Riders problems well-displayed in fourth straight loss

What a disaster!

The Saskatchewan Rougriders remained the CFL’s lone winless team after losing 27-24 to the visiting B.C. Lions on Friday night, in another example of wait-til-we-see-the-video-to-see-how-bad-it-really-is.

Four straight losses. More injuries, with starting wideout Rob Bagg and cornerback/returner Tristan Jackson joining an unbelievable list of wounded that also includes starting quarterback Darian Durant.

In another tedious, rain-soaked game that had virtually everyone complaining about the lack of tempo being caused by the league’s inane new rules and video challenges, there were also more examples of a Riders defence that can’t stop anybody and a head coach who simply doesn’t understand CFL strategies.

And once again, Saskatchewan’s head coach Corey Chamblin told reporters afterwards he wasn’t going to accept all the blame. Chamblin last week lambasted the fans and media for criticizing him following a string of fourth-quarter collapes, yet he’s the person in charge of Saskatchewan’s defence, which allowed the slowest quarterback since John Elway (B.C.’s Travis Lulay) to run six time for 105 yards.

In four games the Roughriders defence has two takeaways — an interception by a linebacker and one successful third-down stop. The defence doesn’t get close enough to the ball carrier to force a fumble! Pressure on opposing quarterbacks has ranged between none and non-existent. And there have been no interceptions by the secondary, Chamblin’s area of expertise.

He’s certainly not adept at strategies. When the Roughriders scored a disputed, last-minute touchdown to pull within 27-23, TSN’s cameras showed him on the sidelines signalling for a two-point convert. Unbelievable!

Fortunately for the Riders, the touchdown was reviewed, giving their head coach a chance to re-assess and ultimately kick the strategically-sound, one-point convert.

The Roughriders’ demise began after winning the 2013 Grey Cup, when the team began shedding its youthful Canadian talent, specifically linebacker Craig Butler and defensive tackle Zach Evans, while keeping aging receivers and offensive linemen. Now the Roughriders are scrambling to fill roster holes.

Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman are signed through 2017. They aren’t going to be fired, nor should they be, based on past successes.

But through four seasons together they have been trying to patch together a team, which won in 2013 because it paid mightily for a talented group of veterans that included Geroy Simon, Ricky Foley and Dwight Anderson.

They’re trying that again this season with veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn, who has capably replaced Durant, and a handful of others. It’s time, instead, to stop putting Band-Aids on the roster and give it an overhaul, with a heavy injection of promising Canadian players.

And work on strategy.


Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.