Position Watch: Pre-season game 1
Published: Friday, Jun 9th 2017, 3:06pm
By Greg McCulloch – @GregOnSports
CFL football is back baby! Ok… it’s only exhibition but Rider fans are finally going to see what Rider football looks like at new Mosaic Stadium, but only if you have a ticket as TSN will not be showing the game.
There have been many changes to the Rider roster, so here are a few positions you should keep an eye on.
In 2016, the Riders due to injuries, experience, and, to be frank, talent had statistically the worst O-line in the league. Chris Jones and company looked to shore up the O-line with the addition of reigning Outstanding Lineman Derek Dennis and long-time vet Peter Dyakowsi.
The Riders are also looking at their rookies and young guys to make more of an impact this year with draft picks Dariusz Bladek and Eddie Meredith, and sophomore Josiah St. John are expected to challenge vets and can start at moments notice.
With a receiving corps that had Rob Bagg, Naaman Roosevelt, Nic Demski, Ricky Collins, Joe Craig, and Caleb Holley, receiver wasn’t looked at as a weakness to most fans. Apparently, Jones saw it differently as he signed game breakers Bakari Grant, Chad Owens, and Duron Carter.
That is already a stacked list and its not including camp stand out Jenson Stoshak or national receivers Mitch Picton or Joshua Stanford.
There is just isn’t enough spots or plays for all the receivers on this roster, which apparently some guys have noticed as Ricky Collins and Joe Craig spent a day at camp with the DBs. Fortunately, with receivers, once the ball starts flying for real, it doesn’t take long to see who has it and who doesn’t.
Last few years the Riders DB play has been average at best and more often than not absolutely god awful. While there was great play by players like Otha Foster III, who has moved on to the NFL, as a unit the play just wasn’t there.
Veteran players like Kacy Rodgers, Mike Edem, and Jeff Hecht will be expected to get this young group to work together, especially in the situation of the previously mentioned Joe Craig, who according to the Riders’ website is officially a DB.
All reports state that Kevin Glenn has nothing to worry about when it comes to being supplanted as the starter… yet. The Vince Young experiment looked good in flashes but may have been completely derailed by a hamstring injury in camp.
The surprise in camp has been the play of Bomber cast off Bryan Bennet who has been turning heads both weeks. Completing the “Backup QB battle of BBs” is second-year Rider Brandon Bridge, who has looked hot and cold in camp and has the reputation of being horrible in practice but can get going when the lights are on for real.
Right now, Bennet seems to have the inside track, this exhibition game could go a long way to deciding that.
Well there you have it, exhibition football can usually be a chore to watch, but hopefully, this will give you something to look for… when you aren’t marvelling at the new stadium.
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