O-line, overall depth

Busy day yesterday and could not watch game. I kept checking TSN app and thiongs looked great until the kickoff return.

I think Dan Clark experiment might be done. He's been around 3-4 yrs and his stepping in hasn't gone well for Clark. He's been exposed on numerous plays and the squad will have to address O-line depth in the offseason. Too bad he got hurt but I wonder if Labatte is ready to come back or if Watman/Vonk get a guard spot? Or use an import? Is Vonk game ready or was he was he all the depth we could get and stash on the PR.

Keep in mind these comments aren't negative based. The reality of this season was the RedBlacks were going to hire 20-24 Canadians. They got 2 good ones from us in Evans and Sholy. But the non-import pool of talent needed to grow by 20-30 players (including PR's) and the talent pool became deluted. Every team lost some non-imports............just to what extent.

Labatte out and Best recovering. This is when you find out if the next generation is able to make the next step. Clark has struggled. I hope we see more of Watman even though they think he'll be the next centre.

Injurres to hughes, Levi, Hurl (only 102 games), free agent losses of Newman, Evans. It just got to be the perfect storm for the team where they can't stable the Cdn depth they have enjoyed for the last 2-3 seasons. We just had too many injuries to nonimports and we don't have the depth.

Shomari.....unless they have him doing anything special on ST's I don't see him being too special. We needed Cdn depth, we got him back, but I hope his cheque isn't too large on the cap?

Special teams.......injuries have hurt this unit. Bartel is starting to not produce and Milo has been so so. Oddly enough Milo was a FA signing just into the FA period? We upped his $$ and he stayed. Just bad luck that Milo is now not really a coveted asset that we can hold over the off-season for trades, etc? He likely stays around...........but the club will have to look south for a young import who can cover all three trades (kicks, FG, punt). You can easily use an import kicker but they need to do 3 jobs...........currently we have 2 spots for non-imports kicking and both guys have underperformed.

We just can't flip with the field with Milo kicking off balls to the 15-20 yard line. Compare to Schmitt last season it is no comparison. Combined with penalty filled returns that take us back minus ten or cover teams that can't cover...........this is a significant problem and they don't have the horse power to fix it.

Therefore, they will limp into playoffs in 4th. They will lose in Hamilton in the 1st round (unless Tor/Ham/Mont all can make the playoff if they win 3 more games). Doesn't matter if Darian is back..............he won't be 100% and do we really want to risk further damage to his arm standing behind a O-line that is limping along right now?

We just don't have Cdn depth, or enough of it. Every team has holes or exposure points. Injuries will bring this to the forefront. We're banged up right now and have been for 4-6 weeks. Early on we were great with injuries......the bug has taken its toll. We were also not sure what would happen if DD went down and we've now learned a lot about that situation.

We'll go into the off-season with a GM on the hotseat. He will have numerous things to sort through, add receivers to the list of shortcomings. A deep draft might allow us to get 1-2 kids in the top 12-15 picks to step in and play (like Ainsworth and Watman). We just need it. Hughes will retire, regrettably. They need a solid draft process.

As for DePalma getting dropped. Well he dropped the ball a few times. Given opportunities and he dropped a few. When he caught it and ran he looked magic..........but you can't drop balls. How many drops have we had at receiver this year, compared to last year. Last year receiving was solid. Getz won't make it to 700 yards. Bagg started off on fire and has been held in check as of late. He's been our best receiver, #6. Schillens and DePalma maybe dropped their way off the team. I think Swain has done enough to come back and no longer be a CFL rookie. Our receiver stats are way down but due to us running the ball very well for the first 9-10 weeks.......and then a QB who went down and we could not find a replacement??

Just the way we are playing, the team just doesn't seem to have it. That kick return buried a lot of those guys yesterday and that can't happen? But we have given up 5 returns for TD's. It pretty much happens weekly now..........so you are spotting a team 7 points.........

Defense still looks good. D-line is good. linebacking needs a few bodies and we need a true MLB........another project for Taman in the off-season. DB's........There were ranked one of our really strong points and at times they sure looked it. But I think for any defense to dominate you need all 12 going. I think we're just missing a few tools at MLB and then this unit can really go. But for the minutes they are logging as of late you can't pin very much on the defense???

I think the team looks fine for the future, minus a few gaps. Yes, it is time to rotate Watman in at C or G. It is time to test the waters and look to trade a big contract away. I said it before the season and I still believe it. they also sacrificed a bit to get rental players for a GC run on home turf. I know lots of people want to hang BT out at times because the team is a little burned from some of the moves now, but everyone was fine with them last season and over the moon with the final results.

I believe Brett Jones is a FA this season, and the Riders will likely go after him hard. As a local guy, they will have a fair shot at landing him.

Clark is a fine backup, and can rotate into many roles. If he started consistently he would improve in time, but no, he may very well never be an all-star. Here is the thing though...you can keep Clark on the cheap because of his local interests.

