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The Morning After – Riders Defense Disappoints Again, Lose to Elks

Published: Saturday, Sep 16th 2023, 3:09pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


Last night was an absolutely atrocious showing from the Saskatchewan Roughriders defense in their 36-27 loss to the Edmonton Elks and it’s time we finally talk about them.


I’ve been a big supporter of Jason Shivers and his defense over the years, as it used to be the strong part of the team. No longer. The Riders give up the most points in the league and last night continued to get absolutely gashed by the run. Kevin Brown and Tre Ford lit up the Riders to the tune of 245 of the 270 rushing yards the Elks accumulated and it wasn’t like we didn’t know it was coming.


Tre Ford is so FUN to watch, he’s the CFL’s modern day Michael Vick, the way he can run around, escape the pocket and make defenders look silly. But he’s still quite green in the passing department. He’ll get there, but we KNEW they’d run the ball. Absolutely NO halftime adjustments were made by the Riders D and they kept on giving up chunk after chunk after chunk on the ground and that was the disappointing part. Yes, Anthony Lanier II and Miles Brown were hurt, but it took the Riders D until the final 3 minutes of the game to actually stack the box and try to stuff the run. And by then, it was way too late. Lights Out night, indeed.


But we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Shivers has shown us over the years that he will NOT change up his defensive scheme. Ever. Against a good running team like Winnipeg? Sure, let’s let Brady Oliveira run all over us in back to back weeks. Against an Edmonton team that has a running QB and are making it pretty obvious they are going to be a heavy running team? Here’s 270 yards! And then to use Micah Teitz to spy the running QB? I’ve always liked Teitz, but that’s just stupid. Plain stupid.


I get that teams have game plans going into each and every game and they want to stick to them as much as possible, but there are NO adjustments at all in Shivers’ D. None. Teams have figured out exactly what they are going to do and they’ve been exploiting it repeatedly this season. Mike Tyson said it and it rings true: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Sometimes, you need to react and change things up and we simply aren’t seeing that here in Riderville. And to me, THAT’S the frustrating part.


I think the talent the Riders have on D is there and the depth is pretty good. Could they use some upgrades? Sure, who couldn’t? But I do think that Jeremy O’Day has built a decent team of good players. My concern is the coaching on the team from all levels, including from Jason Shivers. We just aren’t seeing any growth from the group throughout the season and it sure looks like they peaked at the beginning of the season. Somehow, they’ve gotten worse. That’s not a recipe for success in the CFL.


I often joke that Saskatchewan as a whole hates change (though there’s a lot of truth said in jest) and the same can be said about the Roughriders defense this year. This is what we have, it isn’t going to change and the team is going to continue to give up a ton of yards and more importantly, a ton of points. I hope you’re used to it.


Steve, Greg and I will discuss this further in the next episode of The Piffles Podcast, but we will also highlight some positives from Friday night’s game, though pretty much all of those are from the offensive side of the ball. Subscribe to the show on YouTube so you don’t miss anything!


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