1 – Others may differ, but I feel the most-intriguing battle at 2018 Roughriders Training Camp here in Saskatoon is for the #3 quarterback spot. Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge are performing well enough, but they have their spots sewn up. It’s the competition for their top back-up spot between David Watford and Marquise Williams which has been a thrill-a-minute.
2 – “Well they’re both having good camps,” agreed Head Coach & GM Chris Jones. “They’ve both done some very good things. As you saw on that second-last drive, Marquise took us down the field and scored a TD. And B.J. Daniels has had a good camp as well. We’ve got a good problem.”
3 – Sunday’s game at Edmonton (3:00 pm, TSN, CKRM Rider Network) will go the furthest to telling the tale at the #3 QB position. Interestingly, the Riders will fly into Edmonton Sunday morning and return to Saskatoon immediately after Sunday’s game. Not that it matters, but I don’t ever recall the Riders going into a road city on the day of a game. However the City of Champions is a scant 45 minutes away.
4 – Another takeaway from Wednesday is that Chris Jones cautioned the media and fans not to take too much away from the position groupings we see on a daily basis. For instance, KR Christion Jones has spent the past 2 days at WR. Jones says he likely won’t see any action there this season. QB Brandon Bridge spent the majority of his time on Day 4 with the 1st team offense. Duron Carter spent Day 4 of camp entirely on defense, wearing an unmarked green jersey.
5 – What this means is we shouldn’t try to read-between-the-lines regarding “Who’s ahead of whom”. Jones is trying to examine his players’ versatility, and who fits best where. From our perspective, we’re just trying to report on who’s lining up where – and with whom – and who’s making plays. Other than that, Sunday’s game will be the determining factor. I love the old scouting phrase, “The decisions will make themselves”.
6 – To answer your favourite question: Who looks good? Devon Bailey has been the top Canadian receiver since Jake Harty went down on Sunday. Based on groupings and depth, the Rider CDN receivers are Bagg, Bailey, Joshua Stanford and Mitchell Picton. At OLB, Sam Hurl has seen far more action with the 1s than Cameron Judge. Rookie DB #29 Orlandus Harris has been the top rookie standout at that position, with a handful of interceptions.
7 – More: Centre Dan Clark of Regina is having the best camp of his career. … The sudden retirement of C Jeremy Zver seemed to catch the Riders off-guard, and put them in a pinch. Sophomore OL Dariusz Bladek has struggled with the 2nd team snaps, so hopefully he gets a handle on it. … At RB, it’s Jerome Messam, Zac Stacy and Marcus Thigpen. That could change once “Thiggy” serves his 2-game suspension for a positive banned substance test.
8 – Even More: Canadian Mike Edem is your starting safety, followed closely by Marc-Olivier Brouillette. Edem’s been very good, and I’ve really liked what “Marc-O” has brought. .. It still seems like Chris Lyles will replace Kacey Rodgers at CB, even though they’re rotating a lot of bodies through there …K Brett Lauther has handled all of the FGs with veteran Tyler Crapigna still nursing a mild injury which has lingered from last year. I’m told Lauther has been decent, but it’s still Tyler’s job. … Meanwhile veteran LB Alexandre Gagne has done the long-snapping in the absence of veteran Jorgen Hus.
9 – The Regina Pats worked their tails off in a 6-5 round robin victory over Swift Current on Wednesday, eliminating the Broncos and punching their ticket to Friday’s semifinal versus the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Pats finally played like their life depended on it (similar to Friday’s win over Hamilton) and they were rewarded. Now they have a chance to win their 4th Memorial Cup in franchise history with two more wins. … For those upset that the host team is in contention on playoff weekend, don’t go away mad. Just go away!
10 – The Stanley Cup Finals match-up is salacious: The wily, beleagured old vet Alex Ovechkin looking for his first Stanley Cup win versus the upstart, expansion Vegas Golden Knights. Who are you cheering for? And who do you think will win? Sometimes those are two separate things. NO ONE ALIVE predicted this would be the Finals pairing when the playoffs began and this is why this is the best time of the year.