After a week where the circus came to Riderville, it’s time to actually sit down and watch some football. The Riders will try to pick up their second win of the season late Saturday afternoon against the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium.
Even without a week full of off-field distractions, the Riders would have faced an uphill battle against the top team in the West. However, after the week that was, maybe playing the game will be a nice change of pace for the group.
With that in mind, here are six things to watch during the game.
1. The East Sideline
Even though Bo Levi Mitchell was right and the Riders were punished for breaking CFL roster rules, that hasn’t stopped Rider Nation from turning their attention to the Stampeders franchise quarterback. The visiting sideline can be an unfriendly place at the best time of times, after this week, I imagine the fans will be ready to throw their best at Mitchell, he’s probably just as ready to soak it all in too. Hopefully, Mitchell will keep his pants on.
2. Woe is Canada
All season we’ve talked about the Riders and lack of starting Canadian depth. That’s been apparent with offensive linemen Chris Best and Brendon LaBatte on the injured list and it’s not looking much better this week. Shamawd Chambers is back but defensive end Justin Capicciotti is listed as a back up this week as the prized free agent signing has struggled this season. The Riders are just one injury to a Canuck away from possibly Spencer Moore or Levi Steinhauer having to play every down on offence. Good news is offensive lineman Matt Vonk is on the one-game injured list meaning he could be close to returning.
3. The new end
With Capicciotti taking a back seat in this one, the door does open for A.C. Leonard to take a bigger role in this defence. The Tennessee State product has played in all six games for the Green and White this season and has a team-leading three sacks, even though he hasn’t actually started a game. Three sacks isn’t an outrageous number but when a team is struggling to take down the quarterback, someone who has done it when given the chance should probably play more.
4. Running nowhere
Kendial Lawerence will get another chance to be the starting running back this week. Lawrence went in last week for the injured Curtis Steele and the released Michael Dyer. Lawrence Did average 7.5 yards per carry but only got the rock six times. Maybe this is the week see the offence run a little more?
5. Knox’s chance
Last year’s Rider nominee for just about every Most Outstanding Player award has had a rough go at it this season. Jeff Knox Jr. missed basically all of training camp, the pre-season and the first game of the regular season with an injury. Knox has still managed 14 tackles in five games, not his pace from last year but still not terrible for a non-starter. Samuel Eguavoen’s play has made it hard for Knox to see regular time but the Texas Tech product is now injured opening the door for Knox Jr.
6. Does the kid have it?
Some eyebrows raised during the draft when the Riders took a kicker with their third round pick. UBC’s Quinn Van Gylswyk will make his CFL debut for the injured Tyler Crapigna who has missed just two field goals this year. Johnny Mark filled in last week and has since been released.