going across the middle. Patrick Brown may see his first action of the season. Edge Riders
Everything you want to know about how the offensive line did last week, just read Oldguard’s review here http://www.riderfans.com/forum/showthread.php?100087-O-line-vs.-Montreal. Yes this is lazy on my part, but why reinvent the wheel? I don’t believe the Cats have any changes from last year. Marwan Hage anchors their line in the middle. Rottier and Dyakowski are the guards while ex-Rider Belton Johnson and ****Jason Jiminez. Slight Edge Riders
I am sure everyone is thrilled to death to see that we will probably see the same defensive line as last week. The problem of course is with the ends; Murphy and Willis. Willis showed some flashes last week, but we need to see improvement from him. The Rider are sorely lacking a guy who can just zip around the corner using speed and get to the QB. We are all familiar with Stevie Baggs at one end in Hamilton. Albert Smith and Eddie Steele are in their first year as full times starters in Hamilton. Justin Hickman is pretty good off the other end spot. Edge Tiger-Cats
I imagine Rey Williams will be pretty fired up for his first game against the Riders. Williams has his problems early in 2009, picking the wrong gap at times versus the run, but improved as the year went on. He’s a big play guy and really good when shooting the game and blitzing, imo. The Riders are doing ok with Barren Simpson and Jerrell Freeman, but Sean Lucas has been giving up receiving yards at an alarming rate. The Cats are set with Jamall Johnson on one side and Markeith Knowlton on the other. Edge: Tiger-Cats
The Riders gaudy pass numbers against isn’t all the fault of the secondary as they have had to try and cover receivers without much benefit of a pass rush. Still, there have been some coverage breakdowns. We’ll give Chris McKenzie a benefit of the doubt for being in his first game action last week. Craig Butler starts again in place of James Patrick. Hamilton has some new looks to their secondary. Jerome Dennis and Bo Smith are still at half. Marcell Young and Ryan Hinds start at corner. Remember how we joke when someone says “who is (insert name)” and the smart alec response is “Mr and Mrs (insert name’s) son? Well here’s the first sentence in Young’s bio on the Cats’ website. “Son of Felicia and Melvin Young”. Really? That’s all you got? Jason (long I) Shivers starts at safety. Edge Tiger-Cats
Last year at this time, the production Marcus Thigpen was getting was quite controversial in Regina. His numbers are really down this year…3.1 yds per punt return and 15.1 yds per kickoff return. Tristan Jackson has provided the spark the Riders were looking for on returns. Even
This is a battle of the two guys who battled for the Argo kicking job in the 2011 pre-season. Johnson won that battle, but since then, Medlock has had the better placekicking career. Edge Tiger Cats
Not much to separate these guys in the punting stats. Even
When the Riders have the ball
This is a different Tiger Cat defense with Cory Chamblin bringing over a lot of the aggressive blitz strategy that he used with Chris Jones in Calgary. Darian even said the Riders watched film of what the Stamps did last year in preparation for this game. We’ll see a lot more man coverage from the Cats with them putting heat on the QB. So far this year they have had some trials with their adjustment. Last week they allowed some big plays to Fred Stamps which will happen if you are in man coverage and miss tackles. In the past, Darian has played well against these types of defenses. If the Rider defense can pick up the stunts and blitzes, Darian should find open guys. If an extra guy is rushed, Darian needs to read it and get the ball out so he doesn’t end up like Buck Pearce in week 1. You might see Chris Getzlaf hit a big play down the middle against this type of defense.
Another way to keep the Cats off Durant is to pound them with the run. I’d like to see the Riders go after that front seven consistently with Cates. Draw plays and screens can work well against a hard charging defense as well. As most people have noticed, Darian seems to play his best when he runs and gets involved. If he can get away from / read the initial heat, he may have some opportunities for big runs.
When the Tiger-Cats have the ball
This is an area which can be sarcastically referred to as “the stoppable object” vs. “the movable force”. If the Riders get shredded by a Cats offense that was struggling and now missing Arland Bruce, then it’s time to worry. In Bruce’s absence, the Cats may choose to make Cobourne a work horse this game. I am not concerned about Cobourne in the running game. I am more worried about him getting passes out in space in passing situations.
