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Monday, August 14, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL


Finally.

This is the collective thought of Rider Nation today, and more than likely the Saskatchewan Roughrider organization. A commanding 41-8 victory on Sunday over a B.C. Lions team that dominated the Riders just a week ago.

Everything that has gone wrong for the Green & White over the first six games of the season seemed to be righted for at least one night.

The defence led the way. They were able to get pressure on all three B.C. quarterbacks forcing them into a vast array of mistakes. Much of this was with the help of a Rider secondary that had their best game of the season, and maybe the best since early in the 2014 campaign.

Leading the way was Ed Gainey who had a once-in-a-lifetime game with four interceptions -- nearly doubling his total career interceptions -- once for a touchdown, a fumble recovery, and a pair of tackles.

Offensively, it was a workman-like effort. The offensive line kept Kevin Glenn upright and efficient averaging over 10 yards per pass attempt while not having a completion longer than 39 yards.

This was tied for the most points scored and least given up by the Riders in the Chris Jones era and is only the second time during his tenure that they have defeated a West Division opponent (September 18th, 2016 when they knocked off Edmonton 23-20 in overtime at home).

As the Riders head into the second bye-week flying high, many will pause to wonder: “So which Rider team will show up in Edmonton on August 25th?”

We will only know when they step on to the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium turf. Will it be the swarming defence and efficient offence we saw against B.C.? Or a Rider team that hasn’t defeated a West Division team on the road since Chris Jones took over the reins of the Riders? I guess we will have to wait and see.

This may be the most frustrating part of following this team during the 2017 season; at one time the Riders look like Grey Cup contenders, then a game later they are fighting to climb out of the West basement.

OTHER WEEK 8 NOTES

 - Edmonton continues their undefeated run while on the road for a 27-20 victory in Ottawa. It’s been repeated over and over again that it’s amazing the Eskimos can do that with all their serious injuries. It will be an interesting match-up next week when they visit a surprisingly good Winnipeg team coming off an easy win in Hamilton.

 -  The West could seal the crossover bid by the end of September. The Lions are currently four wins ahead of a one-win Ottawa team for that third-place spot in the East. It should be noted that the Riders would be tied for first in the East with Toronto at 3-4.

 - With only a single win in eight starts, the REDBLACKS' Trevor Harris is the CFL’s leading passer.

 - In a weird schedule quirk, just nine weeks into the season, the Riders will be on their second bye week.  B.C., Toronto, and Ottawa have yet to enjoy a week off.

LOCALLY

Interesting opening week in the PFC with all eyes on Mosaic Stadium for the first of two-regular season match-ups between the Saskatoon Hilltops and the Regina Thunder.

It wasn’t pretty by any means; the Hilltops were able to overcome a myriad of penalties in the first half (including four objectionable conduct penalties) to take the 22-8 lead at the half and cruised to a 37-20 victory.

The Thunder were handcuffed by mistakes all over the field including troubles between the long-snapper and punter, turnovers, missed tackles and dropped balls.

But … if you want to see a level of football where you will notice incredible improvement from week to week, it’s the Prairie Football Conference. It’s hands down the best junior league in Canada and will yet again win the Canadian Bowl for the eighth-straight time (unless the second coming of Andrew Harris is playing for the Vancouver Island Raiders).

If you want a little proof of the discrepancy currently between the PFC and Ontario Football Conference (yes, the BCFC is very competitive), look at the inter-conference games this week.

The Winnipeg Rifles and Edmonton Huskies went on the road and beat up on the Ottawa Sooners and Windsor AKO Fratmen (51-0 and 30-7). This may sting for the folks out in Ontario, but for the health of junior football in Canada, this is a good thing. Inter-conference games will improve the play in Ontario and hopefully build a larger appetite for players who can’t/won’t play USports football in that province to play after their high school careers are over.

The Calgary Colts knocked off the Edmonton Wildcats 18-10 in the other PFC game this week.

This week in the Prairie Football Conference:
Saturday
Edmonton Wildcats at Regina Thunder (7pm)
Calgary Colts at Edmonton Huskies (7pm)
Sunday
Saskatoon Hilltops at Winnipeg Rifles (1pm)

CanWest football teams have reported for duty this week, and so begins the long road to the Vanier Cup.

The University of Regina Rams will prep for a pre-season date against the defending Hardy Cup champion Calgary Dinos -- August 23rd in Medicine Hat.

The University of Saskatchewan Huskies will make the long trip to Hamilton to face McMaster on August 25th.

Out of the Tunnel will do a CanWest mini-preview before the season kicks-off on the Labour Day long-weekend.

A Canadian To Watch In The NCAA:

Sheridan Lawley - DT
University of Connecticut
6’4” 275lbs.
Hometown – Abbotsford, B.C.
Class – RS-Jr.

Lawley saw significant playing time as a redshirt sophomore in 2016 playing in all 12 games for the Huskies and was named the teams’ most improved player. He is pegged as the starter at defensive tackle for the 2017 season. After finishing his high school career in B.C., Lawley played a season of prep school football in New Jersey.

What To Do Between Games This Week:

With a few days between CFL and NFL games, let’s take a bit of a dive into football analytics:

If you want the deep dive, your first stop is Football Outsiders (www.footballoutsiders.com). It may be your only stop because it’s incredibly heady stuff.

