Riders give their fans hope, only to crush it

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Chris Jones, centre, speaks to Eddie Steele, from left to right, Makana Henry, Tobi Antigha and Willie Jefferson on the bench during the second half of a CFL football game against the B.C. Lions in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday August 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

What’s there left to say at this point? It’s all really starting to feel like Groundhog Day in Saskatchewan, as once again the Riders fell flat on their face against a division opponent.

Every time the Riders appear to give their fans some kind of hope, it’s quickly extinguished. After beating Hamilton, the green and white followed that up with a disastrous first half in Calgary and never recovered. Then the Argos came to town on five days rest, the Riders won, and followed it up with a dud in Vancouver on Saturday night. Rinse and repeat. The Riders wins likely had more to do with the state of their opponents than anything else.

We’ve reached the point where until the Riders beat a western opponent, nothing else they do matters. Since Chris Jones took over the squad last year, the Riders have won exactly one game against a team in their own division. In fairness, other than the 2013 season, this isn’t a new phenomenon in Saskatchewan, but you can’t link those loses to Jones.

The bottom line is the Riders can beat eastern teams all they want (though, they haven’t exactly run the table there either) but until they can get over that hurdle and starting winning some games against teams in the West, the odds of them even climbing into fourth and having a shot at crossing over into the East are slim at best. Right now, the West is running wild all over the East, and the Riders can’t gain any ground against their opponents.

The good news, or bad news, depending on how you look at it, is the Riders will have plenty of chances to try and get over this hump. They still have four more games in a row against the West. A stretch that very likely will decide their season.

Game Thoughts

– Once again the Riders were unable to keep their opponents off the board early. Unlike Toronto or Hamilton, B.C. wasn’t going to let that lead slip away. If not for the Lions letting up in garbage time, the game’s opening field goal may have been enough to win. Until the Riders learn to get going quicker, their struggles are likely to continue, especially against the West.

– Last week the Riders found success by running the football and letting their receivers make plays. You’d think they would try to build off that. Instead, Cameron Marshall could have taken the night off and Kevin Glenn’s longest completed pass was 26 yards, and all of those yards came after the catch. Stretch the field, maybe? Run the ball maybe? Not like it’s worked before.

– You knew the Riders were done when late in the third quarter they had the Lions pinned deep facing second and 14. As TSN’s Glen Suitor noted, good teams know when it’s time. It was time for the defence to make a play and force a punt or even a safety. Instead, Travis Lulay completed a 50 yard pass (against a three man rush, naturally) and Ed Gainey took a facemask call for good measure. So, even with a completed pass, the Lions got a first down. That conversion led to a field goal and it was lights out.

– This tweet also summed up the Riders night:

– Throw the three man rush into the sun.

– Just how lifeless were the Riders? B.C. didn’t finish multiple long drives, something that often haunts a team. Not on this night. It didn’t matter.

– I love stats, but numbers can lie sometimes too. Coming into the week, the Riders had one of the league’s better averages when it comes to pass yards allowed per game. You’d be hard pressed to convince me they are actually that good against the pass though, considering the number of explosive plays they’ve regularly given up. It’s also easier to give up fewer yards when teams start running on you with the lead.

– It was good to see Brandon Bridge get a little more time under centre. Though he looked good, you have to take that with a massive grain of salt considering who B.C. was playing and how they were playing at that point. Though I think Bridge will be the starter at some point (don’t worry about all of the predictions in there), it won’t be next week. Glenn is still this team’s starting quarterback until after the Banjo Bowl, in my opinion.

– There were no challenges in this game and that was refreshing. Though, the game itself was a challenge to watch unless you are a Lions fan.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (155 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

71 Comments on Riders give their fans hope, only to crush it

  1. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 6, 2017 at 1:12 pm //

    Based on last year and there is no reason to think this one will be any different; the riders will need to go 10-8 to get the crossover
    That means 8-4 the rest of the way. For 3 calendar years now this team has only won 10 so that would one hell of a turn around.
    Even if they sweep the remaining 5 eastern games they would need to win 3 of 7 in remaining west games. Seems near impossible to me. 0-3 so far and no contest vs the big 3.

