SASKATOON – Zach Collaros called it “chaotic” while Chris Jones described it as “real good”, but all can agree that Day 1 of Saskatchewan Roughriders 2018 Training Camp in Saskatoon was a productive one.
87 players are on the roster for the Green & White as they begin preparations for the 2018 season. None of them will draw more attention than veteran quarterback Zach Collaros, who enjoyed his first real taste of a Chris Jones-run team.
“It was a good day,” Collaros offered. “Obviously there was a lot of energy, and that’s what Coach Jones wants to do; make it a chaotic thing. People yelling out the playclock, getting guys lined up, the whole ‘double barrel’ thing, it was a bit chaotic at first. I haven’t been part of anything like that since college. I’m sure that’ll end up making the game move slow for us. We did a good job after the first period or so.”
The Roughriders Head Coach & GM was a happy camper after Day 1 as well.
“It was a real good day,” Jones observed. “The offense did a nice job of getting them in and out of the huddle. There were only a few delays of game. The QBs did a good job of handling our offense and on defense, we did some good things. It was a lot more crisp than last year’s Day 1.”
I asked Jones if he prepared Collaros for the frenetic pace of his workouts.
“You can tell ’em all you want but until they’re in there, they don’t ever know what the tempo will be,” Jones smiled. “We put that quick clock on ’em and you got horns blowing and people yelling, that’s what we want to create.”
Here Are Some Notes:
– It was a near-perfect day for the practice, with not one cloud in the sky and temperatures in the mid-20 degree Celsius range. However winds gusted to over 40 km/h.
– The Riders raised eyebrows with the news Sunday morning that the team has released veteran running back Cameron Marshall. He failed his physical, with an injury lingering from last year.
– RB Jerome Messam took the 1st team reps, but nipping at his heels was 5’9″, 224 lb back Zac Stacy. The 27-year old Vanderbilt product spent 2013-2015 in the NFL with the Rams and Jets. He’s shifty, and CKRM’s Luc Mullinder compared him to CFL great Stefan “Joystick” Logan.
– Zach Collaros was very solid on Day 1, but so too was Brandon Bridge. Bridge is throwing the ball with incredible velocity, actually catching some receivers off-guard.
– Speaking of receivers, the top group consisted of: Duron Carter, Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant, Chad Owens and Naaman Roosevelt. Caleb Holley ran with the 2’s and Mitchell Picton was at WR with the 3’s.
– Veteran free agent signing WR Jake Harty was injured midway through the workout and did not return.
– The first team offensive line consisted of (From L-R): Terran Vaughn-Brendon Labatte-Dan Clark-Travis Bond-Thaddeus Coleman. Sophomore Dariusz Bladek lined up at RG with the 2s.
– Defensively, the top group looked like this:
DL: Charleston Hughes-Makana Henry-Zack Evans-Willie Jefferson
LB: Derrick Moncrief-Sam Eguavoen-Cameron Judge
DB: Jovon Johnson-Crezdon Butler-Mike Edem-Ed Gainey-Chris Lyles
– Chris Jones said he likes the fact the team is playing a preseason game just one week into camp (next Sunday at Edmonton). He said because of the nine teams, somebody has to play early and he’s glad it’s the Riders.
– Explosive running back Marcus Thigpen will sit out a 2-game suspension for a positive test for a banned substance. He told reporters he still doesn’t know what caused the positive test, other than he was on pain medication for a lingering injury from his time in the NFL. He looked dynamic on Sunday, and will be ready to go in Week 3.
– WR Duron Carter was his usual bubbly self all day long. He said after the workout that he was “tired” from all the running, and Chris Jones said that’s a good thing. Carter took only a few reps at defensive back.
– Regarding his off-season issues involving two marijuana possession charges, Duron said that yes, he’s concerned about it. He said you should always be concerned when you’re facing legal issues.
– The CFL is buzzing with the addition of QB Johnny Manziel by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Chris Jones said it’s good for the league but Zach Collaros isn’t following it too closely.
“I’m not a part of that organization anymore so it really doesn’t matter to me,” Collaros shrugged. “A lot of people ask me about that but honestly, I could care less.”
– The Roughriders will be back on the field for Day 2 on Monday at 9:00 am. 620 CKRM’s SportsCage will be broadcast live from Griffiths Stadium at 4:00 pm.