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Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Far too often throughout the latter half of the 2013 season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ early-game offensive struggles partially masked their greatest strengths.

Particularly after Alex Hall arrived in a mid-season trade, the ‘Riders were built ideally to hold leads. The defence boasted enough elite pass-rushers to pressure quarterbacks while leaving plenty of extra coverage to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Last week, I noted that the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ semi-final win against B.C. reflected a team just barely adjusting to an opponent who thoroughly neutralized its strengths. But in case there was any doubt whether the ‘Riders could play exactly their preferred type of game against a playoff-ready opponent, Sunday’s win over Calgary should put that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Ideally, a football team would hope to be able to win on its own terms in the playoffs. But that wasn’t to be for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in their semi-final matchup against the B.C. Lions.

The ‘Riders’ greatest strength through the second half of the season was a devastating pass rush which forced sacks and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Halfway through the first quarter of last weekend’s contest against B.C., nobody would have been surprised to learn that the game would be decided by a team giving the ball away repeatedly until it dug a hole too deep to escape. But the ultimate outcome would have been rather more unexpected.

After a couple of . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

In some ways, CFL wins don’t get much uglier than the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ narrow victory over Edmonton on Saturday. But while a 14-9 slugfest may have continued to emphasize the ‘Riders’ weaknesses as the regular season draws to a close, it also allowed plenty of room to notice the team’s strengths.

Through most of the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

After a few weeks of maddeningly bad luck, the Saskatchewan Roughriders desperately needed a win against B.C. to stay in the race for a top-two position in the West. And last Friday’s victory signalled that the ‘Riders can win in a game where the breaks mostly even out.

Yes, Saskatchewan benefited from three interceptions . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Early in the season, the Saskatchewan Roughriders frequently dug themselves into a hole at the beginning of a game, only to pile up just enough points at the end to emerge victorious.

But that kind of luck can only last for so long. And Sunday’s loss in Montreal provided an all-too-vivid example of the dangers . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

It would be nice to be able to blame the ‘Riders’ latest loss on injuries hitting a few more of the team’s key players. But that excuse would ring rather hollow against an opponent missing the CFL’s defending Most Outstanding Player and its top starting quarterback – particularly at the point in the season where . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Once again, the Saskatchewan Roughriders faced a significant challenge from a team at the bottom of the CFL’s standings in last weekend’s Labour Day Classic. But once again, the ‘Riders emerged on top – finishing the first half of the 2013 season with an 8-1 record. And perhaps more importantly, one of the keys against . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Obviously Friday’s result against Calgary wasn’t what the Saskatchewan Roughriders hoped for – particularly since it means having only one game of separation from third place in the CFL’s West Division. But it’s worth noting that most of the problems against the Stampeders were simply a matter of the inevitable ebb and flow of luck . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Just two games ago, I noted that there was still one major question facing the Saskatchewan Roughriders: whether the team’s offence could function without Darian Durant at the controls. But at most one week later than might have been ideal, we seem to have our answer.

No, Drew Willy isn’t anywhere close to Durant’s comfort . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Needless to say, there isn’t much to question after a performance like the ‘Riders romp over Hamilton yesterday. But I’ll point out a couple of aspects of the ‘Riders’ recent play which may mean far more than the numbers receiving the most attention so far.

On that front, while “no turnovers in four games!” and . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Two games into the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ regular season, the “experienced team starting quickly” theory is looking fairly solid. But let’s take a look at what’s gone better than expected – as well as where there may be room for concern.

To start with, a couple of areas which looked like possible weaknesses have proven to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

There were certainly some bright spots in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ loss to Montreal yesterday, as is normally the case when a team has chance to win late against one of the CFL’s elite competitors. But the sad part of yesterday’s loss was that the ‘Riders missed a number of obvious opportunities which could easily have . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

No, the most important factor in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ loss to Edmonton shouldn’t come as much surprise.

As I noted last week, the Eskimos are one of a few CFL teams plainly built around a model of forcing and capitalizing on turnovers. And on Saturday, the ‘Riders obliged by handing Edmonton the ball in scoring . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

The first half of yesterday’s win over the Argos was filled with missed opportunities for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Yes, it’s generally a plus to hold a 9-point lead at the half. But between a couple of dropped interceptions and an unusually ineffective short-yardage offence, the ‘Riders held that small margin despite outplaying the Argos in . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

The last time the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat the B.C. Lions, the storyline involved Saskatchewan getting just enough breaks to overcome a seeming gap in talent. But last night, the ‘Riders managed to win an entirely different type of game.

The ‘Riders’ offence was perfectly prepared for the CFL’s toughest defence: a constant two-back threat . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Like so many games this season, the ‘Riders’ most recent win against Calgary ended up closer than it had to. But at least this time, Saskatchewan emerged on top – signalling that the ‘Riders are starting to combine the ability to outplay their opponents throughout the game with a late-game killer instinct just when it . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

It shouldn’t come as much surprised that Drew Willy’s first CFL start – against one of the league’s elite teams – resulted in a loss for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But even an eleven-point loss may have somewhat flattered the ‘Riders.

The game story inevitably revolved largely around Willy. And while he again displayed some ability . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

No, the Saskatchewan Roughriders shouldn’t try to plan to win games the way they did today. But while the ‘Riders left plenty of room for improvement, they also showed some positive signs beyond what we’ve seen so far in 2012.

At the top of that list was of course the play of Drew Willy, the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Yes, last week’s loss to Calgary was downright ugly to watch at times. But it may also signal some positive changes for the Saskatchewan Roughriders – and we should find out soon whether the ‘Riders can find their way into the playoffs with the players and plans they have now, or whether it’s time to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Most of the commentary on Friday’s loss to Edmonton has focused on the common traits between the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ last three losses. But the more important developments may have been some new weaknesses which figure to make it much tougher for the ‘Riders to get back in the win column.

To start with the points . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Yes, yesterday’s loss to Hamilton made for another painful result for a team which outplayed its opponent for most of the game. But as with the previous week’s defeat against Calgary, there are a few lessons the Saskatchewan Roughriders should be able to take from the outcome.

To start with, the offence again looks to . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Night ‘Rider Blogging

Most of the commentary on last week’s loss to Calgary has focused on the converse of the factors that went the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ way in their previous game – as about half a dozen key plays all turned the game in the Stamps’ favour. But it’s worth taking a closer look at how the contest . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Night ‘Rider Blogging

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning ‘Rider Blogging

The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ third win of 2012 involved a rather different path than the previous two.

Instead of dominating the line on either side of the ball, the ‘Riders’ win over B.C. featured a Lions team that largely controlled both sides of the ball. Travis Lulay put together a fairly stellar passing performance, while Saskatchewan’s . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning ‘Rider Blogging