  2. It is ALWAYS a blast watching the riders lose.Their fans are easily the worst at Calgary home games.This crap of their’s goes back to the sixties with Lancaster and Read Away more fights and trouble with these clowns

    • You don’t sound like you are that pleasant to be around yourself Jimmy. Maybe you have become what you hate so much.

  3. Riders will only win 4-6 games this season

  4. Don Sutherland // August 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm //

    4-6 wins. Only if they play Hamilton that many times. How many years are we STUCK with tje most overrated Head coach in FOOTBALL.

  5. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm //

    They try so hard to be the stamps but can’t. You know why?
    Poor hiring strategy
    The stamps waited patiently for 3 years to get John Huffnagel after the Fererik era. When he came free they pounced. If the riders want to get past this rent a player revolving door rut, they need to make smarter hires. The powers that be could have been patient and reaped the Popp /Trestman fruit. Instead they hastily fell for the slick talking southerner, who’s loyalty is shorter then the line up for non-alcoholic beer at mosaic.
    They are in a catch 22, they need to cut ties with Jones but doing so will set the path back even further. Painful but will have to happen. The sooner the better

    Can the Phoenix rise from the ashes? That is the early story line of the coming off season

  6. White Horse // August 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm //

    Jones is still playing preseason games! He needs continuity on all three teams and no one knows better than him. Obviously he took a nearly good team during his 2nd year in Edmonton to win the cup.
    This is his 2nd season in riderland and his team lacks continuity big time. Duron Carter looks good and Marshall also. Poor coaching has greatly affected Derrick Dennis.

  7. eogweotr // August 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm //

    Rider just need to play the worst team in the league every game. If not the worst, then just teams coming off a short week and making them stand in oppressive heat while the Riders are in the shade.

  8. Geez, I didn’t have you pegged for one of the pity party gang Gasson. Did Darrell Davis bring you over to the dark side? BC is a very good team. It’s not a huge surprise that we lost to them. And our main problem is the same one we’ve had all season, and we know we’ve had it all season. We still don’t have a #1 QB who can compete with the top teams. But, as we also all know, that problem will be resolved at the very latest by next year. It would be nice to have a competitive team this year, but the rest of the team has taken big steps forward this year – receivers, RB, OL, DL, unfortunately we’ve got a lot of young players in the secondary this year again which means rookie mistakes but by next year they won’t be rookies anymore – and with a bona fide #1 QB we should be contenders next year.

    Uh, oh, I see trolls. I’m out.

  9. Jones is wearing too many hats, hes a coach whos screwing everything up by trying to be a GM.

    • Don Sutherland // August 7, 2017 at 5:41 pm //

      Jones’s main hat is a DUNCE HAT. He’s gonna get rid of a bunch more players. He has in my opinion dupped people into thinking he’s great. He is NOT.

  10. White Horse // August 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm //

    Jones should pursue Lulay in the off season. Veteran QB would make more sense than Franklin who is a near rookie. Lulay won’t be cheap. KG is proving though, that a vet QB can’t work miracles with poor coaching.

  11. Scottsask // August 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm //

    Lulay isn’t going anywhere. Franklin, who knows? Bridge should get more opportunity to prove that he can or can’t carry a team. None of these things answer why to o line is inconsistent and our defensive backfield sucks.

    • I believe Lulay is a FA after this year, and he’s also 33 years old. I doubt that he wants to end his career on the bench behind Jennings. But free agency aside, it might make sense for Wally to trade Lulay to us after Jennings gets back this year. Our season series will be over with them. Yes, there’s a chance we could meet in the playoffs, but a lot of things would have to line up for that to happen. Wally would be doing Lulay a favour by trading him to a team where he could continue to start for the rest of the year, and Wally could probably get a nice price out of us for him, like maybe a first round draft pick.

