‘Rider 2005 Recap: Part 3

Let’s jump right in with my evaluation of the Defence.

Defensive Line

The Defensive Line was solid, not failing completely when Nate Davis and other injuries hit the D-line. So depth seems OK, but for the n-th year in a row the D-line, along with the whole defence, seems susceptible to late game comebacks, possibly due to lack of conditioning. Player rotations, better conditioning programs and play stoppages will all have to be used more effectively to give the defence that extra reserve in the final quarter. Overall the Defensive Line gets a B+.

Linebackers

The Linebacking core is strong as well. The ‘Rider defensive stats as a whole speak for themselves, with the ‘Riders in the top three of all defensive rankings. They are strong against the pass and the run, only their offence has let them down by leaving them on the field too much. Trevis Smith will have to be replaced, but the depth is there and any of the backups could step up. The Linebackers get an A-.

Defensive Backs

The Defensive Backs are also a strong group. While I feel they play too conservatively at times, especially when stops are needed late in games, this is probably more of a coaching and scheme issue. Depth is a little weaker here with some no experienced backups to play all positions, which means when a player goes down either you put it a more experienced player out of position or a rookie at his normal position. Either way he gets picked on. With restricted rosters, salaries and players wanting to play it is very hard to have a veteran back sit on the sidelines to come in only in nickel/dime situations or when a player is injured. The ‘Riders could strengthen themselves here during the off-season. Overall I give them a B+.

Conclusion

Based on my evaluation it would seem I am pretty positive about the ‘Riders in 2006. However the two weak spots are very important, QB and receiver. Certainly the offence has been much of the team’s problem in the last 5 years. If these positions don’t improve in 2006 I predict a similar or worse season. Very simply, this offence needs to get better and more consistent for the excellent defence to be able to win them a championship.

I am sad to say that I won’t be watching from the sidelines for all the games this year. I have decided to focus my time and money on other things. I hope my absence will bring the team good luck and they will have success no matter what changes are or are not made.

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