Monday, September 24, 2007

State of the Rider Nation Address

First of all, I'm going to preface everything I write today by saying that I didn't watch Saturday's Roughrider/Lions game - I was receiving frequent score updates during a wedding dinner I was at, much to the chagrin of some people at my table I'm sure. And because the media is so saturated with Roughrider material and coverage I generally try to stay away from talking about them too much.

But in the immortal words of Frank Costanza, "I'm back ba-by!"

When Roughrider fans are telling me that they were so depressed after the game they went home and watched United 93 to cheer up, it's time to take action.

We'll start with a story I've been meaning to share with everybody for the past week but the opportunity hasn't really presented itself until now. Here is Trevor's comment from this morning - this will all make sense in a second I promise:

"First off Alex Smith needs to be fired...His special teams coaching is absolutely horrible. Here are some examples

1) We have ran pretty much the exact same kickoff/punt return coverage since he came into the league. Anybody who watches ONE practice or watches ONE punt return will see the exact same thing over and over.

2)That blocked punt. When they were doing punting drills this past week did they forget that BC has one of the most prolific punt blockers in the league?!?! It's not like he sprung free from the side and caught someone by surprise, he ran right up the middle and Mike McCullough misses the block. Brutal preparation and brutal execution.

Also some players need to sit out this week, unfortunately due to their nationality they will likely dress for the game: Tristan Clovis and Mike McCullough. Also Sean Lucas is borderline for the missed INT that should have been run back for a TD but unless TJ Stancil is good to go he plays.

The Riders can kiss 1st place goodbye and if they are to make it to the GreyCup they're going to have to learn how to win at B.C. Place in the playoffs."

I don't know if many people saw this story or not but after last week's loss in Calgary apparently there was a rumour making the rounds that Alex Smith had been fired. You can read Rod Pedersen's description of those events right here. As someone who has recently run afoul of Rider message boarders I found it quite interesting.

Now I would love to back up the argument for Smith's dismissal with statistical evidence but you try finding accurate, easily accesible stats for the CFL. The stats page on lists both Jason Armstead and Corey Holmes as playing for Hamilton. And of course both of their stats include Hamilton and Saskatchewan, so I can't tell what their numbers were for each team.'s site is much better but also has the problem of not separating the Hamilton statistics from the Saskatchewan statistics - ditto for

The problem may not actually lie with kick returns but kick coverage.

Smith is also the linebacker coach and when was the last time a linebacker made a play? I think Marcus Lloyd peaked last year in the Western Semi-Final in Calgary. And do you ever hear Reggie Hunt's name called during Rider broadcasts anymore?

If Smith is not shown the door, something else needs to happen.

It's becoming more and more clear that Eddie Davis' presence is missed in the secondary - if only for leadership. If Davis is in the lineup does Geroy Simon get behind everyone for the winning touchdown? I doubt it.

Apparently we shouldn't have put Marcus Adams in the Hall of Fame after Week 1...or named our NFL Fantasy league after him. Oh well, "Fans of Marcus 'Chunky' Adams" is an ironic league name now at least.

In all seriousness, what happened to Fred Perry? Does he have a nagging injury that nobody talks about? Ever since that game at home against Edmonton that they won it seems like he hasn't been the same.

Who thought it would be the defence everyone would be cursing the heavens about this year?

Saturday's game against Montreal is an absolute must-win game. With the losses starting to pile up the team is getting closer and closer to that old familiar 9-9 mark.

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