Riders at Ticats – A Week one Preview
Published: Thursday, Jun 13th 2019, 10:06am
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
After a long offseason filled with CBA drama, free agent craziness, and a worldwide CFL, the regular season is back tonight. Let’s take a closer look at tonight’s matchup between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Zach Collaros makes his first return to Tim Horton’s field since he was traded to Saskatchewan, hoping to put a rough 2018 season behind him.
The Riders offense lost Jordan Williams-Lambert to an NFL deal with the Chicago Bears, but also added arguably the best Running Back in the CFL in William Powell. They will be without the services of Brendon Labatte this week as he was placed on the 6-game injured list, which leaves a big hole in an otherwise solid offensive line. Philip Blake steps in to take his place, at least for this week.
During last week’s preseason finale, we saw a better more mobile version of Zach Collaros than we saw all last season. He moved the pocket, made plays with his feet, and best of all, took a hit and got right back up. One can only hope that he returns to the 2015 form that saw him in the running mid-season for MOP.
The Ticats counter with 2018 Eastern nominee for most outstanding player, Jeremiah Masoli, who will look to build on a very successful first season in charge. Behind a similar looking offense, and an improved offensive line, the biggest change the Ticats will face is the loss of June Jones. Will they continue to employ the run and gun style offense that made them so successful in 2018, or will things change under new management? I imagine Brandon Banks certainly hopes things stay the same.
It’s hard to imagine a team losing arguably the best defensive player in the CFL, and getting better, but that’s exactly what has happened with the Riders defensive unit. The loss of Willie Jefferson to Winnipeg certainly hurts, but adding a dominant tackle in Micah Johnson certainly makes up for it. The addition of Solomon Elimimian will help replace the loss of Sam Eguaveon and adding Eastern all-star (and former Rider) AC Leonard certainly doesn’t hurt. While Elimimian is out, Dyshawn Davis will work alongside Cameron Judge and Derrick Moncrief in the linebacking corps.
Hamilton’s defensive front 7 is nothing to scoff at with the likes of Dylan Wynn, Ted Laurent, Rico Murray, Simoni Lawrence and Ja’Gared Davis among the starters in that group. Add in Delvin Breaux, Tunde Adeleke and others in the defensive backfield, and Hamilton will bring a solid defence into the 2019 season.
Jon Ryan will make his regular season debut alongside teammate Brett Lauther in arguably the best Kicker/Punter tandem in the CFL in 2019. Saskatchewan boasts a plethora of returners like Kyran Moore, Loucheiz Purifoy, Christian Jones among others, all of whom showed success as returners in 2018.
Hamilton counters with Lirim Sneezesound at kicker/punter and Frankie Williams as the primary returner.
The Riders are 23-7 versus Hamilton since 2004, while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are 3-11 in home openers over the past 14 seasons.