As far as Nationals overall, as mentioned...they got hit by an abnormal amount of injuries there this season...what can you do. They have planned pretty well for the future though. Régimbald has years left, Hurl is a minimum capable of stepping in and may get better yet. Wellman is also in that LB mix and might turn out well.

Steinhauer might shock people in a season or to and start rotating in to help with ratio, I think he will.

Bastien, Anthony, McHenry (I sure hope he comes back), Pierzchalski...all keepers IMO. Nothing wrong for receivers in the near future.

The team has it WR depth at National, it has its LB depth at National, it has some potential at OL, it lost its depth at DT and gained at DE.

Where will the team look to draft this season? Ideally 1 DE, 1 OL, 1 LB, 1 RB/FB (suspecting Hughes will retire).

A pretty accurate assessment in my opinion. Yes the injury bug has certainly taken its toll especially on the O line. I think one of the reasons Heenan struggled yesterday is when guys go down like Labatte and Best and Clark or whoever steps in for them they are not pulling their weight so the other O line men need to chip in and help on their assignments. Yes Willis certainly got the best of Heenan yesterday especially in the second half, and with the injury issue on the O line I just can't understand why not have a two back set to help take the load off the O line? One less receiver is not going to make a difference if the qb has no time to find anyone open. Use the two backs not only for blocking but also for dumps and screens and god forbid a reverse. Honestly it just makes me so angry to see them not at least try and make things better or different when what they are doing isn't working. If you have injuries to the O line its a no brainer that the other team is going to get more heat on the qb instead of being so insistent on just hoping the guy filling in can do the job, help him and the rest of the O line out by adding protection to your game plan. I just want to grab Cortez by the shirt collar and give him two smack across the face and yell WAKE UP.

The defense is good but there is some pretty obvious weak spots. MLB is a major one and teams know it and are exploiting it badly.The D line is not getting the heat they should be because they have to guard so much against the run. Chick running down field and making a tackle on the running back? Friggen sad excuse when D line men have to run 15 yards and is the only one to make the play. Our dbacks play way too soft and just are not physical enough to handle other teams big receivers. D backs in perfect position to either knock the ball away or to get a pick getting out muscles/jumped and it turns into a big gain or a score. Giving guys 10 15 yards cushion for easy completions for first downs.

Milo is not getting it done on kickoffs period. He either line drives it to get distance and the ball gets to the returner so fast the coverage team has not time to fill the lanes,or else he kicks it higher and gets like 30 or 40 yards so the cover team gets down field but the returners are catching the ball on the 30 or even the 35 so any return gives them good field position.

Cory hinted in the post game interview yesterday that a few guys are getting what it takes to win and a few are not. Those that are not have little time to get it together and play a full game or from the way Cory was talking they won't be back. Foley obviously is getting it and actually I think the whole D line is pulling their weight but again when your have to handle more tasks then what should be required then that spells trouble. I think the team may look very different next year if things don't get straightened out in a hurry.

Well the Canadian Talent really did get diluted with the expansion draft. All teams have suffered depth issues, but combine the fact that the Riders also have the injury bug, only compounds the problem.

In all reality though, some Canadian Talent on the Rider Roster is getting experience this year because of injuries... So that will only improve the future.
Brett Jones will be sought after, but not sure if he will fit with the Riders unless they keep Watman at guard and trade Picard.
If they want to keep Adcock, and he looks good, they could trade Fulton. They just have to decide if they want to go younger at the OL position. (And generally younger equals less against the SMS Cap).

Trading guys like Picard and Fulton could get them decent draft picks.... Then they have to put their faith in the scouting department to find some good replacements.... But that is only if they could land Jones

I am not so sure Jones will be that available.

The Riders could have and should have drafted him but he had medical school ambitions. The Riders passed on him and Stamps took him.

Loyalty front - I assume Stamps has the advantage since they took the chance he would play football instead of school? Regardless..........Riders passed him over and usually people remember that. The only trump is if he had a huge desire to be a Riders? But Calgary is close to home and we know how attractive a city it is for anyone to live?

Med school - If he is doing this he could be a part time student out of U of C........for a little while anyway. That opportunity does not exist in Regina!!!!!!!!!! Can't become a Dr. in Regina.

I think a chance to get Jones is overblown. But as far as FA's go he will be way up there and interest will be high.

Based on apparently being 2/2 on blind side tackles, I would say role the dice. Whomever is scouting that area seems to be doing well.

Agreed. It will be interesting to see the next phase of the plan for Watman. I thought he stepped in for Clark and played fairly well against the Eskimos. If they are serious about signing Brett Jones, Watman would likely stay in his current role as back-up Center, and depth guy at the Other OL positions in case of injury...
And if they do go after Brett Jones, that likely means the end to Picard in a Rider uniform

One thing I'm not sure of... Do the Riders have any good up and coming prospects at O-Lineman, but currently not on the Team Roster?

I've heard a few names kicked around, but nothing with official affiliation or anything.

A guy to watch for the future is Jordan Elliot. Still far to young to practice with the Riders, but give him 2 seasons and you will see him hold a PR spot, much like Zach Evans did...play for Jrs, get some extra cash and practice when available.