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Saskatchewan Roughriders 2018 New Years Resolutions

Published: Friday, Dec 29th 2017, 3:12pm

by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

As we say goodbye to 2017 and look forward to 2018, we take time to reflect on the year that was. For Piffles Podcast, we had another fun year with our show, the launch of our website but most importantly, thanks to our great listeners, we were able to hold the first Piffles Bowl, where we raised over $1500 for Hope’s Home in Regina. Big thank you to those that came out, raised money and made the Piffles Bowl a big success. We are planning on doing this again and making it bigger and better in 2018!

As for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 2017 was a year of change. We started off with a bang on January 13th as the bomb was dropped. Franchise QB Darian Durant had been traded to Montreal. There was a lot of doubt in Chris Jones and the new management regime after this move, especially when the backup plan was announced a week later as Kevin Glenn was signed to a 2 year deal.

We all saw Darian Durant have a career worst year and Kevin Glenn was having a career best year before he injured his hand. The Riders finished 10-8 and made the playoffs while Montreal was 3-15 and are on the clock with the #1 overall pick in the CFL Draft in 2018. Clearly the best decision was made and the Riders are looking to make a serious run again in 2018 and get to the Grey Cup (which they were 23 seconds and 1 yard away from in 2017).

However, the Riders won’t make it to the Grey Cup without changing a few things… making a few New Years Resolutions, if you will. So, what do the Riders need to do to remain contenders and make that next leap and get a home playoff game and ultimately, win the Grey Cup? Here’s my list of the 2018 Riders Resolutions.

First things first: The Riders need to decide who their QB is. Kevin Glenn, Brandon Bridge and Vernon Adams Jr. are all under contract for the 2018 year, but the 2 QB system we saw in the final third of the 2017 season just won’t cut it. Chris Jones needs Brandon Bridge to earn that starters spot and be the leader of this team. Kevin Glenn will be a solid backup option, but this HAS to be Bridge’s team. Of course, this all goes out the window if James Franklin hits free agency and Jones finally gets the player he’s wanted the past few years.

Secondly, whoever the QB is, he needs to be protected. The first half of the season, the O-Line was atrocious. I’ll give props to the 2nd half of the season O-Line as they were much improved, but getting that consistency is going to pay huge dividends for this team going forward. If the team can start 3 Canadians again, that’s a great start towards becoming a dominant team.

Sticking with the offense, play calling needs to stop being so damn predictable. I sure hope there is a new tab in Stephen McAdoo’s playbook, because even though the offense moved the ball fairly consistently last season, when they didn’t, they were god awful.

On defense, finding one or 2 DTs is the biggest concern for the team. Willie Jefferson got little help on the D-Line last year and the Riders should be looking at getting more pressure on the QB. Hopefully all that’s needed is a healthy Nick James. In the few games he played, that’s when the D really turned the season around and became the elite group that they were. To do that all year, Willie needs some help!

I really want to gripe about the 3 man rush (we all know how much I’m a fan of it), but if Nick James is back and healthy, we should be okay. The secondary is still very strong, although I’d like to see more out of the Safety position (Elie Bouka perhaps?). Linebackers are a big area of strength, especially if Henoc Muamba balls out like he did in the final third of 2017.

2017 exceeded a lot of expectations and there is no reason for the team to not see the Grey Cup as a realistic goal for 2018. There will be a lot of pressure on Chris Jones in Riderville this year, but for much different reasons than the last 2 years. We are only a month removed from the 2017 season wrapping up and I’m already giddy about the 2018 season.

Is it May yet?

 

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