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Regina Rams Football

Monday, August 7, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL


BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

The opening third of the season is in the books and at 2-4, this is already a huge hole for a desperate Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club.

Before looking back on what's happened, we would be remiss if we didn't remind everyone that this team has made considerable strides from what it looked like a year ago. The problem is that the teams the Riders are chasing continue to play well in a soul-crushingly good West Division. Any improvement has the feel of two steps forward, one step back.

Coming on the heels of yet another disappointing West Division road loss in Vancouver, many must wonder when this team will turn the corner.

To summarize the season to date: two wins (Toronto and Hamilton), two narrow losses where the wins seemed to just be snatched from their grip (Winnipeg and Montreal) and two blowout losses (Calgary and B.C.). It’s the road losses against the Stampeders and Lions that have Rider fans talking the most.

Saturday night was difficult to watch. If it wasn’t for a "Bend But Don’t Break" Rider defence, it could have been considerably worse on the scoreboard.

So, let’s begin with the Rider defence.

This is a unit that has made vast improvements from a year ago, but some of the same issues are popping up. Beginning with a defensive line that is in the bottom third in the CFL in sacks and pressures (and allowed B.C. to roll up a 200-yard rushing game). To make any headway with the West Division front-runners, this is the unit that needs to step up and be the difference makers.

Success with the front-four (or three depending on the package) will help to fix another blight on the defence -- lack of turnovers. This unit needs to create one or two more big plays a game for long-term success.

Those one or two big plays would mean a few more possessions a game for a Rider offence that has had a tough time finding the end zone. Kevin Glenn needs to be the man to help lead the way for the offence. He has earned the right to do this and is best equipped to do so, but help is needed.

It begins up front. Luc Mullinder nailed it on the Rider Radio Network postgame show that it was both the offensive and defensive fronts that should bear most of the blame for the loss in B.C. and in Calgary. This is an offence that is at its best (like most offences) when they can mix in the run with regularity.

Brandon Bridge has earned the right, at some time in the not-so-distant future, to start a game. Let's see what kind of quarterback he can truly be in the CFL. This is a pivot that is probably not the best (or even average) passer, but he may be the best thrower of the football in the CFL. Bridge’s considerable arm talent has always been on display when he enters a game.

Rider fans have seen him three times: the final game of the 2015 season in Montreal in his only CFL start against Saskatchewan, the final game of last season in B.C. and this past Saturday night (also, in B.C.).

In those three games, Bridge is a tidy 37-47, 454 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

But now is not the time. Kevin Glenn needs to lead the way through the well-publicized gauntlet of the next four games that will end with the Labour Day rematch in Winnipeg.

OTHER WEEK 7 NOTES

- Good for Hamilton to bounce back from their 60-1 loss a week ago and come ever so close to knocking off Edmonton from the ranks of the undefeated. The Eskimos continue to find a way and everyone is waiting for them to break. They currently have 18(!) players on the 6-game injured list -- nine of them Canadians. There will be a time when they slip because of injuries, but on the flip side, how good will they be when they have a fully healthy roster?!

- With the woes of the East Division again this season, there have been whispers on social media to have the league dispose of divisional play and go to a full league playoff format. It is logical to have the top six teams in the CFL make the playoffs but is it right, or good for the health of the league?

- Finally, welcome back to the CFL Ricky Foley! The Canadian defensive end was released by the Argos before training camp in May (more than likely let go before a bonus was owed) and was signed by the Lions early Sunday morning. The fan-favourite will be in Regina next week on the Lions d-line.


AMATEUR FOOTBALL

- A great weekend of football ahead begins with a game that all eyes of junior football will be watching. The defending Canadian champion Saskatoon Hilltops will make their way to Mosaic Stadium Saturday night to face the Regina Thunder. It’s a rematch of last year’s PFC semi-final that saw the Hilltops escape SMF Field at Gordie Howe Bowl with the 25-24 win. It’s a 7pm kickoff.

- CanWest Football camps will start to open over the next week. The University of Regina Rams first action will be on the road in Medicine Hat on August 23rd to face the Calgary Dinos while the University of Saskatchewan Huskies will head to Hamilton on August 25th to take on the McMaster Marauders.

