Riders prove their critics right

To say the most important part of the Riders schedule, a stretch that will see them play six straight games against divisional opponents, did not get off on the right foot, would be an understatement.

Last week, I wrote about how these games will tell us who this team really is. There are still five more games to go, but the early results certainly aren’t flattering.

You couldn’t have scripted a worse start for the Green and White on Saturday night. Being down 24-0 after the opening quarter is less than ideal against anyone. It’s especially true against the best team in the league and you’re a team that struggles to put up points at the best of times.

In that quarter, the Riders essentially did everything they can’t afford to do if they want to win games. The offence turned over the football multiple times and they even gave up a special teams touchdown. The defence? Well, it’s hard to put much on them in that quarter and they ended up keeping their team in it the rest of the night as usual.

After the game, Chris Jones said that they need to play great defence and special teams to win. They also need an offence that can chew up some clock. There’s no denying that. They didn’t do that against Calgary and at the end of the day, the score probably flattered them.

Game Thoughts

Much of the talk around the province right now is the sad state of the offence. It’s pretty clear at this point that they don’t trust Brandon Bridge all that much (more on that in a bit), so perhaps Zach Collaros returning in a couple of weeks will make a difference. Either way, in theory, there’s nothing wrong with an overly conservative game plan. As much as it’s not an offence I would run, there are ways it can work and there’s certainly a time and place for it. If it’s a close game in the fourth? Sure. Down 24-0 after 15 minutes? It’s probably time to open it up a bit. It’s the lack of adjustment that gets to me more than the overall idea. On the bright side, at least they’ve decided that running the football is a good thing.

One area hampering this offence is their receivers. As Duron Carter continues to be OK on defence, his offence is badly missed but that’s another story. Without Naaman Roosevelt for most of the night, no one stood up. Is it time to re-visit some of those cuts out of camp? Something has to give soon. Someone’s got to start making some plays or they need to find someone who can.

I found it interesting that Jones said that the offence would be the same against Edmonton. It’s a short week, so not making changes isn’t that surprising. I’m just surprised he said it. There are times he doesn’t want to say things in the media so the other teams can’t learn anything. Other times Jones doesn’t seem to care. Could he be up to something by saying it? Maybe.

As much as I like Brandon Bridge, and this is going to kill Justin Dunk, he’s not the answer here. Bridge is good in a pinch, he can be a serviceable backup, but I think it’s safe to say he’s not a starter in this league. Not yet anyway. Everyone learns and grows at different paces, so maybe he gets there, but Bridge’s accuracy is an issue. As is his overall game sense.

Brett Lauther is quietly becoming one of the better stories in the CFL this year. The kicker had been out of the league for years and got his chance again this year after Tyler Crapigna was shut down for the season. He’s made the most of it hitting on 18 of his first 20 attempts including a 56-yarder against Calgary.

Charleston Hughes certainly still has it. That’s not to say that Calgary made the wrong decision, considering how good their defence is. That said, Hughes already has a league-leading eight sacks. Big things were expected of Hughes in green and white but he might actually be surpassing expectations at this point.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (187 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

63 Comments on Riders prove their critics right

  1. Wait till the rest of the western teams play either the Stamps or Riders. You’ll be proved wrong.

    • Jones says short passes will help qb passing percentage be higher but they are 2 yard passes. Cannot score like that. Let bridge try medium and longer passes. All it take is one or two completions and we score stretch the field a bit!

  2. I agree with your comments, Joel. Brandon Bridge has been a disappointment. To his credit, he is working with a new set of receivers and a patchy offensive line. Chemistry is a mainstay between quarterbacks and receivers — timing has to be precise. The team has to yet feature a deep threat. I believe Duron would definitely open up the passing game. And with Roosevelt out, Saskatchewan is likely in tune for another sporadic passing attack. But in regards to the Riders defence, Gang-Green will definitely keep the Riders in most games including this upcoming game against Edmonton. I only hope Coach Jones will remove his stubborn gameday approach and place his strengths where they need to be placed.

    • Gr89 – is it confirmed that Roosevelt is out this week ? I am thinking he went out more as a precaution for his neck than concussion protocol?

