Roughriders fans want heads to roll after a 1-5 start, but maybe the faithful green hoard is a little delusional. Yes, their mighty Riders made three Grey Cup appearances in four seasons, but the team was merely 10-8 during the 2010 regular season before getting hot in the playoffs. Not exactly a dynasty.
Now their dismal kickoff to the 2011 season has many of the watermelon-wearing gang insisting quarterback Darian Durant’s a dud, head coach Greg Marshall is an idiot and that general manager Brendan Taman couldn’t find his butt with both hands.
There are even rumblings of a rift between Durant and offensive co-ordinator Doug Berry, who tried a little too hard this week when he characterized his relationship with his QB as “absolutely fantastic.”
The weakest link is the Riders offence, which has struggled without Andy Fantuz (NFL), Rob Bagg (knee) and Cary Koch (thumb), a blow that would affect any team’s production.
The reality is, the Riders are merely a good team that’s floundering beneath the weight of some key injuries, not a CFL dynasty that’s suddenly unravellling.
Now the Riders find themselves in a West turtle derby with B.C., but anything can happen once you make the playoffs, as the Riders proved last season.
Swagger before a stumble?:
The Blue Bombers have taken a shine to calling Winnipeg’s turf “Swaggerville” after blasting out of the gates with a 5-1 record, good for first place in the East.
The Bombers defence is even peddling Swaggerville T-shirts for $25.
The defence has 25 sacks through six games while Odell Willis leads the pack with eight. The defence is allowing a measly 18.8 points and 289.5 yards per game, league lows, and it has a CFL-best 10 picks.
With those stats they deserve to be a little cocky, but CFL fortunes can shift faster than the San Andreas Fault, and we could be calling them the Suicide Bombers come November. Try hawking T-shirts with that slogan.
No Stamps dampens Eskimos’ chances:
Eskimos receiver Fred Stamps was off to such a great start some folks in Edmonton were dreaming of a new CFL receptions record. That all came crashing down after Stamps required abdominal surgery this week.
Stamps, who had four 100-yard games this season, was accidentally kicked in the groin by Winnipeg’s Jonathan Hefney last weekend, a crushing blow to the Esks’ offence. Of equal concern for Edmonton fans is the continued good health of QB Ricky Ray, who was sacked four times in the Winnipeg loss. The star pivot must stay healthy for the surprising Esks to challenge for first place this season.