Riders look for rare win against West opposition when Lions visit Regina

Evan Radford, Canadian Press

The 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders are better than last year’s underperforming squad so far, but just barely.

One-third of the way through this season, the Roughriders (2-4) have just one more win than they did at this time last year as they prepare to try and even a home-and-home series with the visiting B.C. Lions on Sunday.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn, who wasn’t part of last year’s squad that had a dismal 1-5 record at this point, said inconsistency is his team’s biggest stumbling block.

“Roller coaster – up, down, up, down, up, down. Plain and simple, it’s a roller coaster,” Glenn said.

The Roughriders have yet to win a 2017 game against a West Division opponent, a crucial must if the team has any hope of making the playoffs.

Their latest loss was a 30-15 defeat to the Lions (5-2) in Vancouver last Saturday. It was the second time this year that Saskatchewan beat an East Division team (38-27 win over Toronto on July 29) only to squander its momentum with a loss to a West opponent in the following game.

“We’ve got to stop it,” Glenn said of the inconsistency. “I mean, it’s frustrating, because we want to try to make sure that we put wins together, especially when we’re playing West teams. So that’s something that we need to focus on and we need to get better at, plain and simple.”

On the offensive side of the ball, he said all 12 players need to be in sync on every play.

“Sometimes we have 11 guys doing the right thing, and the twelfth guy doing something different; it’s not necessarily the wrong thing, but it’s something different and then we slip up and we get an accident or a negative play,” he said.

Running back Cameron Marshall agreed, saying everyone on offence must “play on the same page.”

Glenn completed 19 of 27 pass attempts for 186 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in Saturday’s loss. He was pulled and replaced by backup Brandon Bridge at 10:54 in the fourth quarter. The Riders’ 15 points were scored with Bridge under centre.

The Riders have won just one of their last 13 games against West Division opponents, a Sept. 18, 2016 victory in overtime against Edmonton.

“It’s something we’ve talked about, and we’re going to meet it head on,” head coach and general manager Chris Jones said of the western drought. “We’ve got to play better football against those top opponents.”

As to why his team struggles against western teams, Jones said most teams in the CFL struggle against Calgary, Edmonton and B.C.

Competing with those three is the goal, he said.

“We’re trying to get to that level where we can run the football effectively, protect our quarterback and we can play better defence.”

Running the football is a good place to start. When Marshall has at least 12 carries, his team wins.

But in the Roughriders’ losses to Winnipeg, Calgary and B.C. this year, Marshall has had seven, nine and five carries, respectively.

Overall, the Roughriders are second-last in the league in rushing attempts with 82, sitting only ahead of winless Hamilton.

Jones noted that if his team gets the lead in a game, then they’ll run the football more frequently.

He said that when the Riders fall behind by two touchdowns, “the clock’s against you.

“Most run plays average between four and six yards a play, whereas pass plays are averaging more in the lines of seven to nine yards per play.”

That makes for a more efficient way to erase a deficit and potentially take back the lead, according to Jones.

“You can’t just abandon the run, which we haven’t, but you’ve got to run it enough to keep (defences) honest.”

NOTES: The Roughriders will be without centre Dan Clark, who’s been placed on the six-game injured list with an elbow injury… Clark’s absence means that either guard Brendon LaBatte or rookie Dariusz Bladek will start at centre, Jones said… Reports out of B.C. indicate that Lions quarterback Jonathon Jennings looks set to start under centre on Sunday in Regina.

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22 Comments on Riders look for rare win against West opposition when Lions visit Regina

  1. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 13, 2017 at 10:35 am //

    It’s with morbid curiosity I watch this game. It will be ugly but you just can’t help wanting to see the carnage.

  2. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 13, 2017 at 10:51 am //

    Even with a win they don’t really gain anything because the west keeps winning

  3. Rider rooter // August 13, 2017 at 11:32 am //

    Yes the riders are in tough. Here is hoping.

  4. Jake E Snake // August 13, 2017 at 12:50 pm //

    Let’s all say it together.. ABC (Anybody but Calgary)….

  5. WHAT is with the news ads on this site! They open mid story with a LOUD audio and they crash my laptop. As 3down put some sort of spyware in these ads? Either way, RUDE guys! At least turn the sound off

  6. I see that Glenn with his pathetic 1 win-5 loss record is playing just as good for the Sliders as he did when he was a BC Lion…which is why Glenn was a Lion for only one season. Glad Glenn is a Rider and NOT a Lion…he deserves to be a QB on the sad-sack Riders with their pathetic coach and GM who is an embarrassment to the CFL and its brand because of his cheating antics of the past and many classless acts of behaviour under the Riders brand.

    • Bet LF4L doesn’t post anymore tonight

      • Billinburlington // August 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm //

        No kidding Dave. BC is getting schooled in their game tonight. Every dismal team catches a good team with too much overconfidence. Riderville will be tripping over themselves as they clammor onto the bandwagon heading to the Grey Cup in Ottawa! For me as a Ticat fan im going to hide under a pillow and hope I wake up from this nightmare dream.

  7. Wow Jim. Isis. Really.

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