    • Jeff Garcia's Agent // July 31, 2018 at 11:47 am //

      Roosevelt isn’t out. He practiced fully yesterday and didn’t require concussion protocol

  3. Rick Cowan // July 31, 2018 at 11:40 am //

    Is Roosevelt out he was at practice yesterday

    • Roosie is good to go. He had a bit of a stinger from landing on the top of his head and bunching up his neck.

      • Thanks for the update, Rob. I was expecting the worst possible situation (since Jonesy has a tendency to slap everyone on the 6-game injury list), but that’s great news. It would be a nice surprise if Jones opened up the passing attack with Duron playing receiver. With Roosevelt in the lineup, I’m taking the Riders by a touchdown. And sorry to the above for any injury scares.

        • They just wanted to make sure Roosevelt was good to go, sounded like if it was a playoff game, he wasn’t staying off the field lol
          I think with Zach back and Roosie and Carter. Our offense will open up just with that. Those two will open up the young guys as well. As long as we can keep the few key pieces healthy, our offense should be a lot exciting coming up.

          • Basement Again? // August 2, 2018 at 6:38 am //

            Receivers aside (and they’re both good), Bridge still has to hit them. Serious accuracy issues.

  4. Gasson please stop writing articles you clearly know nothing about. We are 3-3 with our backup QB. Simple as that.. Once we get a few people back from injury, this team with be completely different. Zach coming back, Duron on Offense(even though he’s been doing pretty damn well at DB), having the young stud DB Marshall back will be huge. Bridge has been playing like he is a back up. He’s not anywhere close to being a starter or possibly will never be. His mechanics are brutal and throws rockets every single ball. He has no touch whatsoever. This team will have to problems competing with the West. Besides the 1st quarter, we outplayed the 1st place Calgary team. Again Joel quit rehashing fan’s opinions as they yours and posting it. Most fans don’t even know the basic rules of the game. You are appearing that way as well.

    • Let’s review. Of course, besides the complete and total disaster of a first quarter, the Riders were clearly and obviously the better team and remain so. Secondly, once injury prone Zach returns you can start planning the Grey Cup parade. Lastly, the fans and the general sports media including the journalists on this website know nothing about pro football. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

      • Said nothing about planning the Grey Cup parade. But realistically we have a number 1 QB back. Again out of training camp he was the clear number 1 for a reason. The guy is Vet and can run this offense properly. Bridge looks like a scared little boy out there. One read and done. With improved O-line play Zach should have much better protection coming back. Another reason why I think he was held out a bit longer, It gave the O-line time to gel a bit more.

        Most fans have no clue as do many of the sports writers. Gasson and Davis are some of the worse. I honestly wish we had more insightful writers for our Riders.

        • I will agree on one thing. Much like the Bombers pre-Nichols, if the Riders had a legitimate starter things would be different. As much as I loved watching the 2014/2015 Collaros play, my opinion is that he is done. He’s injury prone and he’s lost his confidence.

          • I still think he can regain his old self. Look at what happened to Ricky Ray Pre-Toronto. The change of scenery could prove to be huge. Collaros needs some more game time to gel with the Offense as a whole. Which I think it will start to show themselves better by Labour day, but could take a bit longer. I still have faith, the Defense will keep carrying this team.

          • What’s with all the armchair geniuses who say he’s lost his confidence? Have you all been talking to him, or observing him at close range?
            Didn’t think so…
            I’ve lost my confidence (if I ever had any) in the opinions of most who think they know it all…

        • With improved OLine play?

          That’s the problem, my friend – – Regina’s OLine is just as horrific as it was in the pre season when the braintrust had to remove Collaros from the game for his physical safety.

          • No. The Oline is substantially better than it was in the preseason. Still not “good”, but improving every quarter. Bridge actually had a pocket against Calgary (when he was supposed to). That did not exist in the preseason.

      • laughable comment, funny people actually believe Sask outplayed Calgary somehow.

      • You said it —- injury prone Zach. I give him maybe 3 games before you are back to Bridge as a starter . And now without Messam your offence is in trouble.Granted as an esks fan our defence is our weak spot so you might keep it close .

        • Puck Hog // July 31, 2018 at 9:41 pm //

          You think Messam was the core of our offense, and without him our offense is in trouble? Oooh boy……..

