West Semi Final - Riders @ Eskimos

Well lets make it official, and start the West Semi Thread... Riders in Edmonton to face the Evil Empire.

What are the keys to the game? What do the Riders have to do to win in a very tough environment? Does Durant start?? How healthy is Mike Rielly?

IMO, this game will be won in the trenches. If the Riders O-line and the running game can get on track like they did in the first half of the final game of the season, the Riders have a good chance. Pound them on the ground and win the TOP battle..
In all three meetings, Rielly hasn't necessarily lit it up on the passing side of things... But the Eskimos have shown they can run. The front 7 of the Riders will have to take away the Edmonton running game, and focus on White. There is only so many times the Esks can throw to Bowman... If they can be aggressive on Bowman it seriously limits the Edmonton Aerial attack

Lastly, they cannot forget about Fred Stamps. He could be the secret weapon to tip the scales in the Esks favor.....

Keys of the game I would have to think are the O and D lines if they can't perform at 100% then the Riders are in trouble.
The O line must must must give whoever is the qb time and protection. If its Durant he will probably even need a bit more of both due to being rusty and finding his reads. Joesph maybe should get the start and see how it goes. If he can get the job done then leave him in and save Durant for the finals. If he can't or struggles then there will be little option but to use Durant if he is at all ready to play.
I agree they must establish the run but I would like to see them try the passing game first. Edmonton is going to be expecting the run and will show little respect for the passing game. Heck have the qb under center as has been suggested before and do some quick hitters to all receivers. One or two steps back and get rid of the ball. This will make the linebackers back off the box and line of scrimmage. For god sakes mix it up and keep the defense honest. If they can be successful moving the ball through the air then that just opens the run game for even more potential to do damage. Edmonton is going to come out I expect extremely aggressive especially on trying to shut down the run so use it to your advantage.

On the D line they have to get heat on Rielly and make him scramble with a possible wonky foot. Hit him clean and hard every time the opportunity is there. If he tucks it and runs then go low for the ankles. Not sure what the situation is with white but he also has to be a concern. He is very quick and makes good cuts but field conditions may predict how that may work for or against him. Bowman is the big threat obviously and it may be a bit risky but if we can have one of our db's spy him and perhaps have Brack help double team him they could or should limit the damage. I would have our best db cover Stamps and hope he can get the job done. The other receivers are not bad either but Bowman and Stamps are the main threats through the air and especially Bowman.

On special teams if it is windy and we are punting into the wind it may be as good to have the cover guys forget about the no yards and just go down full throttle and hit the returner. Yes its 15 yards if in the air but with the issues they have had this year of big returns it may be the lesser of the two evils. Besides if they time it right and don't get the penalty they could get the returners sneaking a peek to see who is about to hit them and that could also result in turnovers. Again a bit risky but like I said 15yards penalty is better then allowing a major.

This is going to be a heated battle and the field could be covered in red nylon. The Riders have to keep their cool as much as possible and walk away from after the whistle stuff. I think Edmonton again will be trash talking and trying crap after the play is over and if the Riders can be disciplined enough and not get into it then that will only make the Eskimos more angry and they could take some dumb penalties. That could be big in either keeping a drive going or stopping them quick for either team. I think turnovers and penalties could play a big role in the outcome either way.

Oh and I hope we don't get that moron Proulx as a ref or were toast.

If proulx is ref I'm not watching...they should make him ref Montreal...just to show Higgins he should've fired him a long time ago. Wouldn't that be karma!!! lol
Also..I think since Edm is so used to winning, if we can get up on them, get in their faces continuaously, then Edm will just naturally start taking stupid penalties. At least that's what one could hope for!

Edmonton is still a year or two away from winning a championship. Reilly or most of the Eskimo team is not used to being in the playoffs. I expect the Riders win based off the experience they have in the playoffs. Playoffs is all about who adds the most wrinkles into their game plan and how well the coaching staff is at adjusting. I expect Cortez to out coach Edmonton on offense, and the defense to be even.

Wow there's something I didn't expect. A good word about Cortez :lol:. Not sure though on the Reilly assessment . I think it will be determined how well he plays by how banged up his is. If he isn't mobile he will be far less effective as the D can concentrate more on the running back with the ball the Reilly. If he is healthy then that opens a whole different can of worms. Having to not rush full steam in order to contain him makes him more of a threat.

Jones likes to gamble and that can work for you or against you as one wrong choice can end your season. I still think he and the Eskimos have no respect for the Riders and he will take risks.Its up to the Riders to make him regret that.

Jones has a lot of Grey Cup experience having won it 3 times... Montreal 2009/2010 and Argos 2012

He will have his team ready. IMO, this game will boil down to the mental preparation of the players, not coaching. Execution will be key, and after the game in Regina, tempers will flare... So discipline will be a major factor. I think the Riders have the advantage in discipline, execution is where they have me nervous. It is well documented about our kicking game struggles, and I have concerns with the Riders run stop defence, and aerial attack. The Riders have success on Offense with balance... If they become one dimensional, Their record is poor

I agree that Jones likes to gamble.... But Chamblin and Cortez need to take a few risks as well. It is a do or die game! So they shouldn't be afraid to pull out the bag of trick plays if necessary. I just hope Cortez calls a game that is not predictable... How many head scratchers have we seen from his play calling this year?

