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Thursday, November 16, 2017

RIDERS RELISHING UNDERDOG ROLE


OTTAWA - The Saskatchewan Roughriders held a closed workout at Carleton University on Day 2 of their practice week on Thursday. Here are some notes:

1 - It rained for much of the day in the nation's capital, but the temperature was +6 Celsius. With a southwest wind at 23 km/h, it felt like +2. The players and coaches said afterwards that the workout was chilly, but the focus was there.

2 - The forecast for Sunday's CFL East Division Final in Toronto now calls for +3 Celsius and wind. The Roughriders will oppose the Toronto Argonauts at 12:00 pm Sask Time on TSN and the 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network. A Saskatchewan victory would make the Roughriders the first team in CFL history to advance to the Grey Cup through the crossover format.

3 - After opening the week as 1.5-point favourites, the Argos are now favoured by 2.5-points. All of the CFL's stats and analytics point to a Toronto win, and the Riders have noticed.

"We see it," huffed Rider receiver Duron Carter. "We see the CFL 'probability' that we have like a 2% chance of winning the game and all that stuff. You have to sort of block it out. We're here, we know we're good, and we're here to win."

If they can't block it out, the Green & White plan to use the predictions as motivation.

"You sort of have to, in a sense," Carter advised. "You never want to be looked down upon, especially in a sport where we feel we're the top guys. We definitely bring it into the game. We thought about it (in the Eastern Semifinal) when nobody thought we could crossover and win. We keep it on our backs, and we're ready."

4 - Argonauts Head Coach Marc Trestman had franchise legend Mike "Pinball" Clemons address their team on Wednesday at Toronto's practice facility. Clemons is a skilled motivational speaker and his speech was reportedly very inspirational.

Will Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones have a franchise great speak to the team in advance of Sunday's game?

"No," Jones smiled on Thursday. "We're just gonna keep doing the things that we've been doing. We're trying to trust our process, we're in the weight room a lot, and making sure we're ready to go. You don't have to sit there and preach. They know what's at stake. Our group's relishing it and they're enjoying the pressure that goes with winning in the playoffs."

5 - We tend to think of the Roughriders as a young group but they've got plenty of veteran presence sprinkled in with the likes of Rob Bagg, Chad Owens, Kevin Glenn, Marcus Thigpen, Peter Dyakowski, Bakari Grant and a host of others.

I asked Bagg if this Grey Cup run is sweeter than those in the past given the hell this franchise has been through since the 2014 Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg.

"I'm not sure if anyone is more sweeter," Bagg explained. "Every one's just different. Calgary in 2009 was sweet because it was my first one. 2013 was sweet because we were at home. This one's just different in its own way. The guys that have been here since 2014 when Darian got injured in Winnipeg, from that day forward, it's been a grind. So to get back here, and reflect and all the work to get this opportunity again, I'm proud of the guys that are here and aren't here anymore, everyone's played a part in the process. Now it's up to the 60-70 guys that are here to take advantage of the opportunity."

6 - Chris Jones reported that Left Guard Brendon Labatte got some work in during Thursday's practice but his status for Sunday's EDF is still up in the air. The team's Most Outstanding Lineman missed the Eastern Semifinal with a lower body injury.

7 - The Riders will practice Friday morning at Carleton before flying to Toronto. They'll hold a walk-through on Saturday.

RP
@rodpedersen

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

https://scontent-bru2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/s261x260/23658752_10159558236500524_5093286828921962408_n.jpg?oh=dc41ad8f2bab8fcd0e9e5e5f8c881f6b&oe=5A93B489

Anonymous said...

I hope Labatte's does not risk his injured knee if he is not 100%.
Things look bleak for the Riders against Toronto, especially when you have The Pinball revving the engines of those hard-nosed Argos.

Anonymous said...

https://scontent-bru2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/p235x165/23561845_10159564568665524_4920832630629763613_n.jpg?oh=a6eb57eb878f39055fad0d427fc58365&oe=5A9A9C3C

Gainer is my Hero said...

Rod, my 2 cents on CFL playoff format. I am thinking a hybrid of the existing format and the much talked about top 6 teams.

Keep the existing divisions and schedule format. 1st place team in each division is awarded the right to host divisional final game and a bye in the semi- finals. Out if the remaining 7 teams the top 4 make the semifinals. Those 4 teams are seeded 1 to 4, The semifinals would have 1st host 4th and 2nd hosts 3rd place.