Kevin Glenn is a rhythm passer, who loves to get the ball out to his receivers quickly. The Riders need to give him multiple looks to keep him guessing and not let him get into a comfort zone. A good push right up the middle will help. Glenn likes to get the ball out quickly so the line may have to resort to getting their hands up for deflections. Murphy got one of these last weeks. With the big numbers that Richardson and Green got last week, I expect the Cats to rely on Mann and Stella to be Glenn’s go to guys.
Lots of pessimism about the Riders’ chances of winning this game. The Riders have enjoyed success in Hamilton with only 1 loss since the infamous loss to Hamilton’s 1-17 seasons. However if there is one team that is having more trouble than the Riders right now it is the Cats. The Riders have to look at the fact that they played the Ales even for 30 minutes and then let the game get away from them.
A 60 minute effort, combined with winning the turnover and special team’s battle should be enough for the win.
My score: Roughriders 31 Tiger-Cats 22
A 0-1 start is something the Riders and us fans have not experienced since 2006. I didn’t like the feeling then, and I don’t like it now. This was the first time the team had lost a season opener at home since 2000. It tells you that this has been a pretty good decade for the team. The problem now is with the powerhouse Alouettes coming to town, there is an urgency for the team to turn it around immediately to avoid a 0-2 start.
I am one of the guys who firmly believes that Darian does need to cut back on his interceptions. That being said, the interceptions that happened last week have to be put into perspective. The first one wasn’t a ball being forced into coverage, the 2nd one was a result of a bad route by a receiver, and the third one was in garbage time. That last one was as significant as a garbage TD pass thrown late in a game. The fumble is the one turnover that actually bothered me. That was a tough game for Darian. The brutal defensive performance gave him and the offense little room for error.
Talking about Anthony Calvillo is boring. You have to get nit-picky like saying he’s not that mobile to find any weakness in his game. He does everything else well. Edge Alouettes
Because Hugh Charles got hurt last week, we don’t know if the coaches will stick to what they said and go with two backs this year. We won’t know until the 42 is announced if Brandon West is going to be given a chance tomorrow or not. If he’s not in, expect Wes Cates to be the workhorse again. We really don’t do anything to try and utilize Hughes or Foord. Brandon Whitaker gets the start for Montreal. He had a nice start to the season last week with over 100 yards. I thought Whitaker was a smaller speedy back but at 5 11, 200 pounds, he has decent size too. He doesn’t have much of a track record, but has played well in limited time over the last two years. The Als will spot Kerry Carter and use him to catch passes out of the backfield. Even
We could definitively use some good news here. At least Carey Koch’s surgery went well. Jason Clermont slides a starting role at WR with Wheelwright going down. Clermont’s speed does not make him the prototypical WR but he played there in the playoffs last year. When we go with 5 receivers, look for him to slide inside. We are going to need a lot of Weston Dressler in the meantime. Nunn showed all the physical skills necessary in game one, but we need him to stop making mental mistakes, or he’s going to cost us more turnovers. We all know how good Montreal’s receivers are. Jamel Richardson has the potential to be a league MVP. Bratten and Green can make plays too. Kerry Watkins is injured right now. I keep waiting for Canadian Eric Deslauriers to break out. I like how rookie Dallas Landon looked in pre-season. Edge Alouettes
The best breakdown of the o-line is done by Oldguard midweek so I direct you to read that thread to get a complete breakdown. The only thing I will touch on here is that I am concerned about Parenteau being driven back by defensive tackles. We can’t have Darian seeing pressure up the middle consistently. This is another area of perennial strength for the Alouettes. There really isn’t a weakness but they are especially strong on the right side with Flory at guard and Perrett at tackle. Edge Alouettes
There is nothing I can say here that hasn’t been said already. The interior of the line was decent plugging up the run, but that was the extent of the accolades. With Willis coming in, I am unsure if we are going with two import tackles with Murphy on the other side or will Murphy sit and Luc Mullinder / Shomari Williams man the end spot. All we know for sure is that Shologan and Romero will be at tackle….on first down. Montreal’s line is led by John Bauman at one end. Anwar Stewart is still around at the other end, with Wilson and Bekasiuk inside. They will spot Jermaine McElveen and even ex-Rider Kitwana Jones at end. Edge Alouettes
Having Jarrell Freeman back will be a big lift for the defense. I thought Barrin Simpson was the only linebacker who played well for us last week. Shea Emery starts in the middle for Montreal. Everyone’s favorite Alouette Chip Cox lines up at OLB on one side with Ramon Guzman and Diamond Ferri alternate on the other side. Slight Edge Alouettes
The Riders get Tad Kornegay and Chris MacKenzie back this week. MacKenzie isn’t a moment too soon after John Eubanks suffered third degree burns last Sunday. I am assuming Tad becomes the wide side corner with Tristan Jackson becoming the 6th defensive back. The big question mark is at safety where James Patrick has a “lower body injury”….when did CFL injuries resemble the NHL playoffs?? Draft pick Craig Butler gets the enviable task of starting at safety if Patrick can’t go.
