Well for a momene in the 2nd quarter, we had to be thinking "this can't be happening". I think when Simon got his first TD we all felt that the Riders would win the game, but it was annoying to be trailing at the half. The game was not as one sided as the score indicated, but I do think the Riders outplayed the Bombers by a pretty good margin. Now it's back to Winnipeg. Will the Bombers come out stronger at home or did they throw the best they had at the Riders in the first half last week?
Projected starters: Riders - Durant, Bombers - Goltz. Congrats Darian on winning the August player of the month award. In a weird way, it's almst good that he got that first int out of the way so he won't think about that anymore nor will he be asked. I thought there was a good chance that Boltus would be starting this week, but Goltz played well enough to earn another start. By Justin Goltz standards he was ok. All the offense he generated can be summarized with 2 big passes to Watson, one PI call, and a long run. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - Sheets, Bombers - Ford. The Bombers did a nice job on Sheets, particularly in the first half, but nice to see Kory stil grind out over 90 yards. Another thing that should not go unnoticed is I saw at least two occasions where he did a great job of picking up the blitz. I didn't notice Chad Simpson get hurt on Sunday but he's out this week leaving Will Ford to carry the mail for the Bombers He got most of his work in pre-season. If memory serves me correctly he's more of a smaller faster back than Simpson. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - Dressler, Getzlaf, Simon, Smith, Bagg, Bombers - Edwards, Watson, Denmark, Kohlert, Kelly. 4 TD receptions, one 100 yard receivers, and none of the above included the name Dressler. That shows you how well Durant is spreading the ball around right now. Even though the Bombers did a good job on Dressler for the most part, he still managed to make a huge catch in the fourth quarter. It's got to be tough to game plan this group, Cory Watson was the star of the Bomber offense with a couple of great catches last week. Terrence Edwards was pretty quiet. Jade Ettiiene is out (might be due to injury on the Miller hit) and a healthy Rory Kohlert is in. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - T - Fulton, Heenan, G - LaBatte, Neufeld, C - Picard, Bombers - T - January, Boatman, G - Swiston, Greaves, C - Sorensen. I don't know how to evaluate line play enough give any in depth analysis on how Tyler played on Sunday. Patrick Neufeld will be starting at guard in Chris Best's spot this week. He's not going to have to handle guys in space like when he played tackle, but we will see if he's strong enough to take on bigger defensive tackles. A lot was made about the Bomber d-line getting the better of our line in the run game. However considering the number of sacks the Bombers have had this year, they did a great job of protecting Darian. The Bombers line performed as I expected. They were pretty average. They couldn't get the run game gong and our ends in particular had a good day rushing the passer. Andre Douglas played his first game for the Bombers coming off injury last week, but he got hurt again. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - E - Chick, Foley, T - Shologan, George, Bombers - E - Hall, Mainor, T - Anderson, Turner. Is John Chick starting to heat up? He had a really good game in Edmonton and followed that up with 2 sacks Sunday. Good speed by Foley in chasing down Goltz on a play. Hilee Taylor is on the 46, and might make his way on the roster since we are back to 4 Canadians on the o-line. The tackles got in on the act too with George making a huge run stuff on second and short and Shologan providing the pressure that caused the first interceptoins. As I mentinoed in the offensive line secton, the Bombers defensive line did a good job stopping the run, but didn't get a lot of pressure on Darian. Edge Bombers
Projected starters: Riders - OLB - Brown, Butler, MLB - Williams, Bombers - OLB - Wild, Dunn, MLB - Muamba. I think Muamba was the main reaso the Bombers contained Sheets in the first half. He was jumping into the hole before our blockers could get to him. This was no more evident than on the safety. This guy is probably the Bombers MVP the first half of the season. The Bombers OLBs didn't really stand out to me. Rey Williams's play has been been scrutinized since the Calgary game. However in those three games since, starting tailbacks have run the ball 35 times for a total of 137 yards. That's under 4 yards per carry. If Rey's job is to contain the running game while the Butler and Brown are more pass defenders, then I would say he is still getting the job done. All three of our linebakers have played well since that Calgary game. Brian Peters looked good when he got in. Edge Riders.
