The Saskatchewan Roughriders returned from their bye week and practiced at Leibel Field on Monday. The team is out of Mosaic Stadium all week as the facility prepares to host Guns ‘N Roses on Sunday.
Friday the Riders visit the CFL-leading Edmonton Eskimos (7:30 pm, TSN, 620 CKRM Rider Radio Network) and Head Coach & GM Chris Jones felt they didn’t get off to a good start.
“I hope today’s no indication because we didn’t practice very fast today,” Jones huffed. “We’ll discuss that tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll come back on Day 2 and be more ready to go.”
Jones was asked if being displaced to Leibel Field had anything to do with the team’s lethargy.
“Normally when you do anything different and you get them out of their routine, they tend to not play quite as fast,” Jones admitted. “I’m hoping that’s what it is because we’re going to be out here all week.
“I can tell you this: Edmonton lost their first game the other night so they’re not going to be in a good frame of mind to play us so I hope we respond.”
The Riders are coming off a 41-8 home victory over BC in Week 8, and now their task is doing something they haven’t done in the Jones era: win on the road in the West Division.
“That’s the first thing we talked about this morning,” Jones revealed. “Everybody asked last game if we could beat a Western opponent and we answered that. Hopefully we’re ready to answer that next question.”
It was the first practice with new quarterback Vernon Adams who was acquired from Montreal last Tuesday. He ran short yardage and held on field goals.
There was considerable familiarity for Adams, who spent last season with the Alouettes along with current Rider QBs Kevin Glenn and Brandon Bridge.
“I think it helps,” Glenn offered. “I’ve been that guy who’s been traded to a new team, and going into a new locker room. Especially at the QB position, it’s very good to be able to know some people in that room.”
Glenn said back-ups Bridge and Marquise Williams shouldn’t worry about a new arm in town.
“We’re all about competition,” Glenn said. “We feed off of the competition. You see us after practice throwing balls to see who can hit the goalposts. We’re all about the competition; bringing more guys in so we can have competition. As players, we don’t have any control over that so my advice is to not worry about the things you can’t control.
“Keep going out and playing and everything will fall where it may.”
NOTES: Returner Chad Owens practiced at full speed with the team but Jones said he hasn’t ruled Owens in for Friday’s game. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” has yet to make his Saskatchewan debut after being signed this off-season … On Monday the Riders added DL Royce LaFrance to the practice roster and released DB Mark Roberts.