10 Thoughts From A Soggy Mosaic Stadium

(Photo Courtesy cfl.ca)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Edmonton Eskimos wrapped up their preseason schedule Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.

In the end the Eskimos came out on top with the 19-14 victory.

Here in no particular order are my top 10 thoughts from the contest as I covered the game from the Eskimos’ sideline.

10 – One key area the Riders were looking to evaluate on Friday night was the running backs and Oklahoma State’s Keith Toston appeared to get the edge for simply being more consistent. The one downside to his performance was his fumble which is a huge knock. Just ask former Rider tailback Brandon West how big fumbles in the preseason can be.

9 – The Edmonton Eskimos have got to find a way to protect Mike Reilly! Improving the Esks O-line was the biggest priority for the club moving forward, however, they were dominated by the Rider starters in the opening half.

8 – Hugh Charles may be in trouble. The seven year pro and former Rider didn’t get much of an opportunity to run the ball as rookie Tyler Thomas looked very impressive from the backfield. However, it should be noted most of his success came in the second half when the likes of Jon Chick, and Rickey Foley were out of the game and on the sidelines.

7 – Edmonton Defensive End Odell Willis. Yes that name is generally associated with enthusiasm, energy and ferocity! Yet Willis was very subdued throughout the contest and didn’t make much if anything happen against the Rider first-team Offence. I’m not sure what role he will have in Chris Jones defence but it didn’t look like much Friday night.

6 – Are the Eskimos preparing to rest their offensive hopes on Adarius Bowman? 80% of their offensive plays went in his direction last night. To be honest the coaching staff looked pretty puzzled by it. However, he was getting open he just could haul the ball in until the second half. If he could find a way to cure the dropsies he will be a big weapon but that is a big if!

5 – Last one on the Eskimos and the ugly head of undisciplined reared itself again last night. The team was penalized for over 140 yards! Yes there tend to me more flags in the preseason, but the flags thrown on the double-E were personal fouls and not your typical procedure, offside, illegal formation type penalties. Can new Head Coach Chris Jones reel this team in?

4 – To the Riders and I love the way that Josh Bartel kicks the ball. His execution is not typical but rather he can put different rotation and placement on the ball that will definitely benefit the Riders and their cover teams.

3 – The Rider quarterback depth worries me. Yes, the most popular player in Riderville is typically the back-up quarterback. However, none of Tino Sunseri, Adam Weber or Seth Doege elevated themself above the other in my estimation. Truthfully they were let down by their receivers with a number of drops but none truly inspired confidence. Only one quarterback in the CFL started all 18 games for his team last year. Developing the younger pivots is a must in Riderville this season.

2 – Keep in mind that Chris Getzlaf was on the sidelines. The All-Star will be a big boost to the group that will more than likely consist of; Getzlaf, Taj Smith, Rob Bagg, and a platoon of Brett Swain and Chaz Schillens. The latter two are CFL rookies so it could take a while for them to develop. Also making a case for a roster spot was Eron Riley. His size is compelling but the fact he didn’t get a ball thrown to him is troubling.

1 – The last area I was watching was the front seven defensively for the Riders. There is a lot of talent that has been recruited by General Manager Brendan Taman. That is going to make for some hard decisions. It would seem that Brian Peters, Chad Kilgore and Weldon Brown will be the starting linebackers, while a rotation of John Chick, Ricky Foley and Tearrius George will start on the D-line. Other players that could factor in are Mortty Ivy, Jeremy Beal, and Markus White along the defensive line as I thought that they showed well.

All in all, the roster will be paired down tonight and then the Green and White can get on to the business of preparing for the regular season opener next Sunday at Mosaic Stadium against Hamilton.

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