Realty One

FAMOSO MONDAY NIGHTS

Access

Monday, July 9, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: BACK ON TRACK?

CFL.ca
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

There have been a few beautiful days since the Saskatchewan Roughriders evened their record to 2-2 on Thursday night.

The 18-13 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats victory wasn’t pretty, but this team isn’t built to win pretty games. Even last season their winning formula was getting pressure on the quarterback, creating turnovers, not turning over the football and doing just enough on offence to win.

That was exactly what the Green and White did on Thursday night. The pressure on Jeremiah Masoli forced him out of the pocket and made him uncomfortable. The Riders won the turnover battle 2-1 with the two forced turnovers leading to 10 points (the wonderful big-man touchdown by Charleston Hughes and the Tobi Antigha interception turning into a field goal). The only turnover by the Riders was the Brandon Bridge fumble at the goal line.

And finally, the quarterback play wasn’t pretty,  but it was incredibly safe and there were no interceptions thrown.


PizzaPalooza is on at Famoso
Other Things That Stood Out:

- The addition of Mic’hael Brooks has completely changed the defensive line. In Week 2 without Brooks, Ottawa's William Powell ran for 94 yards in a Redblacks victory. In the past two games, the Rider defence has only allowed 128 yards on 33 carries for a paltry 3.9 yards per carry. 60 of them were by Jeremiah Masoli running for his life on Thursday night.

- The offensive line is slowly improving. There were three sacks given up on Thursday night and running backs had a tough time finding their ground. But as we saw with the Marcus Thigpen touchdown run sealing the game, a great run is set up by more than just the offensive line, but a total team effort.

- Josh Stanford is slowly emerging as a solid option for whoever is leading the Rider offence. The third-year Canadian pass-catcher from Kansas and Virginia Tech has had a reception in all four games this season and is third on the Riders with a 14.6 yard per catch average.

With the defence playing lights out football, the offence does need to improve, and quickly.

The offence has been so anemic that the Riders are one of only two teams (B.C. being the other) without a 100-yard rusher, 100-yard receiver or a 300-yard passer in a game.

Including the preseason, the Riders have broken the 20-point plateau just twice in six games.

The offence is averaging just one touchdown per game. It’s to the point that the defence almost has as many touchdowns as the offence (4-3).

This makes the next five weeks incredibly important. This week the team gets their first break since the beginning of training camp and have a little extra time to prepare for a difficult three-game stretch.

It begins in Hamilton where Tim Horton’s field has become a difficult place to play again. Next up, the currently undefeated Calgary Stampeders pay a visit to Mosaic Stadium and they have all the signs of having the tools to make the Riders life miserable; great offensive line and defensive line play. It finishes with a road game in Edmonton against a very beat up Eskimos club before another bye week.

In the scope of a season, it looks like an inconsequential stretch, but a slip-up here would make a very grueling middle part of the schedule much more difficult. After the game in Hamilton, all but three games are against West Division foes.

CFL Notes:

- There have been many blowouts this season, but this week finally saw a pair of games come down to the wire (the Rider win, and Toronto's 20-17 triumph over Edmonton. Overall, the parity many pundits saw coming looks like is coming true.

We will begin to truly see how much parity there is once divisional play begins in earnest. There have been just four divisional games played thus far in 2018 and true divisional play on all fronts won’t begin until Week 8 when all four games will see rivals face each other.

- There may have been some in Rider Nation watching the winless Toronto Argonauts knock off the Eskimos 20-17 in James Franklin's Coming Out Party and wondering what could have been?

The hot topic off the field in 2017 was where would quarterback James Franklin end up. The former Eskimo was entering free agency and the majority of the rumours had him coming to Saskatchewan.

In the end, he was traded to - and then signed by - Toronto and, with the injury to Ricky Ray, may have been the biggest acquisition of the off-season.

- It’s been a common thread on Out of the Tunnel; we love ground and pound football. This past week, there were three more 100-yard rushers to push the total amount of 100-yard rushing games to seven. The team’s record when they have a 100-yard rusher? 6-1.

Pound the rock.


Canada West Notes:

- The Canada West football season is just eight weeks away, and the preparation for the season preview begins.

One thing that stands out is that it might be the year of the quarterback.

Every team will have their starter back from a season ago. All are dynamic throwers.

