Thursday, July 2, 2009

Riders Must Tame Lions

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will look to put the mistakes of pre-season past behind them on Friday as they class with their bitter rivals the BC Lions.

The game marks the first meeting between the Riders and the Lions since the Lions traveled to Mosaic Stadium in the playoffs and beat the Riders.

Both teams were "ravaged" so to speak during the off-season. The Riders lost two of their 'prime time' defensive players and the Lions lost a number of players to the NFL and to free agency.

Without a proven running back and a new look defense, the Lions appear to be ripe for the picking on Friday.
But alas, overconfidence can lead to a teams demise, and if the Riders take this attitude into the game it could lead to a dissapointment at home.

Mission Tips:

When the Riders have the ball....
When Saskatchewan fields the ball on offense, it will be imperative they make things happen early and often. Putting up a lot of points in quick succesion could demoralize the BC Lions. So how will they do this?

Saskatchewan should not be afraid to run the ball to new running back Hugh Charles, who showed flashes during the pre-season. A solid running game will only make life easier for Darian Durant as he begins the transition once again into the starters role. Without Cameron Wake and with the question marks in BC linebacking core, a running game could be the way to go.

If the running game doesn't produce for the Riders, they can throw the ball to a number of talented receivers. If Darian Durant can get the ball out to stars Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler and Jason Clermont, it could be a long day for the Lions.

The Riders would be smart to run a lot of misdirection and plays to catch the Lions off guard. Test the Lions and see if they can handle the test.

When the Lions have the ball...
The Lions don't have a proven running back following Stefan Logan's departure to the NFL, but Saskatchewan should still focus on stopping the running game. Nothing will give BC more momentum then developing a strong running game.

The Riders also need to get and keep quarterback Buck Pierce off his game. If Pierce gets hot the Riders could be in trouble but if they put the pressure on him, he could make some mistakes and turn the ball over.

And of course, the Riders db's will need to keep an eye on receivers Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon. The talented duo could cause havoc in the backfield.

Agents to watch for:

Darian Durant: Darian Durant was named the starter for the Riders and has the confidence of his teammates. If Durant can regain his form from a year ago, the Riders offense could have a great day.
Jason Clermont: Playing against his former team, Clermont should be motivated. The Lions released Clermont in the off-season and Clermont will look to prove he is still a commodity.
John Chick: Chick was injured a lot last season, but he is still remembered for his amazing performance in the 2007 Grey Cup run. Chick is still the leader of the Riders defense and he should be one of the Riders getting pressure on Buck Pierce.

Paris Jackson: Jackson is one of the rising stars in the league, and if the Riders put too much attention on Geroy Simon, Jackson could have a field day.
Aaron Hunt: Defensive end Cameron Wake may be gone, but Hunt still remains on the defensive line. Hunt could be a huge force in breaking up the running game.
Anton Mackenzie: Mackenzie left the Riders in the off-season for the Lions. The outside linebacker will look to have a huge game for the Lions against his former squad.

Agent Roughrider's Prediction:
Both teams may take some time to get into their groove on Friday. Saskatchewan does have the advantage of playing at home with their spirited crowd.

BC will have to rely on the passing game alot with their lack of a running game, and Saskatchewan deploys seven defensive backs.

Saskatchewan's offense appears to be running fine after a few learning curves, but it will be their defense that could determine whether they win or lose.

Riders will win the game 24-10.

Agent Roughrider out...

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