If you look at the Roughriders win-loss record, it might deceive you a little.
Yes, the Riders have lost two games and won none, but those losses haven’t come without a significant effort from quarterback Darian Durant, the offensive line and the receiving corps.
Edmonton was Durant’s 100th career start and it was a game where he reached 25,000 passing yards. In each of the last two games he’s thrown for over 300 yards.
“It’s a blessing,” Durant said when asked about hitting the career milestones. “It means a lot and I’m thankful to every receiver I’ve had or o-lineman that’s blocked and helped me achieve this goal.”
Many of those receivers that helped Durant hit 25,000 yards are no longer with the team. It meant meeting, learning and trusting a new set of guys brought in by new head coach Chris Jones. Growing pains were expected, and there have been a few, but there’s also been a lot of good.
John Chiles, who has caught two of Durant’s five touchdown passes this season, said the group he’s working with including Rob Bagg, Naaman Roosevelt, Shamawd Chambers and Ricky Collins may be the best he’s every worked with.
“We got guys that can roll all across the board, so I mean Ricky had a great game, Naaman (has) been playing well, Rob – I love our receiving core,” Chiles said.
Chiles, who was with some of the coaches in Toronto years prior, said that the offence is working as designed, and the guys are now starting to trust it.
“That’s the definite multitude on this offence is different guys on different weeks can be the feature guy,” quarterbacks coach Jarious Jackson said.
And that’s how it’s worked out so far. Week two, the Roughriders first game of the season because of the first week bye, saw Roosevelt catch for over 100 yards, with Collins and tailback Curtis Steele get more than 50 yards and Chiles getting more than 50 yards and a touchdown.
In week three, Collins stepped a little farther forward and showed what he could do with 115 yards receiving and one touchdown. That game Durant also hit Chiles, Chambers and Bagg for touchdowns.
“When every guy feels like this ball can be coming to him then now you got all six skill guys, even including the tailback out there on the field running to get open,” Jackson said. “There’s no one clear cut feature guy, and that means now the defence has to focus on everybody. “
“It makes us less predictable,” Durant added. “It makes it tough on the defences.”
But despite some impressive individual stats, the wins still haven’t happened. Jackson said the offence still has some growing to do and Durant said he’s still learning too.
“I’m feeling more and more comfortable and I’m looking to continue to evolve and take it to the next level,” Durant said.
But despite some of the strides the offence has made, don’t think that Durant is satisfied.
“We want to win games. There (are) no moral victories in this game. For us to come up short it’s very disappointing,” he said. “We have to make sure we don’t get too down though. We have to move on each and every week.”