Projected starters: Riders - CB - Harris, Miller, HB - Maze, Thomas S - Brackenridge, Bombers - CB - Johnson, Stewart, HB - Suber, Washington, S - Muamba. I jinxed things. I had writen this section on Thursday saying that with our secondary being intact the last few weeks we were getting lots of picks (6 in 3 games) and improving our passing stats. Anderson is going to miss this game with a leg problem. The debate can rage whether he's our best cover guy or not, but there is no debate that he plays a critical position on the defense. I am nervous with Carlos Thomas in there. When Coach Chamblin was talking about our halfbacks he praised Anderson's coverarge and said Maze had the best footwork. When it came to Thomas he said he's the smartest guy. That didn't fill me with confidence as far as his coverage is concerned. I think I would like to see Maze shift over, but I guess the thinking is not to make more than one change. For most of the game, Washington did a heck of a job covering Dressler....I assume it was him on Dressler most of the game. So Jovon Johnson plays with a chip on his shoulder when he comes to Regina does he? Could have fooled me based on how Taj beat him for a deep ball and had him chasing on at least one of his TDs. Mr. Johnson has had a major fall from grace the last two years. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - Jackson, Bombers - Ford. I thought Jackson would be a little rusty after being away from the game since November. He did a good job of attacking the ball and getting upfield. You can see the Craig Dickenson influence on the Bombers cover teams. They were very good on Sunday. Woods did a good job returning for the Bombers. The Riders will miss having Steinhauer and Neuman out this week. Fortunately Sam Hurl and Mike McCullough are ready to return. With Woods and Simpson injured, it's just a guess on my part that Ford will do the returning for the Bombers. If not, it will be Washington and Johnson. Both of those guys are good returners who weren't doing it due to being full time defensisve starters and the emergence of Woods. Edge Bombers
Projected starters: Riders - Milo, Bombers - DiAngeles. Congrat to Chris Milo on winning the August special teams player of the month award. Not much more to say about him. Sandro didn't attempt a kick last week. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - Schmitt, Bombers - Renaud. Renaud had a good game in Regina including that beautiful kick down to the 1 yard line. He did also get one blocked however when he double clutched. I got worried when Schmitt went off the field holding his arm when he got roughed, worried that he might have broke his arm or something. I was relieved to see him shaking it on the sidelines. Edge Riders
When the Riders have the ball
We all know we will see a heavy dose of Kory Sheets as usual. However I would love to see one of the following on our first play from scrimmage: 1. Play-action pass, 2. Halfback option, assuming Kory can throw the ball, 3. Flea-flicker, 4. Reverse. I think we could hit a big play if the Bomber defense comes out fired up and ready to stuff Sheets like they did in the first quarter last week. Or Cortez might take a page out of the guy from the Princess Bride and think "that's exactly what they'll expect us to come out with" and stuck with the run. We need to do something about Muamba and the trouble he caused with the running game. Usually when we go with play-action we either go to McHenry in the flat or Getzlaf on the corner pattern. If Muamba and the other linebackers attack the line, curl routes in behind them can be open too. If we hit a few of those, that might slow them down.
I gave Wshington the win in his matchup with Dressler last week. I dare him to do it two weeks in a row. There's no way the Riders shy away from Dressler on any matchup. My money is on him to have a better game. I was a big Alex Suber fan when he first came into the league, but his play has really tailed off. I think our slots can continue to pick on him.
Last week the Bomber really didn't get much pressure on Durant. Expect them to blitz more this week, even with the risk of leaving their guys in man coverage. Look for stunts and blitzes to come from Neufeld's side to see if they can cause some confusion on assignments. Neufeld can't get overpowered by the Bomber tackles cause that can really disrupt our blocking schemes in the run game. I alluded to it in my comment about the first play of the game, but being the 2nd half of the home and home we might see some trickery from George. We didn't see it in our last home and home with Hamilton, but we were going with the young QB in that game.
When the Bombers have the ball
Well I would have thought the Bombers would make more of an attempt to run the ball with Simpson, but that's a little more uncertain with Ford in there. I think a smaller quicker back like him is a better matchup for our defense. A little snooping on the Bomber site said that the Bombers were practicing more two back sets with Volny, so maybe they will make more of an effort to pound the ball. To be honest, with their offensive line, that doesn't really scare me. We might see more screens to get Ford in space and to slow down our rush.
I don't think anyone with any interest in football is going to be suprised to see the Bombers go after Carlos Thomas. I don't think Thomas is as physical as Anderson so if the Bombers continue to line up Cory Watson in that spot, they won't be scared to throw the ball up and let Watson fight for it. You might see them try and get Edwards on Thomas as well. When I look across the board, I don't see another matchup that they can exploit consistently. The Riders may try and help out with guys like Brown, Brackenridge, and Butler (when he drops) to try and help out Thomas if needed.
The Riders made an adjustment last week at halftime going to more zone than usual to counter what the Bombers were doing. I expect the defense to mix it up this week with a combination of both to try and confuse Goltz. We will have to see what wins out. The Riders confusing Goltz with different looks or Goltz looking better as he gets more comfortable with each start. I also think he might try and take off more for first downs so the Riders are going to have to keep an eye on him in hte pass rush. The way they spread the field and opened up the middle, I have a hunch that on that Goltz run, that play was designed to be a QB draw even before the bobbled snap.
No victory in this league is guaranteed or can be assumed. We saw throw a goot portion of last week that if the Riders don't come to play, the Bombers can beat them. The Bombers will come out even harder in front of their home crowd this Sunday and might have some increased confidence from keeping it close for awhile last week. However, the Riders are the better team. If they match the Bombers intensity and play solid football, they will win. The Bomber crowd has to be dying to have something to cheer about. If the Bombers have early success they wil lbe into it, and the Riders will have to deal with that emotion and crowd noise. But if the Riders can get the early jump, the crowd could turn too. Bottom line, the Riders should win.
My score: Roughriders 34 Blue Bombers 21
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