At Rider games, nothing gets the crowd on its feet like a Naaman Roosevelt touchdown.
Or a Duron Carter touchdown.
Or a Chad Owens touchdown.
The list goes on and on, but the point is the Roughriders have what could be considered the best receiving corps in the league.
“The sky’s the limit, there’s so many great players here,” said Naaman Roosevelt at training camp on Tuesday.
Carter, for example, was the team’s top receiver with 1043 yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season with Roosevelt hot on his heels with 1035 yards and eight touchdowns. Behind Roosevelt was Bakari Grant’s career high season at 1033 yards and five touchdowns.
Plus there’s Chad Owens who sparkled in his return from injury, Bagg’s always gritty performance or the work of Caleb Holley – who caught the first touchdown at new Mosaic Stadium last season.
Owens thinks last year is just the beginning of what they can do based on what offensive coordinator Stephen MacAdoo’s offence has done in other places.
“This offence on other teams has had four 1,000 yard receivers in it and we have that capability here to do that, maybe even five (1,000 yard receivers) if everyone is given those opportunities,” Owens said.
“We’ve got a solid group. A good mixture of vets and younger guys and we all gel and understand each other,” said Owens. “There’s no egos and that’s the good thing about us – it’s hard to be a receiver and not have an ego – but if you understand the bigger picture and buy into that you should have a successful year.”
It’s that ability to work together as well as they do that the receivers agree make them a formidable opponent. Because they do buy in and because they have faith in each other and their abilities.
“That’s the best part and definitely something I cherish the most about playing the game is just the brotherhood and going through something crappy like training camp (is) physically with a group of guys, being able to come out on the other end is a pretty gratifying feeling,” said Bagg.
“That’s the goal right now to embrace the suck as I’ve been saying and just go out there and make the most of it.”
But the meantime, Jones was clear that he expects more than he’s been getting from his veteran group of receivers.
“They’ve been okay,” Jones said. “(Monday) was a little disappointing with the lack of effort there at the end of the first practice, first day in pads … We’re never going to be good enough to just show up and do our own thing. They’ve got to come up and show up every single day those vets, we’re here to win a ring we’re not here just to be a good football team and collect paycheques.”
And they know that, according to Roosevelt, especially with the talent that Jones had brought in behind them.
“Every day we’re trying to get better and better because these young guys are pushing us. It’s exciting for me to go out there and watch them,” he enthused.
“The more they push us the more we work harder.”
Day four of training camp continues in Saskatoon on Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Griffiths Stadium.
- The Roughriders surprised some by releasing defensive lineman Nick James and defensive back John Ojo but Jones said it came down to conditioning. “Those guys are vets and they just physically weren’t ready.”
- The Riders also announced Jeremy Zver’s retirement. At 24 years old, Jones was also surprised by the decision.
- One of the highlights of Tuesday’s practice was a collision between running back Jerome Messam and defensive lineman Charleston Hughes the force of which could be heard from the stands. Both players were just fine.