On Friday, there will be new names on the backs of jerseys all over the field as the Saskatchewan Roughriders get set to take on the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League (CFL) season opener.

Fans are keen to know whether Brandon Bridge or Zach Collaros will be starting at quarterback, but so are the two pivots. “We’ll talk about the rotation later in the week”, said Riders Head Coach and General Manager Chris Jones. 

“They have to be prepared for anything we throw at them. When you know somebody good is right in behind you, you know that you (have) got (to) play your “A” game week in, week out. I know it doesn’t hurt, competition always helps,” added Jones at practice on Monday.

Bridge and Collaros are coming off polar opposite seasons. Before being acquired by the Riders in the off-season, Collaros went 0-8 with the Hamilton Tigercats before being replaced permanently on the starting line up by Jeremiah Masoli. On the other hand, Bridge never started for the Riders, but went in to relieve Kevin Glenn 13 times, including a playoff appearance. 

Bridge feels his experience coming off the bench last year has prepared him for this scenario, “Last year I didn’t know when I was ever going to go in, I was just thrown in whenever Coach Jones said to warm up, so I mean I just gotta be ready to go any point in time.”

“You just really have to worry about what you’re doing personally and if you do that and your teammates see that and follow you, whoevers out there will follow,” said Collaros when asked about the situation. 

Regardless of who starts, neither has had much in-game experience with the squad. Collaros appeared in less than two quarters of pre-season action, while Bridge only got 10 snaps. Neither has generated a touchdown.



Every season, new players will be added or released from the roster. However, when news came Sunday that veteran national wide receiver Rob Bagg was being let go, it was a shock even to teammates, especially Naaman Roosevelt.

“He motivates me. The past couple years since I've been up here you know I've been watching him and working out with him you know just trying to do the little things he does just to get his body right and you know for me I feel like I got so much better on the field and off the field with just understanding what it takes to be a professional,” added Roosevelt.

“That’s my friend right there. Honestly, that was a hard one. I'm not going to lie, seeing Robert leaving is definitely a hard one for us but it just shows us that Coach (Jones) has a lot of confidence in the young guys and that's he’s not preparing just for now, he's preparing for the future as well,” said Bridge of losing Bagg, who was with the Riders for ten seasons.

The next generation of receivers includes Canadian’s Josh Stanford, Devon Bailey, and Mitchell Picton (added to the practice roster Monday). Combined, they accumulated just over 600 receiving yards in their careers. Last year alone, Bakari Grant, who was also released, had over 1000 yards. 

"I mean every year you have to re-create yourself and I mean you can't just come in and think that you're going to do the exact same thing,” said Jones. “I've noticed that the years that we won Grey Cup’s at other places, they’re not sitting there resting on their laurels, you had to re-create what you had the year prior.”

Chad Owens, who had played in the CFL since 2009, was also released. Therefore the torch, as the leader in the receiving core, has been passed to Naaman Roosevelt.

"I mean it’s crazy. I was running the meeting this morning at our receiver meetings and it kinda seems different now. It's just me up there talking and a bunch of the guys just listening now. So for me it’s exciting,” Roosevelt, who had back to back seasons with 1000 plus receiving yards, said.

“Now it’s onto this year’s football team and it’s time to see exactly whose going to do what with our football team,” Jones preached. 

The Riders open the season against the Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium on Friday, June 15th.