The Saskatchewan Roughriders are hoping the third time is the charm as they look for their first win of the 2015 season against the B.C. Lions.
The Riders come into the game on Friday night in Vancouver after back-to-back losses to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Toronto Argonauts.
“I don’t really see us losing too many games from here on out,” said running back Jerome Messam.
“In total, I think we’ve lost by six points in the last two games. We’ve been putting up a lot of numbers on offence and a lot of yardage. I don’t think we’re worried at all. The defence is playing well.”
This can hardly be considered a must-win as it’s far too early in the season for that kind of talk. But, a win would likely go a long way to help the psyche of the team.
Last week, the defence took a step forward and didn’t miss nearly as many tackles as they did in the season opener against the Bombers. This week, the team needs to be able to close out the game if they have the lead in the fourth quarter.
“I feel that we’re very close,” said defensive back Weldon Brown.
“It’s just, week in and week out we have to make the progress that we’re looking for.”
The offence has a few things to clean up, even though they produced nearly 600 yards of offence last week against the Argonauts.
Most notably, they need to get into the end zone when given the opportunity in the red zone.
“Just not quite finishing some drives,” said receiver Weston Dressler.
“Put drives together, create field position and getting points on the board is a good thing. We’re doing well, we just need to continue improving and find a way to score touchdowns now.”
Former Lions Return
This game will be the first for Riders kicker Paul McCallum back in B.C. after he was cut by the Lions early in training camp this year.
McCallum isn’t really thinking too much about sticking it to his old team. He just wants to win.
“Disappointed that I had to go. But, it was inevitable. (It) was going to happen sooner or later,” he said.
His former teammates in B.C. figure it will be weird seeing McCallum on the other sideline.
“Paul’s been in orange since I’ve known him. The only time I saw him in green was in old highlights from the 90s,” said Lulay.
“He looks like the same guy when he trotted out onto the field and slowly buckled his chinstrap and put it through the uprights.”
The match up with will also be the first for Kevin Glenn since the Lions decided he would not return to the team for the 2015 season.
Glenn was traded to B.C. from Ottawa after being taken by the RedBlacks in their expansion draft. Glenn appeared in all but one regular season game for the Lions last year.
The Riders have again been forced to make some changes to their roster because of injury.
Receivers Nic Demski and Alex Carroll along with running back Steven Miller have been added to the 46-man roster on offence. Receiver Ryan Smith has been placed on the team’s six-game injured list. Receiver Seydou Junior Haidara has been moved to the one-game injured list.
Defensively, recently-signed linebacker Nathan Kanya has been added to the depth chart with linebacker Kevin Regimbald placed on the one-game injured list.
A change of note on the Lions sideline sees defensive back Ryan Phillips’ ironman streak of 181 straight games come to an end. He will miss the game due to a hamstring injury. It’s the first game Phillips will have missed in his CFL career.
The Green Zone Game Day begins at 4 p.m. on News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray.
The Green Zone Pre-Game Show follows at 6 p.m. as Jamie Nye, Darrell Davis, Warren Woods and Belton Johnson break down what to expect.
During the game, stay up-to-date and entertained with the Fan Zone with Scotty and the King.
After the game, the Green Zone team returns with the Green Zone Post-Game Show featuring your calls at 1-877-300-7275.