Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Roughrider Bandwagon: Sold Out

Seriously people, I told you to get on months ago when there were still lots of good seats available. Now, after one mediocre win the Bandwagon is dangerously close to being over-capacity. This might be a fire marshall situation soon.

I haven't seen this much excitement based on suspect evidence since the O.J trial.

I hate to be a naysayer (actually, I don't) but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. Yes the Roughriders won in Montreal for the first time since Kent Austin could fit into a size-32 pair of pants (trust me, it's been awhile). Yes the defence held Montreal's offence in check for the entire game. And yes a win is a win.


I am firmly of the belief that that game was more about Montreal's offence than it was about Saskatchewan's defence. Don't get me wrong, the Roughrider defence looked pretty solid but let's be real, Montreal's offence was terrible. Apparently they only have one viable offensive weapon, Ben Cahoon - and when you throw to him 135 times in a game, it becomes reasonably easy to defense.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the Roughriders' run defence though. When Montreal actually wanted to run the ball, it seemed like they were able to with some ease. Montreal running back Mike Imoh averaged 5 yards per carry on 10 rushes. I'm also curious to see how the Saskatchewan defensive line will play against a team that actually employs a pass-blocking scheme.

And then there's the Saskatchewan offence...

If that was the high-octane offence that Kent Austin spent the last two months installing, I really don't know what to say. It seems the offence consists of two plays (more or less) - the sprint option, that teams are going to learn how to defense real quick, and the shotgun draw that we're all so familiar with. Seriously, how is that draw play still hanging around? It only worked because Kenton Keith was slippery enough to make at least two defenders miss - and even then it only worked about 40% of the time. How much sense does it make to give the ball to the running back at a dead stop 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage? Does that sound like a recipe for success to you?

Kerry Joseph picked up this year right where he left off last year - trying hard to overthrow Jason Armstead on the game's first play - only to be foiled by Armstead's 4 foot vertical leap and 5 foot arms (although I'm still not convinced it was a catch). The only touchdown of the game came when Joseph made a nice play to avoid the Montreal pass rush and then hit Henri "Jackie" Childs (listen, I know it's actually Jackie Chiles but are you really going to nitpick over this?) behind a disinterested Montreal cornerback. It was a really accurate throw on the run but let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. The ball had such phenomenal spin and trajectory on it that on its way down the ball almost looked like it was going to start moving backwards.

I'm not trying to discount what the Riders did in Montreal on Friday night, a win is a win, especially in Montreal. However, I'm not hating on the team for no reason, there definitely are some problem areas that I see.

All I'm saying is that before you put a deposit down on your home playoff tickets, lets see how the Riders stack up against teams like B.C, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

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