As Brett Smith's final pass fell in the endzone dropping the Riders to 0-7, Rod Pedersen uttered "I don't know what to say". Being the professional he is, he didn't drop a series of "F-Bombs" like many in the Rider Nation, but could you blame him if he did? What a frustrating night at Rogers Centre!
It was a game the Riders should have won and it should have been over at halftime, but it wasn't and the only reason why because of the stupidity of the guys with the "S" on their helmet. Yes, referee Tom Vallesi and crew were bad, but they were great compared to the Riders who inexplicably continued their run of terrible penalties and stupid penalties. Chris Getzlaf had two touchdowns taken away, a field goal was taken away and a Geoff Tisdale touchdown was taken away all in the first half. That is 24 points left on the board and every Rider fan knows that and every Rider fan knows it was because of penalties why this team is 0-7. Who is to blame for that? Corey Chamblin is preaching the message, but the message isn't seemingly getting through to these guys. Chamblin and staff draw the X's and O's, but the players are ultimately responsible for doing what they are supposed to and they are not. Some will argue they are not held accountable for their actions and that certainly is a valid point. At least they won't lose next week, but everyone of those players need to look in a mirror and start realizing they are not doing what it takes right now when it comes to focus and being mentally sound. I would expect this from a first year team or a team laden with rookies, but the Riders have a solid veteran element on that squad, and while I didn't break it down to see who was responsible, it seemed like a 50-50 split between vets and new guys.
What takes away from the undisciplined play was some positives. Brett Smith was outstanding in his 2nd start. He made one bad pass that cost the team six points, but he showed a lot of cool back there and he made a lot of plays with his feet. While we don't know what Keith Price and Blake Sims can do, we are seeing what the University of Wyoming product can do and that the future post Darian Durant may have arrived.
Steven Miller was brought in to provide some energy and he did. Nic Demski had a huge return and there was some pressure on the quarterback that we weren't seeing at the start of the year. The amount of missed tackles weren't as great as they have been. As I said, this is a game the team should have won had it not been for penalties and for that the Riders can only blame themselves as they head into their break. I think it is safe to say when that break comes to an end, this will be a different looking team as I think there are some players who will not be back either because of their play in the first 7 games or moves will be made as a rebuild to 2016 should now start. While I still think Chamblin should be the head coach, if there is any time that they are going to pull the trigger on a change, it will be now. If they don't, they won't be.doing anything until the end of the season and even then that may not happen.
As I watched the Bombers get thoroughly thrashed in Hamilton, I had to ask who is the better team between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan. The numbers certainly dictate its Winnipeg, but I think the Riders are the better squad and yes, the green glasses could be on. If those two teams played today, I think the Riders win. Is anyone in Winnipeg calling for Mike O'Shea's head yet? That team is bad and they have had their doors blown off three times this season. I do have to wonder if we have now seen the last of Drew Willy for a while. He has come back twice from what looked like bad injuries and he was helped off the field again yesterday. There is no doubting Willy has guts, but he also needs to sit down for a few weeks and get healthy or else Winnipeg will be looking for another quarterback.
When Alex Anthopoulos went out and got Jose Reyes, R-A Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and others in December of 2012, there was a lot of excitement amongst Jays fans. At that time, I questioned how players on teams that were under 500 were going to make the Blue Jays a contender and that proved to be right as the team did nothing. When Anthopoulos did nothing to improve his team's chances which went down the toilet at last year's trade deadline, I questioned what he was doing, but no one can question what he did this year and yes, Toronto baseball fans, you may be getting what you want. Barring some real unfortunate circumstances, this team should be playoff bound As Twins manager Paul Molitor said after a four game sweep this week " I don't know how you stop these guys consistenly." Having three good starting pitchers will help, but the arrival of David Price and Troy Tulowitzki have perhaps pushed the Jays over the top. The bullpen still scares me, but you could pick a weakness on any team that is playoff bound or close to it. Its how you avoid having those weaknesses hurt you that is the key for any team once the second season arrives. By the way, the Jays blanked the Yankees Saturday and Sunday---its the first time the Yankees have had back-to-back shutouts pitched against them in 16 years or a span of 2665 games.
I am guessing places like Jersey City and River City Sports are making more money these days on Jays jerseys and hats then they are Rider merchandise. I can't believe the amount of people I have seen wearing Blue Jays gear in Regina over the last month. On Thursday's Sportscage, there was a lot of baseball talk and people were texting in and commenting how much they loved the baseball talk. It is great to see people talking about the game and with the profile of the sport getting larger and larger in Canada, this will help. Speaking of which, you might want to head to Optimist Park or Currie Field starting Wednesday for the Junior under 21 National Baseball Championships. The calibre of ball at this event will be outstanding and it has seen some players who are now major leaguers like Russell Martin and Justin Morneau play in the past. I can't wait to watch some of the action.
The Regina Red Sox are within a game of the WMBL final and who would have thought that a couple of weeks ago. Regina took the first two games of the best of 5 Saskatchewan Division final in Weyburn setting up Game 3 at Currie Field tonight beginning at 705. Show the Sox some love and get out to Currie!
If the baseball season ended today, the Chicago Cubs would be the leader in every division except the AL Central and their own--the National League Central where they would be 3rd behind the perennial powerhouse Cardinals and Pittsburgh. ARGGGHHHH!!!
Bruce Arthur of the National Post may have summed it up the best with this Tweet.
It was great to watch the NFL again last night---albeit pre-season. It was also great to see former Rider Brian Peters come up with a fumble recovery for the Vikings in the game giving him just about as many turnovers as the Riders defence this season. SIGHHHH!!! That first pre-season game of the year where everyone is trying to figure things out and most guys are playing their first ever pro game had 14 penalties in it. Didn't the Rider-Argo game have that by the end of the first quarter?
I'm still trying to figure out how Jerome Bettis is an HOF'er though. I was never a Bettis fan and certainly didn't think he was a Hall of Famer. As for Junior Seau, he may be the best linebacker to ever play the game. He is the best in my time and that includes guys like Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary.
The Maxwell House-Keurig pods commercial is definitely the worst one on TV right now.
The defending WHL champion Kelowna Rockets hired Brad Ralph to be their new head coach. It happened Tuesday! That's the quietest head coaching announcement I've ever seen. Considering the profile of the Rockets, I thought more might have been made on that.
The boys (and girls) at High Impact Wrestling once again put on a phenomenal show Friday night at the Hungarian Club. The place was packed for their 20th annual Pile O Bones Rumble and the performers brought their 'A" game and that includes my boy Dalby from the WOLF 104.9. He's bitten off more than he can chew trying to get in the face of champ Robbie Gamble who made sure Dalby wouldn't win, but the big galoot showed he can hold his own in the ring. Attaboy Dalby!!
Golf's final major of the year starts Thursday as the PGA Championship gets going. It looks like Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson and others have their game ready to go which should make for a great event. For what it's worth, I've got Day winning. He has been so consistent this year that he deserves a major.
RIP Frank Gifford. I obviously never saw you play, but I watched you many Monday nights growing up with Don Meredith and Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. They were the gold-standard at the time.
That's all I got, Have a great week everyone!