Riders Rush Defense needs to step up
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
The Riders biggest defense over the past few weeks has been the inability to stop the run. Up against the likes of Jerome Messam (23 carries for 127 yards) and William Powell (26 carries for 187 yards) the Riders bent, but didn’t break all game long, and came out of those 2 games with a 1-1 record. It’s crazy to think they have given up over 300 yards rushing over a 2 game stretch, and only given up a pair of touchdowns. While that may work in spurts, you can’t continuously give up 100+ yards rushing and expect to win. That strategy led to barely beating the Ottawa REDBLACKS missing 2 QBS and 3 offensive linemen. Up against a much stronger team in Toronto, the Riders need to play smarter on the line.
Keys to the game:
1) Stop James Wilder Jr. Simple – stop the run and force the Argos into 2nd and long as often as possible. 2nd and 8/9/10 is a lot easier to defend than 2 nd and 2/3/4.
2) Get Duron Carter involved early – As we’ve seen time and time again, the more Duron Carter gets involved, the better.
3) Feed Bakari – I don’t just say this because it will literally cost Ferlin money to see Bakari hit paydirt, but this team is better when we spread the ball around.
4) Get to Ricky Ray – The Riders sit 7 th in the league in sacks, with 22 through 13 games. It’s like the 3 man rush is not a great tool for getting to the quarterback or something…
5) Don’t fall behind early – The Riders have had a propensity for taking early double digit deficits, including the last time these two teams met. Score early, score often.
In reality, this game is a very winnable game for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but should not be taken lightly. While the East Division itself is weak, the Toronto Argonauts are clearly the cream of that crop right now. They are head and shoulders above the REDBLACKS, Ticats and Alouettes. Having said that, only one of their 7 wins has come against a team with a record above .500, and it was against a team that was in the middle of a 6 game slide. If the Roughriders want to be taken seriously in the Western Division, this is a game they have to win.
Prediction: Riders 38 Argos 24
I want to take a moment to offer my condolences to the friends and family of Brian Broom (@BBroomCFL), who passed away suddenly on Wednesday. In his memory, during tonight’s Ticats vs Bombers game, grab yourself a butter tart, and enjoy it. Take a picture and tweet it out with the hashtag #AButterTartForBrian. RIP Brian.