Montreal suffered a big injury with Jearld Brown going down with an ugly looking break. This has led to multiple moves in their secondary. Billy Parker moves from wide-side corner to short side halfback into Brown’s spot. The Als cut Dix in the pre-season. (sounds painful), but he’s back now at wideside corner. Remember everyone’s favorite Stamp Dwight Anderson? Well he’s plays halfback in Montreal now. I am sure he is his usual clown self. I am rating this based on Patrick being out. Edge Alouettes
Based on the way I see this, maybe this should be titled “return and cover teams”. Montreal gave up a few big returns in pre-season and that continued last week with a BC return TD. The Riders will use either Tristan Jackson or Brandon West as the primary returner, depending on the final roster. Montreal uses Tim Maypray as their main returner. We remember him from two return TD off missed field goals against us last year. He has had more recent success than Jackson has had for the Riders. By the way, if you had a choice on kickoffs between kicking it to Jackson/ West/ Charles, or Stu Foord, who would you kick it too? Uh huh. Look for Kit to want to make a big stick on special teams for the Als in his first game back. Edge Alouettes
How was the overall confidence in the stadium when Lance lined up for his first FG attempt last week? One of the few bright spots was his 2-2 performance. In a limited body of work, Sean Whyte is a career 77% kicker. Not a lot to choose between the two for now. Even
I had some concerns with Johnson’s punting in the pre-season, but he had a pretty good day on Sunday. Windy conditions could play havoc with the punting game tomorrow. Edge Riders
Unless the defense comes up with a huge improvement from last week, once again the Rider offense will be under pressure to put lots of points on the board to keep up with the Als. Hard to say how the Alouette run defense will be as the Lions didn’t really test them at all last week. Here’s the catch-22 for the Riders to get the running game going. It’s tough if they aren’t getting stops from the other side of the football and fall behind. Wes did have success against Montreal last year. Here’s something I can’t figure out. Doug Berry is supposedly high on Stu Foord, yet he never gets a carry in regular season. When Darian is on his game, he is very productive on the ground too. Look for him to take off when he gets a chance.
Without the depth we used to have at receiver, it’s more about going to your best guys instead of looking for your best matchup. Look for Dressler to get lots of work. In five receiver sets he will get his opportunities against Chip Cox. Unless Cox grabs him as he likes to do, that’s a matchup that Dressler will win every time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Alouettes try and rotate coverage towards Dressler. With Dix being in for his first action of the year, the Riders might want to test him with Clermont. As I mentioned earlier, JC is not a typical fast wide out, but if we get the ball to him fast, he might break some tackles and make plays. Without harping in the interceptions again, keep in mind that Cox and Anderson are ball hawks. Darian has to be aware of them and make sure he throws the hooks and curls on time.
When the Alouettes have the ball
Sure Whitaker got 100 yards last week, but make no mistake, it’s the Alouettes aerial attack that should frighten us the most. Calvillo is pin point accurate with the short and long game. His receiver can get in behind your for big plays, or they can take short routes and break tackles to make those long gainers too. All eyes will be on Mr. Harris. Sounds like he’s a speed rusher , so we need him to be able to get around that corner and get in on Calvillo so he’s not able to stand back there.
