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Quick Slants: Let’s Go Camping

Published: Friday, May 11th 2018, 5:05am

by: Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)

Can you feel it in the air?

We are less than 10 days away from the beginning of training camp!

CFL football is almost here for another season and I cannot wait. It has felt like an eternity since CFL week in Winnipeg.

With training camp means new storylines, so let the speculation begin.

The Quarterback “Battle”

I really don’t know who Chris Jones thinks he is fooling every time he says the starting QB spot is up for grabs. The Riders didn’t trade a 2nd round pick to exclusively negotiate with Zach Collaros and pay that much money to have him hold a clipboard.

The job is obviously Collaros’ to lose, and while all accounts say he was looking extremely sharp at mini-camp, there is still a possibility he could lose the job. It will all depend on if we get pre or post injury Zach Collaros.

If Collaros can find his 2015 form with the talent that Jones has put around him this offence could give the league fits. However, if for some reason he spirals again like he did last season the Riders have some good talent behind him with Brandon Bridge, Marquise Williams and David Watford.

BigStJo needs to Show or It’s time to Go

Former first overall pick Josiah St. John is in the final year of his rookie contract and he needs to show what he can do.  Normally, when a player is taken early in the first round it is expected that he would be able to help the team immediately, not necessarily start but be a rotational player if the situation calls for it.

After holding out the beginning of his rookie season, having some dreadful performances on the field in 2016 and being a healthy scratch for most of last year, this is the year that St.John needs to show why Jones took him first overall.

During Jones pre-camp conference call it sounds like St.John will get some opportunity to shine at either Tackle side against International players. Leaving the other 3 Canadians (Brendan Labatte, Dan Clark, and Dariusz Bladek) fighting for the Centre and a Guard spot.

If he cannot cut it as a Tackle that drops the Canadians on the O-line to 2 and that is never good for the ratio.

This year is going to show if he can be a force in this league or the next Shomari Williams.

Will Jones Pack Up Bagg?

During this weeks Piffles Podcast 74 we started talking about the receiving corps and the “token” Canadian spot and Alex asked the question if we see Rob Bagg getting cut.

First, I hope not because I would like Chris Jones to make it through one season without the torches and pitchforks coming out.

Second, I can kind of see it happening but it’s not about ability, but price and roster make up.

The Riders have already cut a higher salary player in Peter Dyakowski this offseason, and with what they are paying players like Collaros and Travis Bond it is possible they could be looking for more cost savings. Unfortunately, a guy like Bagg with the number of years he has put in and his consistent production has a higher price tag than a guy like Devon Bailey.

Plus, with the way this roster is structured, there is only one “token” Canadian Receiver spot and you currently have 6 Canadian receivers on the roster. While it would help the ratio if they could start 2 Canadian receivers, it is hard to justify keeping any of Duron Carter, Naaman Roosevelt, Bakari Grant, Caleb Holley, and Chad Owens off the field for an extended time.

I know Rob Bagg pays attention to what is said about him and he uses it as fuel to prove the doubters wrong. I really hope he proves me wrong because I want to see him play his entire career in Rider green.

I just hope it is on his terms.

*** Don’t forget to enter the 2018 Piffles Podcast Fan Contest! Running all season, we want to hear more about YOU, the GREAT Rider fans! What does Rider Pride mean to you? How did you become a fan? Who’s your favourite player? We would like to ask you these questions and more and share your story with ALL of Rider Nation! We have over $2,500 in prizes to give away and we would love to learn more about the passionate fans that make up Riderville! To enter, fill out the questionnaire and you are qualified! 20 Weekly Winners will be drawn throughout the season and EVERYONE that enters is put into the Grand Prize Draw to be made during the final week of the CFL regular season! ***

*** Piffles Podcast is heading to the Banjo Bowl! Join us on the trip and let’s paint Winnipeg green! We will leave the Saturday morning of the game, tailgate at IGF for a little bit, watch the Riders beat the Bombers and then we will stay overnight in Winnipeg and come back to Regina on Sunday afternoon. LESS THAN 8 TICKETS REMAINING!! If this is of interest to you, let us know ASAP!

It promises to be a fun time and we have some great prizes lined up to giveaway ***


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