The Saskatchewan Roughriders will be fielding a very different roster when they take on the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday, making 10 changes from their lineup a week ago.
While the team has faced concerns about the injury bug, the Riders will be getting a boost from the return of a pair of defensive standouts in strong-side linebacker Derrick Moncrief and cornerback Nick Marshall. Moncrief notched 50 tackles and four interceptions in his return to Saskatchewan last season, missing the first two games of the season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Marshall was also absent last week with a shoulder injury and has 15 interceptions in his five-year career. Both are former West Division all-stars.
Also receiving an upgrade is the offensive line, where the Riders will start two new offensive tackles. Former fourth-round NFL draft pick Jerald Hawkins returned to the team this week after attending to a personal issue and will debut at left tackle, while veteran free agent signee Colin Kelly has served his two-game PED suspension and will start on the right side. Brandon Council and Eric Lofton, who have held down the fort the last two weeks, have been returned to the practice roster.
Missing from the lineup will be starting safety Jayden Dalke (back) and receiver Juwan Brescacin (shoulder), both of whom were added to the six-game injured list along with depth defensive end Nicholas Dheilly (head). Former second-overall draft pick Nelson Lokombo will get the nod at safety, while Kendall Watson draws into the receiving corps.
Other changes to the starting lineup include rookie Deontai Williams taking over for field-side cornerback Jeremy Clark, who is a healthy scratch this week. Defensive tackle DeMarcus Christmas (knee) has been replaced by Miles Brown after being placed on the one-game injured list and backup running back Frankie Hickson (shoulder) has also been ruled out. Centre Peter Godber (illness) is listed as a game-time decision and could be replaced by Logan Bandy.
Linebacker Rodney Clemons (ankle) and fullback Albert Awachie (hamstring) have both landed on the one-game injured list. Newcomers to the lineup expected to fill depth roles include Canadian defensive back Kosi Onyeka, as well as linebackers Matt Dean and Brian Harelimana. Global linebacker Lukas Ruoss of Switzerland will also make his debut.
The Riders (1-1) are scheduled to visit the Stampeders (1-1) at McMahon Stadium on June 24, with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. EDT. They are currently point underdogs.