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Preseason Game Preview – Positions to Watch For

Published: Friday, May 25th 2018, 5:05pm

By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)

With the first preseason game set for Sunday afternoon, there are substantially fewer question marks on this team compared to 2016, or even 2017. We know who our DBs and receivers are going to be, most of our offensive line is set in stone. Zach Collaros will be our starting QB week 1 (barring injury). There are a few spots that are still up in the air, and those will be the ones to watch on Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.

Canadian Linebacking spot

While it appears it will most likely be a spot that is handled by committee, I am certainly curious as to who emerges as the #1 player in the rotation. It’s pretty safe to assume that Sam Eguavoen and Derrick Moncrief will slide in to 2 of the 3 spots in the linebacker corps. Most assume that Cameron Judge and Sam Hurl will rotate into that third spot, unless they decide to go American with 2 Canadian Defensive Tackles.

Offensive Line

A couple of things that we know for sure. There will only be 2 Canadians on the offensive line, and it’s more than likely those 2 Canadians will be Dan Clark (center) and Brendon Labatte. There is the possibility that Dariusz Bladek fills one of those 2 spots, but if not, he will likely be the 6th offensive lineman on the roster on gameday. It’s also almost certain that Travis Bond will take up the left guard spot beside the T-rex, Dan Clark. What remains to be seen is who will fill the 2 outside spots when the season opens on June 15th. Terran Vaughn seems to have done a solid job at camp, and has a leg up on the left tackle spot, but his starting spot will depend on his performance on Sunday afternoon. Up until camp started, it seemed like a fairly safe assumption that Thaddeus Coleman would occupy the right tackle spot, but it appears Jarvis Harrison was seen taking a lot of reps with the first unit this week. Offensive line is always a fun battle to watch in camp.

Running Back

Right now, most of us have Jerome Messam penciled in as the week 1 starter. His biggest competition is suspended for the first 2 games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy. What is unsure is who will take on the role of backup RB to start the season. Marcus Thigpen is likely to be on the roster week 3, and given his camp thus far, is very likely to see some playing time behind Messam. Camp would suggest that Zac Stacey has started to separate himself from the pack as the “next guy up” when it comes to import Running Back.

While training camp is always a great start, battles are won and lost when the lights come on for that first preseason game. We’ve seen players in the past who have absolutely lit it up at camp, only to see them peter out when the whistle blows for opening kick-off. In fact, on www.Riderfans.com, they give out an award for that type of player every year. It’s called the Terrance Nunn award. Hopefully this is the year where we don’t see a ton of drop off when the Riders line up versus Edmonton on Sunday afternoon.

What position(s) are you looking forward to the most?

 

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