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Riders Need Run Game Now More Than Ever

Published: Friday, Aug 18th 2023, 1:08pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


Generally speaking, you can succeed in the CFL without a big threat of a run game. It’s important to have a decent one, but in a predominantly passing league, it’s not essential… at least not in August. 


However, here in Saskatchewan, the run game is needed now more than ever, here in August and the Riders need it to show up this Sunday against the BC Lions.


Jamal Morrow started out the season very well, having games of 80 and 133 yards in two of the first three weeks. Over the next five weeks, he was practically invisible with games of 52, 37, 11, 41 and 47 yards. He bounced back nicely in Montreal last week with 81 yards, putting him on pace for 1,004 yards this season as we hit the halfway mark. Not a bad total at all.


With Trevor Harris and now Mason Fine both out with injuries, that leaves Jake Dolegala running the offense and while he DOES have a cannon of an arm, he’s still inexperienced and we still don’t really know what we have with him. The Riders need Jamal Morrow (and the offensive line) to step up big time and take some pressure off of Dolegala and the rest of the offense if the Riders have any hope of not just staying in some games, but (gasp!) winning some, too.


The team faces a BIG uphill climb right now with their next three games against BC then the annual Labour Day Classic and Banjo Bowl games against Winnipeg. Regardless of who is behind center, the run game is going to be leaned on heavily and it’s going to need to produce.


Maybe Shea Patterson gets healthy enough to run short yardage and dare we even see the Patterson Package that we started the season with? If not, the newest Roughrider Antonio Pipkin can run the short yardage and could give defenses a different look if he were to take some snaps in a (very originally called) Pipkin Package. (Do we see Pipkin start Labour Day if Sunday’s game goes poorly??)


Either way, the Riders O-Line is going to have to figure it out and run block effectively. I don’t expect them to automatically become a great running team and the O-Line to magically be good all of a sudden, but they HAVE to be better and at least give the threat of a run game to keep defenses off balance. Otherwise, it’s going to be a LONG 4 week stretch here in Riderville before another winnable game is possible.


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