Riders Drop to 0-2; Morning After Thoughts
Published: Friday, Jun 21st 2019, 7:06am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
I think we all expected a close game last night between the Riders and Redblacks, but I think we all had it as a game in the 20s.. not the 40s! I was highly entertained during last night's 44-41 Redblacks win, but there was a lot that bothered me, especially from the Riders side of things. Here's some morning after thoughts about the game:
1. Gotta start with Cody Fajardo. He kind of earned another start, no? I don't think anyway saw a 360 yard passing game coming, but there it was. Fajardo was fearless, continuously moved the ball with confidence (save for the start of the 3rd quarter), made some GREAT throws and showed a flash of what he could be. No Harkermania runnin' wild last night, brother! Fajardo, for now, needs to be the alpha dog in the Riders locker room. This is his team now.
That said, calm your expectations. Ryan Dinwiddie once threw for 450 yards in a start against the Calgary Stampeders. Before we start saying Fajardo is a legit starter, let's maybe give him more than 1 start to make that claim.
2. Gotta give the same props to Dominique Davis of Ottawa. He was on FIRE last night. He picked apart the Riders secondary all night (especially Nic Marshall) and kept on putting points on the board. Against what we have been calling the best defense in the league, he made them look absolutely pitiful. Kudos, Davis.
3. The Riders vaunted secondary was TERRIBLE last night. Mainly Nic Marshall. Marshall got beat deep once, then it was over. Davis kept picking on him and Marshall was more worried about complaining to the refs than to actually making a play. An off night for sure, hopefully they clean it up against the Argos, who have a MUCH better receiving group than Ottawa.
4. The D-Line finally got some pressure. Not the dominant line that we are expecting, but it was way better than last week. They'll come around, of that I have no worry. Let's just do it quick, okay?
5. LB Cam Judge is starting to turn into something special. He had what might have been his best career game last night. For those thinking that Judge was the weak link on the defense, give your head a shake.He may never become a superstar, but he's a good one. We should be quite happy with his development.
6. This past week on the Riderfans forum, Shaq Evans took a beating. Well he responded with 100+ and his first career TD. He's a good #3 receiver that can make big plays. Don't be too hard on him. Maybe this week, beat up on the defense and they'll show up against the Argos.
7. Craig Dickenson had himself a badly coached game. Yeah, it's new to him and I'm not too worried about it, but it was frustrating to watch him not have his headset on and not challenge a clear incomplete pass, only to waste it on a desparation later. He'll be better.
8. Makana Henry... leaning into a player that is being shoved directly into you out of bounds is pretty undisciplined. Absolutely worth of the 15 yard penalty he received. That said, the people freaking out about it, need to chill out. Of course, after last week's head shot on Zach Collaros, fans are super touchy on late hits. Here's the thing though... Simoni Lawrence delivered a blatant head shot to a QB that gave himself up. Mak Henry gave a shoulder to shoulder to a guy that got shoved into him. BIG difference. Anyone calling for an ejection can just piss right off. Definitely a penalty, because that's the nature of the game now, but come on. NOT EVEN CLOSE to the same thing as Lawrence.
Is it a bit hypocritical of me to defend Mak a bit here after I said the league needs to come down hard on Lawrence? Maybe. But there was no malicious intent by Henry, the QB he "hit" was shoved directly into him... maybe if the player being shoved ran 14 yards instead of 16 yards, it wouldn't have happened... (see how stupid that logic is...?). People are ACTUALLY calling for a suspension... A SUSPENSION!! Oh wait, it's because it was those dirty, cheating Riders. Right. Carry on *eyeroll*
9. There is no "must win" game in week 3 of a CFL season in my mind. But the home opener for the Riders on Canada Day is as close to one as you will see. If they have ANY chance of turning the season around, they have to win this. Starting 0-3 all against supposed weaker East teams would not be ideal. Remember, these games are worth as much in the standings now as they are in September/October.
10. There were a lot of positives from the offense last night. We were all concerned about them going into the season and they showed flashes. A nice thing to build on, hopefully they can keep it going.