The Saskatchewan Roughriders are ready for another audition for the 2016 season.
Game film is a player’s resume, and with just a few games left, the players have to prove their worth for the Riders or another team next season.
Early in last week’s game, it looked like the team was poised to print off some positive resumes against the Eskimos. Then the wheels fell off as Edmonton responded with 32 straight points in a 35-24 win at Mosaic Stadium.
The good news for the Riders is this is a three-part job interview. The second comes Saturday afternoon at McMahon Stadium against the Calgary Stampeders.
“(These games) are definitely significant. Every game is significant, I think. Every game’s a chance to get better and prove to myself and other people watching that I can play in this league,” said defensive lineman Rory Connop.
Connop is one a number of younger players getting a chance to strut their stuff these final few games as the team tries to figure out who might be back next year.
The Edmonton native started the season at defensive tackle but eventually found himself on the sidelines watching as the coaching staff replaced him with American Andre Monroe.
“I definitely feel like I’ve progress quite a bit,” said Connop.
“Even though I wasn’t playing a ton, a lot of those games I was still on the sidelines. I was still in the game sort of seeing what guys like Andre and (Tearrius George) are doing. I feel like I’ve learned a lot over these weeks and I think I’m a better player because of it.”
Trading away Jerome Messam meant the Riders needed to start a Canadian somewhere else. That’s when the door opened for Connop and Tim Agbaje.
Even though these games are important for the young players, they’re important for some veterans who may be on the bubble as well.
After sitting out last week, George and linebacker Tyron Brackenridge are back in the lineup.
“If you need somebody to fire you up, then I guess you should pack in it,” said George.
“I’m going to go out and play like I always play. It’s all about your pride, your manhood, when you step out there.”
A FAMILIAR FACE
Saturday’s game is not only the first for Messam against the Riders, it’s his first as a member of the Stampeders.
Messam was traded to Calgary on CFL trade deadline day, which happened to fall on a Stampeders bye week.
“It was different. It was a bunch of mixed emotions,” he said. Messam happened to be at a Blue Jays game when the news broke.
“Just on a high, feeling a lot of emotions from the crowd. Kind of going to (being unsure) and confusion and not knowing what’s going on. Everything is good now.”
Messam caused some waves this week in Calgary already. When he was asked about facing his former team, he said they are going to feel the boom.
That statement caught the attention of the Riders locker room.
“It’ll be fun, especially since he’s talking trash over there, talking about how easy it will be to do this or do that,” said George.
“It’ll be fun to hit him and rough him up, show him that he’s not (Jon) Cornish over there, send a little shot back at him. So, it’ll be fun to get out there and play.”
With Messam lined up in the Stampeders backfield, George is expecting the words to be flying back and forth.
“This is a game for him to be mic’ed up for sure. There will be some chatter amongst him, me and a couple other players on the defence who thought it was funny, his little comments,” he said.
Not only are Brackenridge and George making their way back into the lineup, there’s some other changes being made.
Defensive back Matt Webster will get to play cornerback with the absence of Junior Mertile and the injury to Tyree Hollins. Macho Harris will also move from the SAM linebacker spot to corner. Don Unamba and Denicos Allen will take Harris’ spot on the field.
Added to the roster:
- Receiver Marcus Davis
- Offensive limenan Jamarcus Hardrick
- Running back Stephen Houston
Removed from the roster:
- Defensive back Tyree Hollins (injured list)
- Defensive lineman Andre Monroe (injured list)
- Running back Chad Spann (injured list)
The Green Zone 10-Hour Game Day begins at 9 a.m. on News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray followed by the Green Zone Pre-Game Show.
During the game, stay entertained and up to day with Scotty and the King on the Fan Zone.
After the game, it’s your turn to be the star by calling the Green Zone Post-Game Show at 1-877-300-7275.