Fans got their first look of the 2017 Roughriders in Saskatoon Saturday afternoon during the annual green and white game.
The team scrimmaged for about an hour, rotating quarterbacks and players in and out of plays.
There were ups and downs on all sides of the ball, but here are a few things worth noting.
The game was used mostly to test the talents of three of the team’s newest quarterbacks: Vince Young, Bryan Bennett and Brandon Bridge. Kevin Glenn took some snaps to start the game and went five for five on his passes. The newest quarterback Marquise Williams, who was added earlier this week, also took a few snaps late in the scrimmage and went one for four.
Bennett looked the most solid out of all the quarterbacks, connecting on 10 of 11 passes* and throwing three touchdowns. Bennett also threw one interception, but it was called back on a penalty. Touchdowns were thrown to Naaman Roosevelt, Antwane Grant and Duron Carter.
Bridge was three for eight with one touchdown to Mitch Picton. He used his feet a fair bit to get around but looked a bit shaky when he was throwing.
“Bennett and Bridge they both threw the ball really well … now it’s just a matter of making sure they throw it to the right colour jersey,” Jones said, alluding to the interceptions thrown during the game.
It was a tough day for Vince Young behind centre and while he did show off his incredible arm strength, he also tossed two interceptions. He completed about 6 of 10 passes, some being swing passes, and was hit with two time count violations.
“It’s the first time he’s really been put under the live gun with the clock and full set of officials and things like that so it’s been a minute for him, he had a couple delays of game, so he’ll be better next week,” Jones said.
Jones said on Friday he was no closer to deciding on which quarterback will be the starter, but know what he expects.
“We’re just looking for consistency, that’s the biggest thing is making sure the guy that we choose to be our starting quarterback does the same things over and over and over in a positive way.”
2. RUNNING BACKS
The run game is still largely a question mark for the Roughriders right now, and with the mock game being largely touch football, it can be very difficult to judge how running backs do.
“A lot of time they’re blowing the play dead prior to really a running back being down, because they’re going to break some of those arm tackles so it’s kind of hard to evaluate… the run plays,” he said.
Currently, the Riders have seven running backs on the roster, adding Anthony Allen to the mix on Friday, cementing the idea that there is still a lot of work to be done before the team settles on their number one back.
There were a few areas of the defence that Jones was pleased with including the play of Willie Jefferson (two sacks) and the ability of the defence to generate interceptions. The number one team secondary was Kacey Rodgers, Ed Gainey, Jeff Hecht, Zavian Bingham and Royce Adams, though that group varied through the week at training camp.
“We played about 16 guys back there in the secondary today, the positive thing that I saw was when the ball presented itself, we intercepted the football. That was the one glaring thing that kind of stuck out … at times last year, we failed to make those plays so that’s what we’re hoping to emphasize.”
Jones also added, that like with the quarterback position, he’s looking for consistency in his defensive backs.
“DBs have to cover every down,” he stressed.
Defensively – D line had good pressure- Willie Jefferson is nearly unblockable at times. INTs went to Gainey, Mrabure, Moncrief, Bingham
— Jamie Nye (@jamienye) June 4, 2017
— with files from Jamie Nye
*all stats are unofficial