After a brief rookie camp, its time to get down to work for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the other teams in the CFL as training camp gets underway with the first pre-season game for the green and white now less than two weeks away in Vancouver. As is the case going into every season, there are questions to be asked and there are players to watch. There are many questions about the Riders going into 2012 after a disastrous 2011. They include how Corey Chamblin will do in his first year as head coach to did this team lose its confidence and its swagger because of what happened in 2011. Those questions will be answered in time.
When it comes to the players that I have questions about, here is a list in alphabetical order
Rob Bagg --The
Craig Butler – The
Darian Durant – It seems funny to put the Riders starting quarterback on this list, but how can you not ask questions about him after a sub-par 2011. It was a rough year on Darian not having Andy Fantuz or Rob Bagg around. He seemingly disagreed with Doug Berry and it totaled up to him having a disastrous season. The team invested in their future by signing Durant to a contract extension in the off-season. That was the right move as I think Durant, who has many detractors which is something that you get with the position, is still a guy that can be one of the CFL’s elite for years to come. He has to show though that 2011 was an anomaly and that he resembles the quarterback that took this team to Grey Cup appearances in 2009 and 2010. I am a Durant fan, so I say he will return to form.
Chris Graham – I have liked what I have seen from the
Justin Harper – Harper was the most impressive player at rookie camp. He seemingly has the tools to be a huge weapon in the Rider offence. He is big, he has nice hands and he runs nice routes. However, how does he do with the vets here and how does he do in an actual game situation. If he can do in a game situation what he did in rookie camp, it will be Andy who?
Brent Hawkins – There is no doubt the Riders have not had the impact defensive ends since John Chick and Stevie Baggs left. Brent Hawkins showed potential, but his bad shoulder has stopped us from seeing how good he can be. Hawkins, like Bagg, missed all of 2011 due to injury. Like Bagg, can he regain his old form and like Bagg, has he lost a step?
Jordan Sisco – The
Brandon West – The tailback’s job is open with the Wes Cates era now over. West saw time at tailback last year and he didn’t disappoint. He did well enough for this team to ship Hugh Charles off to
Shomari Williams – Taken as the number one pick in the 2010 draft, some are wondering when Williams will step up and be the player the Riders thought he could be when he was drafted. To be fair, Williams has been asked to do a lot in his two years and now he is being asked to perhaps be the man in the middle. It is time for Williams to show us what he can be and that the team was justified in making him the number one selection.
Odell Willis – The Riders rolled the dice to get the controversial defensive end from