One of the interesting games this weekend will be the Toronto/Saskatchewan game on Saturday pitting Marc Trestman against Chris Jones. Trestman and Argo GM Jim Popp got a late start to their season and somehow have the Argos in first place.
This week will be an interesting one for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The Riders have had two weeks of relative peace and quiet after beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and now go into Calgary on Saturday to face the Stampeders. The Stampeders are coming off their first regular season loss against Montreal and a spate of injuries especially on their defensive line seem to indicate that there is an opportunity for the Riders to capitalize if they play well.
So the Riders go into the bye week with a 37-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats which raised the question of whether or not Hamilton Head Coach and GM Kent Austin has lost his locker room.
Normally that might be a question that would be directed towards the Riders after linebacker Jonathon Newsome was released following a “difference of opinion” with Chris Jones. Newsome was picked up by Ottawa and apparently the difference was over some comment Newsome posted about a Chris Jones impersonator on Youtube.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders opened their new stadium to a full house in a 43-40 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Somehow I don’t think they will end the season with a full house.
Watching the Riders flounder in the third quarter of a game they led but then let Winnipeg take charge by not having any idea of how to cover receivers begs the question of whether Chris Jones is a good football coach, or if he was the lucky recipient of talent assembled by others.
What Rough Beast, it’s hour come at last, slouches towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born?
When the poet Yeats penned those lines, I’m not sure he was thinking, or even aware of the Saskatchewan Roughriders or Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but if you ask Darian Durant, quarterback of the Montreal Alouettes, he would probably say the rough beast is definitely Chris Jones.
The onset of the 2017 season is being marked with the usual season previews, top 50 player countdowns and an air of optimism in every CFL franchise.
In Riderville the air of optimism that marked the 25-25 tie with Winnipeg was blown out by the 42-10 loss to BC which showed Rider fans while their team may have some talent, it does not as yet have the depth. The Riders sat out a number of starters on their offensive line due to injury and it became obvious their replacements while game, were not yet ready to step into starting shoes.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders conclude their exhibition season against the BC Lions with a number of questions – who will be the back-up quarterback, can the defensive secondary stop people, who will line up at running back and defensive line and perhaps unsaid in all of this – are the Riders really able to contend this year?
The 2017 Rider training camp is in full swing and glimpses of what this team may be like are leaking out, but no one should be jumping to any conclusions.
In some aspects the Riders are being pretty decisive, already cutting quarterback Matt Mauk and adding former UNC quarterback Marquise Williams, where one Darian Durant used to play. Mauk apparently was having problem with his throws while Williams seems to be a dual throwing and running threat.