Don’t blame the kicker for Riders 0-2 record

A good friend of the Saskatchewan Roughriders has returned for another year and it’s not someone they were hoping to see.

“Owen Two” has returned for the third straight year following a wild 43-40 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to open New Mosaic Stadium. Both of the Riders losses this season have things in common but it’s not as simple as Tyler Crapigna missing kicks late.

On Saturday evening, the most aggravating part of the game was watching the defence shoot itself in the foot on more than one occasion. The defence had a pretty good start to the game, keeping Winnipeg to a minimal amount of yards for most of the first half but the dam was eventually going to break and it did not long after.  Simply put, former Roughrider Weston Dressler, or any receiver for that matter, cannot be left wide open as many times as he was. Coming into the season the Riders secondary was expected to be an issue. Ed Gainey and Jovon Johnson were expected to hold down the fort while some young players get up to speed. This week, that wasn’t enough.

Here’s the thing, the coaching staff isn’t doing the secondary any favours either. On two of those busted plays that led to Winnipeg touchdowns, the Riders rushed just three players and Matt Nichols had all the time in the world to throw. As TSN’s Derek Taylor pointed out this week, no team rushed three more than the Riders in week one, and it wasn’t even close. Jones’ weird fascination with not sending at least four players on a vast majority of downs has been a staple of his time in Saskatchewan. Far too often it hasn’t helped either. In theory, having more bodies between the line of scrimmage and the first down marker is a good thing. However, even the best of coverage will eventually break down if there’s no pressure on the quarterback and we all know the Riders don’t have the best coverage right now. Pressure isn’t a cure all but more things, like a bad throw, can happen if a quarterback is facing some heat. The defence is getting beat as it is but if you get beat on the blitz, at least you can tip your cap to the other team. Not surprisingly, the Riders defence got back on track late in the game when they started blitzing more.

It’s hard to blame the offence when the Riders ended up scoring 40 points against Winnipeg but there’s certainly some blame there as well. Right now, this team isn’t good enough to overcome multiple turnovers. Kevin Glenn can’t be throwing an interception or two every game. Unfortunately for the team, that’s kind of been the story of his career. There’s no reason to consider a change at quarterback yet, but if Glenn doesn’t start protecting the football better, it might be time to thing about giving a younger pivot a shot. At least turnovers then are more of a learning experience.

Some kind of run game would help too, but we’ve been beating that horse since the start of last season and I’m not holding my breath that it’s going to change anytime soon.

Even if Crapigna made his kick during the second overtime period, there are no assurances the Riders would have won. Winnipeg would have played more aggressively and may have scored a touchdown and won just the same.

None of this excuses Crapigna for the missed kicks. He needs to make them and I’m sure he’ll be the first to tell you that. However to say the Riders are 0-2 because of him is unfair. After all, football is the ultimate team sport.

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