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Regina Rams Football

Monday, September 26, 2016

THE MONDAY MORNING GOALIE

Photo Credit: Arthur Ward
"UP" WEEK CONTINUES

1 - As Rider fan and poolmaster Larry Schwentke pointed out on Sunday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are on their first two-game winning streak since September of 2014.  The past two calendar years have been a remarkable run of futility for the Green & White but now after back-to-back victories, no one is looking back.

The Riders' 53-7 loss in Hamilton on August 20 was their worst defeat in 16 years and it clearly was rock bottom for the franchise.  What a comforting feeling it is to know that the worst is behind the Riders, and the club has been on a steady trajectory upwards ever since.

2 - With the team's confidence growing and currently at a season-high, it really wouldn't surprise me if they don't lose another game the rest of the way.  Of course it sounds prepostorous given their 3-10 record but with a bye in the upcoming Week 15 (a chance to physically heal according to Coach Chris Jones), and their final games looking like this: at Ottawa, at Toronto, home to Montreal, home to B.C. and at B.C., it's not unreasonable for them to "run the table".

That would accomplish an 8-10 record but could still mean missing the playoffs for a second-straight season.

3 - Playoffs? You wanna talk about playoffs?  The Riders aren't.  I posed that question to Chris Jones on Saturday's postgame show, amid the jubilant locker room celebration after their 20-18 win over Hamilton.  Is the coach even mentioning "playoffs" to his team?  Or has he overheard it from his players?

"No.  No," Jones admitted on 620 CKRM.  "Right now all we do is worry about this next game.  It's the 'next game', the 'next game' -- you can't control anything anyone else does.  All we can control is what we do and just go win games and have fun playing football man."

It's clear the Riders truly are having a ball right now, and it was evident in the photos from Saturday's game.  The Riders had smiles on their faces, which is a deflating feeling for the opposing team.  Have a look at the shot of defensive end #0 Jonathan Newsome to the right.

I think I've got a pretty good handle on the pulse of the football club and was confident when I wrote over the past few weeks that if you, as a fan, "check out" on the remainder of this season, you're going to miss out on something special.

On Saturday night, the Riders proved that to be true.

It would be a shame for them to miss the playoffs but, if they do, they know they'll only have themselves to blame.

But now isn't the time for those sentiments.

4 - From the moment the Tiger-Cats touched down in Regina on Friday, they were telling everyone far and wide that they were a banged up football team.  Sure, they were missing Chad Owens, C.J. Gable, Luke Tasker, Terrence Tolliver, Courtney Stephen and Rico Murray but the Riders' injury list was at least as long and it included their fair share of All Stars too.

We never let the Riders use injuries as an excuse all season long - and to their credit they didn't - so it wouldn't be right to pin Hamilton's loss Saturday night on their injuries.

The Riders won it fair and square.

5 - That includes a huge play midway through the second quarter when a Mitchell Gale fumble at the Hamilton goalline was returned 109 yards to the Rider endzone by Ticats defensive end Adrian Tracy.

There was no need for Chris Jones to throw his challenge flag.  Scoring plays and turnovers are automatically reviewed by the CFL Command Centre and that play qualified as both.  Replays showed that Gale's knee was down before the ball came out and the Riders maintained possession.  One play later, Darian Durant replaced Gale to score on a 1-yard run.

Initially I heard an "AHA!" coming out of CFL headquarters regarding video replay however automatic reviews of turnovers and scoring plays are universal in the NFL and College Football.

Really that's all that's needed.  Pass Interference?  Forget about it.  Let the refs ref.

Hopefully the concept of the tedious "Coaches Challenges" is reconsidered by the CFL - and maybe even scrapped altogether - at their off-season meetings.  Some of the sequences involving challenges and overturns in Saturday's Winnipeg-Calgary game made the game unwatchable.

6 - For the longest time recently, I was of the opinion that the Calgary Stampeders were so good - so robotic in their excellence - that they've become boring to watch.  Their 27-7 halftime lead over the Blue Bombers on Saturday only strengthened my idea but they got too cocky and were outscored 20-6 in the fourth quarter by Winnipeg.  Of course, ultimately, Calgary's final three points sealed the comeback win and continued their longest winning streak since 1995.

If it's true that teams take on the personality of their coach - and I've long maintained they do - then I'm sure Calgary's Dave Dickenson is fine with the label of being "so good that they're boring".

Are the Saskatchewan Roughriders taking on the personality of Chris Jones?  If so, what is it?

7 - The NFL's Carolina Panthers employ the slogan "Keep Pounding" with great marketing success (despite their 22-10 loss to Minnesota on Sunday).  Former Panthers coach Sam Mills first used the phrase in 2004 and it's stood the test of time.  In fact, the Panthers have extended the slogan to their fans who are currently battling cancer, and their loved ones.

