‘It’s up to the coaches’: QB Mason Fine states final preseason case to be Riders’ backup QB

Courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Veteran Mason Fine has been involved in a stiff competition to win the backup quarterback job behind Trevor Harris with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

After a minor injury limited his ability to attempt a pass in the first preseason game at Mosaic Stadium, the 27-year-old played almost the entire first half against Edmonton.

“I wanted to accomplish being the quarterback this team needs to win. Do my job within the offence and get us out of bad situations if that happens, take care of the ball, move the chains,” Fine told 620 CKRM post-game.

“When the ball is snapped and there’s bullets flying, stick to your reads, have good feet and sharp eyes, process information really quick and try to get first downs. This has been one of my best training camps since I’ve been up here, I had to go out there and play and show that in-game scenarios.”

Fine completed 9-of-11 passes for 75 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. That major was caught by rookie CFL receiver Dohnte Meyers, who high-pointed the football and wrestled it away from Elks defensive back Kai Gray, the team’s reigning Most Oustanding Rookie nominee, on a back-shoulder fade in the end zone.

“Edmonton gave us some tough looks, got some pressure, you have to be able to get the ball out of your hands and put it into your playmakers’ hands. Make plays and execute to the best of my ability,” Fine said.

“We started a little slow, but our defence and special teams bailed us out early. We were able to get some rhythm going on. Don’t have a lull, you want to stay consistent as a quarterback.”

Shea Patterson completed five-eight passes for 80 yards and ran once for 11 yards. Rookie QB Jack Coan completed one-of-three passes for three yards and Antonio Pipkin went zero-of-one in limited action. Patterson, who completed three-of-three passes for 52 yards and one touchdown on Monday versus the Blue Bombers, has made his case to be No. 2 with a productive preseason.

“You’ve got to keep getting better. This is a great quarterback room. All I can do is my job — control what I can control. Everyone else plays their game, I’ve gotta play my game and then it’s all up to the coaches to make their evaluations,” Fine said.

“You gotta be able to go in there, be efficient, play at a high level and make the offence run no matter how many reps you get. That’s why being on the same page with QB1, Trevor [Harris], and coach [Marc] Mueller is important.”

Following a 2-0 preseason, the Riders have a week left to decide on the team’s final roster entering the regular season. Training camp cuts have to be made by midnight ET on Saturday, June 1.

“We’ll be patient in making roster moves. I’ll sit down with the brass, JO,” head coach Corey Mace said. “There’s heavy weight with these games.”

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.