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Monday, June 18, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: 1-0, THE GOOD AND THE BAD

Photo: Riderville.com
BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

It wasn’t pretty, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders hit the ground running in the 2018 season by grinding out a 27-19 victory over the Toronto Argonauts Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.

The victory was very familiar to how the Green & White won their games in 2018; simple and safe on offence and relying on the big play on defence.

There are still a lot of kinks to iron out throughout the game plan, but the first two or three games of the CFL season are like an extended preseason so there shouldn't be any real judgment on what this -or any team in the CFL - will look like until Weeks 5 or 6.


Famoso Hill Centre
1881 Scarth St., Regina
Here’s what looked good Friday night:

- 1-0: This is all that anyone should care about. Picking up their first win of the season over the defending Grey Cup champions, a team the knocked them off in the East Division final and to do it in front of a home crowd is nothing but all positive.

- Defence does it again: Just like in 2018, the Saskatchewan Roughriders played a bend-but-not-break defence with a few huge plays sprinkled in-between. Newcomers Charleston Hughes and Nick Marshall were front and centre in this. Hughes picked up three sacks, four tackles and a fumble recovery while Marshall made the play of the game with his interception for a touchdown of a poorly thrown Ricky Ray pass late in the football game.

- Good at QB: Zach Collaros was incredibly efficient in his first start for the Riders. His 18-for-25, 203 yard passing performance wasn’t amazing, but it was just good. Nothing was incredibly adventurous offensively (more on that later), he didn’t get in any trouble and ended up connecting with nine different targets. It was just enough to win the game, which is all anyone can want.

Here are the things to work on:

- Wilting in the fourth: The defence was incredible in the first half of the game, but in the fourth quarter, the group really starting to bow. If it wasn’t for Marshall’s interception (which many say would have been called back if Argonauts head coach Marc Trestman had challenged for pass interference), the game may have had another ending.

- Sticking too long with the run: This offence is a run-first team (incredibly rare in today’s CFL), but almost to a fault. Jerome Messam lugged the ball 21 times for 74 yards. Take away the 11-yard carry late in the fourth, the Canadian freight train averaged just a paltry 3.1 yards per carry.

Because of the Riders' current ratio situation we will see a lot of Messam for the first little bit of the season. Lets hope they don’t wear out a player that would be key when the weather turns in the fall.

What is needed is more Tre Mason. Take away his first half fumble, it was a solid debut for the former Auburn Tiger.

- Nothing down field offensively: Above we mentioned how safe the game plan was for Zach Collaros. It was so safe that there were only three plays with pass attempts of over 15 yards through the air: 16 yards to Duron Carter in the first quarter, the 35-yard attempt to Carter a few plays later, and the chuck-and-duck completion (34 yards, 30 of it in the air) to Caleb Holley midway through the second quarter.

This will not win football games as the season progresses. There are so many weapons in this offence so things will surely come around over the next few games.

Next up for the Riders is a long road trip to Ottawa. It’s been a very friendly place for the Green and White over the last couple of seasons including the East Division semi-final a year ago.

They will also have the advantage of having a game under their belt as the Redblacks had a week one bye and will still have some rust on both sides of the ball. It will also be interesting to see how Trevor Harris will play after suffering a knee-injury early in the preseason.

Other CFL notes:

- Even with two epic lightning delays in the Edmonton-at-Winnipeg game on Thursday, the lid-lifter of the CFL season was the most entertaining game of the week. Mike Reilly and the Eskimos offence looks like they have that high-risk, high-reward offence cooking with over 400 yards passing and a 70% completion percentage.

Winnipeg also looked solid even with their raw rookie at the helm. Chris Streveler was ok, but with the help of Andrew Harris solid game along the ground and a few big plays, the Bombers almost pulled it out. With Calgary and B.C. winning this week, the West will be a fight to the very end in 2018.

- Speaking of Calgary and B.C. both winning this week along with the Rider victory, the West Division went 3-0 against the East in Week 1 of the CFL season. All four games in Week 2 will be East-versus-West match-ups with the East playing host in three of them. Let’s see if it holds up.

- There were no 100-yard rushers in Week 1. The leader out of the gate is CFL rookie Don Jackson. The 24-year-old’s 87-yards and a score were key to the Stampeders 28-14 victory over the Hamilton Tiger Cats. There were only 25, 100-yard rushing performances in 2017, and it will be interesting if this drops again in 2018.


A Canadian To Watch In NCAA

As we did all last season, we'll give you a player to watch in the NCAA, and we will do it again in 2018. It’s a good prep to see what is coming down the pipe for the 2019 and future CFL drafts.

Neville Gallimore
NG – Oklahoma (Rs.-Jr.)
6’2”, 316lbs.
St. Catherine’s, Ont.
High School – Canada Prep Football Academy

The redshirt junior will anchor a veteran Sooner defensive line in 2018. In 2018, the sophomore started five of 12 games and has played in 25 games over his college career. Gallimore was the high ranked Canadian high school player in 2015 by ESPN, SCOUT and Canadian Football Chat.

(By: RodPedersen.com Staff)

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Because of the Riders' current ratio situation ..."
Um, huh?? The Riders started 8 Canadians and at times we were playing 9 when Bladek came in for Harrison. We don't have a "ratio situation."* The reason Mason didn't play more was because of the fumble. He was not paying attention to ball security and I think that earned him some time on the bench. Don't forget that he hasn't played in a while. It may take him a while to get all his instincts back. Our whole offence was a little off and that was no surprise given that Collaros and Messam barely played in the pre-season, and we were starting two rookies on the OL. It was better to say a bit conservative in this game, but I'm sure our offence will open up more and more as it finds it's rhythm.

