I suspect that like me a lot of fans had fairly high expectations for the Riders this season. We were losing Fantuz for at least half a season, but signing Gauthier gave us a quality NI left tackle and allowed us to replace Fantuz with a quality import receiver if we needed to. I also thought our O-line would be pretty good with a lot of savvy proven veterans, and for the most part, I think they have been pretty solid. I could see Geno and Goodspeed leaving before too long, but I think we have some quality young guys in waiting to replace one or both of them. I also thought a veteran coaching staff would bring good things to this team. We knew with Congi out for at least half a season the kicking game could be a little iffy, but we shored up our ST coaching with the addition of Coach Dickenson. Then came some key injuries to Bagg and Koch which depleted our experienced receiving corps. Then Wheelwright got hurt and Nunn is still struggling to be as good in games as he is in practice. Then Hawkins gets hurt and our pass rush takes a big hit. That's a lot of stuff for a team to fix and overcome.
At 1-6 I've become more realistic and toned back my expectations for this season. I think the O will improve with healthy receivers coming back and maybe Fantuz back, and some of the new receivers could be keepers down the road. If something major happens with our pass rush like Chick or some other new find, the D could also turn the corner after Labour Day. So yes, my expectations are toned back for now, but I remain hopeful that this team will improve with a few key additions and a little more time getting used to the new coaches and players. I don't think gutting this team or coaching staff will cause any magic turnaround this season, but everyone better be prepared to step up and prove to fans that they deserve to be here next season. We are all looking for improvement on the field as we hang in there in the stands. Thanks to BC and Toronto we still have a shot at making the playoffs and I remain hopeful that this can still happen.
With 2 games each with Toronto and BC, and 3 of those at home, I think we need at least 3 wins there. If we could beat Hamilton back here, miraculously get a split with Winnipeg, squeeze out a win each in Calgary in Edmonton, that would be everything I could wish and hope for the rest of the way. If this happens, I guess that makes 7 more wins for an 8-10 record.
That's about as much as this optimistic, glass-half-full guy can hope for this season. What do you think, everyone?