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Monday, November 27, 2017

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: 105TH GREY CUP AND RIDER REPORT CARD


GREY CUP 105: TORONTO 27 CALGARY 24

In case you missed it the 105th Grey Cup was down-right entertaining. Toronto kept pace with the Calgary Stampeders via a pair of 100-yard plays. The first one coming early in the second quarter when Ricky Ray hit DeVier Posey on a 100-yard catch and run and then a 109-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Cassius Vaughn that tied the game at 24 with five minutes remaining in the fourth.

From there, it was shades of the East Final. Ricky Ray drove the Argos down and set up a Lirim Hajrullahu field goal to take the 27-24 lead. The Stampeders were able to drive down the field and were in position to tie the game, but Bo Levi Mitchell took an end zone shot that was intercepted by Matt Black to seal the game for the Argos.

Big congrats to Jim Popp and Marc Trestman on the turnaround for the double-blue and it must feel good for defensive coordinator and former Riders head coach Corey Chamblin.

That puts a wrap on the football season in Canada, now we will have to grind through the winter and wait for training camp 2018 in May.

2017 RIDER REPORT CARD

With the sting of the late 25-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in the East Division Final starting to fade away, it gives Out of the Tunnel one final look at what was a very good 2017 Saskatchewan Roughrider season.

The 10-8 record this season was five games better than one year ago. It is one of the top turnaround seasons in franchise history only bested by the 1988 year (11-7 after a 5-12-1 1987) that saw the Riders improve by six wins from the season before and 1981 (9-7 after a 2-14 season) when they were seven games better than the previous season.

To keep a complicated game very simple, it will be an old school report card by position group.

Offence:

Quarterback – B

Top Performance:
September 3rd v. Winnipeg – Kevin Glenn (22-26, 386 yards and 3 touchdowns. Three different receivers had 100-yard games)

Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge combined for a great season yardage-wise, but overall it was very average. After Kevin Glenn missed a couple of mid-season games, it was anyone's guess on who would finish a game. Glenn and Bridge rotated in and out of football games and in the East Division Final, it finally caught up to the Rider offence. This is the biggest offseason question mark for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Running Back – C

Top Performance:
East Semi-Final at Ottawa – Marcus Thigpen (15 carries for 169 yards, 1 touchdown)
The Riders had a league worst 82.1 yards per game rushing. There are three capable running backs on the roster. Cameron Marshall, Trent Richardson and Marcus Thigpen can all carry the rock, but the first two couldn’t stay healthy which drastically affected the running game. Also, the Riders will need more from one of their key 2017 free agent signings, Kienan LaFrance.

Receiver – A-

Top Performance:
October 13th at Ottawa – Duron Carter (11 catches for 231 yards)
Three 1,000 yard receivers (Duron Carter, Naaman Roosevelt and Bakari Grant) and not much else after that. Caleb Holley had a shade over 600 but what was missing was the contribution from a Canadian pass catcher. Rob Bagg picked up 383 yards and one score while Nic Demski was having a solid season before getting hurt during the Labour Day Classic.

Offensive Line – C+

Top Performance:
October 27th v. Montreal – Allowed just one sack, three pressures and had 175 total rushing yards.
This unit hit a spate of injuries with Dan Clark, Brendon LaBatte and Derek Dennis all suffering injuries during different parts of the season. The group allowed 44 sacks (third most in the CFL) this season and didn’t go a single game without letting up a sack. Running the ball more would help this group. Like every team in the CFL, Canadian depth is a key need in the offseason.

Defence:

Defensive Line – B-

Top Performance:
July 29th v. Toronto – Willie Jefferson (nine tackles and one sack)
This was Willie Jefferson’s breakout season, finishing with career highs in sacks (8) and tackles (45). This group was second-last in the CFL in sacks with 27 (but did have a mid-pack 106 pressures) but this is more indicative of a constant three-man front. What was missing was the book-end defensive end on the other side of Jefferson. A solid run-stuffer up the middle is also needed, as the defence let up almost 100 yards per game on the ground.

