Posted on the LDC thread…thought this was worthy of its own thread
7 - 2! We'll take it!
I think everyone in Rider Nation should be ecstatic with a 7 - 2 record at the half way point! At this point a lot of people would have taken a 5 - 4 record as long as the team was improving to make a final push on the last 9 games.
I also think that most people would not have predicted such a discrepancy between Eastern & Western Teams. I truly believe that some of the reason why the Riders are 7 - 2 at this point is because they had to be. The last 2 wins against Winnipeg and the one in B.C. were all play-off type games. Lots of hype, and lots of grit... Consequently, guys are getting knicked up with injuries...
I'm looking forward to the last half of the season. Here's hoping the Riders can get healthy prior to the big match-ups against Calgary and Edmonton. They cannot take their foot off the gas pedal as the West is such a tight race.
Totally...7-2 is the 2nd best start for the Riders ever...
To think...if they hadn't fallen asleep in out of the gates...who knows.
That said, perhaps 2 spankings going into a bye was a good thing.
If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season would the Riders be at 7-2 I would have said no. Losing as many players to the draft and to free agency plus Sheets and Dressler heading south I would have thought having a winning record would be quite the accomplishment for the team. Now having said that and seeing how well most parts of the team is playing with a few improvements this team is going to be a contender.
Yes once again our old nemesis the Stamps keep winning and do look good also but if the Riders can keep pace and at least split the series with them then once again its going to come down to who is the healthiest and who wants it more.
Calgary has won its fair share of stinkers too this year just barely beating Hamilton in one game and if Edmonton hadn't shot themselves in the foot in the first game the Stamps could have easily have lost that one too, so I'm not totally convinced they are as good as they think they are as of yet anyways.
The biggest weakness I see with our team right now is special teams and it certainly needs to be cleaned up. I honestly don't know what is the solution or if its going to take a number of things to correct it. I mentioned in the LDC post about Bartel and his running around before kicking. I know some thinks it keeps the other team honest and to a point I agree but he doesn't need to do it as often as he does I don't think. I would much rather him concentrate on placing the ball tight to the sidelines and make good solid contact rather then trying to get inside the other teams head. Watching some of the Hamilton- Argos game Waters was not only getting some big kicks but he was nailing the sideline almost every time. That makes things so much easier for the cover team to contain as there is only to the middle of the field or straight ahead the returner can go. Cover teams just have to make sure to box in two sides instead of 4 when the ball is kicked further away from the sidelines. Bartel I think really needs to work on that.
The offense was solid and certainly didn't rely as heavy on the defense which is very good to see. Hoping with Dressler getting more practice time this week he will be a bigger weapon and that can only open things up more to the passing game to other receivers as well.
Still a long way to go and nothing is for certain for any team as one injury to a key player could bring all things to a screeching halt. Hoping that the Riders can avoid that of course and they get Best back very soon.
So on to Winnipeg where it will be another very hard fought game and of course once again no time to let our guard down.
Honestly, if something doesn't improve with ST soon they will need to scare people straight...there are 2 ways of doing that easily that I see:
1 - replace Bob Dyce - can't see it, he is the next OC...again
2 - Make Milo the punter and bring in Palardy to kick FGs. Milo has great ball placement as a punter, but sucks at double duties.
The loss of so many STers to injuries is a huge hurdle, but IMO if there is more ST messups this week there will be some sort of a shift.
STers out -
Marshay Green - No tackles, but did a great job of steering the returners when he was on coverage, and was often first down field.
That is 5 coverage guys out...that is massive.
The single biggest thing is ball placement though...it has been bad. Early in the season the issue was lack of hang-time, that was corrected, but now the ball is kicked inside way too often. And yeah, I agree with above...maybe they just need him to get back to basics for a bit.