There was ONE overriding question that was consistent throughout the Twitter Feed and in other areas that we gather our questions from for this MAILBAG column. So today we'll answer your questions surrounding Mitchell Gale and the Saskatchewan Roughriders as they move forward...
Don't forget, YOU can join our conversation at any time simply by leaving your questions in the comment section below or on Twitter (@lucmull95). We're also starting to get some questions from the Facebook Groups that I've been placed into so we're not adverse to answering those questions that are coming in off of FB Messenger.
Here's what we've got today!...
Via Facebook Msgr
Q: What was your overall assessment of Mitchell Gale, and what happens when Durant comes back?
A: I thought Mitchell Gale played well. The MOST IMPORTANT factor in his game against Ottawa was that he DIDN’T TURN THE ROCK OVER. Gale played within the structure of the scheme as well and helped himself by not adjusting his launch point (moving outside of the pocket) when he didn’t have to. Teams are liable to get more holding calls against them when QBs get happy feet because the Offensive Linemen usually expect the QB to be in one spot. The penalties come when QBs leave their allotted spot unannounced and Olinemen end up having to make adjustments in their technique because they don’t realize the QB has left. Mike Abou-Mechrek does a great job illustrating the Oline and QB blocking relationship on 620 CKRM, but essentially an Oline blocks for where the QB is SUPPOSED to be, and not where he ad-libs. The one thing that I really wished we could have watched is Gale being able to make throws with the Day 1 Offensive Line in front of him.
This team has struggled over the last couple of years with QBs leaving the assumed protection point early and forcing his Offensive Linemen to “chase ghosts.” Mitchell Gale knew where his pocket was and understood that that was where he was going to have success from.
Now every pro football player will have some plays that he’ll want to take back once they review the tape, but as long as he is learning and applying the coaching points that are being highlighted in the meeting rooms I would expect a continues improvement.
Last week I can be quoted as saying that, “this team is a lot farther along at the #2 QB spot now then they’ve been in awhile INCLUDING when Drew Willy was here.”
It was good to see a QB stand in the pocket and throw with confidence. We got a chance to see the live arm that his former teammates were raving about, and I really enjoyed seeing him play with a consistent demeanor. Gale never seemed to get too excited or to down during the ebbs and flows of the game on Friday and he was cast into some pretty adverse situations through Defensive plays, made by Ottawa, or by the Riders own mistakes. The 4th year QB maintained a sense of composure while still being able to play with a sense of urgency when it mattered. In football one wants their team to focus on the controllables during all situations. Maintaining an even keel throughout the course of the game is something that some VETS still need to work on, and it was nice to see that Mitchell Gale has that characteristic in his tool bag.
As for Durant, he is absolutely the starting QB the minute that he is ready to go. I get the adoration for Gale at the moment because people haven’t been this optimistic about the backup QB spot in a couple of years but that cannot cause us all to skew the facts.
Darian Durant was playing his best football when he went down in the BC Lions game and its funny how short people’s memories have become since then. As a matter of fact, Doubles is probably needed now more than ever when we consider the next game on the schedule. Despite it being a short week for the Alouettes (who play today) the Green and White are walking into one of the best Defences in the league and their strengths are in areas that the Rider Oline has struggled with as of late.
John Bowman leads a defensive front 7 that is a nightmare to handle 1v1 but also employs a significant number of stunts and movement. Montreal uses its athleticism and multiple looks to supply an insane amount of pressure on the QB, and defensive interior stunts/games have proven difficult for the Roughriders to block up with two rookie guards, and a 1st-time centre.
With QBs having to make quick decisions in the face of a rapidly collapsing pocket and an opportunistic secondary led by Billy Parker and Chip Cox, the Riders need the poise of their veteran leader throughout the course of the game, especially with Montreal struggling in the other two phases of Football. The longer that the Alouettes are allowed to hang around, the harder it becomes for the Riders to pull off a victory in a building that hasn’t been kind to them over the course of history.
Mitchell Gale is a huge asset and looks like a QB that this team can build with in the future, but we cannot discount the depth and experience of the leadership in the locker room, and on the field, that #4 provides.
One day this may be Mitchell Gale’s team. Right now the Saskatchewan Roughriders need to WIN games and Doubles give them the best chance to do just that. It’s important to the continued growth of the franchise, and it also provides the potential stability needed in order to hand the reigns over to a full time successor.