Not only is it a rivalry game, but it’s a measuring stick of sorts for the 2017 Roughriders as they face off against the Calgary Stampeders Saturday evening.
The Riders are fresh off their first bye week. The week before, the team earned their first win of the season. Calgary, somewhat shockingly, lost 30-23 to Montreal.
All of the sudden, the CFL’s juggernaut – who lost only two games last season – had a chink in its armour. Though, that doesn’t mean the Riders can slack off.
“I don’t care if Calgary has lost five-in-a-row, if you don’t bring your A game against them you’re going to be in trouble,” receiver Rob Bagg said Friday.
“If you don’t bring your best efforts and execute at a very high level, the league’s just so evenly talented this year it seems like, you’re not going to have much success.”
To have success, according to head coach Chris Jones, the Riders will have to do more of what they did against Hamilton.
“The game that we did win, we did enough stuff right that when we walked off the field that we knew we deserved to win the football game,” Jones said. “That’s what we`ve got to do every week.”
Calgary – anchored by 2016 Most Outstanding Player, Bo Levi Mitchell, and running back Jerome Messam – will no doubt be hungry for a bounce back win.
The Roughriders will have to try to limit the damage the offence can inflict.
“We’re not going to stop them. We’re not going to stop Messam from running the ball, we’re not going to stop (Mitchell) from throwing,” reasoned defensive back Jeff Hecht.
“What we want to do is eliminate our mistakes … and then we want to limit what they do.”
And they have a plan for that. Offensive lineman Derek Dennis, who up until this year protected Mitchell’s blindside, said he’s been telling the defence all week they have to get their hands on Mitchell to rattle him.
“He’s not used to taking hits so when you start to hit him a little bit, his thought process waivers a little bit because he starts hearing those footsteps,” Dennis said.
“(Mitchell’s) good at getting rid of the ball,” added defensive line coach Ed Philion. “It’s not going to be a big sack night for us, but we can press the pocket and force him to throw the ball before he’s ready, because he’s not going to sit back there and take sacks.”
And win or lose, there is value in this game for the Roughriders, according to Philion.
“It’s a measuring stick for us,” he said. “I know it’s early in the season and you hate to say one game matters more than the other, but it’s important for us as a football team to measure ourselves and see where we’re at in the season.”
- Kevin Glenn is just 116 yards from hitting 50,000 career yards.
- Glenn is one of only three players in CFL history to ever complete 30+ passes in three consecutive games. No one has ever made it to four, but he could Saturday night.
- Bo Levi Mitchell has a 5-0 record against Saskatchewan.
- Willie Jefferson is co-leading the CFL with Arnaud Gascon-Nadon with nine quarterback pressures. He is number overall with a combined two sacks and the 9 pressures for 11 hits on the QB.
— Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) July 21, 2017
Stamps depth chart for tomorrow vs. Riders pic.twitter.com/HVcIfP9F32
— Danny Austin (@DannyAustin_9) July 21, 2017