Wednesday, 29 July 2015
How important now are those squandered leads given up by the Saskatchewan RoughRiders. Five times in five games the Riders have collapsed in the final quarter on their way to five consecutive losses and an embarrassing 0 - 5 record. Two of the games went into overtime, both losses of course, with Head Coach Cory Chamblin gifting one overtime win to the BC Lions when the Riders kicked a field goal in overtime promptly allowing the Lions to score a touchdown on their overtime possession.
And now the fears of a province have been realized as the Riders head to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos. How tough will this game be for the Riders to win ?
1) The Eskimos are very difficult to beat in their own stadium
2) The Eskimos are hitting their stride offensively lead by Adarious Bowman who caught a pair of
touchdowns in the last game.
3) The Eskimos boast a lights out defence arguably the best in the entire Canadian Football League.
4) The Riders start a rookie quarterback in Brett Smith after the worst possible news came out of
Regina today. Kevin Glenn the replacement for Darian Durant now has a shoulder injury and will
miss the Friday night encounter with Edmonton. Not suprising when you consider how offensive
the Riders O line was against Hamilton allowing Glenn to absorb numerous hits and it was
inevitable an injury would occur.
So are there any bright spots as the Riders head into Edmonton and try to prevent coming home with an
0 - 6 record.
Well there may be one, possible two, maybe even three
1) Hope Number OneThe Eskimos will start either Matt Nichols or someone named James Franklin
Nichols hasn't exactly inspired confidence as he was pulled in the game against Winnipeg. Never
before heard of James Franklin passed for three touchdown passes. Hope number one - maybe
Franklin played over his head. Maybe he can't do it again. Maybe Matt Nichols will sputter and
fail. Remember these are desperate hopes.
2) Hope Number 2 - The Riders defence may actually come to life. They may show some sort of
resemblance to the defence that everyone thought they could be and perhaps the offensive line
will get it together and protect their rookie quarterback. Remember these are desperated hopes.
3) Hope Number 3 - The rookie quarterback Brett Smith will have the game of his life and lead the
Riders to victory. I told you these are desperate hopes. Rakeem Cato did it in Montreal. Trevor
Harris has done it in Toronto and James Franklin did it last week for Edmonton. With some
protection and a little help from his friends maybe Smith will surprise everyone.
If not the Riders will be 0 - 6 and you have to go all the way back to the 70's to find when things
were this bad and desperate in Riderville.
Saskatchewan in Edmonton Friday night - Here's hoping.
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Monday, 27 July 2015
We had a great visit to the Calgary Zoo on our holidays. Had not been to a zoo in ages and it was a lot of fun. Especially appreciated the volunteers in the penquin closure who answered questions for us and were very knowledgeable. One lady even knew all the names of the penquins and pointed them out to us by name. I was impressed.
The phone call in shows are busy. The fans are confused, angry and totally dissatisfied. The beloved Saskatchewan RoughRiders have opened the season with five straight losses and their record has fallen to the worst in the entire league at 0 - 5. Even more shocking if you add in the two exhibition losses and a loss in last years Western semi final the green and white have lost eight in a row. You have to go back to November 8, 2014 to find the Riders last win. Things have not been this bad since 1995 when the Riders opened the season with five straight losses. If they lose to the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday night, then it's back to the 1970's to find a season when the Riders opened with six consecutive losses.
Things are so bad this year in Riderville that even the second year expansion Ottawa RedBlacks have three wins. It just doesn't get any worse than that. At least not until Friday night when the Riders travel to Edmonton to take on the Eskimos who just happen to be the hottest team in the league. The fans, calling in on talk shows, have given the Riders zero chance of winning that game. That's a zero chance even if Kevin Glenn is healthy enough to play quarterback for the Riders. Glenn suffered a shoulder injury on the final play of the third quarter. That left third stringer Brett Smith to come in for the fourth quarter. As you would expect from a rookie third string quarterback the team went absolutely no where and fell to the Hamilton TigerCats 31 - 21. But wait you say…Edmonton brought in a third string quarterback in James Franklin and he threw three touchdown passes as the Eskimos flattened the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 32 - 3. It begs the question why can't the Riders develop a good young quarterback ? It's a good question. No one seems to have the answer.
Behind Brett Smith you have Tino Sunseri who was totally ineffective in 2014 and was actually released by the Riders in training camp and then brought back in when Darian Durant was lost for the season. Neither Smith or Sunseri inspire a great deal of confidence going up against Edmonton.
So what do the Riders do ? Well the short answer is for the game against Edmonton there is nothing they can do. If Kevin Glenn can't play Friday night there is no time to bring in another quarterback and have him ready for Edmonton. So sink or swim it's Smith or Sunseri and hope it isn't a total drowning.
Is a trade possible ? Even if it was and say the Calgary Stampeders were foolish enough to send Drew Tate to the Riders, he would never be ready for Friday night.
So what is the problem. Injuries to be sure have decimated this team but I can't help think there is more than that. This seems to be a team that quits in the fourth quarter. In all five games the Riders have squandered fourth quarter leads and lost. Defence is definitely a problem. Head coach Cory Chamblin has not delivered on his promise. Remember Chamblin fired Ritchie Hall as defensive co-ordinator saying he wanted a more agressive defence. He inserted himself into the defensive coaching position and the defence has been anything but aggressive. Most games the Rider defence looks disinterested, missing tackles and giving up leads. The offence has been respectable. The defence has not.
Step one for the Riders road back to health would be to hire a top rated defensive co-ordinator and leave Chamblin to the head coaching job. Isn't that what every other team in the league does ?
Chamblin's bucking the trend has been an abysmal failure. Need proof. 0 Wins 5 losses.
Here's a look at the Rider injury list. Add to that Tristan Jackson who missed the game against Hamilton with an injury. Whether Kevin Glenn will be added to that list remains to be seen.
Chamblin tried to inspire his men with a pre game speech prior to Hamilton that the team needed to put on their hiking boots and prepare to get back into the hunt. After the latest loss and the 0 - 5 record it appears this team needs more than hiking boots to climb the mountain that they have created for themselves.
|35||Brown, Weldon||DB||International||5.10||185||1987-05-12||Louisiana Tech|
|4||Durant, Darian||QB||International||5.11||214||1982-08-19||North Carolina|
|84||Haidara, Seydou Junior||WR||National||6.01||215||1989-03-05||Laval|
|28||LeGree, Mark||DB||International||6.00||211||1989-07-08||Appalachian State|