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Friday, November 3, 2017

RIDERS WANT TO FINISH ON A WINNING NOTE

(Riders' walkthrough huddle on Friday)
Returning to the CFL playoffs for the first time since 2014 has been a slow, uphill climb for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The team went 3-15 two years ago and made only marginal gains last season to go 5-13 in the first campaign under new head coach and general manager Chris Jones.

On Saturday, they will head into their regular-season finale against Edmonton with a playoff spot secure but still plenty on the line.

If Saskatchewan (10-7) wins, Edmonton (11-6) will cross over to play either Toronto or Ottawa in the East Division semifinal, while the Roughriders will play Winnipeg on the road in the West semifinal.

Edmonton needs a win and a Winnipeg loss or tie Friday night against Calgary to secure second place and host the West division semifinal.

Roughriders defensive back Ed Gainey said the team wants to complete its return to respectability on a high note.

"It wasn't too long ago when people around the league didn't really respect us,'' he said. "We didn't have a winning record. We're above .500 now.''

If the Riders finish the regular season 11-7, it will match their mark from 2013, the same year they won the Grey Cup.

"Good teams going to the playoffs are always finishing the end of the season pretty strong, taking that momentum into the playoffs,'' said Gainey. "So that's our mood right now.''

The six-year CFL stalwart is his team's outstanding defensive player nominee this season, thanks to 44 total tackles and a league-best 10 interceptions, a number that doubles those of his closest competitors.

If he snags an 11th pick Saturday, he'll tie a Roughriders' single-season interception record set by Terry Irvin in 1984. The current CFL record-holder for most interceptions in a season is Al Brenner, who had 15 picks with Hamilton in 1972.

Gainey and his defensive back teammates will have to contend with a potent Edmonton air game Saturday.

The Eskimos are first in the league in touchdowns scored (49), passing yards and passing yards per game (5,678 and 334, respectively).

Quarterback Mike Reilly leads the CFL with 5,536 passing yards, of which teammate Brandon Zylstra has caught 1,615, good enough for first in the league.

Along with Reilly and Zylstra, Edmonton has "Adarius Bowman and those guys around him,'' Gainey said.

"They make plays, and they like to shoot the ball downfield. It's nothing different, it's just they like to go for the deep plays and the deep shot a lot of the time.''

Effectively stopping Edmonton's pass game means the Riders' defensive players need to know their individual assignments, according to Gainey.

"Hopefully when we get out onto the field, we can take the film onto the field and relate it, and know certain situations when certain route combinations are coming.''

Reflecting on his individual success this year, the North Carolina native gave a lot of credit to his infant son, Grayson, who had his first birthday on Oct. 21.

"When he's here (to watch games), that makes it that much better for me,'' he said. "I know he doesn't really understand what's going on now, but in the future when he's able to comprehend everything, I'm glad he'll be able to see all the work I put in for him and for my family.''

Gainey also praised his defensive back teammates, like Jovon Johnson and Crezdon Butler. "We're a good mix of veterans and young guys who are willing to come in and learn and be coachable.''

The group has built a strong sense of accountability on and off the field, he said.

(Canadian Press)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Question -

Why is "INTERNATIONAL" Arash Mandani allowed to spout off about sports? he never played any. he knows nothing.

Jim Bob Walton
Viginia Ozarks USA.

Anonymous said...

Seasons end,

Collaros on his way to Sask.

Anonymous said...

In the WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS how can any league be taken seriously that allows its players to wear the # O on the back of their jersey? Zero?

Anonymous said...

A winning note.....thanks captain obvious.

Anonymous said...

Riders will lose their next 2 games based on the simple fact that Glenn has never won the big game. He will serve up a buffet of 2 and outs with a side of untimely interceptions - the story of his career. Jones hitched his wagon to a worn out ol' hoss and the hoss has been grazing in the pasture, not the end zone.

Anonymous said...

Arash has a sports IQ that is way up there so suck on that Mr. Walton.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jim Bob Walton! What makes anyone think Arash Madani is an expert on anything?

Willie said...

NEGATIVE RIDER FANS.. JUST SHUT YOUR FRIGGIN MOUTHS AND LET US TRUE RIDER FANS TAKE UP THE SPACE ON HERE . IF YOU WANT TO GO AND BITCH AND COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERYTHING GO ONTO THE "JUDGE JUDY SHOW" AND DO IT THERE . IT'S PLAYOFF TIME AND WE ARE HERE TO CHEER NOT JEER THIS TEAM. JUST A COUPLE OF MORE WINS RIDERS AND WE ARE THERE . WE ALL KNOW YOU CAN DO IT AND THE REAL PEOPLE OF FOOTBALL ARE BEHIND YOU 100%.
GO RIDERS GO.

Anonymous said...

Esks CRUSH. the 4th place riders BOOK IT as the riders don't win another game in 2017

Anonymous said...

Arash Madani is an arrogant sort that grinds my gears everytime I see him. He needs more than one suit and needs to wipe that "dig me" smirk off his face.

Anonymous said...

Arash is versatile.
He can critique a MLB game, assess an NFL game, defend Gary Bettman, diagnose an NBA trade, promote a tennis match in Europe and bash the CFL all in the same news conference.
He knows everything.

Anonymous said...

Willie, judge Judy wouldn’t take this kind of crap.......she,d tell them to go on dr Phil