Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Morning 'Rider Blogging

Yes, there's once again plenty to like about the 'Riders' performance in sweeping the home-and-home series against what had been the CFL's top team. But let's note that there's still some obvious room for improvement in the offence which is winning so many accolades under Darian Durant's play-calling.

After all, Durant's completion percentage has actually been significantly lower in the past two games than in the previous few - falling to just over 50% on Sunday (at 14 for 27). And in keeping with the frequent incompletions, the 'Riders managed only one series over 59 yards (and that thanks to a fake field goal which extended the drive to end the first half).

Fortunately, the 'Riders didn't need to get any further than that through much of the game. And the credit goes to about the best combined performance on defence and special teams that the team could possibly hope for. Tristan Jackson set the offence up for plenty of points early with a couple of huge punt returns, and the defence (thanks in large part to a breakout performance by Craig Butler) went from playing an effective bend-don't-break style in the first half to completely controlling the second half.

That said, it's worth noting that the style that worked so well for the 'Riders on Sunday may not be as effective against some other teams. The strategy of jumping passes that worked so well against the Bombers' off-target passing attack doesn't figure to produce quite the same results against a Calvillo or a Burris, while an offence which relied almost entirely on outbursts of two or three big plays to score points may be vulnerable against a defence that does a better job of limiting what's available downfield.

But it's still a huge plus to be able to talk about what the 'Riders can do to build on their success, rather than wondering whether they'd find a way to beat anybody at all. And if Durant can mix some of the elements of Doug Berry's offence in with the quick-strike attack he deployed against Winnipeg, then the 'Riders' playbook may not be the only parallel to 2007.

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