    • True Green // July 31, 2018 at 7:55 pm //

      Thank you for posting some sense about this article.

  5. Brando Bridge is not a pro level QB.

    As I’ve explained numerous times, his accuracy is laughably bad and he’s hopeless at reading coverage.

    When the guy can’t make a simple 5yd pass without throwing the ball over the receiver’s head or behind him, it’s painfully obvious that he’s garbage.

  6. Paul Bomber // July 31, 2018 at 11:46 am //

    3&3 without a true starting QB? (Bridge just isn’t there yet)
    I’m not sure what 3Down has against this team. (I mean, I know why I can’t stand them… I’m a Bomber fan, I don’t get paid to report and in theory, be neutral). Let me put it this way: if I’m seeing bias, it must be pretty bad.

  7. Agree. Win or lose as a team including the coaches. Offensive scheme done in crayon and execution is horrible. Evans as a receiver didn’t complete his routes last game if not the primary receiver. Can’t stand that! Worst offense we’ve had for many many years. Wait and see mode it is.

  8. Regina’s offensive scheme won’t change because the OLine is so pisspoor.

    Deep routes take time to unfold and the Riders OLine is incapable of holding up the pocket for that long.

    Late in the 4thQ last week, Calgary had a pair of DLinemen go off with injury.

    They brought in a no-name DE and the very first play he bull-rushes Tad Coleman straight backwards into Brando Bridge for an easy sack.

    Next play, Regina rolls Bridge out and double teams the no-name guy – – but they still can’t block him long enough and get flagged for a holding penalty.

    • Area51 I sure wish there was more articles about your Argos.. The problem is no one cares about them. They are back in the cellar again, at least we are .500 with our crap backup QB. You guys are literally falling apart at the seams. Just calling it as I see it my friend.

      • I’m the first one to point out the Argos catastrophic attendance problems and total apathy towards football in Toronto.

        I’ve also explained numerous times how useless Jim Flopp is – – quarter century in the CFL and he’s found ONE (1) competent quarterback.

        The difference between Toronto and Regina is the Argos won a Grey Cup last year – – the Riders, not so much.

        • So how is winning the Grey Cup LAST year working out for you THIS year ?

          • It is working out great. I have it on my PVR and I still watch the fourth quarter a few times a week. The year is young and both the Argos and Riders are playing without their #1 QB. Hopefully Zac can come back strong. Without Ricky the Argos are going to have a tough year. Maybe you know, when was the last time a CFL team won the Cup without their starting QB for most of the year?

        • Hey Arse51, stop picking on Pop Tart. It is hard to argue with his record over the past 25 years and putting together competitive teams. I just pray everyday that he never tries to coach again. You are correct the Argos did win the Cup last year and being able to go from worse to first and win the cup in one season is an amazing feat. In 2016, the Argos were indeed a terrible team (as bad as Montreal last year and this year) so for Pop Tart and Trestman to turn that around in one season and win the Cup is amazing and deserving of some credit. And lay off the attendance issues in Toronto, I heard Pop Tart on the radio this week and he indicated that we are ahead of schedule with attendance this year 🙂

    • Area51 is correct on Coleman. Saw the same thing. He body position is too high. DE’s get under his pads and just push his back. Only comment is if the OLine is bad, why wouldn’t they implement QB roll outs and stretch the field with a deep ball? Calgary DB’s were within 15 yards of scrimmage for most of the game. Was hoping that they were setting them up to go over the top but never happened. Oh well!

      • Coleman hasn’t played great this year. The play 51 brought up – Bridge had to scramble around Coleman to the right as Coleman ws getting driven back. Instead of moving he stayed in one spot until he got hit. Like his feet are nailed to the turf sometimes.

      • Stretching the field with deep throws requires the OLine to pass block to give the receivers time to run their routes down field.

        Riders OLine just isn’t good enough to hold up the pocket for the routes to develop.

        So they implemented a squirt gun offence- – similar to the pop gun offence in Winnipeg – – with a bunch of short throws and screen passes.

        Problem is, Brando Bridge is a TERRIBLE fit for the new squirt gun offence in Regina because he’s not capable of making accurate throws even on short routes.

