As the second pre-season game and second round of cuts creep up on the Roughriders, practice got a little physical Tuesday morning.
Head coach Chris Jones likes intensity in practice, but he wasn’t a fan of what he was seeing.
“Too stupid,” Jones said. “We’re not going to be stupid … When you knock people to the ground in a pro football scrimmage, it’s stupid not physical.”
With more than a half dozen players listed day-to-day on the Roughriders roster, it’s easy to see his concern. Justin Capicciotti and Jeff Knox Jr., for example, have missed most of practice with injuries.
However, that has left the door open for other players to shine. Jones is happy with what he’s seen from returning fullback Spencer Moore.
“Moore’s had a great camp,” Jones said, adding he likes his attitude at practice. “He’s quite honestly exceeded my expectations; he’s a better football player than what I thought he was watching on film, he’s more physical than I thought he was on film.”
Jones said the team plans to run a two back offence about a third of the time, and a fullback like Moore will be key to its success.
That prospect is exciting to Moore.
“Everyone wants to be in the game as much as they can,” Moore said. “I know being Canadian and being a fullback I’m going to be relied upon to play some special teams but if I can be in the game on offence and help my time with blocking, catching, whatever I can do, of course I’m going to be there to do that.”
The fullback position is unique being it’s a sort of hybrid between blocking, rushing and receiving, but Moore knows his most important role is to protect Darian Durant.
“We’ve kind of adopted the mentality that it all starts with protection,” Moore explained. “So if you can’t protect the quarterback it doesn’t matter how good your receivers are, it doesn’t matter how good your run game is, because ultimately you need to be able to keep him upright.”
Jones has been happy with the performances of defensive players Samuel Eguavoen and Jonathan Newsome.
The team was testing some defensive players’ skills on special teams at practice: Dillon Grondin attempted a field goal, while Jordan Reaves took a punt. Jones says it’s important to know what other players may be able to help with kick game.
Receiver John Chiles also took some snaps at quarterback.
Chris Jones confirmed that Curtis Steele will be the Roughriders starting running back.
--With files from Wray Morrison
On Twitter: @arielle_zerr
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