A CANADIAN TO WATCH IN THE NCAA

Peter Godber – LG
Rice University
6’3” 300lbs.
Hometown – Toronto, Ont.
Class – RS-Sr.

Godber has been a mainstay on the Owl offensive line since his redshirt sophomore year starting 23 of 24 games. The only game he missed was last season against Southern Mississippi with a shoulder injury. It was also the only game he has missed in his entire college career.

WHAT TO DO BETWEEN GAMES THIS WEEK

This will just take a few minutes from your week, but head to Bruce Feldman’s column from his tour of NCAA media days. Specifically, the first entry about Purdue quarterback David Blough and his speech from the Big Ten’s annual Kickoff Luncheon. It’s why we all love football.
Link here.

Enjoy the week and let's have some fun Sunday night at Mosaic Stadium!!!!

(By RodPedersen.com Staff)

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

So the D-line is sub par, how's the A.C. Leonard experiment working out? Who's idea was that anyway?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that even though the @EdmontonEsks have a new Head Coach and GM they are 6-0 and in first place

Anonymous said...

Come on Pedersen what the Hell are you talking about on here. If the Lions hadn't sat out most of their 1st stringers towards the end of the game on Saturday B.C. would probably have shut us out by about a 45-0 score. How sickening every time B.C. got the ball they scored at least 1 point all through the 1st half and we couldn't hardly pick up a 1st down.
This team and this Coach will never get any better so when will they finally quit all the BS about when they will get better. Take the loss now, because it can't get any better this way.
Riders are beginning to be the Laugh Of The League and you know it.

Anonymous said...

If u direct someone to another column (Bruce Feldman) post a link to it. Don't make people search for it. U guys aren't that smart.

Anonymous said...

A rookie coach and a rookie gm mean little when you have the MVP on your team. Comparing apples to oranges. Quit stretching for reasons to complain over there....

Anonymous said...

2-16

Anonymous said...

May have been a bend and break defense but they still bent too much. BC moved the ball with ease the entire game. Again why are the Rider DB's always 5 - 7 yards off the receivers leaving them wide open most of the game. Why with 21-sec left in the 1st half and BC having 3rd and 4 from deep in their zone did our "HEAD COACH" not take a timeout????? BC would have been forced to punt, perhaps we get a decent return and maybe a shot at a field goal before the half. BC may have had 2nd stringers in when Bridge went in the game, but he still did things Glenn can't do. Like get out of the pocket and look down field for a receiver. Glenn would have sat there and taken another sack. Glenn is not the answer to get this team into a playoff spot. By not playing Bridge it shows that Jones doesn't think he has it. Well news for you Jones....Glenn doesn't have it anymore. Won't know what Bridge is made of if we don't play him, he should have started the 2nd half and he should be the starter this week.

CM said...

Disappointing. 24 games into Jones tenure and he has underperformed. The reality is its the same coaches who won a Cup in Edmonton. So its not the coaching, its the players. Put Reilly behind center and give us the EE D-line and Riders would be 5-1. When you look at Jones administration they aren't very good at a) recruiting b) drafting and c) arguably trading. Look at Recruiting, for LB's Jones works all winter and comes up with Sam Williams and Eguoven. Just watch the tape of these 2 guys against Calgary and BC. Brutal. BC loses Bighill and Roy/ Wally find Fenner and Purifoy. Stamps find Harris and Thurman. Wpg loses Bass and finds Knox. So Riders are much worse at find new talent. B) Look at drafting. Wpg drafts Loffler in the 2nd round. BC has Vallaincourt playing. Calgary has Singleton playing. EE has the cdn CB from Michigan State. All these guys were picked AFTER the Riders picked St John and Judge. Crappy drafting forces the team to rely on old players like Dyakowski and discards like Hecht/ Edem. As far as trading goes still blame Jones for such a crappy return on DD while Wpg got the first pick for Willy. Blame ODay for giving away Messam for a kicker! if you trade Messam do it properly and not to Calgary! Cripes. So on the GM/ player personel side this drives why the Riders can't compete in the West. They do have Carter and Jefferson so give credit to Jones for those two moves. Theyre your best players. 6-8 wins for Glenn max. it is what it is.