For example, one of their staples is team defence efficiency or their defence-adjusted value over average (DVOA) system. It’s difficult to explain, so just head there.

If you want a little more of a CFL flavour, give TSN anchor, Derek Taylor (@DTonSC) a follow on Twitter. This is one of the rare Canadian sports media folks that truly loves the CFL. He loves it so much, he offers some interesting analytics and gives CFL fans some food for thought. Derek is on the right track to helping give a little more insight in the game.

Enjoy the bye week everyone!!

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Winnipeg Rifles

CM said...

nice game! hard to believe that is the same team that played the week before. All those new guys looked good (Moncrief, James, Jones and Campbell and Butler at HB). Oline way better with Campbell and without Clark. Hopefully the same roster plays the next game. They deserve it. Good job Gainey.

Anonymous said...


- In a weird schedule quirk, just nine weeks into the season, the Riders will be on their second bye week. B.C., Toronto, and Ottawa have yet to enjoy a week off.

This makes me think of an old army joke.

Drill Sergeant; "Who called the cook a SOB?"

From the back row, "Who called the SOB a cook?"

Anonymous said...

Would be interesting to know what considerations the people who make the CFL schedule have to deal with and who they are, where they are from and if they ever consider the Fans frustration with the weirdness.
As a Fan I too wonder how a team can be so bad and so good in a week.Can hardly wait to see what team shows up in Edmonton.

Anonymous said...

Man that Rider win feels good! Makes Monday morning a bit more enjoyable for sure! It was pretty huge from a confidance standpoint and the fact they win the series against BC is also huge. Just nice to see the team all playing at their best, hopefully everything starts to fall into place now. There can be no let downs now though, every game for them is a step closer to playing at the level of the top teams. What a motivational game though, did not see a blowout coming against BC although I had a feeling they might win.

Anonymous said...

Not a jones fan whatsoever, however I will say the Riders looked like a real football team last night. Grey Cup contenders though? Thats being VERY generous.

Keep in mind that Jennings was fresh off his first significant injury in the CFL, and he looked BAD out there. He threw up duck after duck and looked lost, tentative and lacking in confidence. Ill give the Rider D credit for making it hard on him, no doubt, but he was hardly bringing his A-game.

Next, the Lions got caught sleeping. They had their way with the Riders so easily last week that they looked past this game and paid the price. Did you see Wally blasting his team pre-game for their lack of interest?

There were a few variables at play here. If the Riders can walk into commonwealth or McMahon and put up that kind of performance, then the term "Contenders" is a little more realistic.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the negative bitchers today? All we hear after a loss is how bad we are and won't win a single game against the western teams. We may not win all the rest but even this one should shut up some of the Aholes

Anonymous said...

Wow. The best BC player was getting dragged all over the field by Gainer. Yes I am talking about the stuffed lion he was mauling.

Wally looked pissed. Good.

Go Riders Go.

Anonymous said...

Rider math:

With the win, Riders need to go 7-4 the rest of the way .... which would have to include sweeping Winnipeg. 10-8 record.

Winnipeg can only go 5-6 (end up 10-8) the rest of the way ..... or BC only going 5-5 (end up 10-8).

Having the season series against both BB and Lions is a must.

Anonymous said...

A ship at harbour is safe,
but that's not what ships are for.

Victory on Commonwealth turf, go Roughriders!

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind the schedule makers consult with the teams and the teams approve the schedule before it comes out. If there is something a team doesn't like they do have some input for changes. Plus TSN has other contracts in place that effect the start times of CFL games. Having said that, it is strange that with only 9 teams there isn't a way they can just rotate the bye weeks. At least this year they don't have many Sunday games after Labour Day weekend. CFL can't compete with the NFL for viewers so don't even try.

Anonymous said...

FAce it this win saved jones job - for now !!!!

Anonymous said...


My wife said there was long wait to go to the bathroom. I guess Melissa Fiacco didn't have to pee or else she would have posted a picture and made the Regina media squirm again over a non-story.


Ryan

Anonymous said...

Jones's job, was and is safe for several more years so give it up!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... all is quite with the riderville know it alls.

Anonymous said...

Get some class and quit with the name calling.

Anonymous said...

As one poster noted earlier that the CFL isn't playing many games on Sundays after Labour Day. I think the reason for that maybe that Bell the parent company of TSN and CTV are going to be showing a lot of NFL games on Sunday. Bell has lost the right to carry Sunday Ticket in Canada, it has gone to an internet carrier DAZN. Therefore Bell holding the cable rights is going to get around this by offering most if not all games on their cross Canada CTV affiliates and TSN channels on Sundays. So if you have a time zone pack to get CTV channels and have the TSN channels you should get most if not all NFL Sunday games so therefore less CFL on that day because TSN will be carrying NFL. Way less than the cost was for Sunday ticket and Bell hopes they don't lose subs to DAZN Sunday Ticket internet pack.

Anonymous said...

You don't see any negative comments posted prior to yours??? Put your glasses on.

Anonymous said...

Nothing worse than a riders fan on a ONE game winning streak ,they think they are invincible ,best team ever to be put on the field and they plan the parade route ,but it is soooooo enjoyable when they lose the very next game