  12. Antlerman // August 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm //

    The Riders were up against perhaps best receivers in the league and ya they got schooled but the problem was we couldn’t get pressure and when we did Lulay got away. Bridge needs playing time to see if he is the man of the future but still too early. Look at the east records. So lets not panic yet

  13. pantsonfire // August 6, 2017 at 6:46 pm //

    RFD, who exactly do you have in mind to resolve your QB problems next year? Wild guess – Franklin. Franklin is under contract to the Eskimos, will be traded to one of several teams who will bid for him & likely go to the East. Who exactly do the Riders have as anything the Eskimos want in trade? Their receivers are arguably better than the Riders & definitely deeper. They have 2, maybe 3 quality RB’s, don’t need anyone from your OL & DL & have some new young talent on defence. So Sunderland & Maas, who are pretty bright, are going to trade a bright young QB to a divisional rival? Ain’t gonna happen. Of course, you could be thinking of Vince Young or someone else.

  14. Even if Franklin is traded to another team other than the Riders, he’s still a free agent come season end.It’ s been Jones’ plan all along to sign Franklin and put up with the growing pains till next year! Remember it was Jones who brought Franklin to the CFL and the country’s loyal fan base deserve a talented qb like Franklin.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 6, 2017 at 10:54 pm //

      Dennis. No team would trade for Franklin unless a condition was made. The team acquiring would have to have a deal on a contract with Franklin prior to the trade occurring. Do you think Montreal took Durant without a similar condition?

    • I still think this is the most likely scenario, that we sign Franklin in the off season.

    • What makes you think that it was Jones who brought Franklin up to the CFL.

      • It might have been Hervey who found him, but Jones was his head coach for his first two years in the league, so they will know each other very well.

  15. It’s a QB driven league and Kevin Glenn is not good enough to make a difference as a starting QB. He has been a career backup for the majority of his playing days for good reason, good, but not quite good enough.
    Bridge looked good in relief, but he was playing in garbage time and against a defence who were playing loose and had not been prepared to play him. That won’t happen if he becomes the starter. Still, at some point the Riders need to give Bridge playing time this season and see if he’s a keeper, or if they need to concentrate on finding another QB in the off season. I guess it will come down to when the coaches are prepared to write off the season or if they have to write it off, but whichever, Glenn isn’t the future.8

  16. grumblingaboutgreen // August 6, 2017 at 7:52 pm //

    gainer the GOPHER is about to QUIT his job as rider mascot and go work in a WHACK-A-MOLE machine! it would be SO MUCH less PAINFUL than suffering through season after season of FAILURE in riderhole.

    obviously the QUARTERBACK situation is less than IDEAL but WHO are you going to bring in to REMEDY it? another JOKE or some TOP TALENT for a change? but its very DIFFICULT to ATTRACT top talent because they tend to be CAREER-MINDED individuals which means they evaluate POTENTIAL jobs on whether they represent a path to ADVANCEMENT or STAGNATION. the riders are CLEARLY the LATTER with maybe ONE receiver who can make the qb look GOOD in carter but his past HISTORY with cato SHOWS that he is in it for HIMSELF and likely to throw you under the BUS in times of ADVERSITY! NOT who you want to TRUST your stat sheet which is your RESUME in football to.

  17. Riders could get Masoli from the Ticats for Carter.
    Masoli has won games for the Cats including a playoff

  18. BleedzGreen // August 6, 2017 at 9:19 pm //

    To hell with garbage time. Bridge is 6’5, 230 lbs, and amazingly slippery for his size. He’s young (25), got a great arm, and uses his legs effectively. He’s got all the tools needed to compete with the league’s best QBs. What he needs is game time – not garbage time.

    Much as admire Glenn’s experience and accomplishments to date, standing tall in the pocket and weathering the storm won’t cut it these days. If he looks ineffective next week after the 1st half, stick Bridge in and let’s see what he’s got.

    Let’s not wait until Glenn’s injured to find out.

