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Riders Cut Down Day

Published: Sunday, Jun 18th 2017, 2:06am

By Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)

CFL Cut down day is always an interesting time in Saskatchewan. No matter what happens, there is always a move or two that sends fans into an uproar, and 2017 was absolutely no exception. Before we get in to the moves made, let’s take a look at the roster moves announced by the Riders this morning.

(*denotes International)

Practice Roster:

WR Antwane Grant*

DL Makana Henry

OL Eddie Meredith

DL D.J. Pettway*

DB Denzel Radford

WR Joshua Stanford

LB Myke Tavarres*



OL Emmanuel Adusei

LB Alexandre Chevrier

DB Ahmad Fulwood*

WR Mitchell Picton


Released Players

DB Royce Adams*

RB Anthony Allen*

QB Bryan Bennett*

DB Zavian Bingham*

DL Ivan Brown

DB Crezdon Butler*

OL Terrence Campbell*

WR Joe Craig*

LB Alexander Gagne

DB Warren Gatewood*

LB Dillon Grondin

OL Jarriel King*

WR Thomas Mayo*

DL Greg Milhouse Jr.*

WR Desmond Reece*

DL Jordan Reaves

DB Mark Roberts*

WR Jenson Stoshak*

RB Quincy Walden*

QB Vince Young*


Roster Move Dissection

Let’s take a look at some of these moves. Some of these moves were made quite easily after yesterday’s beat down in BC. Warren Gatewood and Terrence Campbell come to mind. Both had games they would likely wish to forget as soon as humanly possible, on a day they needed to shine to make the roster. Joe Craig’s release was no surprise, given he was on the bubble and left home for this game. WR’s like he and Thomas Mayo needed to really have a great camp and preseason showing to fit into a very loaded WR spot. On the flip side, WR Jenson Stoshak’s release definitely came as a bit of shock as moves started rolling in. While he did have a fumble in last night’s game, he was consistently one of our better receivers throughout camp, and seemed to have done enough to take a roster spot. But again, that position is overloaded with the likes of Naaman Roosevelt, Duron Carter, Ricky Collins Jr, Chad Owens, Bakari Grant, etc. all fitting in above these guys on the roster in one way or another.

Speaking of shocks, the one name that really stands out to me is Quincy Walden. While he wasn’t getting a look at RB, he did get a long look at the return spot, and in both games had a great return. I think a spot was almost his until the late tackle-breaking return from Ricky Collins Jr. I imagine Chris Jones will likely have Walden’s number on speed dial, should a spot open up.

Another surprise is Jarriel King. I think it was fairly clear he was at least #3 on the import OL depth chart behind Coleman and Dennis, but I expected to see him kept around for depth. After last night’s embarrassing showing from our offensive line, depth might not have been such a bad thing.

Zavian Bingham being amongst the Roughrider releases was a bit of a shock today, but fear not Rider Nation. It is mostly roster juggling, and he will be back with the team in 2-3 weeks once he heals up from MCL surgery. I expect him to cement a spot in our defensive backfield soon after his return.

Speaking of injury related releases, Vince Young was amongst those on the list today, as he plans to return home to Texas to recover from a torn hamstring suffered during camp. Most, including myself, believe that he will return to the Green and White once he recovers. I’ll be surprised if the Vince Young experiment ends before it truly begins.

Since we are already discussing QBs, let’s look at the that position next. Going in to camp, the depth chart looked like this:

Kevin Glenn

Vince Young

Brandon Bridge

Bryan Bennett/Jake Heaps

After today’s releases, things look a whole lot different. We released Jake Heaps (to go to an NFL mini camp, I expect him to sign back here soon), signed a new QB (Marquise Williams), and sent both Bryan Bennett and Vince Young home. Bennett looked great in camp, but couldn’t seem to put it together when the lights were on. On the flip side, Marquise Williams looked great in very limited action, and earned a spot on the roster. Our QB depth chart looks like this going in to Montreal:

Kevin Glenn

Brandon Bridge

Marquise Williams

(likely) Jake Heaps

I really like what we’ve seen from Williams thus far. Being that he plays like Darian Durant, came from the same school as Darian Durant, and wears a similar number (14) I expect the comparisons to continue as long as he wears a Rider uniform, but the one play he made last night reminded many who were watching of a young Durant. Scrambled non-stop, fought off a tackle long enough to strong arm a short through to Desmond Reese. Unfortunately the play ended in a Reece fumble, but it looked great up until that point. I am very excited to see what Williams can do with more reps in practice going forwards. If you ask me, I think we have something in him.

The one move that has a lot of people on Twitter talking, is the release of veteran RB, Anthony Allen. Allen was one of the first to announce his release via twitter, and did so during a lengthy Twitter rant. According to Allen, Jones released him because he didn’t have enough to time to get comfortable with Allen ahead of the regular season, which begs the question – why bring him in so late in camp if you won’t have enough time to evaluate him. The answer is simple. Anthony Allen was brought in as a camp body with an outside shot at a roster spot. He is a sure-handed, reliable running back, who will hold on to the ball while getting you the 5-6 yards per carry when called upon. But he rarely flips the field with long runs. Combine that with the fact that during his career he has never been a threat as a receiver out of the backfield and isn’t an a+ pass blocker, and you can understand why he isn’t a fit with the style of offense that the Riders plan on running.

Who are you surprised to see released? Do any of those that earned a spot surprise you? How do you feel about the Roughrider roster as we head into the games that matter? Send us a message on twitter (@PifflesPod) and let us know how you feel.

Check back to www.PifflesPodcast.com early next week when we take a look at how the Rider roster is shaping up ahead of their battle with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night.

Also catch a lengthy look at the Riders moves and Roster on Wednesday morning when we release another episode of Piffles Podcast.

-Stephen Safinuk


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