Game Preview: Alouettes at Riders – June 29th
Published: Friday, Jun 29th 2018, 8:06am
by: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Before we get into the game itself, we want to remind everyone to be in their seats by 6:45 tomorrow, as the Riders will have a pre-game ceremony to honour the 29 players and staff affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6th. Already we have seen some of the ways the Broncos will be honoured, including decals on the helmets of all 8 teams playing this weekend, and a ribbon placed at the 29 yard line. I don’t imagine there will be a dry eye in the building by the time the ceremony is complete. I hope everyone gets there early – these players/staff and their families in attendance deserve a full stadium full of love.
5 Things to Watch For
D is for Duron
Here we go again. Duron Carter will take Nick Marshall’s place on the corner tomorrow night, likely lining up against yet another dynamic receiver in Chris Marshall. I don't have any issues with Duron's play at corner thus far. We have to remember that Duron Carter has only 2 career starts under his belt at defensive back. He held his own for the most part, including a 2nd straight game with an interception return for a touchdown. Chris Jones has confirmed that Duron Carter will remain at defensive back until Nick Marshall returns. I like what we've seen from Shaq Evans and Jordan Williams-Lambert thus far, but an offense that has been having issues through 4 games thus far (including preseason) can't afford to lose a dynamic weapon like Duron Carter for long.
Gettin’ Thiggy With it
Marcus Thigpen returns from his 2 game drug suspension, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Last week, we saw the Riders completely abandon the run versus the Ottawa REDBLACKS, even as Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge were getting hit play after play. This week, with Thigpen back in the mix, we will certainly see a game plan similar to the one that helped us beat the Argos in week one. A healthy mix of passes, runs, and screens will help Brandon Bridge get in the groove. Rider fans witnesses just how dynamic Marcus Thigpen could be, late last year, and hopefully that same Marcus Thigpen returns to provide a true thunder and lightning in the backfield with Jerome Messam.
Eddie Steele Curtain?
If practice is any indication, we may see Riders DL Eddie Steele as our 6th offensive lineman tomorrow night. I’ll say this right now, he can’t possibly do any worse than Jarvis Harrison has over the first two weeks of the season. Hopefully a more mobile quarterback, combined with an actual running game (see Thigpen, Marcus) will give the offensive line the chance to be a little less offensive this game.
Brandon Bridge the Gap
Brandon Bridge will get his first real shot to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders over the next 6+ games. While he has started in the past, and seen plenty of mop up duty, it was always somebody else’s team. It’s not Brandon Bridge’s time to shine, and he couldn’t have asked for a better first opponent to get his legs under him than the Montreal Alouettes.
It’s time for the Riders defensive line to make sure that Drew Willy spends most of Saturday night under pressure. With the addition of Mic’hael Brooks, there is no excuse for them not to hit the Alouettes up for a ton of pressure, and a decent number of sacks. A line that consists of Charleston Hughes, Willie Jefferson, Zack Evans and Mic’hael Brooks should spend more time in the offensive backfield than they do dropping back into coverage in another edition of Chris Jones’ 3 man rush. My disdain for the 3-man rush is well documented. Having an extra person back in coverage is great, but when you give QBs (yes, even Drew Willy) that amount of time to find an open receiver, someone will get open. We saw it all last week, and I hope we don’t see it again.