Watch that film, evaluate who you need to and then burn that film and never look at it again. That is the advice I have for Greg Marshall and company after what was an ugly display of football. The Riders lost 34-6 and yes, the score was indicative as to how the night went.
Just some thoughts
--If he didn't play, I think Ryan Dinwiddie is the number two quarterback. Cole Bergquist and Chris Leak slugged it out for number three and I think Bergquist wins the battle. If Chris is let go, it will beg the question. Will any of the other 7 teams want to "Take a Leak".
--Darian Durant played way too long. Yes, he had to shake off some of the rust, but leaving him in for much of the 3rd quarter was a risk---especially when Darian plays the way Darian does. I don't know about you, but I just cringed every time he took off with the football last night.
--Ernie Wheelwright and Terrence Nunn have both made this team with their efforts. We did see both drop a couple and Wheelwright made a bad decision at the end of the first half when he didn't go out of bounds, but this guy can catch the football and you just don't set 6 foot 4 receivers with hands adrift. As for Nunn, he didn't make the long catch that many of us were hoping for, but he showed that he is capable of being one of the wideouts.
--Wes Cates will be the starting running back and I think Brandon West has supplanted Hugh Charles as the backup. Does Hugh make the team as a returner? I would suggest to Brendan Taman that perhaps it is time to trade Hugh to someone to get a rush end. Would the Lions be interested?
--I ask that last question and I say if they are--too bad. You don't want to make BC look any better. I said going into training camp that I thought BC was going to be the biggest challenger to the Riders this year and after what I saw last night, those feelings are stronger.
--I love Eddie Johnson the punter, however Eddie Johnson the kicker gives me no security whatsoever. Christopher Milo and Tomas Silva also didn't dazzle. Coach Marshall had the best line of the night when he said he thought those guys were kicking a curling stone. Nick Setta is out there, either Damon Duval or Derek Schiavone will be set free in Edmonton and either Sean Whyte or Sandro De Angelis will be cut in Montreal. This team needs a proven field goal kicker until Luca Congi is ready to go. I just hope its not De Angelis. I don't think I could stomach him wearing green.
--If you have room, and I doubt you will, keep Saskatoon Hilltops safety Graig Newman. He did not look out of place in either exhibition game and I think the coaches have to be very pleased with what he has done. He deserves a spot, but sadly there might not be enough room at the inn.
--After that, its still difficult to determine who the rush ends will be and what linebackers stay. I thought George Hudson did a better job than Marc Parenteau at center, but I know there's a lot more to o-line play than just how it looks.
I don't know if the decisions are easier or tougher after a game like that, but I know the time for evaluation is done. Its time to play some football as the regular season opener is just over a week away. Final cuts need to be made Saturday. Get a pot or two of coffee on cuz the coaches are going to need it.