Riders quarterback Brett Smith now has a win to his name in professional football.
Smith helped lead the Riders to their first win of the season in Sunday’s 37-19 defeat of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Labour Day Classic.
It was a moment that left the 23-year-old at a loss for words after the game.
“It means everything, especially in a game of this magnitude. I can’t tell you what I’m feeling right now. It’s pretty special.”
Smith once again didn’t have the most sparkling numbers with 211 yards passing and one touchdown. Smith also added another 59 yards along the ground.
The difference for Smith in the game wasn’t what he did but more so what he didn’t do. For the first time this season, a Riders quarterback did not throw an interception.
“I truly believe he’s coming into himself. He’s comfortable. We believe in him,” said running back Jerome Messam.
It’s that trust the team has in Smith that might be making all of the difference right now.
One week after being pulled against the Ottawa Redblacks, Smith has now been named the starting quarterback for this team going forward. That trust should allow Smith to feel more comfortable heading into every week.
That doesn’t mean that Smith doesn’t have things to work on.
The coaching staff is still looking for Smith to make some better decisions at times.
“I’m not going to necessarily ask him to change how he plays,” said interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“Because some of those plays that he made were beneficial to keep drives going. Especially into the wind.”
We’ve seen veteran quarterbacks struggle with the wind at Mosaic Stadium.
In only his second start at home, Smith faced a pretty stiff wind on Sunday afternoon and it didn’t seem to bother him at all, especially in the fourth quarter when the team was trying to close out the victory.
“He had great poise, great demeanour throughout that second half (and) fourth quarter,” said receiver Weston Dressler.
Much of that success had to do with the reemergence of the team’s running game, but Smith did have to make a few throws at important times to keep the clock moving.
As Smith enjoys his first win, he’s keeping everything in perspective as he knows whether it’s this year or next, his role will once again change.
“I’m not an idiot. I know this is Darian Durant’s team. This is Kevin Glenn’s team,” he said.
“For however long I need to be in this role, I’m going to embrace it.”
The Riders return to practice on Wednesday morning at Mosaic Stadium for a closed workout. Thursday’s practice is open to the public.