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View From the Stands: Home Opener Edition

Published: Tuesday, Jul 2nd 2019, 12:07pm

By: Sheldon Jones (@Sheldon_Jones83)

For the first time in history the iconic Monday Night Football was held at Mosaic Stadium in Regina! Well no, not really but this was the first Monday night game in my memory and since we lucked out and didn’t end up hosting an NFL exhibition game (how’s that working out for you, Winnipeg?) we will call it CFL Monday Night Football and with it came a lot of exciting and entertaining times. We had an offence that was firing on all cylinders, a defence that bent a little bit but did not break, a 2-hour weather delay and a rather interesting remodel of a Roughriders fixture that rubbed people the wrong way.

      - I’m just going to get this one out of the way first. Did the Saskatchewan Roughriders do ANY market research to see if a change to Gainer was needed? Judging by the responses about the change online, it was very negatively received. I’m all for updating things when necessary but Gainer is one of the most beloved mascots in the country. You sell stuffed Gainers in the Rider Store for kids. I’m fine with the body change and the shoes, but what is up with those eyes? Maybe it will grow on Rider Nation ala Gritty of the Philadelphia Flyers, but I think it would be best if they just swapped out the head.

      - The Riders and Mosaic Stadium need to be commended for the positive changes made to the game day experience. The videos during breaks and stadium host are awesome, but there is still work to be done. Concession prices need to change. They started to fix it a bit by offering the souvenir cups and allowing $2.00 refills but other stadiums across the league (and even the NFL) are having certain items each game discounted. This not only will get more people out to games but will make it more affordable to enjoy some of the great offerings that the stadium concessions people provide. Or everyone can come to the Elphinstone DQ before or after for cheap cheeseburgers…

      - Cody Fajardo had another great performance. He still has things to work on though. He is still quick to scramble and had a few could be TD’s and explosions that were overthrown. I see a lot of Rider fans anointing him “the next one” on social media, but I think we need to pump the brakes a bit here. Yes, he has looked great in two starts, but two starts does not a quarterback make. If he puts up similar numbers on Saturday against the Stampeders, we can get a little bit more excited. We have seen in the past a few QB’s who have looked brilliant at the start but then fizzle out. Casey Printers, Drew Willy and Jonathon Jennings come to mind as a few that teams thought would be their next marquee QB. Very impressive start for Cody though.

      - Our offence is looking strong. For two weeks now I have not even heard OC Stephen McAdoo’s name, other than when people say that we haven’t heard his name. I am one of his biggest critics and I am loving me all this crow. Its very true that the players make the coaches sometimes and not the other way around.

      - When you see a defensive unit stat line of 7 points allowed, 4 sacks and 2 INT’s you would think the defence played superb. I do not think that. I think that while they did play well, if it was any other team than Toronto or Montreal we might have been in trouble. But I will not be a negative Nelly and enjoy the win.

      - Speaking of the defence, Charleston Hughes DOES NOT AGE. I don’t see any signs of him slowing down and with a second consecutive 2 sack game, not only he is leading Mica Johnson 4 – 0 on their $1000 dollar bet for who has the most sacks, he is yet again number 1 in the league.

      - The two-hour rain delay was fun times. I stayed up in my seat (as I am under cover of the roof) and enjoyed the light show. Funniest thing I heard during the delay? I sit at the top of Section 228 in the north endzone. Above us is the Roughrider business area, where Rider staff and sometimes alumni sit to watch games. Rider Legend George Reed sits out there almost every game. During the delay George and his wife went inside and an intoxicated fan kept yelling at the security guard, asking if he could get George to come out to say hi. The guard promptly yelled back “I don’t even know who that is!” which got a lot of shocked looks and laughs from the fans around us.

      - When Toronto came out after the break and marched down the field to get their lone TD, I couldn’t help but think that this game was going to be like the black out game in 2007 when the Riders game back from a huge deficit to win the game. I am happy I was wrong but couldn’t help but think, “here we go again”.

It was great to be back at Mosaic with regular season football. It always tough to see 2 road games to start the year, but that just means we will get a couple more home games near the end when they matter more. This team is better that the record shows and hopefully with another good performance against Calgary we can start to climb the standings.

 

 

 

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