Linebackers – B

Top Performance:
East Final at Toronto – Henoc Muamba (10 tackles)
This group had an unsung solid season. Henoc Muamba had his second-best season as a pro and was able to stay relatively healthy as well. Sam Eguavoen bounced back from a devastating knee injury in 2016, Jeff Knox Jr. returned from the NFL and Derrick Moncrief was a pleasant late-season surprise. Add a healthy Otha Foster and Cameron Judge to this group and it may be the strength of the Rider defence in 2018.

Defensive Back – B

Top Performance:
August 13th v. B.C. – Ed Gainey (four interceptions, one for a touchdown)
This unit had the most question marks heading into the 2016 season and ended up being one of the surprises. Ed Gainey had an all-world season with 10 interceptions to go along with his 48 tackles (3rd on the team). The flip-side to this, if you take away Gainey’s interceptions, the defensive backs combined for another four (including Duron Carter’s late-season interception in Calgary). There needs to be more depth in this group to take the next step.

Special Teams – A

Top Performance:
September 29th at Ottawa – Christion Jones (6 punt returns for 139 yards and one touchdown)
Special Teams Coordinator Craig Dickenson had this unit cooking from day one. Tyler Crapigna was steady (save for the home opener) as was Josh Bartel while Christion Jones was the spark-plug the Rider return game needed. The cover teams were also on-point all season. They allowed just five punt returns of over 30-yards with one going for a score, and only one kickoff return of over 40-yards.

----

Canadian to watch in the NCAA
Tosan Agbeyegbe
Yale
6’0” 209lbs.
Hometown – Brampton, Ont.
Class – Soph.

One of the top defensive backs recruited out of Canada in 2016, Agbeyebe didn’t see any action for the Yale Bulldogs. This season has seen him play spot action in the Bulldog secondary with his best game coming on September 23rd against Cornell. In that game, he had five solo tackles and one knock down.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

27 comments:

CB said...

That's your GC report??? Nice reporting

Anonymous said...


Who were the idiots performing O'Canada? That lead-in was disgusting!

Anonymous said...


To those hating on the Riders for what RR did last weekend, he did it again. Guy knows what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

Some teams rebuild other teams hire Jim Popp/Marc Trestman 2 months before the season and there you go Grey Cup with more on the way.

Anonymous said...

Popp/Trestman reload without a blow-up. Instead of having a training camp for a year and a half they tried 'coaching'. Novel idea.

Anonymous said...

Calgary Stampeders: Presidents Trophy winner's two years in a row, and Grey Cup bridesmaids two years in a row!

Anonymous said...

Bo lived up to all my expectations

Anonymous said...

Jim Popp is a decent GM but does things that other GM's always get criticized for. Jim Popp is the biggest proponent of recycled veterans.

The biggest difference here is they had a QB. The last couple years in Montreal, no QB, so the team went down hill.

Anonymous said...

We may have lost but hey at least we're not from Saskatchewan so that's a victory in of itself. Riders suck, see you in 2018 where you'll be lucky to get a sniff of us in 1st place

Anonymous said...

would you offer any 2 players of Huff's choice for Bo Levi?

Anonymous said...

exactly Trestman coaches lol - basically takes the misfit bunch rallies them up gets himself a good defensive coordinator, quits the head games with Ricky Ray and there you go - 17th Grey Cup in Argo history. Best of all he beats Calgary which was loaded top to bottom.

Trestman is basically proof he can take his and beat yours, turn around and take yours and beat his. 6 years in the CFL he's been in the big game 4 times and won 3.

Anonymous said...

I waited all week to see Toronto beat Calgary and it was a bit of a shock to find myself feeling sorry for Calgary at the end of the game. Two Grey Cups, two losses. They were crushed. A twinge of sympathy for them. Then you hear one of the veterans of the team calling out one of the young players for his mistakes, pretty classless if you ask me. Loose with some class.

Anonymous said...

CB, don't like it, don't read it and stay away!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I have major coach envy. Cant help but respect how Trestman goes about his business and gets results. Fully Successful.

