Hewitt Commentary: Bright spots for Roughriders despite preseason loss
The Riders will face off against the Bombers in the second preseason game on June 6.
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 9:08AM CST
The Roughriders lost their second straight exhibition game Thursday night at Mosaic against Winnipeg but the loss was irrelevant.
What really counted was the answer to two questions:
Did the Roughriders find any good young players during off season recruiting?
How did the Rider quarterbacks look?
The answers are as follows:
Yes, the Riders have found some good young players and it seems many are on offense.
The quarterbacks looked pretty darn good!
Here are my random thoughts regarding the game against Winnipeg in no particular scientific order, with the most important stuff at the end.
Starting QB Zach Collaros was solid, making a few plays on the roll that reminded me of the 2015 Zach - showing a nice display of nifty footwork and field vision. After a few offseason pounds shed, Collaros looks nimble, and his two TD passes were the icing on the cake.
I suggested in an earlier column that rookie Isaac Harker should be Saskatchewan’s third QB and Harker proved that point with two long drives and a TD pass. The Leonardo DiCaprio look alike seems to have the “it” factor, plus a quick accurate release.
Rookie QB Ty Gangi had some good moments as well so you would think David Watford might be gone come final cuts Saturday.
Some idiot told me Gainer got a new suit. The fool must think Gainer is some dude in a costume which is ridiculous. Gainer is the real deal much like Santa.
Star running back William Powell looked like star running back William Powell. The former Ottawa Redblack sure looks great in green and white averaging 7.9 yards a carry versus the Bombers.
Rookie running back Jamal Morrow is an absolute keeper, his abilities fit the CFL game perfectly. James Butler, another rookie RB, also showed well, so you wonder if veteran Marcus Thigpen is on the bubble.
Canadian rookie receiver Justin McInnis showed every inch of his 6- 5 frame to go sky high for a ball. Ladies and gentlemen, this kid is going to be good.
Rookie receiver Paul McRoberts is going to play in the CFL, maybe star in the CFL, I’m not certain it will be here, but I hope so.
Ponce de Leon found the fountain of youth and so did veteran receiver Naaman Roosevelt who looked flat out fast.
The Riders are loaded at receiver, someone really good is going to get cut.
Punter and Super Bowl champion Jon Ryan was booming the ball and will be punting here into his 40s.
Rookie defensive end Lavar Edwards had a few dandy plays.
Linebacker Dyshawn Davis is just a plain good old football player.
Without Micah Johnson and Zack Evans giving a push up the middle, the pass rush was no great shakes.
The secondary didn’t stick out, and I didn’t see any great rookie DB’s per say other than L.J. McCray for his speed. Elie Bouka could help Coach Craig in the ratio department.
Having said that my bifocals are not what they used to be.
A consistent positive of the Thursday game, for every fan in attendance, was that the microphone didn’t work for head referee Andre Proulx.
Rider running back Jamal Morrow accidentally mowed over Bomber head coach Mike O’Shea on the sideline. The Bomber leader, who looks like Sgt. Rock, was shaken but not stirred.
The Riders make final cuts Saturday then off to Hamilton to start the regular season against the Tiger-Cats.
Don Hewitt started covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders for CKCK-TV in 1979.