This is a picture of the Rider jersey ornaments I made for my Christmas, er, RIDER tree. I need a new flag for the Rider-mobile (aka the 4Runner) to replace the tattered and torn flag that currently adorns it. The ‘old’ flag will then become the ‘star’ of my tree.
This is what happens to me when it’s summer and I have nothing better to do. I come up with crazy projects.
Whatever entertains me, I say.
ANYWAY – back to the topic at hand.
IT’S FINALLY GAME DAY!! And even though this game day doesn’t count for anything in the standings, it counts for a hell of a lot for those players trying to make the team. There are some seriously close and heated battles throughout the roster. Here’s what I’ll be watching for during tonight’s game…
- How will the rookie receivers fare? This is possibly one of the most exciting races on the team. All eyes will be on Weston Dressler (apparently aka ‘the Rabbit’ at his alma mater, UND), Adarius Bowman, Rob Bagg and Co. Everyone is talking about these three. With the continued absence of #88, Matt Dominguez, the Riders are going to need one of these three to step up with a big performance. A possible starting job is on the line.
- Who will be the Riders’ back up QB? Stephen Jyles and Darian Durant continue to battle it out. Durant has been in the Riders’ system for a couple of years, but Jyles has the arm strength and the leg power. Who will perform best when the lights come on and the ball is snapped?
- QB Teale Orban is the ONLY Canadian QB in ANY CFL training camp. He will close out tonight’s game. How will he handle the speed of the pro game? Can he handle the pressure of playing ‘at home’?
- The Riders have what seems like a billion DBs in camp. Can Omarr Morgan regain his starting spot and form from two years ago? Has veteran Eddie Davis lost a step? Can James Johnson play like the Grey Cup MVP he was? How will Airabin Justin, Sean Lucas, Tad Kornegay and Lance Frazier perform? All are talented and have started for the Riders at some point. Who wins a job?
- Will Wes Cates be as good as advertised? Has he fully recovered from his foot injury? What about those behind him? Quentin Griffin and Reggie Bradshaw need to play well.
- Apparently Scott Gordon has won the starting safety spot. Where does that leave Tristan Clovis?
- The linebacker position is also one to be watched. Maurice Lloyd is probably the only linebacker assured of a spot. That leaves the other position to be a battle between Mike McCullough, Kitwana Jones and newcomers Anton McKenzie, Yannick Carter and Renauld Williams.
- Will Scott Schultz and the rest of the defensive line be speedier with their combined weight loss? Will John Chick experience a sophomore slump? Can Marcus Adams get better? Will Ronald Flemons fill the hole on the end left by the trade of Fred Perry?
- The offensive line has undergone a massive transformation. How will Gene Makowsky do in his first game inside? Is Glenn January as good as GM Eric Tillman says he is? How will Marc Parenteau fare at center with Jeremy O’Day out with an ankle injury? Can the line give the QBs enough time to throw?
- Who’s going to step up and become the Riders’ special teams returner? The competition is WIDE open.
- Will Luca Congi get off to a better start? Can Jamie Boreham better his punting percentage?
I know that’s a lot of things to watch. But the coaches will dissect this game to bits and pieces to evaluate each player’s performance. Trust me – for some players EVERYTHING is riding on this game.
The ‘Friday Night Lights’ go on 7 pm.