The Riders have their backup QB and 10 other thoughts on an ugly pre-season game

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Well, at least that is over with.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders opened their pre-season on Friday night and it wasn’t pretty, even by the incredibly low bar set by professional pre-season sports. The Riders lost 37-1 to the Calgary Stampeders.

The good news is that it doesn’t really matter. The score and the outcome anyway.

But there is a lot of stuff that did matter, some (well probably like one thing) positive, some negative.

Here are my thoughts on the game:

  1. The Riders have their backup quarterback. Barring something major happening in the next week, Cody Fajardo is heads and shoulders ahead of the other pivots on the roster. The former Argo showed that his numbers in the green and white game weren’t a fluke. If they can count on Fajardo to win a real game is still an unknown, but he looked fairly good, all things considered. Nothing was overly exciting or memorable, but he can only complete the plays he’s asked to do.
  2. This is going to be a big week for David Watford’s career. I don’t think he stood out enough from Isaac Hacker to say for sure that he’s safe as the team’s third quarterback. Their numbers were fairly similar, but Hacker looked more comfortable. Watford might be what he is at this point.
  3. The offence erupted for exactly zero points, which is always a cause for concern in the CFL. The Riders lone point came off one hell of a shanked field goal attempt from Felix Menard-Briere. Stephen McAdoo’s offence looked a lot like last year’s that left fans restless. Granted, playbooks are often very vanilla in the pre-season in order to keep things under wraps and help evaluate talent. The overall feel was still very much ball control. It can work, but it doesn’t leave much room for error, it either works really well or fails spectacularly. We’ll see next week with Zach Collaros and company in if anything gets better.
  4. The broadcast was strangely making a relatively big deal about the battle to be William Powell’s backup. A decent storyline, but probably only needed to be mentioned like, once? Jamal Morrow and James Butler both did some things well, but like the offence in general, nothing was spectacular. Butler can certainly help his chances if he can get his return game going.
  5. It’s pretty hard to say much about the defence with basically everyone but Mike Edem left behind in Saskatchewan. Even then, Edem left the game pretty early. Jacob Dearborn was involved a lot, but to expect much out of the group that was on the field without some veteran support is asking a lot.
  6. That said, there’s been some discussion about Chad Geter potentially moving up the depth chart on the edge with the departure of Willie Jefferson. Without a lot of regulars, he could have made a statement being one of the few guys playing with some experience. It didn’t really happen. The good news for him, no one did as the Riders hardly got any pressure on any Stampeder QB.
  7.  Craig Dickenson got his first taste of head coach decision-making with a couple of short yardage situations. The one at the goal line was obvious but he probably could have gone for it early in the first quarter given that it’s the pre-season. It was a fairly conservative call, but not one that changed the game. We’ll see if this changes or not over the coming weeks.
  8. Bo Levi Mitchell is better than the Riders backups, noted.
  9. Nick Arbuckle is also better than the Riders backups.
  10. What on earth is the Reese Movie? Do I even want to know?
  11. It doesn’t seem like the Riders sustained any major injuries, so mission accomplished, I guess.
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.