Who SHOULD Sit for Jordan Williams-Lambert?
Published: Wednesday, Oct 2nd 2019, 5:10pm
Ever since Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Jeremy O’Day announced that the team had re-signed their 2018 Rookie of the Year Jordan Williams-Lambert, fans and members of the media alike have been speculating on what this will mean for the already very formidable Roughrider receiving core. Adding an offensive weapon of JWL’s calibre is a no brainer, but the more difficult decision is at who’s expense. From a couple other break out stars of 2018 in Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore, to veteran clutch pass catchers like Naaman Roosevelt and Emmanuel Arceneaux as well as veteran newcomers in Cory Watson and Kenny Stafford the options are plenty. The choice that OC Stephen McAdoo and ultimately HC Craig Dickenson will have to make is a hard one, so I look to help make his choice easier with pros and cons for switching JWL with each current Roughrider receiver.
Pros – None, Shaq has emerged as one of the leagues best 50/50 ball / deep threat receivers. You do not sit Shaq under ANY circumstances if he is healthy.
Cons – See above. Shaq is the one receiver who is exempt from this decision.
Pros – I don’t see many pros to taking Naaman out of the lineup. One could argue that missing a game or two would be good to get healthy for the playoffs, but that’s about it here. Roosevelt is one of the leaders of the team and has earned his spot in the starting lineup.
Cons – Naaman has become a clutch second down receiver. Cody Fajardo seems to look his way when he knows he needs to get a first down. Roosevelt also seems to be like the energizer bunny, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking, going up to get the receptions when he knows he is going to take a hit.
Pros – While Kyran is explosive, he has kind of fell off production wise as of late. Between him and Shaq Evans they have the least amount of experience and Kyran has been known to sometimes have games where he has a bit of the dropsies.
Cons – Moore can utilize his speed to outrun defenders and is a legitimate deep threat. He also is used by Craig Dickenson as a returner along with Marcus Thigpen and Loucheiz Purifoy, so sitting him would take away one of the Riders returners if one of the other two gets injured.
Pros – While the Manny Show erupted last week in Toronto when Arceneaux took a 55-yard Cody Fajardo pass in stride to the house for a TD, Manny has had a quiet start to the season. While he has been a slow starter for most of his career, he has taken a bit longer than usual to make his mark. Many have compared Manny’s position with the Roughriders as to when Geroy Simon joined the team in 2013 as a mentor role, but Manny is quite a bit younger than Geroy was as his career was winding down. Manny is also coming off a season ending ACL tear, so keeping him fresh for the playoffs is not a bad idea.
Cons – Manny has become a veteran leader for the team and sitting him might ruffle some feathers so to speak. I know these guys are professionals but the difference between a guy in uniform playing with you or someone in civilian clothes on the sideline to fire you up or keep you level could be huge. As well every game that goes on it seems that Cody is targeting Manny more and more and he has been getting some explosion plays (a couple called back due to penalties in previous games).
Pros – Sitting Cory Watson would probably make the most sense out of all the receivers, if the ratio had no implications. As our “token” starting National receiver, Cory has actually become quite clutch in certain game situations. Before he was injured, he was Fajardo’s hot route look, when he was in trouble in the pocket you could usually find Watson down low looking for the outlet pass.
Cons – Unless you can find another American on the roster to sit, taking off Watson for JWL just doesn’t make sense, and HC Craig Dickenson has already stated that he won’t be doing that.
Pros – Taking Stafford off the roster is the easiest choice, however as he has been the American scratch every week since the Riders acquired him in a trade with the Edmonton Eskimos for Christian Jones, though it doesn’t make sense to make this change. If they did that then to get JWL in the starting lineup they would need to scratch one of the other players and that just seems like making 2 switches instead of one.
Cons – It just doesn’t make sense.
The case could be made for Marcus Thigpen to come off the roster as they could still have Moore and Purifoy handle the returns, but you run into problems if starting RB William Powell gets injured.
If you didn’t want to take out a receiver, one could argue that taking L.J. McCray off the roster and move Canadian DB Elie Bouka into the starting lineup would allow for the ratio to work. Bouka has seen limited time on the field side corner position but was picked on in an earlier game this year when L.J. got ejected.
If it was me making the decision on who sits, my choice would be and equal rotation of Arceneaux, Moore and Roosevelt. It would get the chance for JWL to get re-accustomed to the Canadian game and would give the 3 other receivers a game or two off to get ready for the play offs. Once the playoffs hit Moore would be my choice as to who sits. I feel like without injury being a concern, Thigpen and Purifoy can handle the returns and having both Roosevelt and Arceneaux on the field with JWL, Shaq Evans and Cory Watson is our most talented receiving core we could start. We would always have Moore and Stafford waiting in case of injury to fill in. I for one am glad that this type of decision does not come across as mine to make. Whichever way Coach Dickenson and Co. decide to go with getting JWL back in the lineup will make the Roughriders better as getting the type of player Jordan is back on the field now with a proven gunslinger in Cody Fajardo can only be music to all Rider fans ears.