  19. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 6, 2017 at 9:39 pm //

    I would love see Bridge succeed. I just think see needs proper care and attention to develop and I don’t think the rider have what it takes to do that

  20. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm //

    Bridge is big and athletic in ways few are. Not many QBs his size

  21. ,,Patience // August 6, 2017 at 11:42 pm //

    Waiting two years for Franklin is so ridiculous considering there is no guarantee they will get him. There could very well be three or four teams that would make an offer to him. Just because Jones has worked with Franklin means nothing. Jones has worked with several players that would never choose to play for him again; Lemon, Cappicotti, Newsome, to mention a few. And of course, Jones is so highly regarded among the Edmonton regime that he will get the first chance. Right. In the meantime, Jones will squander away two seasons because he can’t find a QB himself. And if he doesn’t get Franklin, then what? Wait for another year or two until someone else’s contract is up? Strange way to manage a pro football team. Strange way to achieve sustained success.

    • Jones is a different nut to Crack that’s for sure. I don’t doubt that he knows the game….it’s how he is applying it now has me concerned

    • We had Durant last year, so one year, and it’s not like he didn’t bring in any QBs this year. He brought in Glenn and Vince freakin’ Young. Also, I’m sure there are a few players who don’t like him, but there are many who signed here because of him, Jefferson, Muamba, Carter, etc. He’s a highly successful coach and it’s no surprise that the top players want to play for him. All of the players you mentioned got beaten out by better players, so I would say sour grapes is a factor there as well.

  22. pantsonfire // August 7, 2017 at 12:17 am //

    Patience – right again. Does anyone think doesn’t talk to players? It’s known he has asked Moon for advice. More importantly, I think Chambers & Lawrence played with Franklin here in 2015, followed Jones to Regina & came back. Korrey Jones,like those 2, was signed as a FA this year &I dropped, came back to Esks & is now filling in nicely for Sherritt. Esks just signed Steinhauer, another guy dumped by Jones as was Getzlaf. I think Franklin is well aware of the gong show in Regina & what loyalty Jones has for players. What do all these players have in common? They had to get away from Regina to resurrect their careers. As Lemon said to Dennis – signing there will be a big mistake. Dennis is finding that out – not the same player this year.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 12:27 am //

      With regards to Dennis. He just happened to play the most important position on Calgary’s o-line. Anyone plying that position for the Stampeders last year would have won that award. Jones just signs big names without rhyme or reason. His and Murphy’s ability to find and cradle young talent into stars is non existent. Honestly what those 2 have done I think I could have done.

      • Sorry horse….we love to banter and I appreciate when you contribute rather than degrade. Blind side tackle is not a position filled by just anyone and that is why he was MVP lat year. O line have their assignments and howe they execute speaks volumes.Blind side tackle is a kick step that is not natural for every player. He is not the only problem this year and maybe your constant “Jones has to go” is valid ? End of the day…these guys get paid to play the game for theit team. If you don’t play for the coach and your qb gets crashed – not cool. I think Bridge as a more mobile QB (as blm was) and will give the hoggies more time to do their work.

        I’m open to the floor for criticism.

        • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 10:47 am //

          I agree its an important and difficult position and Calgary does it very well and always manage to plug these holes when we lose players. We replaced Dennis with a player doing equally well and who’s Canadian to boot!
          I say Sask would have been far better spending for a Canadian player like J Michael Deanne who is versatile and fill in where needed without affected a week ratio.

    • You’re spewing Rider hatred. Most players that sign go for the team and the atmosphere. You might be right on Jones but don’t slight the football club

    • Where’s the rolling eyes icon. Fringe players move around from team to team all the time. Are you expecting that he would keep every player he signs for life? Are you saying that if we still had Steinhauer and Getzlaf with his $200,000 salary we’d be a winning team now? Thank heavens that “full scholarship” Getzlaf and his massively inflated salary are gone! I don’t care if he’s putting up a thousand yards in Edmonton, or not. Jones has turned this into a professional football team again, and thank havens for that!

      • Here’s hoping. Coming into this year – given the talent, I thought a great season was upon us. Now – it’s not over yet by a long shot but we need to get as and feet moving in the same direction

        • I think we’ve got great talent with just one or two more holes to fill. If Young had stayed healthy I think we’d be ok now. I never really expected Glenn to make it past 6 games. He’s just too injury prone at this point in his career. But Bridges has looked good as well, so there’s a chance he can step up. The other hole is at safety, but if we go with Dargan there and two Canadian DTs that might be a solution. Too bad Gaydosh didn’t pan out. He would have made that switch a lot easier.