Matchups to fear? Pick your poison. Richardson and Green are the two guys to really worry about it. They are both listed as slotbacks so Frazier and MacKenzie will have to have big games for us. Since MacKenzie is coming off an injury look for the Als to test him. The other thing the Als do is move their receiver s around to get matchups. Remember Richardson making a couple of big catches against Omarr Morgan in the Grey Cup where he line up as a WR? The Als may go after Nick Graham the same way.
There is lots of angst over losing our all-star safety against Calvillo and having to start a rookie at safety. I am going to throw in a contrarian view for people to mull over. Calvillo is great at looking off the safety. Based on that Patrick may not have been able to make his usual impact in the game. If that is the case, maybe this is the best time for Butler to be in there. I am not saying that we won’t miss Patrick but overall this may be a scenario where the impact of the loss is lessened.
If Calvillo wants to go after Butler, look for him to do it with layered crossing routes. If Butler sneaks up, AC will go to the guy crossing in behind. If Butler stays deep, AC will take the short one.
The only way the Riders will have a chance is to get a good game up front. Richie has to keep switching it up to keep Calvillo guessing. Don’t give him a steady diet of one look. We did get to him a few times last year with halfback blitzes so we can’t be afraid to come after him. Since AC is a pocket passer, it would be nice to get some push up the middle and get in his face. That did not happen last week against Ray.
This is not a must win in the literal sense, but starting the season with two home losses is going to put the Riders in a hole early. Yeah depending on what Edmonton does, we may only be 2 points back of first, but are the Riders really going to make up ground in the next two weeks with road games upcoming?
The Riders don’t have the offense to overcome mistakes like special teams TDs or points off turnovers like last year. I hate to say we need a perfect game to win, but we’re going to have to be pretty darn close. The reason to expect a win? Well this team has had a way of surprising us when we expect the least out of them. Games that come to mind are the August 2009 win in Calgary, and the win at home last year over Calgary after getting shellacked in Winnipeg. But pinning our hopes on that theory doesn’t sound very promising does it? One thing to that would really help? Montreal coverage on kick returns has been weak. If there was ever a time for a return TD, tomorrow is the day.
Let’s get it started…in heeeree. Bring ‘em out, bring ‘em out, bring ‘em out. Yeah, not quite the same reading it versus hearing it at the stadium., but I can’t wait for that moment on Sunday where our guys hit the field. I got to thinking about how many years this site has been around and how long I have been doing these articles. Gulp, this season marks the start of my second decade. The first time I matched up the Riders and Eskimos, I would have been comparing Nealon Greene vs Jason Maas. Terry Vaughn and Ed Hervey vs. Demetrius Bendross and Curtis Marsh. Yes, we are in better times now.
I’ve thought about tinkering with the format, but haven’t done anything for two reasons. This seems like a logical way to break teams down. Secondly, a new format would require thought, and I’m pretty lazy. If anyone does have any ideas, my cyber door is always open. Feel free to drop me a line.
I tried to hold off on this as long as possible to get some final word on the lineups for both teams. Unfortunately that is still up in the air as of late Friday night. Since I have no time to get it down tomorrow due to attending the 100th birthday celebrations where I grew up (let’s here it for Holdfast!), I’m going to have to finish this tonight…inaccuracies and all.
I listened to what Milt Stegall said about Darian during the TSN preview show this week, and it wasn’t that bad. He said for Darian to take the next step, he needs to cut down on his interceptions. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that statement. Other than that, the only other thing I would like is to see him get off to a better start in games.
