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Regina Rams Football

Sunday, January 15, 2017

BRIDGE WANTS TO LEAD RIDERS


Canadian Brandon Bridge is ready to tackle the challenge of being a CFL starting quarterback.

On Friday, Saskatchewan dealt the rights to veteran Darian Durant to the Montreal Alouettes for two draft picks. Durant, scheduled to become a free agent next month, spent 11 seasons with the Roughriders, guiding them to their last Grey Cup title in 2013.

But Saskatchewan (5-13) finished last in the West Division last year. With Durant gone, head coach/GM Chris Jones says there'll be an open competition in training camp for the starting job.

The six-foot-five, 235-pound Bridge, of Mississauga, Ont., is one of five quarterbacks remaining on Saskatchewan's roster although American Mitchell Gale is slated to become a free agent next month.

"Personally, I would've wanted (Durant) back as a teammate to learn from,'' Bridge said via telephone. "But I've been blessed to have many quarterbacks pass information down to me before so I'm ready for the challenge at hand.

"I don't ever ask for anything to be handed to me ... a fair chance, that's all I can ask for. And for them to say it's going to be an open competition and the best man will win, that's good enough for me.''

Bridge, 24, is entering his third CFL season and second with Saskatchewan. He has completed 37-of-53 passes (69.8 per cent) for 445 yards with two TDs and an interception but learned plenty from Durant.

"He never got down if a ball was badly thrown, or got too high if he had a perfect day,'' Bridge said. "He was always level-headed.

"He was a guy who came every day to work and taught me to control what you can control.''

Bridge started Montreal's final 2015 regular-season contest. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 220 yards and two TDs in a 30-24 overtime loss to Saskatchewan, becoming the first Canadian to start a CFL game since B.C.'s Giulio Caravatta in 1996.

While Canadian-born starters in the CFL are rare, Bridge doesn't see himself as a Canuck trying to succeed in his native land.

"I'm just trying to play football,'' he said. "Look at me as a quarterback who just happens to be Canadian.

"It's like if I was a quarterback that just happened to be left-handed. It's just different but I can get the job done regardless of what my passport says.''

Bridge also played in Saskatchewan's 41-18 road loss to B.C. on Nov. 5. He finished 10-of-11 passing for 120 yards while adding a 16-yard TD run.

"Brandon is one of those anomalies,'' Jones said. "Sometimes at practice he doesn't always look polished ... but he was 10-of-11 in a quarter and a half versus B.C. and I can assure you they had their starters in there, they did not want us to score at the end of the ballgame.

"He played better than what I anticipated. He looked more like a gamer and again, if I could pick between having a game player or practice player I'd take the game player.''

Bridge said his performance versus B.C. was indicative of his abilities but understand's Jones's concerns about his practice habits.

"Game days are my favourite thing and I know I have to be a better practice player,'' he said. "It's just that my whole mentality changes (on game day) because I see the fans, I see the cameras, I see people buying popcorn.

"It's time to put on a show so I just turn it all on but I need to be able to do that Monday to Friday to gain the trust of the coaches.''

Bridge split his college career between Alcorn State and South Alabama and attended the 2015 NFL combine. After being bypassed in the draft he went to the Dallas Cowboys' mini-camp but wasn't signed.

Montreal selected Bridge in the fourth round, No. 31 overall, of the 2015 CFL draft. He signed a two-year deal with the club before being released Aug. 1, 2016.

Bridge signed with Saskatchewan shortly afterwards.

Bridge feels with two CFL seasons under his belt and entering his second campaign in Saskatchewan's offence he's in a good position to compete for the starter's job.

"Knowing I understand the playbook, it's not going to be brand new to me,'' he said. "Going into camp I'm going to have a good head start on what the coaches want to do.

"I know what they were trying to stress (in 2016) because I was part of that so I think it will definitely help my training camp.''

(Canadian Press)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am certainly pulling for Brandon Bridge to be our starting QB in 2017. But may the best QB in training camp win.

Anonymous said...

I want to lead the riders as well but its not going to happen - its called wishful thinking. The fact is the ridees do not have a startin QB.

Jones is so smart that he has gotten rid of almost every player that was any good from the previous regime - seems like there is a big problem here.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping for Bridges as well last year because sooner or later we would need a new star. It's unfortunate that the riders do not seem to put much emphasis on QB coaching. Durant should evolve nicely with AC to add his experience.

Anonymous said...

6'5 - 235 pounds, 24 year old Brandon Bridge young and durable. He's Jerome Messam comparable in stature, hmm... turn him into a bull dozer running back? or continue to develope at current position. Saskatchewan Roughriders new starting qb is right in front of gm/coach Jones and staff in Armanti Edwards. He's a can't miss qb CFL superstar in waiting, just needs to be giving the opportunity. Roughriders club on their way now with the team rebuild, good for the long term future.

PEROGSTER said...

I think we are going to sign Duran Carter and then trade Naman Rosevalt to Edmonton for James Franklin as Edmonton needs a starting S.B.as they lost Walker to the NFL what ya all think of that idea

Anonymous said...

Grey Cup here we come!!

Anonymous said...

It would be great if Bridge could be our "proven" QB to lead our team. I just really don't see that happening.

It is really unfortunate that we will probably be heading into the 2017 season without a vetern QB. I guess Jones is so good that his team doesn't need a QB to win games.

You go Jones! And, if we aren't winning immediately this season, you can really GO!

eman said...

If Jones is smart he will call Armanti Edwards and tell him to get his arm in shape!

John Knight said...

Why don't all of you nay sayers take a hike. We are sick of listening to your garbage

Anonymous said...

Nothing would make me happier if Tino sunseri was at training camp, that would be icing on this sh*t show cake

@mrt_man said...

SOUNDS LIKE WE BETTER GIVE THE RAIL BIRDS SOME POPCORN

Anonymous said...

Tino Sunseri has a posh assistant coaching job with a top 5 team in all of College Football - Florida State. He aint coming here lol

Anonymous said...

nay! take your own advice John Knight with no pertinent comment to the above posted subject. We are sick of listening to your garbage

Go Roughriders.

Anonymous said...

Since there is no real plan for qb position. the riders are having an open camp in regina for locals to come give it a shot at quarterback. Like jones said never leave a stone unturned.

Anonymous said...

Is it...is it...yes, I think it is....

TINO TIME!!!!