Simply put, the Riders are (still) broken

What’s left to be said at this point? At least we had the Tragically Hip to distract us this week.

It’s more or less the same story week in and week out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016. I could probably copy and paste this story make a few edits and no one would probably notice (other than my bosses who might prefer that I produce new work). I could also take pieces from this story or this one maybe even this one and come up with a post that describes this game as well.

The bottom line is the Riders are broken and very likely cannot be fixed this year. After a 3-15 season, changes were inevitable. The age and salary structure of that team meant that it had to be blown up. The problem? What’s risen from the ashes isn’t any better with no sign that it’s about to get better any time soon. Before the season began, I didn’t expect the Riders to make the playoffs, but never did I think they would be basically as bad as they were last year. At some point, you would have thought a number new comers would start to shine or at least show that they belong, that maybe some kind of core to build around for next season and beyond would start to show itself. That’s all that had to happen for this year to have some level of success. Now eight games into the season, other than the likes of  Naaman Roosevelt, Justin Cox, and Tyler Crapigna, who stands out as players you build around? When a kicker is on that list, it’s not good.

The Riders do have one win, which is ahead of last year’s pace at this time. Though, it’s pretty safe to say they only have that win because Trevor Harris left that game against the Redblacks with an injury.

The track record of Chris Jones and John Muphy had many believing that they would be able to refill the ranks quickly and return the Riders to respectability. Nearly half way through their first year, there’s no signs of progress. The offence has but one touchdown in their last three games, with their number one quarterback, so that excuse is out the window. The defence can’t get to the quarterback or cover anyone. Special teams? Well at least Crapigna has been good, the rest? Meh.

I’m not suggesting that Jones and or Murphy need to be fired. New regimes always get time to try and figure it out, it takes time to build a program. The thing is, right now Jones is trying to turn around an 18-wheeler in a back alley instead of a smart car.

Other Thoughts

Darian Durant had his worst game by far for as long as I’ve been covering this team. No. 4 went over 300 pass attempts without an interception before throwing four against Hamilton. The offence has struggled, but Durant has to be better than that for this team to have any hope. The good ones bounce back, but does Durant have the support around him for it to make a difference? He’s contract is up at the end of the year, some have wondered if the team wants to move in a new direction next season. The more likely question might be if Durant wants to stick around? At 34-years-old Durant might not want to wait for this team to turn it around and opt for a team in win-now mode.

The CFL needs to do something about the challenge and review system. I’m not going to comment on the actual calls themselves, because by the letter of the law, they were right. But, it’s just become too much. One review began before a commercial break and continued well after that break ended. What’s taking so long? If within a minute, you can’t tell if the play should be overturned or not, let’s just call it inconclusive and move on. This game needs flow, it was once the cornerstone of the CFL. The first few weeks of the season showed signs of promise with some great games, lately, the CFL has been teetering toward unwatchable again. That’s not good with current competition in the form of the Olympics and the NFL and NHL seasons right around the corner.

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