He 2 winners of the semifinals are then seeded and for the divisional finals the top seeded semifinal winner travels to the lower seeded 1st place finisher. The lower seeded semifinal winner travels to the top seeded 1st place finisher.

I think that would keep the benefits of the current format, keep the East West flavor, yet provide an avenue to the best teams to make the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Go back to your own Teams blog you Alberta troll

Anonymous said...

Screw the 2 division format, screw the nonsensical idea of a hybrid system where first in the two divisions get a bye but everything else gets seeded as if it's one division, and screw the archaic view that tired old traditions are more important than basic fairness.

Why should the Argos get a first round bye and a home gamr while the Riders have to go on the road and get no bye when the Riders have a better record than the Argos? Neither the Argos or the RedBlacks had any business hosting a playoff game.

Single division is the way to go. Seed the teams from 1st through 6th and that's that. The needs and wants of old fogeys who want to cling to useless traditions don't matter.

Anonymous said...

There are no benefits of the current format.

Correction: shameless, selfish beggars who have no problem with their team getting a first round bye and home playoff game that they don't deserve while other more deserving teams get screwed see a benefit.

But that is not a benefit worthy of preservation, in fact the eradication of such a benefit is the only moral choice.

Other then that there ARE no benefits. Two divisions with so few teams is stupid and there's nothing good about it.

Anonymous said...

Keep east west...Period!!!!!! Or I probably wont be interested unless Sask i playing

On the Argos being favored. I would guarantee they dont feel like the favorites and probably hate the label.

Argos know its anyone's game Sunday and everyone else knows it too!!!

Anonymous said...

Bleak?.....you so funny!.....Pinball just convinced them to go to church and hug a puppy!....Riders have Chris Jones to motivate them and that's all they need!

Anonymous said...

Eliminate the East West Divisions. There are several reasons why the CFL is looked upon the way it is. It will never be taken serious when you have team getting into the playoffs with losing records.
Combine that with a team winning a game because they missed the so called game winnning field goal but kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone for a rouge. That too is embarrassing. In fact the name “rouge” in the game of professional football is embarrassing.
If they refuse to remove the rouge because it’s Canadian. (What a joke!) Then make it so the only way to get a point is if the Ball stays in the end zone and is playable by the receiving team. Meaning it dosent roll out of bounds anywhere anyhow. If it rolls out or goes through the back it’s not a point.
Any league that awards a point for a missed field goal or because the punter kicks it through the back of the end zone can not be a professional football league. It has to be a peewee league trying to add offensive scoring to a game that is lacking in its ability to add points to the game.
Anyone that doesn’t believe in this is not serious about “PROFESSIONAL” football. Because it truly is a forehead slapper. An embarrassing one at that.

Anonymous said...

why can't everyone just get along and have fun. Rest easy folks, all is good. Now the only beef I have is Horsies a## on this site. He should stick to 3downnation and the bickering he does there and how he gets owned by the rider fans that frequent that site too.

Anonymous said...

As far as the game this weekend goes, I believe the Riders can win but like many games they played this year they have to play error free. Toronto has struggled much like the Riders this year but they will be just as motivated to get to the Grey Cup. The difference between the two teams may very well be the bond Chris Jones has built with his players. Trust in their teammates has helped them grow and peak at the right time, and if they believe they have what it takes to win it all which they obviously do, they should win this one. BEL13VE!!! GO RIDERS!!!

CM said...

Podcast is a good listen but you need to coach Scruffy to stop cutting you off. I think he does that to other guests too but its not as obvious. He needs a qualuude before going on air to calm him down.

Anonymous said...

I think Scruffy does an admirable job filling in for Rod. However I do agree on Scruffy needing to be more aware and not cutting off and or talking over his guest. I can’t think of a guest he hasn’t cut off once or twice. Usually when there is 2 seconds of silenc. I think Scruffy gets a little nervous with that and decides everyone needs to know the radio station name and the guests name. Unfortunately the guest starts speaking at the same time. While Scruffy is saying Something like.... we are talking to Toronto head coach Marc Trestman here on the Sports Cage 620 CKRM. All mumbo jumbled in with what ever the guest was talking about. Other than those little blurbs it’s really good.
Listen I couldn’t do 1/10th the job. I’m not critising... I’m nicely helping out by mentioning this and maybe if Scruffy reads this. He may take it as greatful listener critiquing a situation to help improve things.
I’ve been in the same career 32 years and I still learn something new everyday.
Keep up the good work Scruffy. Hope you have to fill in for the coming week.
Cheers