Brett Smith’s first CFL start in the Riders’ 30-5 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night had mixed results for the 23-year-old quarterback.
There were times in the game where Smith showed great potential, but that was mixed with some rookie mistakes.
Overall, Smith finished 15-for-22 for 132 yards and two interceptions.
“Obvious(ly I feel) frustrated and disappointed in how things went. I wish I could have done a better job,” said Smith after the game.
As the locker room opened to the media, Smith needed a few minutes to compose himself. Even then, Smith was noticeably dejected in the way the game had gone.
It’s understandable that Smith would feel the way he did. Growing up, no one dreams of their first start in professional football being a loss.
Smith can take some solace in the fact that the Riders sixth loss in a row to open the season does not lay at his feet.
“We really tried to make we sure we played at a high enough level to make sure he would feel comfortable and we just didn’t do that today,” said offensive lineman Xavier Fulton.
On at least two occasions, Smith had explosive plays wiped out because of a penalty taken by one of his teammates.
In all, the Riders were penalized 17 times for 127 yards, with both sides taking bad penalties.
While penalties wiped out some good plays for the offence, the Riders weren’t much help to Smith defensively either.
There was marked improvement from the defence when it came to putting pressure on the quarterback. Alex Hall and John Chick sacked Matt Nichols a couple of times each with Tyron Brackenridge also adding a sack.
That being said, once again, not a single turnover was created leaving Smith needing long drives most of the day.
“Defence and special teams we got to do better picking up the slack if the offence is having a down time. It goes all the way around,” said defensive back Matt Webster.
Head coach Corey Chamblin decided in the fourth quarter that it was time for Smith to sit out the rest of the game. That decision, according to the coach, was not due to performance.
“I thought we’d seen enough right now. Didn’t want to leave him out there to dry,” he said.
Chamblin also wanted to get another look at Tino Sunseri.
With that loss now in the rear-view mirror, Smith now needs to use that game as a learning experience to try and take a step forward in Toronto next Saturday night.
“That’s the only thing you can do as a quarterback. Try to build off your mistakes and failures. That’s what I plan on doing.”