While reviewing Saturday’s game, I heard the words that may bring sweet music to my ears…
Ken Miller: “We’ve held them on first down and let them get out of it on second down. So we have to do a better job of containing them on second down.”
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SOMEBODY IS LISTENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The guy who was sitting beside me kept bugging me about those second and long situations. I had been talking about them so much that we started talking about it. I think he was rather impressed with my knowledge. At one point I yelled, “Give it to Fantuz!!” and guess what? The Riders called his number – 1st down Riders. I love football…
Anyway, here at my thoughts on Saturday’s contest:
- The Riders’ run defence is still intact; it held Edmonton to a whole 59 yards.
- Love the 2-man defensive front formation. You wouldn’t think it works, but it does.
- The officiating wasn’t bad; definitely seen worse. Glad to see they’ve lightened up on the roughing the passer calls. No penalties in the first quarter. But two bad, bad, bad, BAD calls. 1. The illegal contact on a receiver call in the 2nd quarter. They didn’t name the culprit, and I didn’t see anything that resembled illegal contact. Must have been a ghost. 2. No facemasking call on the Wes Cates 33-yard over-the-shoulder highlight reel catch. HOW DO YOU MISS THAT??
- Pass rush is intact. Ricky Ray was feeling the heat a lot – especially in the second half.
- The Riders’ offence looked like it wasn’t quite together in the first half. Luckily they corrected it in time for the second half.
- I loved how the Riders incorporated ALL of their receivers into the game.
- Glenn January completely neutralized Fred Perry. Mwah ha ha ha!!
- James Johnson is picking up right where he left off in the Grey Cup game. He timed that 1st pick perfectly!
- Adarius Bowman’s move on Jordan Younger was a beauty! And the way he cradled that ball – like it was a baby. And he was GONE! Loved the shot he gave to the DB on his tail.
- Give the ball more to Andy Fantuz!!
- I’d like to see more screen passes and crossing routes from the Riders…
- And the defence needs to learn to STOP screens and crossing routes.
- There was some real shoddy tackling at times.
- Great special teams coverage. The Esks’ are calling their guy the second coming of Henry ‘Gizmo’ Williams. Our guys made him look ordinary.
- DJ Flick is THE MAN! He’s so fast, and despite his size he’s not afraid to go and grab the ball across the middle.
- Great performance from the re-tooled offensive line. And what depth. Wayne Smith went down, Belton Johnson came in and no one missed a beat.
- Anton McKenzie had a GREAT start at linebacker with 8 tackles. Reggie who??
- Maurice Lloyd and Kitwana Jones were flying all over the place! They were ALWAYS near the ball.
- Welcome back, Omarr Morgan!!
- All Crandell needs to do is get the ball to our talented receivers and running backs. His job is relatively simple.
- I don’t think I’ve ever been to a football game where the weather was as gorgeous as it was on Saturday. Sunny, warm, and just the right amount of wind. You’ve got to love the Prairies in June!
And now it’s time for my 3 stars of the game!
OFFENSIVE STAR: #20 – WES CATES, RUNNING BACK
He showed complete leadership on the field. He was a force all night, whether pounding the ball up the middle or blocking. He made a key block on the DJ Flick TD and helped protect Crandell all night. He actually GRABBED the ball out of Crandell’s hands on his 1st TD because he saw a seam. Had 86 yards on the ground, 45 through the air and 2 TDs. And that catch he made over his shoulder while being face-masked – what a thing of BEAUTY!! After the game Glen Suitor remarked Cates could be a MOP candidate someday. I totally agree. Could become the Riders’ franchise player.
Honorable mention(s): #12 – Adarius Bowman, Wide Receiver – 112 yards receiving and 1 TD. Made an awesome move on Esks’ veteran DB Jordan Younger on a 73-yard catch and run TD. This kid’s going to be a star. #8 – Marcus Crandell, Quarterback – 278 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Why is Crandell getting some kudos? Because he finished strong. He came back from those 2 interceptions and played the way he can. He survived and thrived in the pressure from the home opener.
DEFENSIVE STAR: #97 – JOHN CHICK, DEFENSIVE END
To use a term of TSN hockey analyst Pierre McGuire, Chick was a MONSTER!! He was in Ricky Ray’s face all day, and caused the 1st James Johnson interception that resulted in the Wes Cates TD. He is picking up right where he left off last year, becoming a dominant force on the Riders’ defensive line. He doesn’t give up and he keeps putting on the pressure all night. He also forced a fumble. He’s becoming a leader on the Rider defense.
Honorable mention(s): #19 – James Johnson, Defensive Back: Two interceptions. Enough said. #42 – Anton McKenzie – Linebacker: 8 tackles in his first ‘real’ start. He was in the middle of everything all night. Continues to impress.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #30 – JAMIE BOREHAM, PUNTER/KICKER
His kickoffs were towering, and his punts had enough air to allow the coverage to get downfield. And the one mistake he made he atoned for with a perfect, perfect punt that put the Eskimos on their 14. Needs a little more depth on his punts, but a solid start to the season.
Honorable mention(s): #25 – Leron Mitchell, Defensive Back: The Riders picked him up from the Argos for his special teams prowess, and it showed. Had a number of tackles tonight. #7 – Weston Dressler – The Eskimos didn’t give him a lot to work with, but the one return in the second half where he dodged at least 4 Eskimos showed the guy has skills. Given time to develop, he could be something else.
NEXT GAME: FRIDAY, JULY 4TH VS. BC, 8:00 PM AT BC PLACE