Yes it was a win over an out-matched Eskimo team with a rebuilt offensive line and over 10 new starters. However a win is a win, and the Riders left no doubt as to who was the better team. How many times have we seen this franchise in a game like that either lose or escape with a narrow win that leaves everyone concerned? Thanks to convincing wins by the Riders and the Stamps over the Lions, TSN gets a beauty early in the year for their Friday Night matchup. We as fans get a night game that we want so badly. Get ready everyone, this is about as good as it gets early in the year. By the way, listening to Cory Chamblin, I think we are already seeing the signs of a maturing Head Coach, or a guy who thinks he doesn't need to do anything extra to get his team up. He referred to an early season game vs the Lions last year as "the big ticket" and played it up as a big game. Then there as the guarantee game with Cornish. No such thing from the coach this time around. On to the matchups.
Projected Starters: Riders - Durant, Stampeders - Tate. Both QBs got off to excellent starts for their teams throwing 6 TDs and only 1 pick between the two of them. Even that interception was a bit of an unfortunate bounce for Tate coing off a tipped ball. Due to the sucess along the ground and the big lead, the overall yardage total was pretty modest for Durant. Similar thing for Tate with only 27 attempts. Both guys didn't run much either. Not a lot to chose between the two based on last week, but overall I'll still take Durant. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - Sheets, Stampeders - Cornish. These are two of the premeir backs in the CFL and they both got off to great starts. Both guys got some great play from their lines, but you still have to be a talented back to gain the kind of yards we saw. I don't want to use the term fullback because both teams employ that position more as an HB back where they will line up in the backfield or at TE. The Riders use McHenry in this role and Calgary uses Cote. When I look at Sheets and Cornish, I don't physically see one as better than the other...right now anyway. In the picture, Cornish will always be considered more valuable, due to being a Canadian. Physiscally I call it a saw-off. Even
Projected starers: Riders - Dressler, Getzlaf, Smith, Bagg, Riley Stampeders - Lewis, Price, West, McDaniel, Arthur. I think after that Western Semi Final performance, a lot of us hoped Greg Carr would pick up where he left off. Instead he joins guys like Elijiah Thurmon and Mark Guy as players who had the one shining moment in a playoff game and not much after. With Geroy Simon still not healthy, it appears Eron Riley will get his first action. Great to see a Rider passing attack success with Getzlaf and Smith leading the way and not needting to lean on Dressler. Calgary's impressive newcomers from last year, Price and West, showed that they aren't likely to suffer a sophmore jinx. They combined for Tate's 3 TD passes. Nick Lewis is always reliable and a load to tackles as we are all too familiar with over the years. McDaniel and Arthur are decent 4 and 5 options. Edge Stampeders
Projected starters: Riders - T Fulton, Heenan, G - Labatte, Best, C - Picard, Stampeders - T - Bryant, Federkeil, G - Gott, Tsoumpas, C - Jones Calgary has probably established themeslves as the premier line in this league. The two big surprises right now are the come back by Federkeil and Jones. I know that many of you are probably cringing at the Riders being scared of by Jones's med school aspirations. I guess the Riders respected his intelligence too much. They thought the kid's chances of getting in was good, while the Stamps didn't. ;). The Riders had their own pleasant surprise in the way Ben Heenan performed. Going up against Howard and Willis in his first ever pro start at tackle, after being thrown in there a few weeks ago was impressive. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, there will be some growing pains as he develops at that spot, but that was a good start. Brendan Labatte was absolutely mauling guys in the running game. There are some really good guards in this game with him, Best, and Tsoumpas who is probably the best in the league. Edge Stampeders
Projected starters: Riders - E - Chick, Foley, T - George Shologan, Stampeders - E - Hughes, Lemon, T - Johnson, Turner. For a minute let's forget that Edmonton has a crappy o-line and enjoy the performance by our guys. Even though they didn't get sack numbers, Chick and Foley constantly brought pressure from the outside forcing Reilly to step up. Keith Shologan said "thank you very much" and was the beneficiary of this. The line should be better this week with George back in the lineup. The good news for Calgary is that Charleston Hughes picked up where he left off last year with three sacks. They also seem to be getting something out of castoff Sean Lemon. What this guy has done the last two years, really makes me wonder about the coaching ability of Mike Walker in Regina. The bad news for Calgary is the loss of Corey Mace. They are either going to have to change the ratio and go with Demonte Bolden or Kevin Huntley or live with Junior Turner at DT in Mace's place. One last piece of friendly advice for the Stamps d-line. Lose the Gangan style dance. That is sooooo 2012. Hughes is arguably the best lineman in this game, but I like the Riders talent across the board. Edge Riders