        They can’t have Bridge rolling out because he makes too many dumb decisions with his bad habit of running backwards and giving up 15yd sack losses.

        Similar situation to Johnny Jennings in BC. Remember how I explained that Jennings is just as useless as Bridge?

        Lions had some success going max protect and having Jennings throw up jump balls to Arcenaux and Burnham, but once the defences took that away Jennings had absolutely nothing.

        • As opposed to the Nots Caulking gun offense. Unfortunately there is not enough caulking in the planet to seal all of their gaps.

  9. Get real // July 31, 2018 at 12:36 pm //

    The Edmonton game will be interesting. Reilly and their excellent receivers are possibly the best and most explosive offence in the league against the Riders strong defence. On the other hand, put the Riders offence, who score very few touchdowns but turn the ball over regularly, against the Eskimos suspect defence. It could come down to which coach has the best game plan. If the last game was any indicator, with McAdoo’s ridiculous play calls, Jones and the Riders could be in deep.

    • Difference with Reilly vs Mitchel – is Reilly is much more mobile and is not afraid to run for the first down.

      D is going to have their hands full.

      • Yup I agree .Mitchell has had amazing protection which has led to his stats being great but his lack of mobility and unwillingness to put the team on his shoulders like Reilly does shows the difference between the 2

  10. Pennyrocker // July 31, 2018 at 12:38 pm //

    Would you call a QB not that great of an expectation, When an Oline sucks and gives little protection. When you place one of you top receivers on defense. When all you give him is short passes. To me this is not productive measures in developing a QB. Sure any QB facing those odds would look bad and that is what Jones wants.
    If I was Bridge I ask to not renew the contract next year.

    • Get real // July 31, 2018 at 1:09 pm //

      Add to that, Jones let a thousand yard receiver go in Bakari Grant that was also known to be one of the best blocking receivers in the league and that O line could surely use some help in blocking. Nine passes against Calgary were thrown behind the line of scrimmage. A large percentage were thrown within two yards of the line of scrimmage. McAdoo said that Bridge can throw the long ball but he was keeping that for when they really needed it. What? They were down 24 to 0. What was he saving it for?
      Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Bridge fan; he can throw the long ball but not with any accuracy. Yet McAdoo brought Watford in to throw a duck into the end zone. The Riders have an anemic offence with a porous O line. Coleman at right tackle is questionable at best. There is s lack of talented, experienced receivers. The only reliable one is Roosevelt. Evans has to learn to run his routes and catch the ball; he should probably be learning that on the practice roster. Holly drops as many as he catches and Bailey is invisible. This offence gets worse every year. It will take more then Collaros to turn this into a productive offence. He himself has a questionable past. It will take a miracle, and perhaps it would help if McAdoo got lost on the way to the stadium.

  11. Larry Eason // July 31, 2018 at 12:51 pm //

    I used to like Saskatchewan until they stole our coach and several players who were all under contract. I am just waiting until the masses start calling for Chris Jones head again. He always has a great defence but others are left to put together the offence and it apparently is not working. Now in Edmonton, our defence sucks big time and Mike Benevides does not seem to have much on the ball….so to speak.

    • Puck Hog // July 31, 2018 at 9:53 pm //

      Actually, Jones and the Riders did not steal the coaching staff from Edmonton. They saved them. In fact, the Riders had to pay their wages while they were still in Edmonton because Hervey refused to pay them, stating that Edmonton’s new head coach was going to hire all new coaches.

  12. Let’s face it, all teams are working through issues right now. Heck even Calgary is going to shore up some things. Sure it was a horrendous first Qtr. However SK was the 1st team to score that many points against Calgary. With their back up QB.
    I have no doubt that the EE are working through things and straightening them out. As is Chris Jones and the Riders.
    It will be a battle in Edmonton. I can’t see another melt down by SK. But really you never know.
    All teams can do is inprove as the year goes on and hope that the victories mask any short comings the Stamps have.
    So to pick on teams 1/3rd of the way into the season is dumb. Let’s see how everybody is doing after Labor Day.

  13. Scottsask // July 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm //

    I think a good fight in practice this week would do wonders.

