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Improvements in offense saves Riders from a failing grade after loss against Redblacks: Wes Cates

There were a few signs of improvement for the Riders following yet another loss – this time against the Ottawa Redblacks.

The 36-28 defeat marked the third straight loss for the green and white.

According to Wes Cates, turnovers were the main issue and reason for the loss. While some elements of the Riders' offense were looking better than previous weeks.

Brit Dort

Well we’re not seeing each other on the happiest of occasions recently – but its time for another edition of X’s and O’s as we break down another Riders loss with Wes Cates. But I do welcome you in Wes.

Wes Cates

“Hey Brit. Yeah two losses we didn’t think we were going to be having to talk about but hopefully they can right this ship pretty quick.”

Well let’s start here with the cost of turnovers for Saskatchewan. Five on the night, Ottawa scoring 25 of their 36 points off those turnovers. Your thoughts?

“Yeah I mean a couple of them were just bad bounces. I guess when we look at Tevin Jones, he had a great catch over the middle and then kind of DB puts a helmet on the ball, but definitely the pick before half and the fumbles by Dolegala just weren't good decisions. It wasn't good ball security on the fumbles, it wasn't a good decision on that interception. I understand that maybe you're trying to work a ball in the field goal range, but the lower receiver on that play, there was a deep out and the short route. Lower guy was open. He could have probably worked up the field to kind of get the yards that you were drawing for. And it really cost them and it was a big momentum swing and obviously if you're losing the turnover battle by that much. I think it was what five to one. There's no way you can really expect to win games that way. So to keep it a one score game late, I guess was almost good for the Riders.”

Well, this is their third loss in a row they snapped the Redblack's seven game losing streak. They have not won on the road since Week 3 of the season. What needs to change Wes? And does that include coaches, for those calling for coaching change?

“Well, I don't think right now. I really don't believe in switching or making a coaching change when you're actually in a position to get into the playoffs and possibly have a chance to win a Grey Cup right? Albeit, it doesn't look that way. But this team is managing with the competition that they've gone up against to stay competitive and stay in the middle of the pack. So I think the biggest thing is we saw some good changes up front. We saw a run game, Frankie Hickson with nine for 77 which was an eight and a half yard average. I thought they moved the ball well and kind of took what the defense gave them most of that first half of this past game. It just seems like they are starting to get on the right track but you just got to eliminate the turnovers. It's always hard to play on the road. But if you don't have turnovers, and you take what the defense gives you. What a good defense like the Riders have when they're not put in bad situations. You can really come out with some wins and definitely be competitive at the end of the game and have a chance to score at the end.”

Okay, well this team is 6/8 currently on the year. They finished last year 6/12. They ended the season on a seven game losing streak. Does it feel a little bit like Déjà vu? Should we be worried?

“I’d have to say yeah Brit it does feel a lot like last year. But hopefully, you know some other teams are struggling and the Riders have some winnable games down the stretch. So let's hope they could pull out a couple of these last ones – stay in third place in the West. Clearly B.C. and Winnipeg are locking up playoff spots but right now the Riders are still in the driver's seat. So it does feel eerily similar to last year but let’s hope that they find a way to change things up this year.”

Well I do have to make you give them a grade because we haven't done it for the last couple of weeks. I will say – 193 rushing yards they gave up. They had five sacks, they committed 11 penalties. What are you giving them this week Wes?

“Devonte Williams for the Redblacks was just running all over. I don’t think any team would’ve wanted to deal with him that day – he was doing a great job running the ball. I think the defense is still struggling with tackling and kind of shoring up the front side and making plays when they need to get off the field and they need to. The offense really had a good first half except for that last 1:42. Special teams we saw Super Mario get back in the end zone. So I'm gonna regrettably give them a D minus. I thought they really had some good things going on that game. They just kind of fell apart after that those turnovers late in the first half. I’m going to let them pass this week. But next week Brit, if they lose, I'm gonna have to fail them.”

Absolutely. It's gonna be a tough one. They're heading to B.C. to take on the Lions. Thanks for this one Wes.

No problem.

Wes Cates is a Grey Cup Champion. He previously played as a running back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2007 until 2011. In that time he recorded 46 touchdowns, over 4,700 yards rushing and 2,095 yards receiving. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Cates now calls Saskatchewan home. Top Stories

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