Training camp continues for the Riders as they have 2 weeks between preseason games. The good news is that we only have to wait four more days for our first visit to Mosaic of the season. The downside is that there isn't a whole lot in the way of news to discuss until the Riders play again.
So today I decided to take a look at each position and discuss what I like about where we are at there as well as what still worries me. It's not quite the blogging equivalent of a clip show but its pretty close.
Like: Watching Trevor Harris go down made me realize how nice it is to have 2 starting quality QBs. Not many teams have that luxury and it gives tremendous peace of mind.
Worries: Not a lot actually. You already know I'm all in on the Collaros bandwagon. My only real worries are about our ability to block for him and our willingness to actually run the ball to take some pressure off (though Collaros does come from Kent Austin's offense, and he is the only guy more morally opposed the run than McAdoo).
Like: Once the Thigpen suspension is over we have a great 1-2 punch of Messam's power and Thigpen's explosiveness (provided we actually decide to run).
Worries: As great as our 1-2 punch is, they might as well be watching Matlock while drinking prune juice for how old they are football-wise. Thigpen has less miles on him than Messam (who I don't have a ton of confidence in this year) but still its somewhat worrisome.
Like: Carter, Roosevelt, Grant, Owens, Holley. What's not to love? Top end talent and quality depth. If one of the new guys happens to crack the roster, you know they are something special.
Worries: The Jake Harty injury left a big hole behind Rob Bagg. Bailey and Stanford are alright alternatives but not what Harty would have brought. We will need a 2nd quality Cdn WR for when Messam subs out and the jury is out on whether Bailey or Stanford can do it consistently. Another worry is the fact that we think our best WR should focus on playing DB part-time. Sure it gave us the Bo Levi pick 6 (a sweet memory indeed) but I still won't get onboard with any plan that willingly reduces the offensive snaps for your most dangerous weapon.
Like: Labatte and Bond will be solid at guard. Thus far Vaughn has done alright at tackle. I think our starting unit will be solid (not spectacular but solid).
Worries: Depth. In theory we are solid with Bladek and St John but St John can't get healthy enough to show whether this is actually his year. One injury could make things scary. Also depth behind Vaughn is a concern. I also have my ongoing concern with the fact that Dan Clark is adequate at best but I'll save you rehashing that rant.
Like: Pretty much everything about it. Hughes-Evans-Cox-Jefferson. That's a scary group. We also can rotate in Steele and Antigha who are solid in their own right. Hughes consistently leads the league in sacks and who ever plays opposite of him has a career year. I for one can't wait to see how awesome a career year for Jefferson is. If Chris Jones can actually get legit pressure on 3 and 4 man rush then his defense becomes a whole lot more dangerous.
Worries: Honestly, nothing. This should be a real strength for our team
Like: Love Eguavoen and Moncrief. If Judge can stay healthy then I think we have a solid group of 3 starters. Hurl is a good rotation guy (just please don't let me him be an every down starter).
Worries: Depth. I know we have guys in camp but so far there are no clear standout among the new import LBs. We need a couple of them to be good. If Eguavoen or Moncrief get hurt we could be screwed.
Like: That we have 2 rock solid HBs from day 1. Our starting secondary in the first few games of last season likely cost us a game or 2. When Butler stepped in to that HB spot it solidified everything and they started playing much better from then on. Other than 1 CB spot we have the same unit that ended last season. That continuity should pay dividends.
Worries: Still worried that Chris Lyles will win the starting CB spot. He has size and speed but gets beat deep routinely (he was part of the problem early last season). Worried that old man Jovon may not have another full year in him. He has given little reason to doubt so far but he's one of many old men we are counting heavily on. Also a bit concerned about depth at safety. Last season we had some combination of Edem, Brouilette, Bouka and Hecht throughout the year. This year we have just Edem and Brouilette (and Radford in an emergency). Be nice to have one more body there for depth (maybe Bouka will return mid-season)