Riders pre-season finale leaves plenty to be desired (but don’t panic)

There’s one thing we learned for sure on Friday night, the B.C. Lions are currently a better team than the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Of course, we probably didn’t need a game to prove that.

The Lions are coming off a season that saw them return to the West Division Final, the Riders missed the playoffs. The Lions know their quarterback this year and beyond is Johnathon Jennings. The Riders have Kevin Glenn and you never know just how long that may last. The Lions winning this game, considering they started many of their top guys and kept them in for a good portion of the first half, shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Should the overall effort and result set off alarm bells in Rider Nation? Well, that isn’t so easy to answer.

Sports can be a funny thing, from one game to the next pretty much anything is possible. Today’s athlete is conditioned to move on pretty quick after a game, win or lose. That means more than ever, momentum doesn’t really carry over from one game to the next. So, a 42-10 loss this week doesn’t mean the Riders will get skunked next week. It doesn’t mean a rebound is assured either. It’s also pretty hard to keep the motor running in a pre-season blowout.

The Riders are probably better then they showed in Vancouver. Just how much is the question.

What we do know is that the problems talked about for much of training camp haven’t been resolved.

Game Thoughts

Nothing really changed on the quarterback front after this game. Kevin Glenn was the clubhouse leader to start with Brandon Bridge a couple of strokes behind. Glenn didn’t have the greatest night of his career but Bridge didn’t surpass him either. That being said, you can’t really blame Bridge, other than his pick, for the negative plays while he was on the field. Bridge didn’t get much help with plenty of penalties, drops and fumbles from his teammates. Bridge showed some heart in the second half when he tried to hurdle a Lions defender even though the game was long over at that point. Bridge is easily seeded number two heading into next week.

I would have liked to have seen more of Bryan Bennett and Marquise Williams. Glenn and Bridge are known quantities at this point. Penalties probably kept Bridge in the game longer. Overall, bringing 70 players and trying to get them all into the game may have played a role in the outcome. It’s hard to get that many bodies into a game and have it all work smoothly.

The secondary will be the team’s biggest question mark to open the season, again. A couple more players were hurt against the Lions according to Jones. Depth was already an issue due to injuries and offseason departures. Training camp may be over but how the secondary is going to line up is still anyone’s guess at this point.

With that in mind, the defensive line and linebackers will need to step up early to help cover up for the back end. Pressure on the quarterback is the cure for a secondary that will be trying to find it’s way. The defence did a good job at times getting to Lions quarterbacks, it just needs to happen a little more consistently.

Ricky Collins Jr. was a bright spot for the green and white with a team leading 52 yards receiving on just two catches. Collins added another 105 yards in the return game. Considering the glut of American receivers and the fact that he didn’t play in the pre-season game, have to wonder what this might mean for Chad Owens going forward.

The hit of the night from the Riders came from Joshua Standford, which also took away an interception for the Lions. That play might actually standout more than his touchdown considering the score at the time, Stanford wasn’t going to stop giving it his all.

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