*And with the way Stanford and Bailey played both in pre-season and in this game we could easily start two Canadian receivers as well. We could be starting 10 Canadians if we wanted to and not overly suffer for it. Our great Canadian depth allowed us to dress some extra Americans on defence, and they had an impact on the stat sheet. Rotating guys keeps them all fresh and their motors high, and that was key against the always very dangerous Ricky Ray.

Anonymous said...

Been redeemed.........I am not the only one who says it was pass interference and the pick six would have been called back had it been challenged.........but also good ole Andre Proulx would’ve caught it.....but as you also say it could have changed the game. CHOW BABY!! to all you morons who said it wasn’t P.I.

Anonymous said...

Marshall was only big because of his pick 6 but was clearly pass interference on the play it couldn't be more obvious and why it wasn't called is beyond me.Where was the full house so many empty seats for a home opener against the defending Grey cup champs yet.

Anonymous said...

What was the attendance at the Rider game?

Bradford Kruger said...

To anonymous:RE Attendance

Friday evening games don't work well here, given a large number of out of town fans who can't make the game on time driving in from out of town.

Rudyman said...

For me it was fun to watch Collaros find his game. It wasn't looking good, but as the game progressed, he seemed to find confidence and the ability to get the ball into tight spaces.

I love watching the bench, after every special teams play, Dickenson is grabbing a guy and coaching him. Love it. The man is the most active at the bench every game.

CM said...

A win is a win. Collaros did a decent job. the one weakness on the team is Cdn depth, not in numbers but quality. One Labatte or Messam injury and they are in trouble starting good Cdns.

Anonymous said...

New Mosaic has over 33,000 seats, and the entire province of Sask has under 1.2 million, or about 80% as many people as either Calgary or Edmonton. But when you have a game on a weekday night you reduce the drawing area to the immediate Regina area, maybe 350,000, because people elsewhere don't have time to drive into the game and get back to their home towns after the game. This is why all Rider home games should be on Sunday afternoons.

As a general comment on the attendance at other early season games, I think it's going to take some time but I think the league should stick with it. It would be a good time to do high school promotions and that sort of thing, for example. Getting the league established earlier in the year I think will help boost interest and attendance throughout the summer, but it'll take some time to change habits.

Anonymous said...

There was no PI on the pick 6. There may have been illegal interference on Gainey but that is not challengeable. The illegal interference was a missed call but everyone thought the pass had been tipped. It was only the replay that you could see that it was just some weird, 1 in a 1,000,000, duck from Ray. It's not that surprising that the refs missed that too.

Anonymous said...

Miss redeemed, sign your name so we can send you a medal for your officiating abilities. BTW no one gives a rats ass. Riders win time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Is it still pass interfernce if the ball was tipped at the line? On the replay it looked like Jefferson got his hands up and deflected the pass.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is they are trying to get Andy Fantuz back. I hope that is true, he was great

Morgan said...

I love hearing all of the cry baby rider haters today!!! That means the riders won!!! music to my ears!!! oh it was pass interference and that stadium was empty... blah blah blah!!! Did you even watch the play or do you not know the rules? The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage so therefore contact on the receiver is allowed. Regarding the "empty stadium". Please let me know which of the other 3 stadiums were fuller than Mosaic Stadium and had more fans packed in them... Ya that's right you can't.

Anonymous said...

Rumour has fantuz coming back

Anonymous said...

To bad the rest of the league has to play Thursday Friday games so do the riders, you are not special.

Anonymous said...

Attendance was over 29,000 which is a good number. The Argos front 7 is very good. I wasn't surprised that it was tough to run against them

Anonymous said...

I think attendance can be explained away by many factors. Regina is the smallest of CFL cities and therefore many rural fans (farmers, or far away communities) must supplement the numbers. An early season for example, is cutting into farming activities.
Now the game time is partially dictated by how far east the opponent comes from. If game was pushed back to 8:30, then the Argos wouldn't be starting until 10:30 their time and playing past midnight. Remember, they are still trying to sell this game in the east where the largest number of potential customers reside.
LF

Anonymous said...

Not even sure what pass interference is anymore but I know holding when I see it and our defense was getting held all over the place when Ricky Ray was mounting the comeback.

Anonymous said...

That was PI. I can only guess that Trestman only saw the one angle where it looked like Jefferson tipped it with the ball being so wobbly, and by the time he got a look from the other angle it was too late to challenge. Those things happen. But I agree the Rider D needs to be better in the 4th when games are close. A team can be down 21 with 8 minutes left in the CFL and still win.

Scott Thompson said...

The Rider D also scored the winning td. The offense was efficient but only one touchdown scored don’t gonna cut it all season. Hope they open it up a bit more this game.

Anonymous said...

Hey Morgan...what game were you watching, the ball was not tipped at the line of scrimmage. From the one angle it looks like it, but when they showed the replay from another angle, it was just a bad throw by Ray, Jefferson's hands were a good foot from the ball if not more.

Anonymous said...

Fantuz was a great find back in the day by Football extroidinaire Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Mr Roy Shivers. Roughriders should rehire Mr Shivers, he would be a one man scouting dept with fantastic returns to the team.

Anonymous said...

You people are blind. It absolutely was NOT pass interference. The receiver went down trying to adjust to the ball. Gainey had a hand on his back. Nothing more. Didn't impede the receiver.

Excellent non-call.

Anonymous said...

Morgan (moron) who says: "Did you even watch the play or do you not know the rules?".

I should ask you that very same question.......The ball WAS NOT tipped......watch the play again....in slow motion.......and put some glasses on too......you're just as blind as the refs were on that play. It was a wobbler pure and simple and should not have negated a very obvious pass interference. CHOW!!