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What we Learned About the Riders in BC

Published: Saturday, Jun 17th 2017, 3:06pm

by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)



42-10. At least it’s the preseason and the game meant nothing in the standings. However last night’s game meant something to the players fighting for a job and for the fans. There was some good and a LOT of bad and it helps make for some tough decisions on the final roster being announced today, but also some really easy decisions.


Let’s start off with the good on Offense. Duron Carter and Namaan Roosevelt. That’s it. We know these guys are studs and they showed it last night. Carter made a highlight reel jumping catch in double coverage from Kevin Glenn. Glenn and Carter are familiar with each other from Montreal and this is one thing fans can look forward to this season. Carter will be the big play home run player, while I see Roosevelt as the security blanket, moving the chains and working the middle of the field. Receivers are the absolute least of our worries and we will see a lot of big plays made by the O, regardless of who’s throwing the ball.


Speaking of who throws the ball, Glenn looked a bit rattled in his one quarter of preseason play, but he had little time to throw or get in a rhythm as the O-Line did him no favours. Outside of the bomb to Carter, it was a forgettable performance for the team’s starting QB, but I wouldn’t make too much out of it. The concern lies with the O-Line, but more on that in a bit.


Brandon Bridge looked to build off his strong outing at Mosaic Stadium against Winnipeg in the preseason opener last week, coming into the game in the 2nd quarter. Looking at the box score you will see he went 6 of 12 for 32 yards and an INT. That pretty much sums it up. He wasn’t good, but he wasn’t given any time behind the porous O-Line play and any time he did get something going, there was a penalty, bringing the play back. I actually felt really bad for him because while he was in, he looked like the only player out there for the Riders that seemed to want to play hard and make the team. The same continued in the 3rd quarter with the B and C units. Bridge couldn’t get in a rhythm and while he was under Center, the team didn’t generate a single first down. Not one. While clearly, he didn’t play well, he wasn’t as bad as things would suggest as he got absolutely no help.


Bryan Bennett came in to start the 4th quarter and it was more of the same, the team didn’t help him out until he had time to throw a perfect long bomb to Josh Stanford for a 39 yard TD. Bennett clearly has the arm and athletic ability to be a QB in the CFL, but he does need time to develop. No chance that I would let go of him and more than likely he will begin the season as the 3rd stringer behind Glenn and Bridge.


Marquise Williams then came in for the final 5 minutes of the game and all of a sudden the team started moving the ball. Well, up until a Desmond Reese fumble after a catch in the middle of the field. The one takeaway from Williams is that this guy is STRONG. He’s got a cannon of an arm that we saw on a 48 yard toss to Ricky Collins, but I was impressed by his body strength as he was able to fight off 3 BC defenders to stay upright and get his throw away. While he did thrown an INT, he did look comfortable moving around and looked as poised as he did last week. Williams is a keeper for sure and he very well could be the next one.


Let’s take a look now at what was bad on Offense. It starts and ends with the O-Line here. From 2 consecutive procedure penalties from reigning Most Outstanding Lineman Derek Dennis, to Dan Clark staring at BC D-Lineman blow past him on stunts allowing the QB to be pressured, to Terrence Campbell looking like a high schooler getting beat by Craig Roh on back to back plays, it was just an overall BAD performance by the entire unit. Usually I can find some silver lining, but I really can’t this game. They were terrible, no sugar coating it. This is concerning going into the regular season and hopefully the line of Dennis-Labatte-Clark-Dyakowski-Coleman can be much better than what we saw last night. If not, we are in for another long season.


Fumbles hurt the receivers as well as Jensen Stoshak and Desmond Reece both had turnovers and that killed any momentum the team could have had. They didn’t make a difference in terms of winning or losing, but with very few spots open (is there any open?) in the receiving corps, fumbles will not help make the team.


Let’s jump now to Defense. I found a few bright spots and those were Defensive Ends Davis Tull and Toby Antigha. Both had strong games rushing the passer, ending up with 2 and 1 QB sacks respectively. This will put major pressure on Jonathan Newsome and A.C. Leonard to make the team. I see Tull taking Newsome’s spot and Antigha on the Practice Roster to start the season. The only time the defense looked good was on the pass rush when they brought at least 4 rushers. Not learning from last year, Head Coach Chris Jones did a lot of 3 man rush and each time, no pressure was put on the BC QBs and they found their open man.


Other than those 2, the rest of the defense was putrid. The run D was beyond bad as BC racked up 154 yards on just 23 carries, a 6.69 yard average per rush. BC was able to dominate the line of scrimmage in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and that’s why the Riders didn’t get the ball and couldn’t get a first down. Defense was on the field too much and it wore on them.


I said to Rider Alum and analyst on the 980 CJME/650 CKOM Green Zone Belton Johnson that the secondary against the good BC offense was my main concern going into this game. Jennings picked them apart and they were in the trail position all game long. They looked lost and couldn’t keep up. #41 Warren Gatewood made it abundantly clear that he won’t make the team as he repeatedly got beat and the silver lining here is that we most likely won’t see him in green and white again. Other than Ed Gainey, and to an extent Kacy Rodgers, I really don’t see anyone in this secondary that scares anyone. Facing a vet like Darian Durant in the first game of the season on Thursday, I am more than worried about how they stack up. We said last season it was going to be a long season of patience with the secondary and this year may even be worse. They will be beat, beat often and I really hope that the front 7 can get pressure on the QB, because without that, this defense doesn’t stand a chance against the better offenses in the league.


All in all, it really was a game to forget. The good thing is that preseason is over and it counts for real Thursday when the Riders kick off the season in Montreal against Darian Durant and the Montreal Alouettes. I want to tell myself that it’s only preseason and the team notoriously plays terribly like this in BC, but this team needs to show a high compete level now. Not late in the season, NOW. The fans are already tired of this administration and it’s barely been one year since they’ve taken over. Wins are the only cure and the fans don’t want to wait to see them.

Final roster cuts are coming later today and the practice roster should be settled by Sunday. Stay tuned to pifflespodcast.com for more on those moves and how the team will shape up.

Go Riders!


– Alex Dormuth


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