Tuesday Morning QB (CFL Week 18)

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There is no question that the Saskatchewan Roughriders enter every season with major expectations as one of the most followed teams in the CFL.

Every year it is expected that they win and make the playoffs on their way to the grey Cup.

Although there is no way that they can always win the expectations are there.

This year those expectations were not met as they began the season 0-9 in one of the worst starts in recent memory.

The Riders were falling behind in a big way but just before Labour Day they looked to change things up before it as far too late to get their way back to the playoff picture.

The Riders fired head coach Corey Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman looking to turn the season around.

The moves worked initially as new head coach Bob Dyce helped the Riders to their first win on Labour Day weekend.

It was a big win that gave the Riders fans some hope that their season wasn’t entirely over but the team continued to struggle only taking another win all year.

A big part of the bad season was the major reason for last year’s bad season, the quarterback position.

Last year the Riders were doing well up until starting quarterback Darian Durant was hurt at the Banjo Bowl and missed the rest of the season.

From that point on the Riders struggled and missed the playoffs with hope of a new year bringing them back to the playoffs.

Then Durant was hurt in Week 1 tearing his Achilles and set to miss the entire season.

Kevin Glenn, a free agent pick-up in the off-season, took over but couldn’t get the offence going enough to win and then an injury kept him on the sidelines for a good chunk of the season.

Brett Smith took over before he was benched for Tino Sunseri and eventually for Glenn who returned from injury.

None have figured out a way to make the offence work and when it came to the trade deadline a few weeks ago the Riders had officially given up on their season.

They traded away Glenn and traded away their best offensive weapon in Jerome Messam clearly sending a sign that they were not going to be competing for the playoffs any longer.football-sidebar

They are out of the running for a playoff spot and with only two weeks left in the season their preparations are beginning for a new year.

With Jeremy O’Day and Dyce given interim titles midway through the season there are two very important openings in the CFL.

The GM and head coaching role in Regina is one of the most scrutinized due to the focus on the team throughout the province.

It takes a different type of person to take either one of these roles but the rumours are already swirling.

There are reports that the Riders are hoping to talk to Jim Popp, Montreal’s current GM, for the role.

There are also rumours that the Riders have looked into the availability of John Hufnagel to take over both roles with the Riders, Hufnagel is set to retire as head coach of the Stampeders and become the full-time GM.

Hufnagel has denied any rumours as his plans are still intact while Popp is still under contract with the Alouettes and Montreal will need to approve of the Riders talking to him.

The search is just beginning and although Dyce and O’Day have a chance at retaining their jobs the search will extend far beyond them.

Despite the high expectations the Riders are the only team preparing for next year with only two weeks left.

The playoff race is not over as teams continue to fight for the last spot in the playoffs and for positioning.

As they all do that two more teams will join the Riders in looking forward to a new year where they can fix their issues and make another run.

It may be earlier than others but the Riders are getting a head start as there is a lot of work to do in what should be an interesting and much-watched off-season for the most watched team in the league.

Fourth Down:
(Thoughts on Week 18 in the CFL)

Change under Centre
Trevor Harris began the season as one of the best QBs in the league but over the last two weeks has only scored 17 points including being shut down in Week 18 and so the Argos are going to their veteran as Ricky Ray will make his first start of the season in Week 19

Back at Home
The Argos remain in the headlines this week as Ray gets his first start and they return to the Rogers Centre after the Toronto Blue Jays were eliminated from the postseason freeing up the Argos to take over for the last two games ever to be played in the Rogers Centre

Steele Extended
The Edmonton Eskimos are playing their best football right now and they are set to reward those involved signing Eddie Steele to a contract extension that keeps one of the cornerstones of the defence in Edmonton through 2017

standings-w18.fw

Week 18 Scores:
Montreal Alouettes 34 – 2 Toronto Argonauts
– The Toronto Argonauts were once again forced to play in Hamilton and their losing streak at Tim Hortons Field continued as Trevor Harris could only manage 2-points against the Alouettes offence in a big win that keep the Als in the hunt for the crossover

BC Lions 40 – 13 Hamilton Tiger-Cats
– The Ti-Cats were the best team in the league without question when Zach Collaros was leading the way but they have come back down to earth and after winning two in a row lost to the Lions who stayed in the hunt for the last playoff spot

Ottawa REDBLACKS 27 – 20 Winnipeg Blue Bombers
– The Blue Bombers are one of three teams fighting for the last playoff spot but the REDBLACKS are looking for a bigger prize and like they have done all year put on a great performance that came down to the last play helping them into second and hurting the Bombers’ chances

Edmonton Eskimos 35 – 24 Saskatchewan Roughriders
– The Eskimos continued their hot streak as they kept a hold on first place in the West for the week after beating the Riders who put up a fight and gave new QB Keith Price a shot, which he took advantage of, in their lost season

Week 19 Matchups:
BC Lions vs. Toronto Argonauts (Friday October 30th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Argos will finally return to the Rogers Centre and hope to turn around what is beginning to be a bad end to the season as Ricky Ray returns under centre and tries to beat the Lions who are trying to keep a hold of the last playoff spot

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Calgary Stampeders (Saturday October 31st; 3:00 pm ET)
– The Riders are only spoilers at this point in the season as they hope to beat the defending champions and one of the best teams in the league who are trying to keep up with the Eskimos and compete for first place in the West

Ottawa REDBLACKS vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Sunday November 1st; 1:00 pm ET)
– The REDBLACKS are playing great football heading into the final weeks of the season and they are hoping to cap off of a great year by beating the Ti-Cats in back to back games that will give them first place in the East

Montreal Alouettes vs. Edmonton Eskimos (Sunday November 1st; 4:00 pm ET)
– The Alouettes have only one option for the rest of the year as they need to win if they want to take the crossover but it won’t be easy as they have to beat the best team in the league in the Eskimos who will try to make it seven in a row

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