DAVIS: With no reinforcements, Chris Jones turns to the riot act to motivate Riders

During their first practice following their bye week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders looked like they usually do during workouts — relaxed, somewhat sloppy and lackadaisical with some good-natured taunting and several players rehearsing in unusual positions (Hello, Eddie Steele, Duron Carter and Christion Jones.)

During their third practice after a 10-day hiatus — the final workout before the 2-2 squad visits the 2-2 Hamilton Tiger-Cats for a CFL rematch Thursday — they got justifiably chided by head coach Chris Jones.

A Tweet by Rawlco Radio’s Arielle Zerr explained the outburst.

Zerr continued with a Tweet and quote from veteran offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte

Saskatchewan defeated Hamilton 18-13 on July 5, the most recent game for both teams, because Riders tailback Marcus Thigpen miraculously ran for a 34-yard late-game touchdown. Hamilton totally dominated the contest until the dying minutes.

In four games Saskatchewan’s offence has scored four touchdowns. Thigpen’s major rewarded an excellent performance by Saskatchewan’s defence and special teams, but hasn’t assuaged concern for an offence missing its starting quarterback (Zach Collaros, who has a concussion) and inexplicably alternates journeyman Brandon Bridge and rookie David Watford in his stead.

The Roughriders also have a porous, short-staffed offensive line and have moved one of their best weapons, wideout Duron Carter, to defence as a replacement for injured cornerback Nick Marshall.

During the break the Roughriders were expected to bolster their roster with offensive linemen and defensive backs. That didn’t happen. The team basically stood pat, which is typically a formula for mediocrity.

When players’ jobs are being threatened there’s a sense of urgency on the practice field and during games. When players aren’t being challenged — like in the Riders’ case right now — complacency naturally sets in. That’s where the Roughriders sit: Mediocre, complacent and waiting to see if their head coach’s outrage motivates them to better performances.

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