  23. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm //

    Saskatchewan doesn’t have a football team. They have a group of players being paid to play football.

  24. pantsonfire // August 7, 2017 at 3:12 pm //

    The other hole is @ safety? Even McCormick rated the DB’s an F & he’s a Rider guy. The OL is average, Stamps ate up your all-star tackle & he’s the best of the lot. Your QB plays great vs the East & disappears vs the West. He Can’t throw an accurate deep ball & the OL can’t block so you have a game plan designed to work their way down the field with dump passes. As for 2 Cdn DT’s, try finding one first. Jones insists on rushing 3 when he doesn’t have the talent. These are your 1st stringers. They would barely be depth players elsewhere. The 1st step in getting better is realizing this team needs a lot more than a player here or there. I mean how low are your expectations, people?

  25. ,,Patience // August 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm //

    I believe that if another coach came in here now, he could blow the team up just like Jones did and would not be cutting any better players than what Jones did. Yes, there are a few good ones but there were a few good ones the first time around too. Where is this major improvement? The Riders can’t win a game in the trenches, can’t stop the run and can’t defend the long pass. Not to mention that they have no idea who is in their long term plans for a QB. Great scouting and great game plans. Tell me again how great Jones is at everything because I surely must be missing something.

  26. Yes, you do seem to have missed pretty much everything. So, you two are pretty much completely talking out of your butts. I kind of thought that before, considering your posts made no sense whatsoever, but I thought I’d give you the benefit of the doubt. Where do you guys get this from? Have you found some kind of online random football BS generator?
    I’ll leave you alone now. There’s nothing for me to respond to here.

    • ,,Patience // August 7, 2017 at 8:39 pm //

      We are talking out of our butts, huh? The Riders have two wins at this point; one against a team that has yet to win and the other against a team playing their third game in eleven days. To quote Jones “numbers don’t lie”. I see no move towards sustained success but only a continuation of sustained mediocrity, at best.

    • ,,Patience // August 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm //

      We get this from watching and listening. I do not need any random online postings to see that the situation in Rider nation is dismal and going nowhere.

  27. Lulay won’t leave Vancouver. He has a home here, and his wife and kid are happy here. Plus it’s easy to go home and see his family. He’ll retire a Lion.

    • That seems unlikely to me. Here’s another thing to consider. BC can’t pay their backup QB starter’s money, so if Lulay did that he would be leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table.

      • ,,Patience // August 8, 2017 at 11:10 am //

        Lula said in the last off-season that he didn’t want to go anywhere. He is happy in B.C. and is probably being groomed to join the coaching staff when that time comes.

  28. yycbanjopicker // August 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm //

    If Brandon Bridge became our starter this year he would join the long list of QBs whose promising careers were destroyed by the Riders. Guys like Brett Smith, Tino Sunseri were all given starts way to early in their career.
    Putting Bridge in during garbage time, for special packages or when the Riders are protecting a 2-3 score lead mid way through the 4th quarter (hey a guy can dream right!?) is the only way to ensure the guy is ready. Give him continued opportunities to make great throws/plays. l
    Throw him in now and Bridge will be out of the league before you know it.

    • What makes you think he’s not ready? Every QB has to step up and start sometime. I will say that this will be a particularly high pressure game, so, based on the concerns you raised, I’ll change my mind and say that if it was my choice I’d announce that they’ll both be playing, and maybe that we’ll use them in different situations. I’m not sure if I would start Bridge but I would give him lots of playing time and give it to him early, unless he started really struggling. Glenn’s a veteran and I’m sure he understands that a big part of his job here is mentoring, and that he just wasn’t effective last game so we should be trying something different. I wouldn’t throw Glenn under the bus or anything like that, and I wouldn’t publically declare Bridge the new starter, but I would give a good chunk of time early, and if he was playing well I’d let him run with it.

      BTW, I don’t think Smith or Sunseri were all that great prospects.

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