Riders secret weapon played a role in sinking Argos offence

During the Toronto Argonaut’s season-opening loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, quarterback Ricky Ray and the Argos offence lacked the rhythm that had been the hallmark of their 2017 Grey Cup run.

Did the Riders have some help?

There was one man with intricate knowledge of the latest version of Trestman’s offence on the Roughriders side: Steve Walsh. After Jarious Jackson left Saskatchewan to be the B.C. Lions’ offensive coordinator, Chris Jones hired Walsh to be the Riders quarterbacks coach. Walsh spent 2017 as the Argos senior assistant and shared all the details of the Trestman playbook with his new team.

Walsh was praised by Trestman and the three-time Grey Cup champion head coach never offers compliments unless he truly feels it’s warranted. And to earn the rave reviews, Walsh would’ve known the Argos offence inside and out.

Relaying that information to Jones would be akin to throwing a fastball down the middle on a 3-0 count in baseball: the hitter knows what’s coming. Jones admitted post-game the Riders called only two defensive schemes throughout the 60 minutes but there certainly would be checks within those defences – easy to install when you know the play based on alignment, motion or formation.

Charleston Hughes was the beneficiary of Saskatchewan taking advantage of the protection schemes, posting three sacks, as the Riders exploited Argos left tackle William Campbell. Meanwhile, Willie Jefferson was disruptive, living in the Argos backfield. Linebackers were flying around and it seemed as though the Riders defensive backs were anticipating routes that were coming.

Case in point: Nick Marshall driving on Brian Tyms’ out-breaking route in the fourth quarter and taking an errant Ray pass back the other way for an interception touchdown. The ball was tipped by Jefferson, but if the first-year defensive back hadn’t planted and burst downhill the attempt would’ve fallen harmlessly incomplete. Marshall recognized the pattern combination and made a reactionary change of direction for the pick-six. That critical play made the difference in the game and displayed what can happen when familiarity and athleticism are combined.

Ray threw for 233 yards with a 59.5 completion rate – much lower than the 70 per cent during the first season under Marc Trestman. 2017 Most Outstanding Rookie, James Wilder Jr. had five carries for only 16 yards, although he caught four balls for 68 yards. No. 1 receiver S.J. Green was targeted 12 times but caught five balls for 51 yards. The offence as a whole converted 6-of-21 second down situations (29 per cent) and scored just 19 points in the defeat.

If Toronto had executed at a higher level, the intel Walsh provided to his new coaching staff could have been mitigated and the Riders coaches and players still had to get it done on the field. But inches and milliseconds can be the difference and the direct info can help tip the reactionary time in a team’s favour.

Walsh was a factor for Saskatchewan being able to stymie the Argos offence as the goods the 51-year-old former NFL quarterback passed along certainly benefitted the Riders.

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk

Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.
Justin Dunk
Justin Dunk
About Justin Dunk (903 Articles)
Justin Dunk was a five-year starter at quarterback for the University of Guelph. He covers the league for Sportsnet and 3DownNation.

68 Comments on Riders secret weapon played a role in sinking Argos offence

  1. Kudos to Saskatchewan for picking up on the Toronto Argonauts. Extremely smart move by the Riders.

  2. Can hardly wait until the Riders play Calgary. Bo Levi is slumping and the Stamps could be easy pickings.

    • That’s if Monty Burns makes it past Toronto this week.

    • LOL
      Bo is 1-0
      2016 they started 0-1
      2017 they started 0-0-1
      Slumping Bo is off to a great start……

      • I still look at last year’s Grey Cup and the interception by Toronto that killed any hopes of a championship for Calgary. Bo still appears to be suffering from the withdrawal effects of that devastating loss. It sure showed against Hamilton with all those overthrown passes. I think Bo was really worried about throwing another interception. He showed a lot of rust this last week. I can see at least a few more “W’s” in the Riders’ win column against the Stamps. And really, that’s half the battle. If the Riders can defeat the Stamps because of rust, what’s to say they don’t pull off a few more victories against western opponents. Equine, if I were you, I would be extremely concerned with your team this year. Bo just doesn’t look like he’s got it. And really, who do you have for a backup? You’re sure not getting Brandon Bridge from the Riders. Controversy is starting to surface in stampland.

