As the coaches and players practice at Mosaic Stadium, the football operations staff were busy making a deal.
The Roughriders announced at the conclusion of practice – about a half hour before the CFL trade deadline – that receiver Josh Stanford had been traded along with a second round pick to Montreal for Canadian offensive lineman Philip Blake and fullback/wide receiver Patrick Lavoie.
Head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations Chris Jones said the deal had been in the works for a couple of days before it was finalized Wednesday. He believes both Lavoie and Blake could slide into the line up quickly if needed.
“You’re dealing with some veterans and with some guys who have been around the league a long time and so they’ve seen everything there is possible to see in the league.”
Lavoie spent most of his career with the Ottawa Redblacks before being traded to the Alouettes – where his CFL career started – in January. At 30 years old he has seven CFL seasons under his belt, along with 1,264 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
Blake, 32, has played four seasons in the CFL without missing a single game. He attended Baylor University in the United States and was drafted by the Denver Broncos. He also spent time on the practice roster of the Arizona Cardinals before signing with Montreal in 2015.
Acquiring Blake may have come at just the right time, as the Roughriders were without centre Dan Clark at practice on Wednesday.
Clark was hurt early in the game against Edmonton on Monday and Jones says they’re evaluating where he is at right now.
In the meantime, Brendon LaBatte has moved to the centre position and Terrance Vaughn and Josiah St. John both took reps at left guard.
Though Jones feels that Blake could play either of those positions plus more.
“He’s a guy that can play all three – centre, guard, tackle – and certainly brings a level of experience that we’ll need down the stretch,” he said.
The Roughriders were also missing receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert at practice and Naaman Roosevelt was still absent after being activated last week and then moved back to the six-game injured list a day later. Rookie receiver Kyran Moore also left practice early, though Jones says he’s likely to play and is in a better spot than Williams-Lambert.
Receivers Brian Jones and Caleb Holley both took reps in their place.
Long snapper Jorgen Hus also sat out today’s practice but Jones said it was simply precautionary.
The Riders are back on the football field Thursday morning but it is closed to the public and the media.