  14. Sure is pleasant on here today

    • Puck Hog // July 31, 2018 at 9:56 pm //

      Yes, much more enjoyable reading sensible comments, except for one poster on here who is determined to take over from the “lost” one.

  15. Some great conversation today! The Riders are in trouble, but the Defence is keeping them relevant.

    Jones doesn’t need to make any changes to the Offense if he can figure out a way for the Defense and Special Teams to score a few more touchdowns 😉

  16. Sliders need qb help Collaros is not the answer he hangs on to ball too long gets sacked,or fumbles or throws a pick 6 every game and is always one hit away from the injury list we know that well in Ham and Tor lucky to win another game

  17. MR. Green // July 31, 2018 at 5:01 pm //

    Here’s what daddy sees. Collaros played week one and started week 2 with a hidden he admitted. The second pick was a fluke vs Ottawa as they got a bounce off a defender who never saw the ball ru Ning with hi hands up toward the receiver at the back of the end zone.
    I think this Zach, healthy and a more clear head, will make the offence way better, especially with a line improving. On my 2 of the 5 ha played regularily together. That bill rush on Coleman I believe took him by surprise from a no name back up in his mind. Coleman will be fine. Bladek is way better than he was last month.
    Bridge did have time most of the game, when he did he was unglued and made poor decisions with throws.
    Back to Collaros, I actually like his throws in Ottawa except the pic 6 but Evans also ran a poor route an never turned his DB at all, he needed to take another step toward him, h broke it early. Zack had 3 other throws which were catchable, he had 106 yards on 4 completions with a o line that was worse then and has improved since. Those 106 yards he stretched the field. It was 14-14 when h went out I believe, then Bridge came in and stunk.
    A healthy Zach going forward and were a very good team and able to beat anyone. This week, I think we have a huge challenge against the best QB up here.
    Duke and Walker are a huge challenge for anyone. Looking forward to see this battle.

    • I am not sure that I would be that optimistic about the Riders chances this year. They are a .500 team and lucky to be that. The West has three teams that are better (Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg) and guess what they all have proven QB’s. Unless Zac can play like he did in 2015, I think fourth place is as good as it gets. However, as we saw last year going through the East is a lot better. Realistically, the Riders finishing second ahead of Edmonton and Winnipeg is a stretch to everyone except Rider fans. So if you are going on the road in the playoffs why not do it in the East. If I were the Riders I would just relax, keep improving and peak in October/November.

      • MR. Green // July 31, 2018 at 5:56 pm //

        I agree and never said 2nd place. Those 3 teams are very good and I would rank them today 1,2,3. Of course I’m optimistic. Riders don’t need a star QB and we don’t need Bridge playing poorly. We just need average play, anything more is a bonus. Average play means limit turnovers, get a couple TD’s a game or less if that’s all it takes and throw for 200 yards. The defence is chamionship caliber.
        Your point about peaking in October/November is bang on. Playoffs is all that matters. Some people hate the crossover but part of that is because the Riders were that team even though they had a better record than both top teams out East last year. They figure a 6-12 team deserved a playoff spot. Even 11 win Edmonton had to play two road games.
        I don’t mind East teams getting playoff gate money, they need it. It is what it is.
        Still no reason at this point to annoint Sask 4th ot 5th out West. No reason we can’t make it in out here. Plenty can happen.

        • I agree MR. Green, they will finish in second and be on a bit of a hot streak to begin the playoffs.

          I also like your comments abut the QB, we had a QB that at this same time last year was leading the league in a lot of sats. He was also very dependable. If KG was back we would for sure have two more wins this season without question.

        • Green&Gold // July 31, 2018 at 6:27 pm //

          Agree wirh you. To me the crossover is like the wildcard spots in the NFL, if you have a better record you should be in the playoffs.

  18. Pennyrocker // July 31, 2018 at 7:37 pm //

    If Jones thoughts are the Rider fans don’t know football and have no idea about players ability. He is dead wrong Rider nation follows football. We read the news watch Jones every move and get royal PO’D on a lot of his decision making. All I can say is wake up Jones before we get tired of your charade and boot your ass out of town.

