Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Morning 'Rider Blogging

While the rest of the CFL gets ready for the playoffs, the 'Riders are facing plenty of questions at the start of a longer-than-usual offseason. And the final defeat of the season left more of those questions up in the air than should have been the case, as plenty of playing time for veterans on the verge of anticipated retirement left the team with little opportunity to evaluate its newer arrivals.

But one point should have been put to rest.

Yes, Ryan Dinwiddie managed a couple of big plays against the Eskimos. But how he accomplished them speaks as much to his future in the CFL as his poor completion percentage.

A number of Dinwiddie's completions - including his first touchdown to Chris Getzlaf - were completed only by inches when a better-placed throw would have given the 'Riders' receiver far more room to operate. And most of Dinwiddie's other deep passes saw a slightly worse fate, with the game log offering a litany of "pass knocked down" whenever Dinwiddie went downfield.

That doesn't look to be an issue of Dinwiddie lacking the physical skills to play quarterback in the CFL. But it does signal that at the age of 30 - and after five years in the league - he still hasn't learned how to time and place his deliveries to avoid the waiting hands of CFL-level defensive backs. Which makes a result like last week's about the best a team can hope for with him at the helm - while at the worst, regular throws into contested areas can easily result in the turnovers that have plagued Dinwiddie thorough his career.

So if nothing else, the end of 2011 should have told the 'Riders that the backup quarterback position is one of the areas in dire need of improvement. And while it may not be the top priority for a team lacking a head coach and young blood throughout the lineup, Brendan Taman's willingness to learn what he can from the end of this past season may speak volumes about where the 'Riders are headed in the years to come.

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