Anonymous said...

Not a rookie coach because that was last season but GM yes. So having one player which could be the MVP gives reason alone to be undefeated...think again. The Esks have 20 starters out and keep winning...yes Reilly is the best in the game but the coaching staff is a huge part to the success

Anonymous said...

So now you and Luc are throwing players under the bus. Whose fault is it that the Riders didn't run the ball more? Or throw some long balls to stretch out the defence? Or that we don't have a QB that can run the ball occasionally to keep the defence honest? Or don't keep an extra blocker on the line? Or don't allow the QB to change the play at the line if he recognizes a blitz? Whose fault is it if the defence runs a lot of 3 man rushes? Or the defensive ends often drop back into coverage? Or we don't have a defensive tackle that can do a straight bull rush? Come on, man. It is time to put the blame where it belongs: on the coaches and the schemes they come up with.

Anonymous said...

Well our rookie GM put Darian behind the worst Oline in the league with no run game etc and destroyed any chance of success.

DJR

Doug Mc said...

I think the Riders made a huge mistake hiring Jones as GM and Coach. In Edmonton he had the benefit of one of the top QBs in the league. 25 free agent camps this past winter and who have we to show for it. Seems that many of the players spent time on other CFL teams. And what about the cost of the camps. I would really be interesting in seeing the cost and the players the Riders signed as a result of the camps.
I think the sacks are also affected by how much the Riders use a 3 man front. In those situations, they drop back 9 and the QB has time to pick the secondary apart.
I have been a fan for over 50years, but it isnt fun watching the Riders anymore. I realize we cant afford another change, but I think things will get worse before they get better. I am embarrassed!

Anonymous said...

So Ricky Foley went to Vancouver for Rider party than signed as a BC Lion? Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.

Anonymous said...

Glenn has Calvillo quick release, use this strength, pick apart opponents defense. Dont make offense something they are not or cant be, this theory should apply to defense also, which is terrible by the way. Come on Rough Riders, your stinking the joint out with lack of spirit. Only bright spot is less penalties. And suggestion to the coaches, the great athletes you got obviously cant play your system, so dumb it down so as to not look like amateurs on game day.
Long time rider fan that just quit watching and listening to riders because i know the end result. I have better things to do with my time.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Glenn hasnt earned the right to anything. Waste of time! Move on. Stop pretending this team can actually compete. Play the young guys and find the next one.

Anonymous said...

Canada's team goes to 6-0 !

Anonymous said...

For a defensive guru Mr Jones is not much of a defensive guru.
Personally I would like to hear something, anything, from the man that started this mess, Mr Reynolds.
Dave in Medicine Hat

Anonymous said...

I like Kevin Glenn but he is not the answer to help the riders turn things around. He is too predictable and other teams know him all too well. Unfortunately with him running the offence we will be at best 5-13. I can't see us beating any west teams right now. History of the riders shows they don't develop young quarterbacks. Looks like this won't change anytime soon. T

Anonymous said...

The rookie coach & rookie GM have a lot to do with the team. The rookie GM did the draft and 6 of the 8 picks are on the active roster & contributing. How'd your genius GM do? Oh yeah, there's Bladek backing up that sieve of an OL (right, Luc)?? And there's, hmmm...oh, yeah. I think I see Judge over there on the 6 game. You might consider giving credit where's due instead of the non- stop navel gazing going on in Riderville. Fact is Jones hasn't got enough good players & the whole crew hasn't coached well. Deal with it. Oh, yeah...I guess you are.

Anonymous said...

The Riders are "beginning" to be the Laugh Of The League (LOL's)???....more like they've been the LOL's for many many years now......only 4 Grey Cups in OVER 100(!!!!) years. In an 8 or 9 team league for most of those years except when we had the US teams....LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

The best way to think about this season is one game at a time, one baby step at a time. This week is a home game against BC for the Riders. This is the best opportunity to take that step and beat an elite West Division team. Then as the step after, maybe beat one on the road, like Edmonton. Panic doesn't do us fans or the players any good.

