Chris Jones and Crew Look Terrible, Deserve Loss to Montreal
Published: Sunday, Jul 1st 2018, 11:07am
by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
School is out and the Riders got a failing grade.
I bugged my Co-host Stephen that you couldn't get an F- as a grade when asked about last week's loss to Ottawa... well, turns out you can.
WHAT AN ABSOLUTE JOKE Saturday night's 23-17 loss to Montreal was. The offense was worse than pathetic, Chris Jones was absolutely terrible and the only reason the game was a 6 point game was because Montreal was Montreal. Normally I can give credit to a team when they win, but sorry Montreal, you didn't deserve to win... the Riders deserved to lose.
Where do I start? Let's start at the very top, with Chris Jones.
His stubborness is really starting to show through and it's finally hurting his team. He is so sure of himself that he refuses to admit that he can be wrong sometimes. Putting your best offensive weapon in Duron Carter as a cornerback exclusively NEEDS to stop. It worked last year in Calgary in a pinch, but now teams have seen how Carter defends and it's become painfully clear how easy it is to attack him. Just put your speediest guy out there and let him run. Diontae Spencer did that for Ottawa and Chris Williams did that for Montreal last night. Carter may be the most athletic player on the team, maybe the CFL, but he is NOT a defensive back. He's a receiver. Williams beat Carter at least 3 times deep last night. One was for the 79 yard touchdown, one was a dropped ball and the other time the Als looked the opposite way, but Williams was a good 6-7 yards behind Carter. All on go routes.
Now I don't blame this on Duron Carter himself. He's a guy playing in his 3rd game as a DB with only a handful of weeks in HIS ENTIRE LIFE with practice at DB. All the blame here falls on Chris Jones. The first time it was fun and cute when Duron made Bo Levi Mitchell look like a chump, but now it's Jones who looks like the chump. You're telling me that with the 40+ scouts this team has, they can't find one... ONE defensive back that can play corner for a few games? He doesn't have to be lights out. Just.. not bad. It's pathetic that this team signs another defensive tackle in Mic'hael Brooks (NOT a need position), but in order to have him on the roster, THEY CUT THE ONLY DEFENSIVE BACK THEY HAVE ON THE PRACTICE SQUAD! It's absolutely mind-boggling what Chris Jones is doing here and I just don't get it. Imagine being a defensive back who wants to showcase his skills, only to get passed on by for a receiver... I'm curious to know what the rest of the team thinks of this situation...
Where I WILL put blame on Duron Carter is his penalties. I love Duron's happy-go-lucky attitude. Contrary to what fans of 7 other teams think, Duron truly is a great guy. But his passion is getting him in trouble on the field and it's costing the team valuable yards. Once in a blue moon, I can live with. Many other players take the odd stupid penalty and it gets brushed off. It happens with Duron EVERY game. Is there any consequences though? Nope, just Duron being Duron. Chris Jones needs to address this and not just pat him on the head and tell him to get back out there. BENCH HIM for a bit. Show the ENTIRE TEAM that no one is immune from punishment for taking stupid penalties. This lack of leadership from the team's leader is getting a bit ridiculous.
The rest of the defense played pretty well last night, so I don't have much to say about them other than that Willie Jefferson was fantastic. Other than a few things here or there (which happens every game to every team), I have no complaints.
So let's flip to the offense, which was offensive.
Brandon Bridge... he's just not ready. I want Bridge on this team, I think he's a good backup option. He's not a CFL caliber starter though. For everyone that clamoured for him to be the starter from the outset of the 2018 calendar, last night was exactly what you will get with him. Even in his successful games last season, it was due to scrambling around and quite honestly, getting lucky. While he has GREAT arm strength, he has terrible accuracy. Too many balls are either overthrown, or badly underthrown. He throws off his back foot far too often and doesn't properly step into throws and guide them in there. 8/18 last night and was given the hook at halftime. The halftime hook did surprise me, as I think he should have been given a couple of series in the 3rd quarter, but I'm also glad it happened. The team needed a spark and they tried to get it with David Watford. Watford was not much better going 10/22, but keep in mind that he is a 3rd stringer.
Far too often the team needs the receivers to bail out the QB. This happened last year often with Bridge and it's happening now with all 3 QBs. But it's not all on the QB. The O-Line is atrocious. There is 1, MAYBE 2 players on the line that could legitimately start on other teams. This falls on Chris Jones, yet again. He goes out and cuts an All-Star like Derek Dennis (who, to be fair, didn't live up to the hype when he signed here last season... I honestly think he's a product of a great system in place in Calgary), and then cuts another All-Star in Travis Bond (who looked pretty good in Edmonton Friday night). Oh and he cut a solid, dependable vet in Peter Dyakowski and couldn't re-sign his best O-lineman from last year, Bruce Campbell. The O-Line is a mess and nothing is being done to addess it. Maybe if Chris Jones drafted O-Lineman in the first round that are a) able to actually come to camp, or b) complete busts, we wouldn't be in this mess.
It doesn't matter who the Q is, if they are given no time from the O-Line, they will be forced to scramble and throw the ball away. But there is another dimension that is hurting the offense. The lack of Duron Carter, which again, is Chris Jones' fault. Going into 2018, this team was LOADED with receiving talent. Carter, Naaman Roosevelt, Bakari Grant, Caleb Holley, Chad Owens... You could try and double team one of those guys, but it left another open for a big play. Now? Teams can double Roosevelt, take him out of the game and man up on Holley (WHY DIDN'T THEY THROW TO HIM LAST NIGHT??), Jordan Williams-Lambert and Shaq Evans (who was the Riders best player on O last night). There is no threat anymore. You put Duron back in there, teams can't double Roosevelt anymore. He would open up the offense so much more, but because Coach Stubborn is at the helm, we are down to 1 credible threat on offense and that simply isn't good enough.
Also, where is the run game? Or any sort of imagination from the offense? Oh right, Stephen McAdoo is our Offensive Coordinator. The blind love and loyalty that Chris Jones shows to him is astonishing. This guy needed to go last year and needs to go even faster this year. 3 offensive touchdowns in 3 games... terrible.
I don't really know what more needs to be said. This was a piss-poor effort against a BAD team that had no business winning. The Als hadn't won since August of last year... 13 straight losses... coming off a 56-10 loss to a ROOKIE QB... There is absolutely no excuses for the Riders here. I know I called this a classic trap game, but I didn't picture it being that bad. It's a shame they laid that egg in front of a sold out crowd, including those invited from the Humboldt Broncos.
I had hoped last week's loss in Ottawa would have humbled the team... but they read all their "hype" going into a game against Montreal and assumed they would win, like pretty much everyone else did. Maybe walkthrough's shouldn't be taken as a joke again, like it was on Friday. Now they get Hamilton (who is looking DAMN good right now) with only 1 real practice on a very short week... time for this team to get their act together or else they are staring at 1-4 to start the season, all before they play a west division team.