        • Sure thing greenrider89

        • EAsy on the koolaid there greenrider89, the Stamps are still the team to beat and Bolevi is still the top qb in the league along with Reilly. I’m a rider fan but I’m not blind to reality.

          • Believe me, Greengo, I’m having some fun with this. I’m tired of having one stamps fun always enjoying the show rubbing Rider fans so I decided to jump in. No worries about realities, buddy.

  3. Riders4Last // June 18, 2018 at 7:24 pm //

    Riders secret weapon? Lol lol the only secret weapon they had on Friday night was the refs who were brutal on that pick 6 non pass interference call which was obvious and was the terrible P I call setting up the riders field goal on their final drive no way that’s PI

  4. Puck Hog // June 18, 2018 at 7:30 pm //

    Sure, Dunk….. Marshall would never have had that interception on that errant throw had Steve Walsh not been hired by the Roughrider organization.

  5. Bart Andrus second down punt // June 18, 2018 at 7:34 pm //

    This is pointless drivel. Every team has a player who played on an opponent in the cfl. This is not news. This is just a click bait article created to drawin readers.
    Why not discuss other teams. Montreal and whether or not Drew Willy is a legit qb to lead that team.
    If the Redblacks are going to miss their front 4 from last year.
    The Stampeders backfield and their progression.
    Winnipeg’s defense and special teams being the key component to their early season success.
    BC and their young guys being the core for the next dynasty.
    Or for pure human interest you can put an article with Duke Williams, Nick Marshall, Tre Mason, Derrick Moncrief and the 2014 Auburn Tigers and their journey north.
    These are stories, this article is something I expect to read in a super market tabloid.

  6. Now how the heck would you know what Coach Walsh says or does in the Coaches room in Regina. I say this article is all conjecture and assumptions. OMG

    • Jones just admitted it and probably thought that they were pretty smart to take advantage of the situation.

  7. What a terrible article from Justin Skunk,does he really believe that we are nieve enough to believe that there is enough time to relay information to the defence after Walsh sees the offensive alignment then send that to the defensive coordinator and then to the defence, get a real job.

    • Of course it isn’t going to be done on the spot! All the information about alignments would be relayed ahead of time e.g. if you see this formation, this is probably the play. Gives the D an advantage if they know before it’s tossed, where the ball is going to go.

  8. The CFL might have to keep tabs on Jones this week. Will he try to hire someone off Ottawa’s staff as a “consultant”???

  9. Should be a great game in Ottawa. I can just hardly wait for the first meeting against Calgary. Even medium-rare steaks don’t suffice to the matchup against the Stamps. Riders will eat ’em raw!!!

  10. For the record. It doesn’t look like Jefferson tipped the ball on the INT. It was really just poor mechanics on the throw by Ray, following by the mugging of an Argo receiver.

  11. Wow. Ricky Ray gets a poor grip on the ball and throws a fluttering (untipped) duck to Nick Marshall for a pick six and it happened because Marshall knew the playbook? Really?
    What is this? the Donald Trump effect? Just spew BS and the base will believe it?

  12. Riders2013 // June 18, 2018 at 8:45 pm //

    By Dunks logic then the Eskimos should’ve beaten the RBs in the 2016 eastern final and the Riders should mail the points to the Lions cause Jarious J will know the Riders D inside and out. This is fake news. Every ex player and coach gives information about their old teams to current team…always have, always will. However, the players play the game between the white lines and the better, smarter athletes usually prevail if they can execute with the fewest mental mistakes. I’d say dunk made one of those with this article.

  13. Rider fans quit crying, you make it harder on yourselves with the constant wine and cheese display. SMH

    • Equine Excellence // June 18, 2018 at 8:58 pm //

      They can’t take the slightest criticism. Why not just take the win

      • this article is all about whining about a Rider win. its the “fans” of other teams who are whining. Rider fans are laughing at them.

