Top 5 – Things to Watch For the Riders vs Montreal
Published: Thursday, Aug 10th 2023, 10:08am
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
It’s a short week for the Riders with a quick turnaround to Montreal for Friday night’s game. The Riders have a chance to get above .500 again and either gain ground on BC for 2nd place or get some more breathing room ahead of Calgary for 3rd in the West. Here’s what I’ll be watching for this game:
1. The Rise of Fine – QB Mason Fine turned in his best game as a pro last week against Ottawa. He’s progressing nicely over the last few weeks to the point that not one person is talking about a short leash or going with Jake Dolegala instead. Getting his first win is a huge weight off his shoulders and I hope to see more progression this week. Montreal has a pretty good defense, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Fine and company can do this week.
2. Will the Riders Run Game Return? – Sure Jamal Morrow had a TD last week, but outside of the very rare 10 yard run, the Riders run game has been invisible over the last month. Is it an O-Line problem? Is the play calling from Kelly Jeffrey too predictable? Maybe it’s a combination of both, but if the Riders want to start stringing some wins together, they’ll have to get the run game going to the tune of more than 50 yards.
3. Jason Shivers vs Cody Fajardo – It’s the Riders one and only game against Cody Fajardo and the Als this year (barring a playoff meeting, of course) and you know that Cody has this game circled on his calendar. Not many coaches in the CFL will know Fajardo and Jason Maas better than Jason Shivers does, going up against them in practice every day the last few seasons, after all. I’m curious as to what Shivers has planned for Fajardo and how they plan on stopping new star receiver Austin Mack.
4. Craig Dickenson vs Jason Maas – You couldn’t get two more opposite type head coaches than you do with Dickey and Maas. I don’t really know who I give the advantage to in this game in terms of coaching, but I do wonder who is going to be the more aggressive coach in this game. I have a feeling that the one that is the most aggressive in their decision making will be the one smiling when they shake hands at the end of the game.
5. Getting Some Lemon-aid – The Riders O-Line had their best game of the year last week against Ottawa and they contained Lorenzo Mauldin quite well. This week, it’s the Lemonator, Shawn Lemon they have to worry about. Can the Riders O-Line build on last week’s game? Lemon looked GREAT last week… will the Riders have a plan for him? If Lemon gets going, it will be a long night for Mason Fine and the Riders offense.
For more on this game and everything else going on in Riderville and the CFL, check out this week’s episode of the Piffles Podcast (presented by Dairy Queen Grill & Chill on Sask Drive & Elphinstone St. in Regina)!
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