Friday, June 16, 2017
3 & 3 TO WATCH IN RIDERS AT LIONS
The Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions tangle in Vancouver on Friday night to close out the 2017 CFL Preseason (8:00 pm Sask Time, TSN,, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network).
620 CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder provides three players and three positions to watch in this exhibition clash:
PLAYERS: OL DARIUSZ BLADEK, CB MARK ROBERTS AND HB CREZDAN BUTLER
MULLINDER: Dariusz Bladek is going to be playing at Right Guard, #66. He's a guy that brings a high energy. I've talked to a couple of his teammates and they're raving about him. They say he's ahead of schedule in terms of where he should be in terms of playbook development so that's a great sign. He's an intense guy and he wants to play football. Keep an eye on him because you have Brendon Labatte and Josiah St. John who aren't here, as well as Dillon Guy, so Dariusz Bladek has a tremendous opportunity in front of him.
When you look at defense, the field side basically, Mark Roberts has come in and had a decent camp but now, because of injury, Mark Roberts is cast into a role where he might have to start in Week 1. Crezdan Butler as well, unfortunately his first major, major reps came during live game action against Winnipeg so it'll be interesting to see what he does in this game.
All eyes are on those three guys because right now, if the season were starting tomorrow, they'd probably be starting. You have those three, and the guys behind them, and it's a tremendous opportunity for everybody. You just have to take advantage of the reps you get.
POSITIONS: RUNNING BACK, RECEIVER AND DEFENSIVE LINE
MULLINDER: At running back, you have a nice little tandem with Cameron Marshall and Anthony Allen. Across the CFL, each team has two running backs so I'm not sure there's not a case to keep both those guys in the rotation and move forward. Kienan LaFrance, unfortunately, hasn't been able to practice all of camp and Greg Morris, who's taken reps with the 1's, is a high effort guy who figures to get an opportunity. But right now Marshall and Allen have looked the part.
At receiver, if you look at a guy like Mitch Picton, his chances have gone up now that Mitchell Baines has been released. It's such a deep group that balls might not even come to you. With such a deep corps, there's only one football so what you have to do is block well and do your special team assignments well. If you're going to be a 'bomber' and you're supposed to cut out the defensive end, go cut him out and be a physical presence! That's the case right now with the Saskatchewan Roughriders; the talent is through the roof. If you want to be a receiver on this team, you'd better be willing and able to do the little things that don't get you in the newspaper. That's things like blocking during screen passes and setting up DB's during the runs. It's the little things that'll get it done for you here.
On the defensive line, if you're Davis Tull and Toby Antigha, you have a tremendous opportunity because A.C. Leonard and Jonathan Newsome aren't here. Go make a play! You're going to get plenty of reps. It's not like Willie Jefferson's going to play all game so the reps will be there for you. If I'm a young defensive end, I'm so excited about this game on Friday because the opportunity is going to be sitting there for you.