(picture courtesy JC-Fotos)
I will admit I am at a loss for words after what I saw on the Taylor Field turf Saturday afternoon. Darian Durant may not be right when he says the team in the room right now is better collectively than the Grey Cup teams of 2009 and 2010, but he is right when he says the team is better than what they are showing. The talent level is there---not there in all areas, but its there. This team should not be 3-5, but the stark reality is they are and the hotseat is just getting hotter and hotter as the temperatures get cooler and cooler. Here are some thoughts from yours truly in no particular order over what I saw.
--I might not agree with what Durant had to say after the game, but I did like what I saw from him. As soon as we walked into that room, he turned around and asked very nicely if we could just give him a couple of minutes. No one was going to turn away from what he was doing and he was very gracious in answering the questions he didn’t want to answer. What impressed me the most though was two things. 1) He showed some leadership by calling that meeting. I’m not saying he wasn’t a leader before, but he showed us how concerned he is over what is going on. 2) He was pissed off and for good reason. He knows he is better than that and he knows the offence is better than that. He had a look to him after a loss that I haven’t seen before. There should be a lot of guys in that room pissed off over what happened Saturday. The time for play has come to an end. As Coach Chamblin said after the game, "If I have to chew you out to get you going, then that means you’re not self-motivated. They have to get going. They know what our purpose is, and that’s to win football games. Other than that, we’ve just got some guys, and they have to rethink, ‘Is this what they want to do for a living?’ It’s professional football, and you have to be the toughest guy on the block each and every play.’’ Did Chamblin do the right thing in chewing out his defence on the sidelines. YUP!!! It perhaps should have happened before it did.
--The pass rush was again not there.
--Why would I watch that again? Why would any member of the Rider Nation if they didn't have to?
--Why does the team use Kory Sheets at the start of the game, yet seemingly not use him in the 2nd half. Keep giving this guy the football!!!!
--Don’t get on Darian’s back over the interception. That was a helluva play by Charleston Hughes. That being said, Darian takes responsibility for the fumble. When it comes to his overall play, I didn’t think his receivers helped him any. Getzlaf, Smith and Hill all had drops that just can’t be had. It was good to see Durant run the football as he needs to do that to keep defences on their toes.
--For the 2nd straight week, I thought the Riders were victimized by a bad “roughing the passér” call. It didn’t look to me like the hit Odell Willis delivered to Kevin Glenn was bad although some have said he hit him with the crown of the helmet. I have seen d-lineman plow a quarterback in the chest with his head down before and the play has gone on. Once again, its discretionary, but once again, it’s a bad call---at least to me it is.
--Will this team ever find a guy that will be Matt Dominguez like? Brendan Taman has tried and tried with guys like Nunn, Wheelwright, Jarrett, Harper, etc. etc, but its not happening. That being said, I’m not seeing any other team find an outstanding big American receiver that plays outside over the last two years.
--Is it just a coincidence that this team has struggled on offence since Rob Bagg went down?
--It’s a bold statement to make, but I think the o-line really missed Ben Heenan and Patrick Neufeld.
--After not selling out the first couple of games, the fanbase has come through and sold out the last two. To sell out a game under weather conditions that were supposed to be worse remind us once again how much we love our professional football here.
Riders aside….here are some other thoughts
--In the words of Montreal Gazette writer Herb Zurkowsky (arguably the best beat writer in all the CFL), Joe Mack is a moron. How can the Winnipeg GM justify firing Paul Lapolice when it was him that lost Labatte to free agency, him who wouldn’t go out and get a quarterback to replace the constantly injured Buck Pierce, trading Odell Willis and not getting a player in return. The list goes on and on. What is going on in
--The Bombers are now onto their 6th head coach in the last 10 years.
--Former Regina Ram Akiem Hicks is a beast. Did you see him manhandle the o-line of the Houston Texans in the 2nd half of the Texans-New Orleans game Saturday night? He even got a lot of love from CBS announcers Ian Eagle and Phil Simms. Its great to see the Rams have two grads in the NFL in Hicks and Jon Ryan. I hope someone connected with the Rams gets a print of those two when
--The Regina Rage were beaten 41-18 in the Lingerie Football League
--Speaking of the LFL, apparently their TV play by play guy is former WDIV and CNN Headline Sports anchor Van Earl Wright. Do you remember him? He certainly had a schtick in his hey-day.
--I miss WDIV on the Access cable package. For that matter, I miss WCCO out of
--Thumbs up to Weyburn’s Graham DeLaet. He had the round of the day in the final round at the Barclays shooting a 6 under 65 to give him a 72 hole total of 5 under 279 good for a 5th place tie and a payday of 281 thousand dollars. That vaults him way up the FedEx cup leaderboard as he will go into next weekend’s Deutsche Bank Championship sitting in 44th place. It would be outstanding if DeLaet could somehow find his way into the top 30 and play in the Tour Championship.
--It would sure be nice if “The Golf Channel” and “CBS” would perhaps recognize the accomplishments of DeLaet. Sunday morning as TGC was exiting its 4th round coverage, they gave their shot of the day to Tiger for an approach on 2 that came within a couple feet of the cup. This even though moments earlier DeLaet had holed out from 155 yards for eagle on 15. When CBS came on, they blew right over his 65 to tell us how others were doing. I guess if he were American it would be a different story, but still.
--What has happened to Tiger Woods’ game on the weekends? Is conditioning a factor? He just fades on the weekend now and that certainly didn’t use to be the case.