TORONTO — It’s no secret that the struggling offence of the Saskatchewan Roughriders is the team’s Achilles heel.
Yet despite ranking at or near the bottom of the league in many categories, Chris Jones’ team has kept its head above water, fighting to a 3-3 record and in position to compete for second in highly-competitive West.
Most would agree, however, that the current recipe is not one for sustained success in Riderville.
The Riders are the only team averaging fewer than 200 passing yards per game (191.0). They’re third-last in net offence (303.0 yards per game). And they have just one more first down (95) than last-place Montreal.
While the club lost Jerome Messam this week, who was released after being criminally charged and will not be allowed to play in the CFL, fans received some good news when Zach Collaros returned to practice. Collaros may not play in Week 8, but another welcome sight, at least for many, came in Duron Carter‘s presence on offence after spending most of the season as a defender.
After many had pegged the Green and White as contenders following significant strides in 2017, the Riders still have work to do, especially on the offensive side of things. But could Collaros and Carter be just what they need?
More in The Weekly Say.
Can Zach Collaros and Duron Carter save the Riders’ offence?
Marshall Ferguson: The Riders squeaked out an ugly one at home to start the season with ZC and DC. Not sure they’re the great cure-all to that offence. I actually worry about Zach being too worried about feeding the needs of Duron and having it affect his ability to distribute the ball where it should go. In the season-opener Collaros was 2-for-5 for 27 yards to Duron and the emphasis of getting him the ball seemed unnatural.
Chris O’Leary: They won’t hurt it. Quarterback play has been inconsistent thus far and while Collaros didn’t blow people away with his play, there’s an opportunity there for him to bring some consistency to the position. If that position is stabilized, Carter can thrive.
Jame Nye: ‘Save’ may be a little strong. Improve? That is more likely. The biggest question is for how long. Zach Collaros’ injury history has be a concern, especially behind an offensive line that has already allowed Zach to get hit. As for Carter, it’s another weapon for an offence that needs to stretch the field a little more to open up the underneath routes they appear to favour.
Matthew Cauz: As the owners of last place in passing yards per game, the return of Collaros and Carter can only help. I’m just hoping that Chris Jones pulls Collaros for Brandon Bridge and then pulls Bridge for David Watford in the same game.
Jim Morris: You would hope Collaros’ return will give the Riders the veteran presence at quarterback the team has lacked. I also think everyone can agree Carter is a better receiver than he is on defence. But to be successful the Riders need to be more aggressive on offence. In last week’s loss to Calgary, the Riders had 239 yards total offence with just 147 passing yards. Hopefully there will be more plays in the book for Collaros to work with.
Don Landry: Collaros and Carter will only save the Roughriders’ offence if Head Coach Chris Jones comes off his ‘get used to screen passes and runs’ sentiment. Which I’m assuming he will, with both Carter and Collaros back on offence. So, yes.
Can Zach Collaros and Duron Carter save the Riders' offence?
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When will the Calgary Stampeders lose their first game?
Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps are perfect through six games this season (The Canadian Press)
Nye: Aug. 19th back in Saskatchewan. The Roughriders came back after spotting the Stamps 24 points in the first quarter. Add to that Zach Collaros is back and it is hard enough to win in Saskatchewan, let alone doing it twice in one season.
Landry: The Stampeders will lose their first game in July of 2019. I’m kidding. I think. Perhaps it will be on Saturday, Aug.25, against Winnipeg.
O’Leary: Nov. 25 in Edmonton. I kid! Their schedule should get more difficult in the coming weeks. They meet Winnipeg for the first time this season in Week 11 and that takes them into their Labour Day Classic series with Edmonton. I don’t think they come out of that three-game stretch – they face Winnipeg with a six-day break and re-match with Edmonton on five days’ rest – unscathed.
Cauz: Week 13, the Labour Day rematch on the road against Edmonton. They will have beaten the Eskimos a week earlier so Reilly and company will be more than motivated to get the W. Bonus Prediction: Calgary’s next loss will be a heartbreaking one on Nov. 25 when, as a 10.5-point favourite, they will lose the Grey Cup to an Eastern team who barely managed to finish over .500.
Ferguson: Week 13 Labour Day rematch at Edmonton.
Morris: I’m thinking either Week 18, when BC plays at Calgary, or Week 19, when Saskatchewan plays at Calgary. By then the Stampeders will have first place in the West wrapped up and they will be thinking about the playoffs. They might even rest a couple of players. Both the Riders and Lions will need wins so they can get the crossover playoff spot.
When will the Stamps lose their first game?
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Ottawa REDBLACKS: Over or under 10.5 wins?
Landry: I’ll take the over for REDBLACKS wins. Please, for the love of God, someone in the East win 11 or 12 games this season. Ottawa appears to be the most likely candidate to do that.
Ferguson: Over, but barely. Ottawa is a good team that could feast on weaker division opponents down the stretch to put them over the top.
O’Leary: Over. As it stands right now, I look at their remaining East match ups (six of them) as winnable. They’ve beaten BC and Saskatchewan already and face them again this year. If everything worked out and they could surprise one of Edmonton or Winnipeg, they could become the first East team to win to crack the 12-win mark since…Ottawa did it in 2015.
Nye: Under. I’m going with 10 on the nose for Ottawa, going 6-6 the rest of the way.
Cauz: Under. Ottawa finishes 10-8. No Eastern team has collected over 10 wins since 2015 when the REDBLACKS finished 12-6.
Morris: Looking at the REDBLACKS’ schedule they might only win five more games the rest of the season. I say under 10.5 wins.
How many games will the REDBLACKS win in 2018?
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