Chris Jones knows who will start for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in next weekend’s season opener.
But it was no thanks to the performances of the two quarterbacks in question.
Neither Zach Collaros nor Brandon Bridge impressed in Saskatchewan’s 39-12 loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
Collaros was six of 16 for 41 yards and three near interceptions. Bridge played only 10 snaps going two of five for 21 yards.
Not exactly inspiring work by the two men who want to be the starting quarterbacks for the green and white.
“I’m not very pleased with the way we played in the first and second quarter. (Calgary) had their backups in there … and we didn’t do anything,” said head coach Chris Jones after the game.
Jones had planned to only play Collaros and Bridge in the second preseason game with Collaros playing in the first and third and Bridge in the second and fourth, but that changed in a hurry in the third quarter.
With roughly seven minutes left in the third Collaros took his second punishing hit in as many drives. Collaros came out of the hit okay, but at that point, Jones decided to pull Collaros and Bridge – who had been sacked in the second – for the remainder of the game.
“You could have blocked better than what we blocked in the third,” he told 980 CJME’s Arielle Zerr when she asked about the change of plans. “I didn’t want to risk (Collaros and Bridge) going out there.”
Jones expressed frustration with the offensive line bluntly calling them out for not doing the task they are fundamentally asked to do.
“I would like to see them stay between (the defence) and the quarterbacks … tonight we left a little to the imagination.”
Collaros said he struggled to find a rhythm in Friday’s game but that he doesn’t put too much stock in preseason games as a marker for regular season success.
“None of us are going to make excuses and the effort wasn’t good enough to win tonight and we have to get better,” he said simply.
Collaros dodged the question when he was asked where he thought he was in the competition to be the starter for the Roughriders.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can every day and whatever is decided is decided,” he said.
As for Bridge, he said he’s comfortable with where he’s at, even though he only took 10 snaps in the game.
“I don’t know if you can really define what I can do in 10 snaps,” Bridge said. “I think the coaches saw what they wanted to see out of me last year … I think the coaches are confident in what I can do and I’m just going to be ready when my number is called.”
As for if that number will be called next week, Jones is staying mum. Admitting in his post-game interview he had decided, but adding “I’m not telling.”
He did, perhaps, drop a few hints, however.
“I’ve got the luxury of having a guy that helped us win 10 football games last year so if a guy is struggling then Brandon Bridge will play or it’ll be the opposite,” Jones said. “Collaros has started a lot of games and been a good football player for a long time and he’s won too many football games to be rusty forever. He’ll knock it off.”
Fans can take from that what they will, but Jones promised all would be revealed on Monday.