Tuesday Takes – Riders Had a PERFECT Preseason
Published: Tuesday, Jun 6th 2023, 1:06pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
Even though the Saskatchewan Roughriders went 2-0 in the preseason for the first time since the magical 2007 season, I’m not talking about their record in the preseason when I say the Riders went perfect.
Coming off a disastrous end to the 2022 season, change to the Riders was inevitable and we knew it was going to take some time for them to right the ship… but they seemingly did it in one offseason.
First, the QBs. Trevor Harris is a massive upgrade over Cody Fajardo AND they had Jake Dolegala and Mason Fine look really good in the preseason. Add in Shea Patterson for short yardage and maybe a Chris Streveler type role with a special “Patterson Package” in play, the answer of the now and possibly the future of the Riders QB position has been answered.
The Offensive Line was re-built for 2023 and even though it was primarily against backups, only 1 QB Sack was given up by the Riders in their two preseason games and it came late in the 4th quarter in the second game with some guys who didn’t make the roster. They’ve found their tackles in Eric Lofton and either Jerald Hawkins (if he comes back from his personal issue at home) or the newly signed Colin Kelly (who can’t play until game 3 due to a suspension). But, by adding Philip Blake back in the mix, they’ve become much more flexible with what they can roll out there. Blake will likely get the first couple of games and then move back to the interior after, giving the team a significant upgrade.
Out go Duke Williams, Shaq Evans, Kyran Moore and Justin McInnis, leaving the Riders with only a couple of returning receivers from a year ago. It’ll take time for the new unit to gel together right? Well, if Friday night’s preseason game is any indication, WRONG! Trevor Harris looked quite comfortable with new receivers Derel Walker, Jake Wieneke and the rest. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but that’s why vets were brought in. It won’t take much time at all for them to get rolling in the regular season.
While I still see many people talk about the depth of the team being questionable, especially the backups at LB and DB, you could say that for pretty much every team. After the starters, it really is a question mark with young guys behind them, but if the scouting department has done their jobs, there shouldn’t be much cause for concern. Again, this is something you can say about every team’s depth.
It was a lot of change in a short amount of time for the Riders, but it looks like General Manager Jeremy O’Day and company knocked it out of the park and found answers to all the major questions surrounding the team to make them competitive this season. Let’s just hope that what looks good on paper translates well onto the field where it actually matters.
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