After Further Review
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:53AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, June 18, 2013 3:58PM CST
PONDERING THE PRESEASON
While preseason results don't count in the regular season standings, there's no doubt Friday finished a whole lot better for Rider fans with a 31-24 Saskatchewan victory versus the Eskimos. Winning at Commonwealth Stadium has been a long time coming for the green and white, so preseason or not, it should give the Riders confidence heading back for the season opener in two weeks. But the positives weren't just on the scoreboard....
It's clear the Riders secondary will be a lot more aggressive this year. So say goodbye to their typical "bend but do not break defence". It will be more of a feast or famine type scenario. The Riders will give up the big play like they did in the second quarter, a 77 yard touchdown to Isaiah Sweeney down the sidelines, but they will also create more turnovers and big plays on defence. Versus Edmonton, the Riders had 5 QB sacks, 4 interceptions (two of those for touchdowns).Tearrius George led the way with 2 sacks, securing his spot beside Keith Shologan on the inside of the defensive line. The other three sacks were from defensive ends trying to earn spots behind Ricky Foley and John Chick. Will Davis, Antonio Coleman, and Aaron Rowe each had a sack and could earn another look this week. Its the same situation on the interceptions. Macho Harris, Carlos Thomas, Woodny Turenne and Graig Newman. While Newman is also a guarantee for special teams duties, the other three are fighting for spots on the roster. Harris and Turenne saw time last season and showed some good potential. Thomas is familiar with Chamblin and his big frame could be a "big" asset. There are a lot of capable players and so few spots in the secondary, could be the positions to watch this week in the final preseason game.
Offensively, while the Riders only punched in one TD late, there is no real cause for concern. George Cortez is putting in a completely new offence, and it's going to take some time. All four QB's had good completion percentages (Durant had the worst percentage at 73%) meaning they are making the right decisions. Kory Sheets is the clear cut leader at RB and so far, Jock Sanders hasn't done anywhere wrong to lose the back-up spot. Taj Smith and Greg Carr stood out at receiver, which isn't a surprise since they will battle for that final import spot in the starting line-up. Offensive line looked strong, it may take Ben Heenan some time to get used to that tackle spot, but he didn't look too far out of place
An interesting battle involves the placekicker, veteran Christopher Milo missed two of his three field goals while Brody McKnight was two for two on his attempts. Milo's inconsistency cost him placekicking duties last year to Sandro DeAngelis. It could cost him his job this season.
Riders second and final preseason game goes Thursday June 20th versus Calgary.