Ricky Ray’s numbers have come down in recent years. In fairness to him, he has not had as much talent as in the past to work with. His strengths are his accuracy and ability to read a defense. What seems to be missing in recent years is his big play capability. Ricky Ray has had a storied career to this point, while Darian is still on his way. I was thinking rating Darian higher would be a case of drinking green (and white) kool-aid. But then I looked at their numbers last year. Edge Riders
Last year’s Cates / Charles debate still lingers for the Riders. This time it appears the coaches are more determined to keep both of them on the roster. Cates is not done yet, but has lost some of his quickness. Here is where Charles is a perfect compliment with his speed. I wish Brandon West the best in getting over that unfortunate foot injury. Daniel Porter is the opening day starter for the Eskimos with Arkee Whitlock sitting on the one game injured list. Edmonton has a good 1-2 punch at running back with Canadian Calvin McCarty. The Eskimos have also given impressive newcomer Brandon James some reps at running back. Even
The identity of our receivers has changed in the off-season with the Canadian Air Force requiring the help of some U.S. stealths. Really tough news for the Riders on the eve of the regular season to lose Carey Koch to a broken thumb. I think the fans and team were expecting big things from him this year. The silver lining is that we only lose him for the first third of the season. This means that newcomers Nunn, Wheelright, and Hill are going to have to step up. The good news for Darian is he still has Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf, and Jason Clermont from last year to rely on.
Fred Stamps is easily the number one receiver in Edmonton and has had some big games against the Riders in the past. After`a controversial waiving over an injured ankle, Jason Barnes is back. I mentioned him in the running backs section, but Brandon James is technically a receiver. With the early candidate for free agent bust of the year Chris Bauman not dressed, first rounder Nathan Coehorn may get a good look. I think this guy is going to end up as the best of the first round WR picked this year. The Eskimos think that they have solved Adarius Bowman’s dropsies by moving him inside. I’ll believe it when I see it. Newcomers Marcus Henry and Ray Fisher showed speed in the pre-season, but I believe Henry is hurt. Slight Edge Riders
It’s going to be really strange not seeing familiar number 54 leading the Riders from the huddle to the line of scrimmage. Marc Parenteau beat out George Hudson to take the starting centre role. My biggest concern with him is his strength. Will he get overpowered right up the middle by some of the defensive tackles in this league? I think Gene is fine inside at guard while Chris Best is developing into a good one. Alex Guathier is fine at left tackle, while there are concerns about Goodspeed’s food speed at right tackle.
The Eskimos were planning to start the season with two import tackles. They still are, but injuries have hit this unit early. Patrick Kabongo is still a big dude even after losing 70 pounds. They are somewhat set with Fiaconne at centre with Kabongo and Koch at guard. As for their tackles, y best guess right now are Greg Wojt and Junius Coston. I know about as much about these guys as I know about basic astro-physics. Edge Riders
There are two very different storylines when talking about the Rider defensive line. The middle is set with Keith Shologan and ex-Eskimo Dario Romero. Romero brings us a different element to the middle of our defense that we haven’t seen since Nate Davis was in his heyday. End is a different story. Brent Hawkins’s wonky shoulder blew up my prediction a few months ago that he was ready for a big year. Right now Montez Murphy and Luc Mullinder appear to be the front –runners to start.
Greg Peach appears to be the anchor of the Eskimo defensive line. Annoyingly, the Joe Sykes I saw in the pre-season looks like the guy that we never saw in two camps in Regina. The Esks are pretty excited about the potential of two non-import tackles inside: Jermaine Reed and Ted Laurant. Even
The Minister of Defense, Barrin Simpson, is back at MLB. There were concerns about his age when we brought him in last year, but based on his tackle numbers and his play in pre-season, he’s aging like a fine wine. We have Mike McCullough who is more than capable of stepping in if needed. Jerrell Freeman’s injury looks like it will keep him out a week with Kye Stewart starting in his place. Stewart has always looked good when given a chance, he just has to stay healthy. Sean Lucas starting at the other OLB spot is mildly controversial with some people thinking Tad Kornegay or Byron Bullock should have won that spot. We need to see Lucas regain his 2009 all-star form.
The best way to describe the Eskimo linebacker situation is unsettled. T.J. Hill was playing safety all through pre-season but is now back at the linebacker spot he played last year. I believe Rod Davis is Mo Lloyd’s replacement in the middle. Brian Bonner was the guy playing the other OLB spot in pre-season. Edge Roughriders
Not much has been made of the Rider secondary, but there are a few changes on the back end. James Patrick and Lance Frazier are back to anchor things. Chris McKenzie remains out with an injury leaving John Eubanks to play halfback. We will see two newcomers at corner, which based on what we saw from that position last year is not a bad thing. Nick Graham showed well last year when he had to fill in. The biggest surprise for me from pre-season might be Tristan Jackson earning himself a spot in the starting backfield at wide side corner.