My guess is that he will have the troops ready, and the playbook will be wide open. (At least here is to hoping anyway!)

Not much sense saving anything for next year. Yes I expect the offense to have a green light on any play in the book. If they are winning by a lot early ( I doubt if that is going to happen ) then they may throttle back a bit, but they can't just become one dimensional either or like the last game things can get a bit uncomfortable at the end. Edmonton showed signs of rallying in the second half and yes some of our key players were benched at the half but still if they try to just run and kill the clock it could backfire in a hurry. They still need to keep the defense honest and get some first downs passing the ball. Then they can go with the run more as time winds down again though only if they have a good lead or if the conditions are so bad that passing is not a viable option. By the looks of the forecast it will be sunny and around -6 with some wind so it will be cold with the windchill. As the daylight disappears temperatures will also sink further so by the end of the game it could be down to - 10 or 12 and the windchill on top of that making it nasty.

I think Cortez is going to pull out his bag-o-tricks that he's been adding to all year now. This is the playoffs, I think this is where he shines as a coach. Whether it's Doubles or KJ as QB, the O-line's got to step it up and protect. Hopefully Allen is good to go as well. All in all, I may be optimistic, but I believe that we are going to Calgary after this.

Our D is hungry for Reilly. Let him try to run, I think we'll stop him. I also don't think we'll let White run all over us as he did a few weeks back. My concern on D is that we forget about Bowman. But our Secondary and T-Brack will make sure he's not so hot.

It's Playoff time Baby! Time to crank our game to 11!


Reilly apparently not starting.

Stop John White. he’s a great RB. He is quick. Either running ball or running routes we have to shut this guy down. Given our unknown MLB status we’ll just have to see if Peters/Hurl and Weldon/Macho can handle this guy. They need to get to him early or else.

We need to run ball. Don’t expect DD too much. Our pass attack has been limted all year. If we win it will be using Allan and Messam.

We need the best game of the year on ST. We need to tilt the field.

Pemalty count needs to be much better or this will cost them. We’ve taken a lot of penalties.

Can’t make any mistakes. Zero. This team has made a lot of mistakes over the last 6-7 weeks and to fix this up in one week is tough order? But the hype of DD dressing, getting the O-line back together, and being an underdog might create for the possibibility.

. Coaching…Jones will have his guys ready. No doubt. Esks are the most confident/cocky team in the league right now. If we give this team any momentum we’re in trouble. If we cause them so mental anxiety and steal momentum that is what the team has to do.

Looks like its Joseph vs. Nichols.

Yup so it appears. I'm fine with KJ getting the start as long as Cortez allows him the full playbook and changes things up not all pass or all run then they will keep the defense honest. Ball control and not committing turn overs ( bit worried about Allen) and they should be all right.

Yup. Hopefully just get back to what made them dominant in the first half of the season with ball control and healthy mixture of both the run and the pass.

people are too worried ,I believe we have a great chance of winning ,regardless who is quarterback

Well anything can happen and while I agree the Riders can win this game they cannot make mistakes. Fumbles being the biggest concern especially with it being cold and the ball slippery. I would like to see Tolston activated in case Allen has issues as they are pretty much the same type of running back. Messam I think needs to get in and pound the defense and wear them down. KJ just has to be smart and not hold onto the ball long. Eskimos like to be aggressive and a pump fake or two may get them biting hard and open some big plays. Receivers must get open quick and give KJ a good target to hit. I wouldn't mind if KJ ran a bit more and that would also keep the defense back on their heels a bit.

I look for the Eskimos to be very very aggressive especially at the beginning of the game. They will want to shut down the run and make KJ throw. Riders must be smart and watch the holding calls as second and long is never good and this game it will be even more of a factor. KJ has to be smart though and not get creamed as I wouldn't be shocked if the Eskimos try and take him out of the game. If Reilly does get in its important for our defense to lay the leather to him any chance they get,but I think it will be Nichols game to win or lose to be honest.

Milo can not miss field goals under 40 yards and Batel must be good at placing the ball near the sidelines. Special teams can not be giving up majors at this time of the year. I'm still not sure if it wouldn't be wise to just fly down the field and smack the returner and forget about the no yards. If the kick is a good one and you can trap the returner then fine let him field it and then get him down or out of bounds but if its a kick towards the middle a 15 yard penalty may be better then allowing the returner to set up and possibly break one.
Like I say though the Riders can win if they want it bad enough. I know the Eskimos will be hungry too its going to come down to who wants it more and who is willing to sacrifice themselves to get the job done. As I said earlier I think this one has all the potential to get ugly and even a bit dirty. So tighten up the chin straps and take no prisoners boys.

there is light banter that Taj might dress.

Toston won't dress especially if they are going to spell Miller with Allen. I can't see them dressing 4 running backs. That running tandem seemed to work well last game. Probably call on Miller a bit more in different formations and looks this game kind of like they opened up Jock Sanders in last year's playoffs, and maybe use Messam a bit more as well to power through the line and loosen up the d.

So you think they will go to a 3 headed monster again? Instead of Ford, they use Miller?

If they do, that will be interesting. Not surprising, but interesting. I think the first half of the last game where they had good success running the ball, will be where the gameplan should evolve... Edmonton likes to be aggressive... So the Riders have to counter that and make the Esk defence pay.