Anonymous said...

Sadly here we go again about how we're better than last season. How we have great athletes and great character. How we're making progress, how we're 2-4 and all is rosy. It's demeaning to have people on soapboxes talking down to us. Telling us that the moisture falling on our heads is actually rain!

Glenn is old, small and slow but somehow it's the O-lines fault that he can't release his passes quick enough or he is too short to pick out his secondary receivers, or he is too slow and fragile to do anything with is feet in order to extend drives. Yup predictably he is being touted as our best if not only bet at QB. Shame!!!

Some people have followed the team for decades. Many understand the game very well. Many have played at some level. All are very passionate. Yet all are being treated like subservient mushrooms.

The freak show and parade goes on…...

Anonymous said...

Roughriders history franchise business model structure (B of D/other) doesn't work. Four CFL championships in a nine team league (sometimes eight teams) on a very long drawn out team history suggests this. Question to anyone, has there ever been former player/s (long line) sitting on that board? You would think a highly respected, highly educated former player/s would have over the top ideas on how to build a perennial championship team, or a team that continues on a consistent basis to contend year after year. The current business model to the Roughriders organization not conducive long term to the desired on field results, restructure needed asap!

TTTH

Anonymous said...

So TTTH are you suggesting that the Riders do a Sask Party move and sell off our crown jewel?

Anonymous said...

How about them Inuit!

Anonymous said...

Feel free to stop watching games and posting here move on with your life

Anonymous said...

Fans need to believe In the process, it's going to take more time then arm chair gm's like to believe. This team is better then it was last year, and I will bet anyone money it will be better next year then it is this year. Jones and staff took over a big big mess, popular players who were not performing up to big contracts, a good but not elite qb with a big salary who has troubles staying healthy and jones had to make some un popular decisions that rattled the fan base. Also being in the west does not make this rebuild any easier, bc Calgary and Edmonton are obviously the class of the cfl with Winnipeg just a step behind with everyone else quite far back. The riders would probably be a top 2 team in the east this season but unfortunately most of their schedule is against those strong west teams and it makes the record look worse then it is.

Wanna know a common denominator with really strong teams in the cfl and other pro sports leagues compared to the teams like the riders is continuing, and not changing out coaches and gms every other year. For those calling for jones job... then what? The riders start from scratch again and begin another 2 year rebuild while teams like bc and Calgary keep pumping them?

It's not going to be easy, complaining and being negative is easier then patience and believing in the process. There is going to be more tough games before the rider turn the corner.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if he is but I think it might have to happen if this team is to have sustained success. Providing we don't get a wingnut owner (see Cowboys)

Anonymous said...

Really Glenn was in b.c. For a year, to, That was enough for Wally.

Anonymous said...

These are the players that jones brought in, so don't blame the players, blame jones.

Anonymous said...

All excellent points. My concern is that they WILL turn that corner. ....and get hit by a train.

Anonymous said...

Excuses! So what, the west is stronger? We all knew that going in, did Jones not know that?

He doesnt know what he's doing as a GM and it shows, so why should I believe in his process? I dispise how he runs the team so its on him to change my mind, not on me to believe in a guy who has 4 titles and no experience in 2 of those roles.

Anonymous said...

Riders are what. 7 - 21. Under jones. So far , Less than moderately successfull

Anonymous said...

To the clown that keeps posting "In Jones we trust"

What's Jones done to earn your trust?

Anonymous said...

Excuses? Or is it a facts the west is really good (making the rebuild that more challenging) and jones took over a mess and is slowly improving the team he took on when he signed on to coach the riders?

What should jones have done or need to do to change your mind? What were your expectations of jones given the circumstances and challenges he took on when he signed up to coach the riders? What would you have done to make this team better then 2-4 to start the season?

Anonymous said...