  14. Michael Kulyk // June 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm //

    why didnt trestman keep walsh on staff for this year ?

  15. Colour me green // June 18, 2018 at 10:05 pm //

    This article makes no sense. Trestman would change his offence because he knows Walsh would give him the plays from last year. Trestman is too smart to not change his game plan.

  16. Coaches going from team to team every year is really no big deal. If the Als had beat the Lions would of Kahari Jones been the Als secret weapon? Really a non factor when all things get annualized correctly.

  17. Pennyrocker // June 18, 2018 at 10:44 pm //

    What people think Trestman a dumb ass. Think about it you are playing your ex QB assistant knowing he knows your play book you would not change your plays. Anyone with half a brain would know new plays would be needed. Ray does not throw off balls he is one of the best QBs in the league with credentials to prove it.
    Bo peep needs to watch his shoulder the jury is out when Henry levels Bo again.

  18. I’m not sure why so many are so upset by this.

  19. Scottsask // June 18, 2018 at 11:11 pm //

    I’m not upset in the least.

  20. MR. Green // June 18, 2018 at 11:38 pm //

    Ken Miller would say here’s our play book, go ahead and look at it. It’s up to you to make out what play were running and when.

    • Yeah well, that’s long in the past for ridernations,
      Memories,,,,all alone in the moonlight,,,,,,
      The day Miller left was the day your organization fell apart to what it’s become

  21. So…How about them Esks Injuries already. Will this be another 2017 all over again?

    • BC Dave, it makes one wonder if the Eskies could be in for another season with the injury bug biting them. It’s a long season, though, and hopefully your team and the Riders can stay in front of the bug before it bites. Seems the Esks are a little snake-bit, though.

    • Any team playing in a 7 hr football game until 2 am is probably going to sustain some injuries. Lol. When you have to get your body warmed up 3 times for 1 game, it will mess with the older players Id bet.

  22. Back when the Eskimos won their 5 in a row, they didn’t give a rat’s ass if you knew which play they were running. They won by executing.

  23. There was no PI call on the play because there was no PI. Toronto didn’t challenge because they reviewed it. The scoring play was reviewed by Command Centre because it was a scoring play. There was no PI. Quit making cry baby excuses. The Riders win because they played better. End of.

    • if that’s the case. What justification is there not to call that?

    • For sure // June 19, 2018 at 9:10 am //

      The play was reviewed because it was a scoring play. The Command Center does not call missed penalties. Anybody catch on to the fact that the head ref was from Saskatoon?

    • Furthermore, game officials ruled the play a touchdown. The supposed play against Ed Gainey super close to call one way or another. Even had the play been challenged by Toronto the play would likely stand because it was ruled a touchdown and too close to call. Basically, it was perfect coverage by Gainey. End of story (except for one stamps fan who continually looks for excuses for why the Riders should have lost).

      • 89 – Couldn’t help but notice. There was a new story on the Stamps thread yesterday. Would you like to take a guess how many comments manyhandles made on his own team ???

  24. Every play that Argos ran in 2017 is available on game film video so I guess it is the plays from the playbook that they didn’t use is somehow useful.

  25. It is an unfortunate part of the game that coaches and players switching teams spill the beans. But Trestman must be used to it. Half the league (or perhaps more) plays his offence, usually with old Toronto coaches and staff.

  26. john gatti // June 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm //

    The guy is a scumbag for doing that.

  27. Despite a lacklustre effort the Argos still had a chance to win it. It was their “much hyped” defense that let them down. Unable to stop Jerome Messam on a critical 2 and long with under 2 minutes left. Still think Argos are a very good team!

  28. Bo can’t win the big games he is a big choke artist not a team guy not liked by teammates Collaros hangs on to ball too long gets sacked pass knocked down or throws a pick 6 Eks r team to win west

  29. The 3down story headline from the day following the annual Labour day game between the Riders and the Bombers.
    Roughriders secret weapon: Dressing 12 players in matching uniforms.

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