A Questionable Top 10 Tuesday Including A Post-mortem On The Rider Season That Was:

Well the quest for the Grey Cup is down to four teams with BC and Saskatchewan joining Toronto, Ottawa and Winnipeg on the sidelines. With a look back at the season for the Riders and observances from around the Canadian Football League here are my top 10 thoughts from the week that was in no particular order.

10 – Should Rider Nation be upset at Kerry Joseph for his handful of interceptions in the West Semi-Final? My thought is absolutely not! Joseph at the age of 41 (I hate having to say that) could have easily continued with his post-football plan in New Orleans instead he decided to come back and try to help the team that he loved in defence of their Grey Cup. I’m not sure where the Green and White would be had they not signed Joseph.

9 – Will it ever be Tino Time again? The pending free-agent struggled, in my mind, from training camp on. I’m not sure if he wasn’t prepared for the season or if the Riders underestimated where his development was at. For whatever reason, Tino was given numerous opportunities to take the ball and run with it (literally) and couldn’t produce. Will he get a second contract in Green and White?

8 – Before anyone suggests that the Riders shouldn’t have traded Drew Willy last winter the truth is that Willy was leaving as a free-agent for an opportunity to get more playing time no matter what the Riders contract offer was. Pro-athletes want to be on the field competing and with Darian Durant ahead of him on the Riders depth chart the writing seemingly was on the wall. Will Willy last in Winnipeg? Robert Marve looked impressive down the stretch but without an offensive line in front of either one of them it is going to be tough.

7 – Is the rest of the Rider team being let off the hook? Yes I am completely aware of the importance of a quarterback in the Canadian Football League but there are 11 other guys offensively on the field at the same time. I would love to see the film on whether or not the blocking was good enough for us to run on Sunday. (Anthony Allen 6 carries, 22 yards) Also it might be interesting to see if Rider receivers were getting open and what was the offense trying to exploit on the Eskimos defence?

6 – Did George Cortez become a dummy in the off-season? Again if you as the Armchair quarterbacks in Riderville they would say yes and appear to be ready to cut Cortez lose. Firstly, be careful what you wish for as BC, Winnipeg and Ottawa would love to have Coach Cortez on their sidelines scheming plays for their stagnant offences. Secondly, a coach’s job is to get the most production out of the players that he has to work with. If I’m analyzing the Rider offence I would suggest that you build around the offensive line and run the ball behind your most dominant players. Unfortunately that didn’t work and when it didn’t you became one dimensional and much easier to defend.

5 – So what is priority one? The way the season went from September 6th and Darian Durant’s injury a vast majority of those in Rider Nation will be asking General Manager Brendan Taman to find a back-up for Durant. That may be true but which pending free-agent should Taman target to re-sign? Weston Dressler, Ben Heenan, Tyrone Brackenridge, Brian Peters, Ricky Foley, Tearrius George, Tino Sunseri, Jerome Messam, Korey Williams, Neal Hughes, Scott McHenry, Dan Clark, Chad Remple, Josh Bartell, Trevor Guyton, Tristan Black, Sam Hurl, Tristan Jackson, Rod Williams, Carlos Thomas and Woodny Turenne are all on expiring contracts. Personally I would prioritize; Hennan, Clark, Foley, Hurl, Williams and Brackenridge. That’s just me though!

4 – Mr. Fix-It Part 2, what’s next? So addressing your own free-agents will be big but what do you do next? I would suggest not having a knee-jerk reaction! If you look at the team’s injured list today and the number of special teamers and Nationals on that list it isn’t hard to see that the team will get better if they all come back next year. Staying status quo in this results oriented business is not an option but the Riders aren’t that far away from being championship calibre.

3 – Should the CFL be shaking in their boots like their fans? Just over 41-thousand took in the two semi-final games this weekend inEdmonton and Montreal. The troublesome number was Montreal drawing fewer than 20,000 for a play-off game. It wasn’t that long ago that the Alouettes would get 40,000 inside Olympic Stadium. OR perhaps is that they key word? Inside the Big-O. It’s no fun to sit and shiver in the stands and it definitely isn’t a family fun event. Does the CFL need to adjust their schedule to avoid the cold weather games in a gate driven league? I’m not so sure of that but the league does need to figure out what is keeping fans away at the most important time of the year.

2 – What hurt the Lions the most? Back on the field and a number of fans are slinging mud at Kevin Glenn and B.C.’s refusal to useTravis Lulay in their blowout loss to Montreal. Instead what should be focused on is that the Lions have been without Andrew Harris. For my money Harris is one of the top running backs in the game but maybe more important is the fact that he is a ratio changer being a National. Harris’ loss was huge for the offence but even bigger for the ratio as the Lions had to sit out their American punter Ricky Schmitt in order to comply with the ratio and get other players on the roster on Sunday. Not dressing Schmitt wasn’t the team’s ultimate undoing but when Paul McCallum’s first punt travels less than 25 yards that’s a huge field position swing.

1 – So who are the favorites? Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Hamilton are left. I would give Montreal a leg up despite having lost to Hamilton in week 20. The Als looked like a well-oiled machine against B.C. and I think that they are ready to make a run. In the west Edmonton may have played their best game of the year defensively. I don’t know that they can duplicate the effort against a Jon Cornish lead offense. Meanwhile, offensively I think that they will be in tough with an injured Mike Reily at the helm. Division Final Sunday is this weekend.

One Response to A Questionable Top 10 Tuesday Including A Post-mortem On The Rider Season That Was:

  1. Doug w. says:

    well Rider Nation :: Dave has once again put informative comments in his coloum. Mine are simple, the best teams won, both semis:: You can not go into the playoffs loosing your last 6 games as the Riders did and expect to TURN, it ON in the playoffs. Starters injuries considered and all, you can not just turn it on, you need that swagger, confidence and winnning feeling to enter the playoffs. I always felt that the Riders, from top down maybe with an exception or three, were way to nonchaluant in attitude all season. And that scene of a grown man, Durant, crying like a 10 year old after a school yard fight when he got hurt. Come on guys, this is a 30 something grown man and professional athelete. And as Dave mentioned, there were more to blame that just NOT having the Leader DD out there:: They were lucky that the five interceptions did not acculate 35 Esks points and they were lucky to be only 8 short at the end. As is the right of Saskatchewan people, see ya’ll next year;

    Doug W.

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