Anonymous said...

CBC is doing a story about how this was the most Canadian Grey cup ever!

I beg to differ!

In 2013, the Grey Cup in Saskatchewan had a Canadian half time show " Jacob Hoggard & Headley"; the game was played during a severe cold snap; and also part of the half time show was skidoos jumping ramps.

IMAGIRL

Ed Driver said...

For Me ? ... there are only two seasons in Canada .

When the CFL is playing
AND ... when it isn't ?

So now ... severe withdrawal ... anxiety attacks ... cold sweats ---
Will Medical Cannabis help /////


with blessings to all ...
The Rider Pope

Anonymous said...

30% of the NHL season complete and Vegas is so far ahead of the Oilers, there's no catching them now Edmonton. You always have your Eskimos tho.

Anonymous said...

Cory Chamblin the best in the biz on D yet again.

Anonymous said...

Two years in and Jones hasn't gotten us to "Western" playoffs.

6 months in and Trestman takes 3 win tea to Grey Cup.

Debate please!

Anonymous said...

To the "not from Saskatchewan" poster we are all glad you, McDaniels, BLM and your mayor are not from Saskatchewan.
You obviously have some green envy however as you and your friend keep showing up on this blog. Where is your blog?
Riders lost to a better team. Calgary choked! Again!

Leo said...

I don't know how many comments i've read from stamps fans saying that they finished ahead of the riders in the standings. what does 15-2-1 and 14-3-1 mean in the standings if you can't win the big game. Nobody remembers who finishes second. . I am glad that Calgary finishes first every year because it's sweeter when they don't win.

Anonymous said...

2017 RiderReport Card
Play by Play A+
Good play calling with enough homer thrown in to aggravate opponents fans
Color Commentator C+
A work in progress, annoying repetitive terms need to be limited
Pregame and Post Game Host B-
It's Ballsy he has to learn that stating a player is NFL caliber does not make him an expert when discussing players and the CFL.
Pregame and Post Game Guest Hosts A+
Intelligent and insightful observations from pros is a welcome addition.

Anonymous said...

Calgary has a problem in their dressing room. Always have. Usually they keep it hidden better, though.

Anonymous said...

Chamblin is not the best D-coordinator. He’s not even top 3. Give me a fricken break. If he was so good. Why did the defence that he and Taman built for 2014 rank at the bottom of every category in the CFL. He even hired a dude from Montreal (Greg Quick) to pose as a coordinator. When Quick was simply a positional coach. In SK he was nothing more than someone Chamblin could blame all the crap on. It was also Chamblin micro managing Richie Hall as a defensive coordinator. When Hall wouldn’t put up with it Chamblin demoted him and he left for Winnipeg. Greg Quick took over as the DC in Montreal this year when they fired the head coach and DC. Chamblin’s 2014 Defence completely under his tutelage and guidance stunk and sat last in every category in the league. They were putrid plain and simple.
There was luck involved in this years Grey Cup. The weather saved the Argos and the fumble was pure luck. The interception was Bo Levi Mitchel showing Canada that he is a hero. When in fact he’s just a loud mouthed schmuck.

Anonymous said...

To the above anonymous who said "Riders lost to a better team. Calgary choked! Again!"

WRONG!! The Riders choked just as much as Calgary did.

Trestman took a team that was 5-13 last year (same as Riders) to a Grey Cup champion. What did Jones do?? Riders are watching the Grey Cup from their couch.

Anonymous said...

I won't argue ad imply Trestman isn't a great coach but before you crown him as king and lambaste Jones, keep in mind |Trestman walked into teams with future Hall of Fame QBs!!! Jones inherited a pouty over the hill, often injured Durant....Calvillo and Ray are exponentially superior to what Jones walked into....for you educated monosyllabic Jones haters that big word means 'lots of times better'.

Morgan said...

Shania is also Canadian. Also, if I remember correctly, the cold snap ended the night before the grey cup and it was like plus 3 on game day.