Projected starters: Riders - OLB - Butler, Brown, MLB - Williams, Stampeders - OLB - Jackson, Hefney, MLB - Simpson. Well after week 1, the experiement at linebackers with Butler and Brown was a success. It will be a much bigger test this week against the Stamps line and running game. The positive was both guys acquited themselves well making plays against the Eskimo running game. If this works, it will be a huge advantage for our defensive having two linebacks who can cover slots. Rey Williams had a good game in the middle including taking advantage of the bonehead playcall by the Esks before the half. Juwan Simpson and Malik Jackson are solid at two of the three linebackers spots for the Stamps. Jonathon Hefney replaced the injured Keon Raymond and led the Stamps in tackles. Is this what they can expect from Hefney all year or was a lot of it the result of him being jacked up for his first game with the Stamps? Edge Stampeders
Projected staters: Riders - CB - Harris, Miller, HB - Turenne, Anderson, S - Brackenridge, Stampeders - CB - Bennett, Brooks, HB - Smith, Wall, S - Morley. A solid game by the Rider secondary was unfortunately overshadowed by the Dwight Anderson incident. The sad part was up to that point he had been playing a good game. Fred Stamps got one big pass, but that's going to happen against a receiver of that calibre. Until we got into garbage time, our secondary shut down the Eskimo attack. Losing Maze this week is a blow, but I don't think Carlos Thomas being out is an issue. Prince Miller takes over for him at corner which is a move I was anticpating at some point anyway. Turenne had a good pre-season by all accounts but he's a step down from Maze. Either BC's new look receivers aren't as good as advertised or the Stamp defenders did a good job of shutting them down. It might be a bit of both. Only Arceneaux had any kind of success on them last week. I see a strking similarity between the short side corners on both teams, Harris and Bennett. Both guys are big and physical. Something you don't normally see in CFL corner. If the Stamps go with Boldon to replace on the line, thery may have to go with Eric Fraser at safety. I had the Riders with an edge here until Maze got hurt. Even
Projected startes: Riders - Sanders, Stampeders - Taylor. Sanders was getting a good 10 yards per return in the first half, but didn't get much going in the second half. Larry Taylor is a proven dangerous returner. Although the returns weren't great, the Riders coverage units were fantastic. I thought I read someone say on the site they were disappointed with that part of our game, and I really don't get that. The coverage was good, and they created a turnover. Edge Stampeders
Projected starter: Riders - Milo, Stampeders - Parades. Milo was prefect but with 3 converts and a chip shot field goal, that doesn't mean we can all breath a sigh of relief just yet. Parades is one of the best in the league. It's incredible that Calgary was able to scoop him up following the injury to Maver in 2011. Edge Stampeders
Projected starter: Riders - Schmidt, Stampeders - Maver. I was one of the people really not convinced about the merits of using an import specifically to punt and kick-off. The way I saw it, if we were going that route, the guy given the job better be something special and at or near the top of the league at his job. Holy crap, Schimidt is that and then some. Watching him hammer those kickoffs down to the 5 was a think of beauty. His punts were very good too. I couldn't help but notice that even when the coffin corner kick didn't work, that thing went 60 yards in the air based on where it bounced in the endzone. The only thing stopping me from giving him the edge over Maver is he only did it in one game so far. The only thing I am concerned about is with an inexperienced punter (for the CFL game) and upbacks, are we suceptible to a block? Even
When the Rides have the ball
This section could also have been titled Safe Sex, since we are going to be talking a lot about protection. Of course the RIders will try and establish the run like last week against Edmonton. On paper, the Esks front 7 is as good as Calgary's so there's no reason to think we can't be successful. We ran Sheets to the right and left last week so look for the both on Friday too. Run at Hughes and make him work versus the run game to try and slow down his pass rush. With the early lead we didn't need it against Edmonton, but look fo some plays with Sheets and Sanders together on Friday. Last year, Sheets had success against Calgary catching passes. Combine that with Cortez wanting to use him more in that role, and I would expect a lot of this. We saw this in the pre-season too.
