Canadian QB Brandon Bridge shines as Riders tie Bombers

Despite wearing different coloured jerseys, Brandon Bridge and Dan Lefevour have a lot in common these days.

Bridge is vying for the back-up quarterback job with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, while Lefevour is battling for the same gig with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Both have CFL experience and both made strong cases on Saturday to solidify themselves within their respective depth charts after a 25-25 pre-season tie at new Mosaic Stadium.

“I wanted to show consistency and show that I know where to go with the ball and show that I’m ready to lead this offence,” Bridge said after the game in which he completed 20-of-26 pass attempts for 201 yards and one touchdown.

Bridge spent time with the Riders in 2016 and received an opportunity late in the season to showcase his skillset. In the regular season finale against the B.C. Lions, Bridge threw for 120 yards and rushed for a touchdown in limited action.

He impressed the Riders’ coaching staff then, and he did again on Saturday.

“You evaluate what you see at practice, but when the lights come on that’s when the true evaluations are made,” head coach Chris Jones said. “That’s two times where Brandon Bridge has had an opportunity to play with our offence – last year in B.C. he played very well for a quarter. Brandon did a very good job and scored some touchdowns.

“Here was another opportunity on a big stage, opening the new stadium, where he played very well.”

It was Bridge who guided the Riders to a 13-3 lead the halftime. He connected with Duron Carter on a seven-yard touchdown for the first score at the new home of the Riders. But it was Bridge’s counterpart, Lefevour who rallied the Blue Bombers in the fourth quarter.

In limited action, Lefevour completed 7-of-9 passes for 88 yards and pair of late touchdowns, the second of which pulled Winnipeg ahead 25-22 with less than two minutes remaining in the contest.

Lefevour connected with Ryan Lankford for his first major and later with Justice Liggins to push the Bombers ahead.

“Dan had a spark and he certainly moved the offence and created some points for us,” said Winnipeg head coach Mike O’Shea.

“He’s experienced. He goes in and he’s calm and he runs the offence. We’ll have to see if the execution is there, but I’m sure it was. He moves well in the pocket, too, and gives us a different dimension there as well.”

Lefevour is battling with Dominique Davis for the back-up job behind Matt Nichols, who played sparingly on Saturday. Nichols was 5 for 8 passing for 32 yards.

Meanwhile, Bridge is in a tight competition with Bryan Bennett and the Riders’ marquee free-agent acquisition, Vince Young, for the back-up spot behind starter Kevin Glenn.

Neither Glenn nor Young played on Saturday. Young suffered a strained hamstring earlier in the week at practice.

Bennett, however, did play and was shaky. He completed 7-of-15 attempts for 82 yards, and fumbled three times.

“Today I thought he was a little bit shaky at times. His body language wasn’t great,” Jones said. “There will be another game next week that he’ll get a chance to play in and we’ll see if he maybe settles in.”

Young’s injury will have him playing catchup when or if he returns to the practice field. The former NCAA and NFL star, who is 34, hasn’t played professional football since 2011.

“It’s tough to make the football team if you’re hurt,” Jones told the media earlier in the week. “It’s tough to get evaluated if you’re not playing. Vince is up against it. He has been around football before and he knows exactly what he has to do to get back out there and healthy and start to compete.”

The Riders’ kicking game on Saturday was a perfect 6 for 6 in field-goal attempts. Quinn Van Gyslwyk kicked four field goals, with his fourth, a 38-yard boot, tying the score with three seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Tyler Crapigna had two field goals.

The Bombers did not dress a number of their regulars, including running back Andrew Harris, receivers Weston Dressler and Darvin Adams and defensive end Jamaal Westerman.

The Riders will conclude the pre-season schedule next week when they visit the B.C. Lions. The Blue Bombers will host the Edmonton Eskimos.

– CP


15 Comments on Canadian QB Brandon Bridge shines as Riders tie Bombers

  1. mrnehnehincognito // June 11, 2017 at 11:21 am //

    Great opportunity for this young man with a the current situation. I worry though what Jones intentions are with Young however

  2. Rick cowan // June 11, 2017 at 11:31 am //

    Young will be released

  3. mrnehnehincognito // June 11, 2017 at 11:55 am //

    Than Jones confirms what everyone has been saying. This was a foolish move

    • Ladd Law // June 11, 2017 at 12:06 pm //

      Why? It cost nothing to see if Young can still play. Fool could also describe you too.

