Bright spots? Well there are a few

Only two games took place this past weekend when a strange quirk of an eight-team league gave summer vacations to four teams.

Only two games took place this past weekend when a strange quirk of an eight-team league gave summer vacations to four teams.

The guys that had to work played on Friday night before they began their summer breaks.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders headed to Montreal via a short side trip to Calgary as part of an annoying milk run for the green guys. Charter flights are difficult to arrange out of Regina, so the road to Montreal is a tough one.

However, no excuses are acceptable when it comes to how you got there, because you lose games on the football field and not in the airport.

The Riders lost the game because they made too many mistakes.

The first mistake has dogged them all year and that is the erratic special teams play of the Riders.

Last year they had no designated special teams coach and it hurt them in games. This year they hired Kavis Reed as their special teams coach and it made a big difference: they are now worse than last year.

They have no return threat other than the incredibly talented Wes Dressler, who is too busy carrying the entire Roughrider offense on his shoulders to risk injury as a return guy.

No return guy means brutal field position and the new rule about mandatory returns after field goals means more returns. This is a particularly vicious circle for the Riders.

Things get even more complicated with downfield coverage on punts, because Rider punter Jamie Boreham gets poor hang time and his low trajectory punts give a big advantage to the opponent’s return guys.

The Alouettes ran one back on the Riders and helped out their offense who had some real problems with the Rider defense, for the most part. Calvillo had a sub-par game at quarterback but Avon Colborne picked up the slack with a strong running game. Balanced teams find ways to win and Montreal is as well balanced as a nutritionist’s diet.

Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant can also take some credit for the loss. Three critical interceptions proved that Durant is still in CFL quarterback school and he is not on the dean’s list. He likes to build most of his lesson plan around superstar receiver Dressler, but that is about five receivers short of graduation if you include running backs as a receiver option.

Some Rider fans are out for Coach Miller’s head on a platter. I am not one of them.

He has some adjustments to make in the back nine of the season, including a spot for Texas Tech star quarterback Graham Harrell on the active roster. But now is not the time to run off Ken Miller as the Riders head coach.

The other weekend game pitted the BC Lions against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a titanic struggle between CFL giants. Winnipeg coach Mike Kelly finally employed an offense that Michael Bishop could almost understand: a high school offense. Get the ball to the tailback and “student body” your way down the field while the quarterback watches the action.

It’s the safest bet when Bishop is your quarterback, but it won’t win championships in a passing league and even Atom teams play better defense than the Lions did last Friday night. See you on Friday.

Local freelance writer Jim Sutherland’s CFL column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Judge lifts publication ban, revealing details about Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Newly released documents reveal how last week’s deadly attack unfolded… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month