Michael O’Connor of the UBC Thunderbirds and Noah Picton of the Regina Rams are the two well-known stars of the conference and have been at the top of the Canada West passing leaders for the past three seasons.

2018 saw the two quarterbacks in Alberta have break-out seasons. Calgary Dinos pivot Adam Sinagra was the top-rated passer last season while Brad Baker of the Alberta Golden Bears led his team to a surprise playoff berth.

Saskatchewan Huskie quarterback, Kyle Siemens is one of their all-time greatest passers and the Manitoba Bisons will return a pair of solid throwers. Des Catillier took over from the veteran Theo Deezar in the final two games of the season almost knocking off UBC and defeating Saskatchewan.

It will be a great year in the Canada west.

- The big news of the week is Nick Cross signing with the Okanagan Sun of the BCFL. Cross had his Canada West Rookie of the Year and all-star nod taken away from him a few weeks ago because he tested positive for marijuana.

Cross joins former Rams teammate Nicholas Dheilly who according to the Chilliwack Progress, joined the Sun in mid-June.

Canadian to watch in the NCAA:

Thomas Jack-Kurdyla
G – Buffalo (Jr.)
6’4” 302lbs.
Montreal, Que.
High School – Vanier College

Kurdyla has started 20 of 22 games at right guard on the Buffalo Bulls offensive line since his freshman season in 2016. He is one of six Canadians that played in the Bulls 2018 spring game.

He is a part of a group of 2016 Canadian high school recruits that are starting at over 10 NCAA FBS schools.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)

9 comments:

Football Fan said...

Are we completely back on track? No, but we're 2/3 of the way there. The defence and special teams are there. The offence has two problems, the OL and the QBs. The OL is getting better as it heals, and hopefully JSJ will be ready soon. Has anyone done an interview with Schram yet? He was rated as a mid first round pick before the draft. He was picked in the middle of the second round, and didn't progress much in Hamilton, leading to his release. If he can get it together he could be a good player.

The QBs are the harder problem. With Collaros injured and Bridge struggling this is a worst cast scenario for us. When will Collaros be back? Are there any trades out there? At the end of the year Mike Reilly is a FA. Getting Chris Jones signed up to a long term deal has to be the first priority, but if we can make that happen I think Reilly is getable.

Dion Rogal said...

Back on track ? Seriously? Your riders had one good run and one fumble return for a touchdown that won you the game sure the defence played ok but your offence was seriously brutal,they wouldn't scared a high school team .Longggggg ways to go yet

SWC said...

The lousy offense is a direct spin-off of the O-line. Are the players that bad or is the problem the coaching, the OC in particular?

Scott Thompson said...

Not back on track yet, but st least they’ve found the tracks. If the defense continues to keep us in games we’ll be ok. The o line still has a lot of work to do, but they’ve shown steady imorovment which is encouraging. With better play from the o line the qb play will improve. Looking forward to the next game to see what we took away from the last one. Go Riders!

3RD and 1 said...

You didn’t even read the article, did you Dion. That’s what was said. Just not in such a juvenile way. There was a couple other areas that were as bad as the offence. They have been corrected. The offence has not. If you read the article you would have known that and wouldn’t have had to post your comments.

3RD and 1 said...

I sure hope everyone that thinks Reilly is going to free Agency will just forget about it. Mike loves it in Edmonton. No one is going to offer anymore than what he’s making in Edm. They traded for him and he has turned himself into a perennial all star there. He isn’t going to leave any more than DD would have in the middle of his SK QB career.
Mike Reilly will be resigned well before he ever goes to FA

Shane Newton said...

Special Teams and D won that game, but I am confident that the O will get things worked out. Go Riders.

Newt from YQR

Tsn Sports(Not Real) said...

The offensive talent on this team is as good as it’s been in years and right now we don’t have a qb to deliver the football. Durant never had the debth at receiver that this team currently has. Here’s a crazy idea, let’s get Durant out of retirement until the riders can find a reliable replacement. I’m sure given the opportunity, he would definitely do it!! Anything beats this two quarterback bs.

Football Fan said...

@3RD and 1, the clock is ticking and he hasn't signed yet. Meanwhile Edmonton is regressing under Maas and Sunderland and he's taking a pounding behind that porous Edmonton OL. And players like playing for Chris Jones. And Reilly has moved teams before, from BC to Edmonton. And Reilly has won a GC with Jones before. There are lots of reasons why he might be very happy to come.