THANK YOU, Brett Lauther, for showing up to play on Sunday afternoon. Not only was Lauther 4/4; one of those field goals was a 55 yarder. His kickoff were excellent: great distance and great height. He’s the Riders’ Player of the Game for me.
If you listened to TSN’s broadcast of the game, though, you wouldn’t have known that Lauther was 4/4. If you listened to TSN’s broadcast, you’d think that the Edmonton Eskimos are going to win the Grey Cup, so we might as well give it to them right now and not bother playing the season.
Ugh. Rod Black and Glen Suitor are not a good team. They reinforce the worst tendencies of each other; Glen repeats Rod’s inane catchphrases, and Rod repeats whatever talking points Glen’s prepared for the broadcast. Good grief.
Rod and Glen said Edmonton Eskimos QB Mike Reilly was in midseason form. Really? I saw two badly overthrown passes and about three or four good ones. While the first TD drive was penalty-aided, the second one was legit. And CJ Gable? He had what, one good run? Then there’s Shaquille Cooper, the CFL’s next star according to Rod and Glen. He could be a good running back. But, as Rod and Glen finally said ONLY AT HALF TIME, the Riders left most of their defensive starters at home.
That context should’ve been noted a lot sooner, guys.
As it was a preseason game, there’s not much of a storyline to follow. So, here are my rather random thoughts based on notes I took throughout the game:
- David Watford started the first half. Glen Suitor said he was ‘Meh’. He led the Riders on a couple of drives, all of which ended in field goals. He’s got a great arm, but I wanted to see if he could scramble when things broke down. He made a couple of nice passes to Bakari Grant, but other than that, his half was forgettable.
- Marquise Williams was cut this morning. That should tell you everything you need to know about his performance.
- BJ Daniels was on the Riders’ negotiation list for YEARS until they finally managed to sign him before training camp. I enjoyed watching him take off with the ball. Unlike the other two QBs, Daniels had a sense of urgency; you could see it in the huddle and in his play. He was also smart enough to call a timeout when he needed it.
- Head Coach Chris Jones with the quote of the day in regard to the QBs: “There were flashes of really good things by all of them and then there were flashes of things that, like I told them in (the locker room), looked like me out there sometimes — which is not a good thing.”
- Rod Black is going to refer to Duron Carter as “Two Way Duron Duron” all year long. Eff. Duron had a good first half on defense with a couple of good hits, including one that jarred a would-be-catch loose. His interview with Farhan Lalji was also good. BTW, Duron wants to be President some day. I think I would endorse that.
- Naaman Roosevelt had a GREAT catch in the first half. But I don’t like seeing him make circus-like catches where he hits the ground hard in preseason.
- The o-line looked set with Terran Vaughn, Travis Bond, Dan Clark, Brendan Labatte, and Thaddeus Coleman.
- Marcus Thigpen is so very smooth. Too bad he’s suspended for the first two games of the season.
- The Riders held the Eskimos on a third and short gamble and rather than credit the no-name Rider defence, the TSN crew basically says the referees got it wrong.
- Cameron Judge did not look out of place. It’d be huge for the Riders’ ratio if he could start at outside linebacker. Sam Hurl got burnt in the second half.
- Speaking of the Rider defence, I actually thought it played decently against Edmonton’s first stringers.
- DB Nick Marshall got burnt a couple of times in the first half, but he made up for it with a nice interception at the beginning of the second half.
- Devon Bailey had a couple of drops that he should’ve caught.
- Someone needs to buy Chris Jones a hat. Seeing him wear a towel on his head was weird.
- Bakari Grant wasn’t wearing LONG SLEEVES! What’s up with that?
- Glen Suitor saying that Johnny Manziel “got distracted” has got to be the understatement of the decade. Don’t sweep his issues under the rug, guys. Come on – be honest. BTW, why are you talking about Johnny M. during a Riders-Eskimos game, guys?
- Kyran Moore had a nice run back on a missed field goal.
- Rod Black saying the “winds of change blew harder in Edmonton” than anywhere else in the CFL over the offseason was laughable.
- Caleb Holley with a nice catch-but-not-really-a-catch.
- Josh Stanford was a nice surprise.
- NO ONE should be doing TD celebration dances in the preseason. That especially goes for #14 of the Eskimos, who acted like he’d scored the winning TD in a state championship game. Get over yourself, dude. It was a TD in a PRESEASON GAME where the score wasn’t even close. You’re definitely an Eskimo.
In all seriousness, this was the earliest preseason game the CFL has possibly ever had. I will not likely say this ever again, but kudos to BOTH teams for having their guys ready to play only a week and a bit into training camp. This was a relatively entertaining game considering it was a preseason game. I’ve seen a lot worse.