Swithing to the passing game is where the protection talk comes in. Too bad there's noone on the line from USC so that I could work a Trojan joke in here. Charleston Hughes has been wrecking havoc with us for a couple of years, so him doing it was no surprise. It did surprise me to hear how well Lemon played. Heenan and Fulton are going to have to step up and have big games. We didn't need to give Heenan as much help as anticpated, but if needed we can bring McHenry in as an H-back or go with the two tight-end set. The 2 TE set is considered a running set but we got one of our bigger passing plays out of that set to Getzlaf using play action last week. Look for the Stamps to come with a lot of stunts and blitzes. The Riders have had trouble with this from the Stamps. We need Picard to make the right calls and switches. Plays like the crossing route to Taj Smith takes time to develop and requires the QB to hit the receiver on the fly. We need Darian to have time to wait for the pattern to develop and be able to deliver the ball unharassed.
I'm not sure this early in the year on where the Riders have a good matchup, but Dressler had a lot of success against the Stamps last year. It would be really nice if Getzlaf went back to his Stamp-killer play from 2008-2010. Different team but Jonathon Hefney has trouble the last two years in Winnipeg with our slots, particularly Dressler. If we can get that matchup, it could be big for us. It sucks to have Simon out again, but I am excited to see what a newcomer like Riley can do. Maybe he can play that big receiver role in the way we kept hoping Greg Carr would.
When the Stamps have the ball
Jon Cornish has been the centre of conversation this week and for good reason. He picked up where he left off last year and ran all over the Lions. It's hard to stop a back like Cornish but the Riders need to limit him so that he's not ripping off 7 and 8 yard runs on first down consistently. This will be the first big test for our DB turned LB's Butler and Brown. They have shown that they are willing to play physical and played the run well last week. The problem will be if Calgary linemen are able to fire out to the second level and get to them. We need our D-line to give the offensive line problems. We will need Rey Williams to have a big game as well. Look for the Stamps to go to a TE set with Cote to try and get bigger blockers on our outside backers. Particularly if Cornish isn't having success early.
Shutting down Cornish doesn't automatically win you the game. In fact, the Riders shut him down in the July game last year, but it was the inablity to stop the Stamps passing attack when it mattered that cost us the win that day. As long as Cornish isn't ripping off big yardage consistently, we'll be ok. But we can't allow big plays in the passing game. Going by memory, it seems to me that Tate had most of his success against us when he gets outside and then throws the ball up. I think this happened on his TD passes in the WSF last year. We need Chick and Foley to get upfield pressure forcing Tate to stay in the pocket. Even though Brown and Butler could be a potentially liablity vs the run, they should be ideal vs Nik Lewis running those crossing routes. Both guys have DB spped so they should be able to run with Lewis, and they are phsyical so they can hopefully bring down Lewis when they get the chance. Hopefully noone tries to tackle Lewis the way Thomas tried to make that ridiculous shoulder tackle last year. You just look silly trying that against the Lewis.
Receivers like West and Price are physical guys who showed the ability to go up and get the ball last year. It's nice to have physical defensive backs like Harris and Anderson, now as this used to be an area where we got outmuscled in recent years. I liked seeing the big hit by Brackenridge separating the ball from Koch last year. He's going to have to make receivers aware that he will take their heads off in the middle. Update: With the changes in our secondary, look for the Stamps to try and attack the wide side of the field.
You don't want to call a game this early in the season a must game, but it is a big one. Winning on the road in a place like Edmonton is someting the Riders had to do in order to compete for a minimum second place and a home playoff game. If we want to challenge for first in the West, we need to take care of business in our home games against Calgary and BC. No a loss to Calgary doesn't end the race in week 2, that's silly. However a loss tomorrow means the Riders will have to sweep in Calgary to get the season series. It will be a much easier road ahead to win this won and try and get a split in Calgary.
Everyone remembers the offensive struggles against Calgary two weeks ago, particularly the offensive line. Lost in that was that despite all those two and outs, the defense didn't really give up a lot. These teams were a lot closer in talent last year than the standings suggest. All 4 meetings between the teams were decided by 7 or less. The biggest difference between the teams was that the Stamps were much better at finishing games. I expect a hard hitting battle tomorrow. Both teams have solid running games and physical defenses. Stamps take this one in Calgary, but I think home field is enough to push the Riders through.
My Score: Roughriders 28 Stampeders 25
Page 25 of 74
RiderFans.com Forums are a place to talk Roughriders, CFL, and life with 10,000 of your closest Roughrider brethren. What are you waiting for? Register for FREE and talk some football!
RiderFans.com Live Chat
RiderFans.com Live Chat is a lively place during Roughrider games and other randomly scheduled times. Don't have a buddy to watch the game with, watch it virtually with 50 Roughrider diehards!
Visit Live Chat