Saturday, August 21, 2004

Rens lose five of last six, changes are now a given!

Thursday night was supposed to be the night the Renegades turned around their losing skid; instead they gave up two points against the divisional rival they have to beat to make the playoffs and also gave their fans cause to worry about the rest of the season. With a chance to catch the Argos and put four points between themselves and the Ti Cats the Renegades offered up one of their worst games of the year. The thirteen day break enjoyed by the Renegades proved to be a costly lay off as the team while rested appeared to come out terribly flat.

The Hamilton Tiger Cats brought back the ghosts of Angelo Mosca, Joe Zuger and Bernie Faloney as they dominated the Renegades 31-19 in front of the largest crowd of the season in Ottawa. The game harkened back to the days when the Tiger Cats would come into Ottawa and lay a licking on the old Rough Riders. Thursday night was like déjà vu from the sixties and seventies.

Discipline seemed to be the downfall on this Thursday night along the Rideau Canal. With the Central Canada Exhibition as a backdrop to the night’s entertainment, the Renegades gave their fans a bad case of indigestion, worse than any binge of mini donuts will ever do. Dumb penalties can kill any team and Thursday night featured a miscue that proved more than costly and could have resulted in serious injury. Renegade Kyries Hebert ran through Ti Cat punt returner Craig Yeast as he was waiting for the ball to arrive. The collision left the Ti Cats steamed on the sidelines but marching down the field to the Rens end of Frank Clair Stadium as officials assessed 40 yards in penalties for the needless hit applied to Yeast. Three plays after the hit, the Ti Cats were in the end zone and up by 18 points for all intents and purposes the game was over right then and there.

Thursday marked the return of Kerry Joseph to the Ottawa line up and he must have wondered why he bothered, his offensive line left him at the mercies of a fierce and motivated Hamilton front line. The lack of protection was not lost on head coach Joe Paopao who succinctly put it in terms all could understand “We can't go the way we've been going, or we'll run out of quarterbacks” Joseph was taken to the turf five times on Thursday night, as the Tiger Cats prowled the Rens backfield almost at will. Over the last three games fourteen times a Renegade quarterback has been crushed by an opposition line, the front line of the Rens offence unable to stem the tide of oncoming rushers.

The Tiger Cats immediately found themselves back in the driver’s seat for a playoff birth as Greg Marshall’s team started to get back the form that they began the season with. For Hamilton the win was their first in five games and has helped to take some of the edge off the losing skid. Marshall has managed to keep his team focused on the job at hand despite the lack of wins in the last month and a half. Getting the win over Ottawa may be just the thing to get his team believing in their chances again.

For Joe Paopao, Eric Tillman may be relaying some marching orders from owner Brad Watters. Watters was visibly upset with his team’s performance Thursday night and vowed changes would have to be made. With the Grey Cup being hosted by Ottawa this year, the plan was to have a team that would be ready to claim Earl Grey’s Cup for the hometown side. Midway through the campaign that plan is nowhere near completion, it’s time to pencil in some changes and try and get back on track. The promise of the first three games has given way to disappointment, to salvage the season the Rens need to shake things up and get it done quickly!

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