I'm big on slogans, and I respectfully submit the phrase "Choppin' Wood" to embody the rebuild effort of the Saskatchewan Roughriders under Head Coach & GM Chris Jones.  He's used that phrase many times during this trying campaign and with his Riders apparently having turned the corner, maybe this is a slogan that could catch on!

8 - It will be interesting to see this week's CFL Power Rankings.  With three wins, the Riders have equalled the Montreal Alouettes and the two franchises are heading in opposite directions.  Now the #1 selection in the 2017 CFL Draft is up in the air.

And with their three wins, these plucky Roughriders have ensured they won't go down as the worst team (record-wise) in franchise history.  Anything from here on in is just gravy.

9 - Whispers: The 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders Plaza of Honor induction class will consist of Jim Hopson and Wes Cates.  Cates - the franchise's second all-time leading rusher and 2007 Grey Cup champion - wasn't available for induction in 2016 while Hopson's lasting legacy is New Mosaic Stadium.  It would be fitting for him to go in during the first season of the new facility.

10 - Condolences to the Calgary Stampeders and the family of 23-year old Mylan Hicks, the practice roster player who was killed in Calgary on Saturday night.  That truly is an unfathomable tragedy and it certainly puts things into perspective.

11 - Where has the time gone?  New Mosaic Stadium will play host to its first game this Saturday when the University of Regina Rams host the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in a 2:00 pm kickoff (620 CKRM, Access, Shaw).  I'm incredibly honoured to have been asked to host the television broadcast which will air throughout all of Western Canada.  And with the magical 3-1 start for Steve Bryce's Rams, it promises to be just a staggering day.

But stop asking me for tickets!  My phone's been buzzing out of control with friends trying to get last minute seats even though the game's been sold out for weeks.  Hopefully the City of Regina finds it in their hearts to open up some more sections before Saturday.  They'll surely sellout in a hurry.

12 - It's inexcusable that Friday's Regina Pats 2016 home-opener wasn't a sellout.  The Pats announced a crowd of 4830 for their 4-3 overtime loss to Prince Albert but it seemed like only 4000 were on hand.  Although the Pats lost, the game was an incredible display of speed and finesse mixed in with some physical play.

Regina turned the tables with a 4-2 win at P.A. on Saturday night and are now off until Friday when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Thanks to Marty Kline and the Pats for the gift on Friday!

It's amusing that other WHL East Division teams have jokingly annointed the Pats the "2017 Memorial Cup Champs" due to all of the boasting by us in the local media.

I said this will be the best Pats season in over 30 years and maybe it's because I've been in football so long.  I forgot the humble, "under the radar" nature of hockey people.  It's a long-standing football "thing" to puff out your chest and make bold proclamations.

But let me remind you that the WHL Broadcasters Poll also had the Pats as the runaway winners of the Eastern Conference.  Now go out and prove it!

13 - Five things that made me very happy in the past week: 1) Yoga, 2) The movie "Sully",  3) My first visit to Fresh & Sweet, 4) Pumpkin Blizzards at Dairy Queen and of course, 5) My new Pats jersey!

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THAT'S ALL! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO AT 4:00 PM ...
RP
@rodpedersen

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

RIP Arnold Palmer

G.Y. said...

How about those Vikings ...

Chris Hartnell said...

Is the first game at Mosaic available on the internet anywhere?

Anonymous said...

Hello from Cleveland, Ohio! Keep up the great work, Rod!

IMAGIRL

Anonymous said...

Go Pats Go, great jersey Roddy!

Anonymous said...

12) what's more inexcusable is the 15K that showed up to the riders game (yes I was there in sec 40). There have been colder and wetter games with more people so not sure why so many stayed home. But those who did show got treated to a good game. Kent Austin better get fined this week for his contact of an official. I'm surprised Rod didn't have a comment on that. The refs did make a bad call and TSN showed the riders doing the same thing so I get the fusteration.

Anonymous said...

Your browns just keep finding new ways to loose games don't they?

Anonymous said...

You comment on the Pats attendence but failed to mention there was less than 16,000 scanned tickets at Mosaic Saturday night.

Rod Pedersen said...

The Riders lead the CFL in attendance. Troll somewhere else ...

@mrt_man said...

Choppin wood... Taylor field is what 5 hours from any forestry or wood type industry? And the REDBLACKS already have their lumberjack mascot... so this might not be the one.

But I suppose bailing hay isn't that intimidating.

Ryan said...

I was at the game as well and while I have been to colder, wetter and windier games, I can't remember one that had all three as severe as it was. I was miserable by games end and I applaud everyone who did go. In terms of the bad call, it was a bad call, but this has been called before. Definitely once against Picard and I'm pretty sure Dan Clark has also been called. However, what likely go Filer the call was not the tilt but he advanced it again after he tilted to right on the first down line

Anonymous said...

