My Neighbour is offering space on the Rider Bandwagon…

My neighbour and I have for the past few seasons had a lot of fun and discussion regarding our favorite CFL teams. I am an ardent Bomber fan of 47 years and he, being Matt Friesen, is a Rider fan. 
He can’t help it, he was born there…it comes with the territory.
Well, as the Bombers stumble out of the gate once again, and the Riders have blasted out to a 4-0 start, and looked very good doing it, Matt has graciously offered space on the Rider bandwagon. I know deep down I could never do that, but after this weekend I was having a weak moment.
You see, the Bombers brass were quite confident in their schemes for the upcoming game with the Argos in their new home IGF. A place they have yet to win in.
However, as many of you can attest to, what began as a good start by for the Bombers, came tumbling down after an errant pass was intercepted and capitalized on by the Argos one play later. The rest, as they say is history. 21-6 Argos after the first half and 31-6 after 3 qtrs pretty much showed that the Bombers have trouble recovering from adversity, at least on this night.
Is it youth? Is it game planning and an inability to adjust?
The players play, the coaches coach, the GM gets the players and the board of directors hires the GM. My thinking is everyone has a hand in this.
It’s early, but we’ve also heard that a few times only to find out that after the home and home with Sask the first 2 weeks of Sept, the Bombers are scrambling to salvage another losing season. 
So it is with the eternal optimism that has driven me to follow these Bombers for 47 years that I headed off to watch them practice. My son hadn’t seen the new stadium yet and we both had a Monday off so in we went.
The building is quite nice compared to the old stadium at Polo Park. Not without a few design flaws, still some seats with iffy sight lines, but nice nonetheless.
I was curious to see how badly Buck Pierce was hurt…yes again. He took a hit to the abdomen against the Argos which took him out of the game for the second half.
It took a while for players to show up. We were there for an 11 am start, which had been changed to 12 noon. However, players took til approx 1 pm to show up on the field. Other than the kickers of course. It seems there was a team meeting of players only. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo, but it was interesting that Renaud and Palardy were on the field alone practicing while the rest were inside airing out whatever they needed to air out.

Perhaps this little guy was pointing out they were missing something. I’m kidding. I have no idea why the kid was there.
Buck was the first to emerge from the tunnel that leads to the home side dressing room. This was encouraging, except for how gingerly he seemed to be moving. He did some light throwing and moving around, but eventually when everyone came out, it was the backup Justin Goltz running the number 1 offence. So this begs the question. We’ve seen Buck’s amazing ability to recover from injury, but come game day will it be him #4, Justin Goltz #18 or Max Hall #15?

Goltz didn’t look terrible in the second half of the Argo game, but it was pretty much salted away by that time. BTW, Ricky Ray, who had gone 19-20 on the evening in passing, also went down with injury, so the second half was pretty much a battle of the backups. Not super exciting.
Calgary is the next opponent and it remains to be seen which QB will answer the bell there. Starter Drew Tate is injured, backup Kevin Glenn was also injured in their last game so Bo Levi Mitchell led them to victory. Amazing what some depth and good scheming will do.
Both Kito Poblah and Terrance Edwards were in pads for practice. So hopefully they can start on Friday. Losing 8-9 starters to injury can throw any plan out the window. But other teams have injuries too. How your depth steps up can go a long way to setting the tone for your season.

So if backup Goltz is forced to start, it would be nice to have some experienced hands out there to help him along. Edwards would certainly fill that bill. So here’s hoping.

On defence, they need better coverage in the back end so the front end can get after the QB. And the front needs a better push so the back doesn’t have to cover for 5-6 steamboats.
Can’t have one without the other. Football is such a team game. One guy misses an assignment and everyone looks bad.
Not sure if Bryant Turner will play, at least he was in pads for practice. It would be nice to have his presence on the defensive line again.

So what is the sum of all this info? I’m not sure. All I know is that from a fan’s perspective, it can be frustrating to watch the same thing over and over again. Have there been some good years? Sure there have, 2001-03, 2007 and most recently on the strength of the defence, 2011.
Bombers have come close, but since starting 7-1 in 2011, they’ve been very  inconsistent.
All I can say is it’s a good thing the Bombers are in the East division where everyone is 1-3 except for Toronto who are a lofty 2-2 and may have lost their starting QB.
So it’s early, no one in the east is lighting it up. So Matt, I’m not jumping yet, but keep the paperwork handy…

Ramble on folks…




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