It’s a situation that neither has been in before, but Brandon Bridge and David Watford are going through it together.
Nearly two weeks ago against Hamilton, the Roughriders and head coach Chris Jones instituted a quarterback rotation. Essentially, each quarterback got a couple of series to get the offence going. If they didn’t succeed, the other would be subbed in. It continued throughout the game as the offence sputtered and it shows no sign of stopping.
Jones said both quarterbacks will continue to be used in the game.
“Brandon will be the starter and David will have certain packages where he’s in the game running certain plays,” Jones said as the team resumed practice on Sunday after their bye week.
“It’s like in baseball. When the starter comes in and he is acing the opponent then he stays in the game until he starts to struggle, and then if he starts to struggle the reliever comes in. It’s nothing any different, it’s the same thing we did last year.”
Things are a little different than last year though. Bridge came in relief for CFL veteran Kevin Glenn, but Glenn was still at the helm of the Rider offence that had no issue putting up points. By this time last season Glenn had thrown seven touchdowns and rushed for two. He’d also put up 1,258 yards passing.
Compare that to this season where the Roughriders have used three quarterbacks (Zach Collaros — who is sidelined with a concussion — Bridge and Watford), combining for four touchdowns and 821 yards passing.
And while the offence hasn’t performed its best, Bridge has found some similarities to the 2017 season — albeit the roles have changed a little now with Glenn signing in Edmonton.
Last year, Bridge had Glenn as a mentor, this year he’s the mentor to David Watford.
“He’s like a little brother, honestly, I feel like Kevin Glenn with him,” Bridge said of his relationship with Watford.
“Like brothers, from the day I came in last year when we had KG, Bridge, Vern (Vernon Adams Jr.) and Marquise (Williams), we were so close and tight as a quarterback unit and then this year with the guys leaving and it just being me and Brandon … he took me under his wing last year and really treated me like a younger brother and taught me a lot about this game and about the offence as well and he’s just been a stand up guy, a really solid dude. I got a lot of love for him.”
Perhaps a surprising admission from the pair who are pitted up against each other on the field, vying for all the extra playing time they can get. Instead of being competitive, they’ve chosen to help one another.
“He asks a lot of questions and I try to give him all the answers I possibly can,” Bridge said. “It’s definitely a friendship that actually wants that next person to succeed. We’re definitely supportive, we’re actually friends.”
“It makes a world of difference because knowing that I have him — whose a player who is going through the same thing — but he’s also been in the system and the offence for a long time,” Watford said. “He’s always there to help no matter what it is (or) when it is. He’s always very open.”
Now the pair hopes their off-field friendship will translate to on-field success. The duo worked out together during the bye week, watched film and did some throwing with the receivers. All in the hopes of a strong showing Thursday in Hamilton.
“Some guys go home and get kind of lazy and they lose that half a step and that half a step could be like the difference in … winning or losing the game,” Watford said. “So you want to just keep that edge, keep that same focus … you don’t want to lose it.”
- Zach Collaros is still week-to-week with a concussion suffered in week two against the Redblacks. Jones said he’s feeling a lot better, but he won’t put him on the field until he’s 100 percent.
- Duron Carter continues to suit up and work with the defence, while Eddie Steele continues to practice with the offensive line.
- Jones spoke highly of the talents of defensive back Matt Elam on Sunday, however, he still feels he’s a few weeks away from playing in a game.
- The Roughriders will hold a closed practice on Monday and an early practice at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday as they fly to Hamilton later that afternoon.