Pre-Season Game 2: Post-Mortem

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Some guys are gonna go…and that’s gonna get this team closer to being a football team. – Carm Carteri

Oh good.  I was worried there for a second that we were building a cricket team.

Actually, though, Carm is right.  It’s a lot easier to build a football when you don’t have to juggle 75 guys.  But given the much needed revamp to the roster, the Riders didn’t have much of a choice but to bring in lots of guys and let them play themselves on or off the team.

I’m going to leave it to Coach Jones to comment on his team’s performance.

On the performance of the defence:

“I felt like [the Eskimos] were the more physical team, that’s the more concerning thing…the fact that they were able to run the ball, that was really a concern.”

“We looked very slow, I thought defensively, we didn’t tackle very well, we didn’t get in our gaps.”

On the performance of the quarterbacks:

We were able to evaluate everyone.

I think “we were able to evaluate everyone” is a polite way of saying this:

www.GIFCreator.me_wjN2XZ

And I suspect this meme might come up a few more times through the first third of the season.

Now for Things That Worked and Things That Didn’t.

Things That Worked:

  1. Kicking and return game – Coverage on opposition returns was good, and Nic Demski had one 40+ yard return.
  2. Ricky Collins – Four catches for 78 yards.  Good production.
  3. Darian Durant – Steve and Stan look to be good to go.

Things That Didn’t:

  1. Defence – Too many big plays for big gains.
  2. Running game – The RBs did not produce.
  3. Intensity – The Eskimos had all of it.
  4. Darian Durant – Two INTs in the red zone.  He’s may be a little bit rusty.

BTW: Chris Jones used the word ‘snafu’ during his post-game press conference.  I LOVE HIM.

The one angle of this game that I haven’t mentioned until now is the fact that this was Chris Jones’ first return to Edmonton as the Riders’ head coach.  But being a pre-season game, the match up lack a certain je ne sais quoi.  Oh, wait. I know: meaning in the standings.  

The Eskimos played like they had something to prove.  Well good for them.  But a lot of it smacked of sour grapes.  For instance, the Eskimos mailed Jones and Co. their Grey Cup rings.  Why didn’t they just present them with their rings this past weekend?

For his part, though, Jones really didn’t care:

“I talk more about what we need to do as a football team more so than coming back here,” Jones said. “It was a good two year ride here, but it’s like everywhere else I’ve been — I’ve got a job to do. They hired me for a reason and that’s where my focus is.”

However, the trip back to Edmonton was worth it if only because it lead Jones to inadvertently burn his former GM, Ed Hervey:

“We won a lot of ball games around here for a reason…it wasn’t the fact that Ed Hervey’s sitting up there in the office.

BOOM.

Random observations from other CFL pre-season games and happenings around the league:

1. If Chris Jones can get over his time with the Eskimos in a couple of months, why the heck can’t Henry Boooooooris get over the Riders?  In an article this past in which he revealed that he was pretty close to being a Blue Bomber after being cut by the Ti-Cats following the 2013 season, Smilin’ Hank just had to take a shot at Rider Nation:

“I love Winnipeg,” said Burris. “To me, it is a bigger, and a heck-of-a-lot-much better than Regina.”

I can’t imagine why Henry doesn’t love Regina.  He had one of his best moments as a professional QB here in the 2013 Grey Cup:

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2. Toronto FC fans are the worst.

They’re worried that the Argos will ruin the natural grass at BMO Field.

Don’t you think they’d thought of that?

Why yes, they did:

“The last thing anybody wants, including our owners, is for Giovinco to go down because of an issue on the field,” said Argos president Michael Copeland. “It’s the last thing I want, as the president of the Argonauts, because I don’t want to alienate a fan base or a city.”

“There is a drainage system in place to help prevent the field from becoming too soggy, he said. And there are special lights to help regenerate the turf, and a nearby sod farm with a reserve of ready-made grass. There is a buffer between football and soccer games to give the field time to recover.”

That is a LOT of thought and technology invested into GROWING GRASS.

But the grass issue is just an excuse.  Toronto FC fans just don’t want to share:

“We’ve lost our home,” said Toronto FC fan Eli Zeldin. “We’ve lost our space.”

Boo hoo.  It’s not like anybody watches Toronto FC anyway.

3. I was watching a couple of games I missed this past week, listening for Rod Black-isms to share, when I noticed what’s written on the REDBLACKS’ pants:

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That’s a freaking HASHTAG on the REDBLACKS’ pants.  A. HASHTAG.  WTF?  Why didn’t adidas just write REDBLACKS?

Are we seriously going to start turning uniforms into social media platforms? RIDICULOUS.

4. Apparently Mike Benevides, aka The Hoodie King, was going to be the Riders’ Defensive Coordinator in 2015 when he all of a sudden backed out.  He definitely dodged a bullet there.  And given Chamblin’s treatment of assistants in the past (see: Dickenson, Craig) it’s not all that surprising.

5. So far it’s not a good year for Achilles injuries.  Edmonton Eskimos’ DB John Ojo and REDBLACKS’ RB William Powell both ruptured their Achilles tendons this week.  Hopefully there won’t be any more.

6. If TSN is the CFL’s true partner, it should be broadcasting ALL pre-season games.  It’s not like TSN doesn’t have some time to fill.

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