The Saskatchewan Roughriders returned to the practice field on Tuesday for Day 1 of their work week as they prepare to host the Calgary Stampeders Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.
Here are some notes:
1 – Head Coach & GM Chris Jones said they were very pleased with Thursday’s 31-20 win at Hamilton. He was impressed by the team’s ground game (200+ yards rushing) which allowed them to control the game and the clock. He felt the two teams traded blows on special teams – both returning punts for TDs – but he was happy with how his club took the game over in the second half.
2 – Jones was particularly impressed by the guts shown by Brendon Labatte. The veteran offensive guard left the Hamilton game in the first half with a knee injury but returned to help the team to the victory. “It’s a gutsy deal,” Jones said. “He takes it personal. He loves this game, this organization and we certainly return the favour because he’s a great player.” Jones said Labatte is “fine”, with no lingering effects from the injury.
3 – Labatte said when the injury happened – on a field goal – he didn’t think he’d be able to return to the game. He hasn’t suffered a knee injury in 20 years of playing football. However the Weyburn product said he didn’t do anything heroic by returning to the game. He said players have returned in games from worse injuries.
4 – The Riders added three players on Tuesday: International defensive back Will Blackmon, International linebacker Thomas Gordon and International defensive back Shawun Lurry. Jones said they’re looking for players to fill the spot vacated by injured linebacker Derrick Moncrief who’s headed to the 6-game injured list.
5 – Duron Carter took reps at receiver on Tuesday, but Jones said the team’s MVP will return to the defensive backfield in Wednesday’s closed practice.
6 – The Riders host Calgary Saturday night, and the Stampeders boast the CFL’s top defense. Jones said he doesn’t care if it’s a defensive battle or an offensive outburst on Saturday. They’re just going to do whatever it takes to try to win the game.
7 – With the flurry of big name trades in the CFL this week (Johnny Manziel to Montreal and Shawn Lemon to BC), Jones said he doesn’t think his team will join the fray. He said they’re happy with what they have.
8 – Jones reported injured QB Zach Collaros is “feeling better” but since he’s on the 6-game Injured List, is limited to throwing with the club’s strength coach and training staff.
9 – 2016 CFL #1 draft choice Josiah St. John practiced with the Riders on Tuesday after coming off the 6-game Injured List with a lower body injury.