    • C’mon, what did he have to lose? He obviously created a stir, especially, for people like yourself. Give the Riders and Jones some credit for a few reasons: I think it shows the publicity side of things of the organization, along with an opportunity for Young and the Roughriders to see if he has anything left in the tank; ability to change his style of play to 12-man football, wider field and end zones, nuances of the passing attack in the CFL. Maybe, for a change, Jones deserves some credit for looking at other options including the NFL. And from what I understand, Chris Jones is looking towards the final pre-season game to see what Vince Young really has, if he has anything. By the way, the Riders and Brandon Bridge really shone in some aspects of their first pre-season game. Kudos to the Green and White.

      • ,,Patience // June 12, 2017 at 12:45 am //

        Come on, greenrider89! Of all the teams, coaches and GMs in the league, the Riders did not have to sign Vince Young for the publicity. Jones has had more than enough publicity. Every time he has been caught lieing, cheating and disrespecting players, it has garnered publicity. Rider fans just seem to wait for the other shoe to drop. No publicity would be good now and again. The Vince Young experiment has again made the Riders look like fools as it was doomed to fail. I would appreciate if the Riders would quit giving the rest of the league reason to laugh. Cut Young now, he looks worse than any of the young guys. So much for our youth movement and getting rid of players with only “moderate success”.

        • Get over it, patience. You really are becoming ANTI-RIDER. And you call yourself a Rider fan — Then don’t wilt and die. Yes, I agree Jones has done some stupid things by getting rid of Dressler, Chick, Durant, etc. But give up on being so ANTI-RIDER. Really, it’s pathetic. I watched football since the early-’70’s. I’ve seen the team fold, and the organization nearly collapse in the CFL. But I never gave up on the team. Yes, they have made bonehead moves under Jones. But stop throwing in the white towel. Give it a break.

    • Foolish??? Why, because a troll who doesn’t leave his mothers basement says so….. Well then we should stop watching the smart athletic people play the game and consult YOU instead. That’s funny because every word out of your mouth screams that you have never made a play in your life. Don’t waste your time denying it either because everyone can see right through you.

  4. robservation // June 11, 2017 at 10:30 pm //

    Question for Mr. Incoherent, Is every player that Calgary cuts a foolish move for bringing that player in to their training camp?

  5. greenrider89 // June 12, 2017 at 2:33 am //

    Patience, then perhaps stop being so critical always on Chris Jones and the Roughriders. I think we all realize exactly your thoughts on Chris Jones. I don’t pretend to agree with all the doings of Chris Jones as I’ve expressed several times. But good gosh, sometimes it would be great to hear something positive for a change instead of being absolutely critical on Chris Jones and the Rider organization. We’re stuck with Jones for a while and, hey, who knows, maybe he can turn our season around from the previous year. Isn’t it nice to know we have a beautiful new stadium. Brandon Bridge shone yesterday. The Riders seemed to show considerable improvement from last year’s pre-season. I get tired, and actually rattled by some of the comments, especially from Rider fans. Besides, negative comments from Rider fans just add more fuel to the fire from others that would love to see the organization fall, whether it is or isn’t the fault of Chris Jones.

  6. Scottsask // June 12, 2017 at 10:31 am //

    Greenrider89, there are Saskawinners and Saskawhiners, guess which category he falls into. He’s also very likely upset that the forever money losing STC was finally shut down.
    Gooooooo Riders!

    • I do understand where Patience is coming from, but honestly, the season is here. Now we’re in a brand new stadium. The team looked decent the other night. Optimism is abound. And we’re still talking about Coach Jones. Hey, I don’t agree with some of his doings as mentioned before, but I won’t take off my Green and White jersey because of some of those doings. I’ve been watching CFL ball for 45 years, more than the age of most of these bloggers. I saw the organization nearly fold. The Roughriders were begging for donations through a telethon. I’ve seen this team quit so many times, but my jersey will always be a part of me. I also witnessed the Edmonton Eskimos when Commonwealth Stadium was built, rob teams like the Riders without a salary cap. Why do you think the Eskimos received the name Evil Empire — For a reason. Hence the salary cap. Hey, I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs and the shenanigans of Coach Jones isn’t about to stop me from cheering for this team, or even worse. Anyways, I’ve said my piece. Have a good day, man.

  7. Scottsask // June 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm //

    Amen, I’m with you, #Saskawinners!

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