  19. True Green // July 31, 2018 at 7:49 pm //

    Seriously Joel? I read the first couple of paragraphs and almost got sick. Do you watch the games? Do you read other news? Or do you just make this up? You posted this on the July 31st and stated “so perhaps Zach Collaros returning in a couple of weeks will make a difference” when there were multiple articles yesterday about Zach returning now. Yesterday 3DN reported this. I’d have thought you’d caught on to that.

    Further, you stated “They also need an offence that can chew up some clock”. Do you realize the time of possession was 33:08 in favour of the Riders?

    I’m a diehard rider fan but I will readily admit the only thing that sucks as bad as your football insight is the Riders ofrence in 2018.

  20. Why do contributors at 3DN refer to themselves as “authors” rather than
    “writers”? I assume they are not “journalists” or “reporters” because those require credentials.

  21. For as good as the Stamps D is, I can’t imagine how scary they could’ve been if they had kept Charleston Hughes. Or how much worse-off the Riders would be without him. Hughes and Lauther are easily the Riders’ MOP front-runners thus far.

  22. Gasson claimed last week that he’s only expressing his opinion on this site, but of course that is not even close to being true. An opinion has a basis, and Gasson and Frazer have shown unfailingly that their incessant attacks on Jones and the Riders have no basis whatsoever. They just grasp at anything they can, and when that fails they change to something else. Just the fact that all of their articles and podcasts have basically one theme also tells you that what they are doing has nothing to do with expressing an honest opinion. They have one agenda and they have shown week after week after week that they can’t even pretend to do anything else.

    They have often picked themes that they’ve tried to sell. The first I think was the “sustainability” angle – and this was one that others in their special group in the Regina media were trying to see as well. It was so evidently baseless and false it was hard to believe they were saying it. Jones rebuilt this team from 3 wins to 10 wins in two years, and they were trying to say that what he was doing wasn’t sustainable. Huh?? It makes zero sense. It’s contradicted by the basic facts of his time here. But they “stood by it” for several weeks, as I recall, before someone above their pay grade must have kyboshed it. Next it was the “cornerstone player” angle. This wasn’t even an attempt at a valid opinion. If you go back and read those articles what they were trying there is quite clear. And again, they “stood by” this for a few weeks before dropping it as well. Let’s fast forward to recent weeks. Recently they’ve been working the Duron Carter angle for all they’re worth, even after the back to back wins against Hamilton where Carter made a number of great plays and may well have won one of those games for us with his play on the deep ball to Toliver. They take whatever position on Carter they need to to try to develop negative spin on Jones. They’ve claimed that he’s a terrible DB when in fact he’s been good overall and great against tall receivers, where his height, speed, and agility give him an advantage that no other DB has – and note that Edmonton’s receivers are of the tall variety, so let’s hope that Carter plays at least one more game at DB. They’ve also claimed that he’s our best receiver and one of the best in the league, and needs to be on offence, but earlier in the year Gasson didn’t even included him as a “cornerstone” player for us. Gasson flip-flops back and forth taking whatever position he thinks will suit his purposes. He talks out of both sides of his mouth, lying both times. And they’ve been doing the same thing week after week after week, in every article and every podcast. They have one agenda and they can’t even fake anything else.

    But, I continue to applaud 3DN for continuing to publish their articles and podcasts. I don’t think this kind of thing exists for any other, and I think you truly have to see it to believe it, and probably see it over and over times to believe it. I think every one of these is elucidative, so keep it up! But I also thank 3DN for doing their own Rider stories, especially recently, since we don’t have any real Rider sports writers on this site.

    A final note on this article. Gasson implies that this was a big loss somehow. It wasn’t. We were expected to lose. Calgary is undefeated. If we would have won it would have been big, and it was disappointing in that errors cost us this game, in spite of Bridge’s poor play, but we were not expected to win and it isn’t a major setback that we did. And no, the score didn’t flatter us. Again, there is no basis for that comment. Statistically we were basically even with Calgary, which is something we can take as a big positive. It’s the mistakes that cost us the game, even with Bridge.

  23. OldBaldGuy // August 1, 2018 at 4:19 pm //

    Note to Larry Eason. Nobody can steal a player who is under contract to another team. Maybe read the rules…same as they’ve been forever…

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