If the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to win a game before their week off, Saturday night will have to be the night.
The 0-6 Riders are in Toronto set to take on the Argonauts at the Rogers Centre – a game that also happens to to be the Argos home opener after spending the entire season away from home to date.
If the Riders are finally going to snap their losing streak, it will be behind quarterback Brett Smith.
“We fixed the little things (in Smith’s game),” said offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine.
“The biggest thing that he has to do is take the easy throws that are available to him.”
Smith showed fairly well last week in his first-ever CFL start against the Edmonton Eskimos. If not for a couple of interceptions late in the third quarter, his performance would have looked even better considering the circumstances.
Last week, Smith was facing one of the best defence’s in the CFL with just one day of practice. This week, the former Wyoming quarterback will face a far less ferocious defence and will be doing so with a full week of meetings and practices under his belt.
The 23-year-old sees that as a big help ahead of his second career start.
“Going in each week, knowing what the defences do, the best you can,” he said, “knowing the personnel and adjust accordingly.”
The Argos defence comes into the game third last in average points allowed per game.
Even if Smith finds his groove against this Argo defence, he’s going to need some help from his friends on the other side of the ball.
The Riders defence finally showed some signs of life last week against the Argos. They nearly doubled their sack total, a couple of passes were knocked down, and a number of two-and-outs were created – all things that did not happen the previous five weeks.
“There’s a lot we can build off of from last week,” said safety Tyron Brackenridge.
“There’s a lot we could have built off the last five weeks.”
Despite the effort, the Riders still rank near the bottom or at the bottom of many defensive categories. The most glaring problem has been their lack of turnovers.
Through six games, the Riders defence is on pace to steal the ball away just six games. That would not only be a new CFL record but it would crush the previous record of 25.
Linebacker Jake Doughty has the one interception this season. Their other turnover was a turnover on downs.
After a better effort against Edmonton and what’s been described as a solid week of practice. The coaching staff is confident better times are coming.
“They come back every week to work. They’re committed. Good things are going to happen in the near future for this team,” said defensive coordinator Greg Quick.
The Riders are making a few changes to the roster this week in hopes of creating a spark.
Added to the 46-man roster are:
- Running back Steven Miller
- Receiver Devin Wilson
- Defensive back Mark LeGree
- Defensive lineman Andre Monroe
Removed from the 46-man roster are:
- Receiver Jamel Richardson (six-game injured list)
- Running back Anthony Allen (one-game injured list)
- Linebacker Telvion Clark (released)
- Defensive back Tyree Hollins (one-game injured list)
Kick-off is at 5 p.m. on TSN.
The Green Zone 10-Hour Game Day begins at 1 p.m. on News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray followed by the Green Zone Pre-Game Show at 3 p.m.
During the game, stay up-to-date and entertained with Scotty and the King on the Fan Zone.
After the game, it’s your turn to be the star by calling the Green Zone Post-Game Show at 1-877-300-7275.