The Riders were 10 points out of 4th last year, so the improvement had to be significant to catch up. This is assuming that the other Western teams themselves don't improve while the Riders do. All of the Western clubs have improved. Where the Riders fail is they run a lot of mini-camps, more than any other team, but can't find future stars - Holley & Edwards probably are exceptions & only 1 is still here. Finding talent from these camps was supposed to be a strength of this mgmt team. They also have little to show for their 2 drafts under Jones. Other teams have done significantly better - as mentioned above Edmonton has 6 of this year's class playing for them, some starting & doing well. Building by "buying" top free agents is expensive. You can only afford so many under the CAP. Jones' reputation with free agents hasn't been good. All except Gainey are gone from last year and many had public spats with the head coach. This doesn't help to attract talent. A new stadium is nice but Calgary which has maybe the oldest facility in the league doesn't have trouble attracting talent so new digs only go so far. Winning attracts more especially in a league where many make small bucks. That extra playoff & Grey Cup cash can add significantly to your pay cheque. No easy solutions but mgmt has to be able to find new talent themselves instead of trying to rely on buying talent developed elsewhere at premium prices. Jones, Murphy & company have had a poor record in Regina in that area so far.

Anonymous said...

Good point. I Suspect that the person who really deserves all the credit is still in Edmonton.

Anonymous said...

" IN JONES WE TRUST "

Anonymous said...

I am frustrated as anyone but firing everybody will not solve anything we would just be starting over again and it will be the same for another 2 years then the fans will want the new guy fired on and on it goes lets wait it out and see if they can come around this year yet. Tough to watch and tough to pay but lets hope there is some reward real soon!!!! If not then......

Anonymous said...

"What should jones have done or need to do to change your mind? What were your expectations of jones given the circumstances and challenges he took on when he signed up to coach the riders? What would you have done to make this team better then 2-4 to start the season?"

What should he have done?
1. He should have retained Durant. I don't buy that DD wouldn't return for a fair price. I believe Jones played hard ball and negotiated in bad faith, based on the reporting of Farhan Lalji and others at the time.

2. If he was bent on releasing Durant, he should have done that at the outset of the 2016 season. Starting over at the QB position going into the second year of the rebuild sets the offence's progression back.

3. If he felt he had to release Durant going into 2017, he should have come up with a better replacement strategy than Kevin Glenn or Vince Young. Absolute Joke. I get that Glenn is adequate, I'm not saying he isn't. However, I fully believe Durant's leadership abilities cannot be quantified via stats. DD knows how to lead and inspire his team and he knows how to win. Glenn isn't even in the same ballpark as Durant in that regard and that makes the Riders less competitive.

4. While I am less concerned with the releases of Dressler and Chick, I also feel a more concerted effort should have been put forth by Jones to retain them. A truly competitive team needs leaders who know how to work and win together. Keeping on some of the team's high performing, veteran leaders would have gone a long way to accelerate this teams ability to win games. I do not buy that they would not have stayed, if offered fair contracts.

What were my expectations of Jones given the circumstances and challenges?

1. Treat the players and organization with respect. The biggest reason I dislike Jones is not because he released Durant, Chick and Dressler. I don't like that he did that, but I can understand it. Had he simply stated that he is taking the team in a different direction and thanked them for their contributions to the team, I'd get over it much faster. He instead negotiated in bad faith with all three, and went as far as publically insulting Durant - Who WILL go down as one of the all time great rider QB's - on and off the field.

2. Delegate responsibilities appropriately - Jones's inexperience in running football ops is magnified by the fact that he refuses to relinquish full control over almost anything. Four titles is too many hats and he's not performing well at any of them as a result. We are now at the mercy of Jones as judge, jury and executioner on every single football related decision.

Those are the things I would have done to allow this team to be better than 2-4 right now.

Doc mayhew said...

Stamp fan for 40 yrs, no love for Riders but sad to see what is going on in Sask. at the moment. Believe you need a GM in the model of Hufnagel and leave coaching to Jones. Too many hats and balls in the air for one man, a QB is also on the short list, why not play Bridge, let him be mentored by KG and see where the rest of the season goes? A couple more losses and even a crossover is probably gone. Ken in Calgary.