During the pre-season, we saw more busts in the Eskimo secondary than a Dolly Parton film festival. Not surprising that there have been some changes made from the starting group from even one week ago. Chris Thompson was their best d-back last year and is back at halfback. Newly acquired Jykine Bradley will start at corner. Ex-Rider Donovan Alexander has been moved to safety after spending all his time at corner. This might be a good move long term if Alexander has the ability to read and react to the ball, but there are bound to be some growing pains. Rod Williams played corner in preseason so I expect him to be the other corner, and I think David Pittman will be the other starter in the secondary. I am basing this mostly on conversation I have read over on Esksfans. Edge Roughriders
I don’t know about you guys, but I am really looking forward to this aspect of our game. This is something I haven’t been able to say in a while. I believe that Triston Jackson’s emergence at corner is what has made Hugh Charles the primary returner with Jackson the #2 guy. The combination of more talent and better coaching is going to make it practically impossible for this unit not to improve from last year. The aforementioned Brandon James is being counted on to be the Eskimos main return guy. He had a nice kickoff return against Calgary. He has major wheels from what I have seen. Even
It appears that Eddie Johnson is going to handle the placekicking job in week 1. Whether it is him or Milo, the concerns over the kicking game have been well documented over the pre-season. There’s one thing I can’t figure out about Eddie Johnson’s line drive kicks. He must have shown the Argos something two years ago to win that job from Jason Medlock going into the season. Damon Duval has won the kicking job in Edmonton and will be their guy on Sunday, barring a ratio situation requiring Canadian Derek Schiavone to be on the roster instead. There is an outside chance Milo will handle the kicking for the Riders. Leg strength is not a concern with him, but somehow we have to get him to start hitting them in games, like he is in practice. Edge Eskimos
Same guys as above will handle the punting roles. These guys were the #2 and #3 punters in the CFL last year, with Duval’s average being slightly higher. The biggest question for the Riders here (and placekicking) will be having Krausnick-Groh doing the long snapping. This guy needs a nickname so I don’t have to type that name. With his first name being Alexander, maybe he can change numbers with Cory Huclack so that we can call him AK-47. Slight Edge Eskimos
When the Rider have the ball
Even though there are a few new faces at receiver, I don’t expect our style of play and game plan to look much different from last year. One thing I do expect is that Darian will be relying even more than expected on Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf; and I’ll bet Jason Clermont will be a key second down contributor for this team. Edmonton is claiming to have kept it vanilla in pre-season who it’s hard to know what they will come out with on defense Sunday. One of the guys on the TSN panel described Stubler’s match defense saying it takes away things on the outside. He said the defense can be run on and has holes in the middle. That sounds eerily familiar to our defense last year. Actually Stubler’s and Etch’s d share some similar philosophies but Etch does stuff that makes his more unsound. We are going to find out if Stubler’s steller D in Toronto was due to his scheme or all the talent he had there like Steinhauer, Parker, O’Shea, Ivory etc.
I do expect the Riders to try and establish the run with Wes Cates. I hope with Wes and Hugh on the roster we take advantage of their different skill set to hit the Esks up the middle with Cates and use Charles to get outside. Hughes and Foord were forgotten men on offense last year. Hughes might get more looks this year with Szarka gone.
Just heard that Wheelright will get the start inside in Koch’s place. He looked really good in the pre-season opener against the Esks. He will be a big target for Darian to find in the middle. As mentioned look for Dressler to get the ball in all kinds of ways, quick screens, deep corner routes. One receiver that no one talks about is Efram Hill, who quietly impressed the coaches enough to make his way onto the starting roster. I’ll bet he would love to have a big game against his old team. I hope Darian attacks the seams and tries to catch Alexander too late coming over to help with his inexperience at safety.
Up front I think the guy who will get the most attention will be Parenteau to see how he handles directing traffic. He has to hold his own in the middle as having guys overpower him and getting right in Darian’s face would be disastrous.