You never let the Riders use injuries as an excuse all season long. Are you actually serious ??? You posted a chart that correlated injuries to wins and losses.

Anonymous said...

Choppin Wood is kind of close to what the REDBLACKS are doing with their Log after a TD. I know it's a chain saw... still!
I'm so glad we do not share similar team names with Ottawa anymore.

John Knight said...

To all you visually impaired commenters, Cats tilted the ball then moved ahead and tilted it again. Riders tilted it and left it there and DID NOT move it forward!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

is that guy actually trolling rod? or just making a valid point?
is it true what he's saying?
it wouldn't surprise me because i heard there was only 21 thousand at the riders/esks game last weekend.

Dean said...

I was at the game and it wasn't that cold.

I wore boots, jeans, ski pants, shirt, hoody, rain jacket, jersey and my toque. Dress for any weather and it won't be that bad.

I know one friend whose seats went empty because they said it was to cold and rainy. And they are on the 50 yard line 15 rows up!

Shame shame.

I watched a bit of the game afterwards on TV. I was so tired of hearing how many Tiger Cats were injured.

No mention of our receivers or o-lineman that are hurt.

All and all it was pretty entertaining game to watch. The fans that were there had fun and made some noise especially near the end of game.

I'm sure It was just okay on a warm comfy couch. But yeah shame on you if you live close and had tickets but stayed home.

Anonymous said...

To any team looking for sympathy for their injury problems, look somewhere else! The Riders were without their Franchise Player for the better part of 2 seasons! Not to mention all of this years injuries. The Ticats had the lead with just over 3 mins left to play, and the Riders, led by their "2nd String QB", marched down the Field, ate up all of the clock, and scored the Game Winning FG. This againts a Defense which to My understanding was unaffected by injury!!

Suck it up guys!!

PS. Chopin Wood, I like that! They should make Tshirts and sell them at the Store.

GO RIDERS!

Vito in YQR.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Willie Jefferson's twitter...Green and Gold with the double E posted all over his wall, seeing they released one DB today I am betting that the machine is on his way back to the Green and Gold

Anonymous said...

Dean said, "No mention of our o-lineman that are hurt."

Hamilton's injuries are recent LaBatte and Best have been hurt all season and should have been replaced long ago. No comparison.

I also heard during the Stamps/Bombers game that Calgary has started 10 different guys on their 0-line. Hasn't hurt them a bit, they're still blasting holes for Messam and protecting BLM.

Turk

Dean said...

Turk

How would you replace two veteran Canadian o-lineman in a season? Certainly this should of been taken care of the last few years through the draft but it hasn't. They are starting to be ok or just below average. With these two vets healthy they would be substantially better.

Both teams had significant injuries.

Are top two receivers 1608 total yards.
There two receivers 1660 total yards.

TSN only talked about poor Hamilton without Tasker and Owens. Both teams also have injuries on Defence.

And then the Riders have to finish the game with their BACKUP QB up against the top rated Defence and the Riders still win the game.

TSN was a bit one sided on this one.





Anonymous said...

Hey, the Riders lead entire league with p#ss poor team in paid attendance. If they didn't show up, who cares, the team has their money.

Anonymous said...

At half-time Saturday night youngsters from RMF were playing football on the field while on the Sasktel jumbo-tron highlights from the 2007 Rider Grey Cup victory were shown. I suspect that there may have been more than one of them who was born 9 months after that Rider victory.

Anonymous said...

In two games the Riders are eliminated from the chance of play-offs whether they win or lose…book it.

Lyle Pederson said...

'Shame' ? For not being at the game? It is not a requirement ... It's (great) entertainment. I say the league needs to address the schedule to accommodate a team that relies on travel at great distance . It means the long very late drive home or cost of a hotel. Not to mention how much the temp drops in fall evenings.

Christopher said...

Rod FYI

From the CFL regarding the procedure call
EXPLANATION OF CALL IN B.C.-SASKATCHEWAN GAME

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 - 02:38PM

Last Saturday evening in the B.C. at Saskatchewan game, we had an unusual call.

The Saskatchewan centre was penalized for Procedure for moving the ball forward on a second down and short yardage play.

The ball had been placed about 2 inches short of the 49 yard line. The centre picked up the ball and moved it forward by about 8 to 10 inches resulting in three BC players being lined up Offside. The Saskatchewan offensive line lined up on the advanced placement of the ball.

The Head Linesman who had observed the centre moving the ball threw his flag and reported his call to the Referee, and subsequently Saskatchewan was penalized.

I would have preferred that the Head Linesman had blown his whistle, thrown his flag and penalized as a pre snap foul, but he let the play go.

Regardless, it was a correct Procedure penalty. It would have been very unfair to have penalized B.C. for Offside when the centre's actions caused them to be Offside.

George R. Black
Director of Officiating
Canadian Football League