Preseason Preview – Bombers at Riders
Published: Wednesday, Jun 5th 2019, 4:06pm
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Many have already decided to write off the 2019 CFL season based on the 37-1 drubbing at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders in preseason action last week, but I’m here to tell you that there is no need to light the torches or grab the pitch forks. While it’s never fun to watch your team lose by 5 touchdowns, it certainly doesn’t hurt to remember that it was the first game of preseason. The Riders left most of their starters at home, and it certainly showed. The good news? The Riders have won 3 preseason games over the past 10 years, and still managed 3 Grey Cup berths and a title, along with several home playoff games in that time. Moral of the story? Stop worrying about preseason scores.
Now, we get to move on to game 2 of preseason, where the rubber really starts to meet the road. The starting unit will see at least a quarter of action, if not the whole first half, and we will get a good glimpse at what the 2019 Riders will look like.
Things to Watch
Quarterback – It is do or die time for Zach Collaros. If he is ever going to regain his 2015 form, it has to happen in 2019, and it needs to start on Thursday night in Regina. Not to say he needs to light it up with 200 yards passing and 3 TDs in a half of football, but consistency will be key. Move the ball, control the clock and put the ball in the end zone. From what we’ve seen, Cody Fajardo has locked up the #2 spot, and Watford and Harker will fight it out for the 3rd string.
Receivers – Going in to 2019, we know Naaman Roosevelt is our clear cut #1. Beyond him, its anybody’s guess as to who gets the nod on June 13th in Hamilton. We know Manny Arceneaux will get his chance when he’s at 100%, but second year guys like Shaq Evans, K.D Cannon, and Kyran Moore will need to elevate their game. Newcomers like Paul McRoberts, Max Zimmerman, and Carlos Henderson (among others) will be pushing for their chance. According to Rod Pedersen on our show last week, someone within the organization ranked the Roughriders receiving corps 7/9 in the CFL. That needs to get better, and it starts on Thursday night.
Linebackers – Dyshawn Davis is my guy to watch in the Linebacking corps tomorrow night. With Elimimian still out and Sam Eguaveon gone to the NFL, Davis has an opportunity to put a stamp on this spot until Solly’s return. The MLB spot remains the only question mark on an otherwise stacked defence going in to 2019.
Offensive Line – 2 words. Dakoda Shepley. As with most of our roster, our starting offensive line is more or less set, but is Shepley ready to jump into a starting spot in the near future? By all accounts, he hasn’t looked out of place at camp, but he’ll face a good test tomorrow night against Winnipeg’s defence.
Scoreboard – I don’t care if the Riders win tomorrow night. All I want to see is some semblance of consistency from the offense, especially the starting unit. A couple of aerial touchdowns from Zach Collaros wouldn’t hurt.
What are you most looking forward to tomorrow night?
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