Roughriders Roster – Question Marks to Begin the Year
Published: Wednesday, Jan 3rd 2024, 1:01pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Throughout the last couple of seasons, we’ve seen the Saskatchewan Roughriders crumble after Labour Day, losing their final 7 games each of those two seasons. I’ve been the first to say that I think the team DOES have some really good talent on it and a lot of the issues was simply on coaching.. or lack thereof. That said, there are some glaring holes in the roster right now that General Manager Jeremy O’Day, Head Coach Corey Mace and the entire scouting staff need to address immediately.
Let’s start with the obvious… the Offensive Line, which has been pretty offensive the last few years. The fact that O’Day put all his Left Tackle eggs in a basket that hadn’t played a snap of football in years (Jerald Hawkins) and all the other American O-Lineman brought in to “compete” for that spot were all natural guards or right tackles, was asinine. The problems started there and the team could never figure it out throughout the entire season. This year, Jeremy, PLEASE do better. Get a PROPER Left Tackle who has actually taken some snaps somewhere over the last couple of years. The rest of the line is a huge question mark as well, with the only starter from last year under contract being Peter Godber (Logan Ferland, Evan Johnson, Phillip Blake & Colin Kelly/Eric Lofton are all pending free agents). I expect most of those names to be re-signed, but still, a huge question mark right now as we begin the new year.
Speaking of free agents, both of the top 2 running backs are pending free agents as well. Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson could both move on (or be moved on from) this offseason. Morrow was definitely the better of the two, but as they say, running backs are a dime a dozen. I’m not too worried about this spot… at least not yet.
I’m not too worried about the receivers just yet, though I’ll feel much better if Shawn Bane Jr. is brought back. They have Jake Wieneke under contract and it will be interesting to see if he makes the roster for 2024 after being demoted for Jarreth Sterns. The Canadians they have under contract are the strength of the group with Kian Schaffer-Baker, Sam Emilus, Mitch Picton & Brayden Lenius all coming back.
Now, on to the defense. The Riders need a lot of help. I DO like the defensive ends they had last year like Bryan Cox Jr. and Christian Albright, but those guys just couldn’t stay healthy. If they do, I’m not too worried about losing one of Anthony Lanier II or Pete Robertson in free agency… though I’d like to have Lanier II back. Assuming that Micah Johnson is back for another year, the Riders need to find another defensive tackle to pair with him. Whether that’s Lanier II or a new recruit, that spot needs to be addressed. Miles Brown provides depth, but still needs to take the next step. Hopefully he can turn out to be the guy to anchor the interior for the next few years.
In the linebacking group, there is big time worry. Micah Teitz (pending free agent) regressed HARD last year and there’s no way I want to see him in a starting role again. Hopefully the team brings back Larry Dean because he is a stud and needs to be on this team. If not… yikes. There’s not a lot of depth there. Re-signing C.J. Reavis at SAM LB was a great move for this team, he just needs some help beside him now.
As for that secondary, again, question marks. Gone is Nic Marshall and please don’t ever put Derrick Moncrief back there anymore (if he’s even brought back at all… pending free agent). Luckily the team has Rolan Milligan coming back (they missed him dearly last year) and I think with better coaching, Jayden Dalke can take a massive step forward. He and Jaxon Ford should really solidify that Safety position. The team brought back Amari Henderson and along with recently re-signed Rodney Clemons, there is some potential back there. I would love to see a guy like Jamal Peters leave Toronto and follow Corey Mace here, but until free agency starts, we can only dream.
While there are some really good building blocks on this roster, they will need a lot of help going forward. It’s going to be interesting to see who else the team retains before free agency begins in February.
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