In 40-plus years of watching CFL football, I've noticed that the team that wins or dominates the battle for the line of scrimmage usually ends up winning the game.
On the D side, we already know that the Riders rank a distant 8th place in pass rush and run defence, so that can only improve before we see better results on defence. If we could suddenly find a couple of dynamic D-ends a la Chick and Baggs, that would be a dream come true. Perhaps we only need one as I have a feeling that Willis from Winnipeg might have some good potential if we could find another one to match up with him. Our two inside guys are probably adequate. Wouldn't it be something if Mr. Chick ended up back here around Labour Day? Dare to dream!! Meanwhile, Mr. Taman, keep shopping around for someone.
On the O-line side, I thought we had the makings of a veteran, strong, and savvy group that could be dominant on the O side along with Coach Burrato who has had some pretty good success as an O-line coach in the past. Perhaps a couple of those linemen are getting a bit too long in the tooth or have lost a step, so I suspect a couple of them could be replaced in the next offseason for a couple of our big, strong, and talented young guys we have been grooming and saving. BC, Calgary, and Edmonton have all done this recently and it turned out OK for them, so why not make such a move here. BC has added talent and depth to their O-line since last year so I think they will improve as the season goes along. Calgary has had some change there but still some good young talent there--they will improve as the season goes along. The so-called experts keep talking about a makeshift O-line in Edmonton. All they've done so far is be big and tough and blow D-lines off the line of scrimmage, allowing their excellent running backs lots of room on the ground. The confidence that running game creates allows Ricky Ray to keep D's guessing and execute his pinpoint passing game as he has done in the past.
I think our O-line has done an adequate job so far this year so I am much less concerned about it than I am about our D-line.
After this last offensive embarrassment in Hamilton, I am wondering how OC Berry is doing at coordinating all of the offensive pieces with the position coaches such as O-line, receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks. Surely he can rely on the experience of these other coaches to put together an offensive game plan that is not too one-dimensional and shows some creativity and imagination. Are these pieces working together in harmony, or is everyone going in their own direction. Just wondering after this latest performance in Hamilton. I know we had offseason changes and unfortunate injuries in key places. We've also had a training camp, a pre-season, and 3 regular season games. I think all that fans want to see is some sign that this team is improving from week to week in effort and performance. Most fans will stick with this team thru thick and thin, so I predict a slow first half of the season followed by a much stronger second half. Early growing pains followed by slow and steady improvement.