The 2017 CFL season begins in Montreal Thursday night with the Riders taking on the Alouettes. There are many storylines to this game as both teams look to get off to a positive start after less than stellar campaigns last year.
Here are some players to watch for
DARIAN DURANT: Duhhhh!! Durant has said all the right things this week leading up to the first game against his old team. There is no doubt he would like to be more than "moderately successful" in this game and send a message to Chris Jones. The relationship between the two was obviously strained enough to the point he could not return. Durant, who is said to be leaner going into the season, isn't putting up any statements for people to run with, but you know in his first game as an Alouette, he would love nothing more than to stick one to Jones.
DURON CARTER: It is Durant's first game against his old team, and it is Carter's first game against his old squad. The publicity for that hasn't been as great, but I would think Carter would like to show his former team what they are missing as well. He was released by the Alouettes late in the season and combined with Naaman Roosevelt gives Kevin Glenn two very inviting targets to throw the football to. The key is emotion as Carter has to have his head screwed on right and focus on the game and nothing more.
CALEB HOLLEY: With all the attention that will be paid to Roosevelt and Carter, it could free up some space for Holley. He showed us what he could do last year, and if Kevin Glenn can find him on a few routes it will make the Riders offence a little more dangerous
JOHN BOWMAN: The 34 year old defensive lineman is a quarterback's nightmare. The guy shows no signs of slowing down. The Riders o-line has a challenge in front of them in dealing with Bowman. Neutralizing him goes a long way to recording a "W".
CHRIS LYLES: He takes over the defensive half spot left open by the release of Justin Cox. He needs to provide the solid defence in his first CFL season as Cox did in his. I would think Durant will be looking at Lyles as the possible weak link in the secondary.
BJ CUNNINGHAM: A lot of people are talking up the 28 year old Michigan State receiver as a player to watch after having a great training camp. Cunningham caught 4 TD passes late in the 2015 season for the team, but didn't play last year. Who is this guy? We may find out tonight if the clippings come out of Montreal are correct
Game time is 5:30 on 620 CKRM and TSN