The Morning After – Riders Complete Perfect Preseason
Published: Saturday, Jun 3rd 2023, 2:06pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Just as quickly as it came, the CFL Preseason has ended and everyone can now prepare for the regular season, where wins and losses actually mean something! But before we start looking ahead, let’s take a look back at last night’s Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-16 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
It was the first time we got a look at Trevor Harris as QB for the Riders and you couldn’t have scripted it any better. Harris came in, looked comfortable (which is what I was hoping for) and drove the team down to a first possession TD courtesy of new #1 receiver Derel Walker. The chemistry shown on just those two passes to Walker shows me that they are in sync and ready for the season.
I was curious to see how much playing time Harris was going to get, but it was one and done for the new franchise QB. Originally I was hoping for a quarter or more, but we saw everything we needed in one drive. Harris is ready to rock… and I’m excited to see this new offense get to work.
Mason Fine came in next with the starters and for the most part he looked pretty good as well. He made some very nice throws, including a perfect cross field pass on his TD strike to Kalija Lipscomb. I wasn’t sold on him being the #2 guy this season after what I saw last year, but he’s proved me wrong and he has shown tremendous growth. He’s earned the backup job here in Riderville.
Jake Dolegala also led a touchdown drive, so for the 2nd straight week, all the QBs were instrumental in scoring drives. I hope there’s a way the Riders can find a way to keep Dolegala around, either on the PR or on an injured list. For the first time in a LONG time, the Riders have some tough decisions regarding the QB room. It would be a shame to have to lose one of them.
We do know that Shea Patterson is a lock for the roster. He’ll be the third stringer and do short yardage stuff. But how about the Patterson package that was implemented by new Offensive Coordinator Kelly Jeffrey? It looks like they found their own Chris Streveler who can catch a defense off guard. I look forward to seeing more of this throughout the year!
Brett Lauther was someone I didn’t expect to see struggling, but the first half was not good for him. That said, I’m not worried about it, he’s earned the right to not have to look over his back yet. He got back on track with his field goal kicking after missing 3 kicks early in the game (2 extra points and a field goal), so I wouldn’t push any kind of panic button yet… but it may be something to watch going forward. Holding appeared to be the main issue before it got sorted out.
While Steve and I showed optimism over the O-Line on the last episode of Piffles Podcast, I am worried that the projected starting left tackle, Jerald Hawkins did not take a single snap in the preseason. He was always my pick to win that job, but without any meaningful reps, I do wonder if Philip Blake does start the season at LT. If Hawkins was a CFL vet, I wouldn’t worry, but he hasn’t had actual game reps since 2021 in the NFL preseason. That said, the O-Line was very solid yet again this week. The starting unit gave QBs time and very little pressure was allowed. It took until later in the 4th quarter before the O-Line gave up a sack, the only one of the preseason allowed. After last season, you HAVE to be happy about that.
With the win, the Riders went 2-0 in the preseason for the first time since… 2007. That year turned out just fine… You should be excited about this team going forward, Rider Nation. This is going to be a very competitive team. As long as they can keep Trevor Harris upright, they’ll be in the discussion come November.
On to the regular season! LET’S GO!!
Follow along with the Piffles Podcast as we will look at the cuts made and how the final roster shakes down!
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