When the Eskimos have the ball
As much as the Eskimos struggled on offense against the league in general the last couple of years, they put up some good numbers against the Riders. I think that is because the Rider defense allowing a lot of stuff over the middle was tailor made for Ricky Ray. We also would go undersized linemen in the middle on passing downs allowing him to stand there with no one in his face. The best thing we can see on Sunday is having our two tackles collapse the pocket getting right in Ricky’s face. He’s a rhythm passer, and that will get him out of his rhythm more than anything.
Look for the Esks to try and establish the run with Porter and McCarty. Richie Hall has said he wants to take away the run and make teams one dimensional. We’ll see if there is a marked change from last year.
With an unsettled offensive line, I expect the Eskimos to try and get the ball out of Ray’s hands quickly. Fred Stamps will be his go-to guy so the Riders need to pay attention to him. We can’t let him run free thought the middle on crossing routes. If I had to pick a matchup that would concern me the most at this time it would be Stamps or Bowman on Eubanks. If the Esks go with short passes as I anticipate, our lineman may have to resort to getting their hands up to knock down passes since it will be tough to get in for sacks. I expect to see an extremely emotional and motivated Dario Romero in this one.
Anything can happen on the football field as we have already seen with two road teams pulling off upsets this weekend. I just have a tough time believing that this Eskimo team with so many new faces can come together that quickly. Moves like Hill and Alexander changing positions tells me they already have to go to Plan B. I don’t see where the Eskimo players have developed that ability to know and trust the guy beside them which you need to be effective in this game.
If the Riders are on their game, they will find opportunities to take advantage of Eskimo breakdowns. I think this game is a matter of not “gift-wrapping” points to the Esks off turnovers or special teams. Especially early to give them some confidence. The Riders need to come out and make a statement in this game. There would be nothing more satisfying that a convincing win over the Esks on Sunday to put a few things to rest.
My score: Roughriders 31 Eskimos 18
Hello and welcome to the “new and improved” Riderfans.com. First of all, a big thank you to Shane “Chaps” Chapman in a job well done. He also came up with a good idea where a few words right now might be appropriate.I thought this would be a good chance to share the story of how this site got started with people who may have only signed up the last few years. When I got to thinking back it startled me to realize that riderfans.com is over 10 years old now! It was the spring of 2001, and with all the wonders of the internet I had discovered (insert your own porn joke), I had yet to find a place where Rider fans talked Saskatchewan Roughrider football. Lucky for me and the rest of us, a young Rider fan in Regina had come to the same realization in 2000. Unlike me, this fan had the vision and ability to do something about this and create rf.com. When I first found this site, there were probably about 20 or 30 posters, most of whom are still here today.It’s not an exaggeration to say this site has exploded since then, with over 10,000 members and closing in on 2 million posts. Lots of people have contributed to this effort. We’ve had various contributors writing articles, submit pictures. We even had a radio show for awhile. Thanks go out to the mods who have volunteered their time to make this place run smoothly and keep the peace. I’m talking about the current mods and past mods who also made were a big part of this site’s success. Thanks to the advertisers who support the site. Hopefully they are getting value out of it, because their contributions help cover the costs to make sure this place is always up and running.Of course the engine that drives this site is the membership. I continue to be in awe of the passion Rider fans continue to show for their team on here. The amount of information that comes from the membership is amazing: practice reports, scoops on news, scouting reports on new players, breakdowns from watching games on PVRs. Then you have people stepping up to get tickets for each other, give rides to each other to games….it really is quite a community. It was never the goal of this place to become known as the highest traffic place to talk CFL football; it was you fans who made it so.We’ve been thought a lot in this decade on here. The lowest of the lows with the 2004 West Final and 2009 Grey Cup. And we’ve been on top of the world with the 2007 Cup run and the last two Western finals. With all our different points of view the one common bond is always an unwavering love for this team. As Chaps one put it, it’s a site by fans for fans. As long as Rider fans want to come on here to talk Rider football, I hope this site will always be here for them. I hope you find the changes helpful. Suggestions that have come up from you folks were kept in mind.Thanks for all the good times so far and here’s to many more.
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