Tuesday, May 22, 2018
DAY 2 RIDER TRAINING CAMP REPORT
- After a rambunctious and fairly slick Day 1 of 2018 Saskatchewan Roughriders Training Camp on Sunday in Saskatoon, Monday's Day 2 was a bit of a step back. Head Coach & GM Chris Jones said he'd have to check the analytics, but the passing completion percentages had to have taken a nosedive. He didn't know if it was the hot conditions or the grind of two-a-days already setting in, but the Day 3 blahs definitely hit a day early.
- Monday was a day for experimentation. Lots of players lined up in new spots including OLB Sam Hurl taking over from Cameron Judge, HB Orlandus Harris replacing Crezdon Butler and PR Christion Jones lining up at WR. DB Nick Marshall - our minicamp Day 2 Player of the Day in Florida - continued to take a few reps at quarterback. Jones continues to test players' versatility, and see who fits best where.
- Lots of players came up hobbling, or didn't get up at all. That included receivers Caleb Holley and Duron Carter, however they didn't miss any time. Jones said DT Zack Evans was nicked on Monday as well. The only serious injury at this point seems to be Canadian WR Jake Harty who was seen leaving the facility on crutches after sustaining an injury on Sunday.
- Jones lamented the three time count violations taken by his quarterbacks on Day 2, huffing that they didn't take three time counts in all of last year's training camp.
- The defense won the day which was a stark contrast from Day 1 when the offense won by four points. On Monday, the defense won by 18. There were some interceptions, including one by Marc-Olivier Brouillette off of Zach Collaros.
- The play of the day was an 80-yard TD strike from Collaros to Antwane Grant.
- Monday was a physical, padded practice where they worked on Inside Run. The defense looked stout, but Jones admitted it's a lot easier for them knowing it's always going to be a running play.
- They're mixing in a lot of blitzes, and it's looking a lot more like the Chris Jones defense we knew from his Eskimo days. It's forcing the QBs into some quick decisions.
- There was no CFL officiating crew on Monday. They had to go back to their regular jobs.
- The Riders haven't announced their list of guest coaches (possibly because they change day-to-day), but the group includes CFL receptions king Nik Lewis and Richard Kent, who helped coach DBs on the 2013 Grey Cup Rider team.
- Rookie RB Zac Stacy - the former Jet and Ram - is getting a ton of opportunities and says he has "unretired" after originally announcing his retirement from the NFL in 2016. He didn't make it clear if getting back to the NFL is his goal but Chris Jones said he's not in the business of reviving NFL careers. "We're not a Junior Varsity team for the NFL," he said.
- The QB depth chart on Day 2 appeared to be Collaros, Bridge, Williams, Watford and Daniels however CKRM's Luc Mullinder feels B.J. Daniels is breathing down the neck of the #3 and #4 guys.
- Duron Carter seems to fill his time in between practice and meetings by surfing Social Media, reading blog comment sections and responding on Twitter. A particularly vile exchange on Monday involved the Carter family's history with Addictions. I mentioned to Luc that I wish Duron would ignore the trolls but Mullinder responded, "He thrives off it. It fires him up!" If that's what it takes, go nuts.
- Jordan Reaves is back with the Roughriders, taking reps on the Defensive Line but more likely will make the team as a Special Teamer. If you recognize the last name, you should. He's the son of CFL great Willard Reaves and brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves, who scored the winning goal in the NHL's Western Conference Finals over their hometown Winnipeg Jets. Jordan said they had family members show up at games in Jets jerseys and because of that, "They're no longer part of the family".
- Jordan Reaves was a rookie on the 2016 Roughriders but missed the 2017 season with legal issues (he was acquitted). He remembered that I had his back through that entire ordeal and hugged me so hard on Monday that he cracked my back. Remember, people need your support during the tough times FAR more than they need it during the good times. Y'er welcome.
- The Riders will be back on the field at 9:00 AM on Tuesday at SMF Field, home of the Saskatoon Hilltops.