Football is back tonight! It may be football that is as ugly and meaningless as an encounter with a discount hooker but its football nonetheless and I am pumped.
Normally my pre-game post consists of breaking down the match-ups and what needs to happen for the Riders to win. With this being a preseason game I'm going to take a different approach given that the match-up breakdown is essentially the future unemployed vs. those destined for the practice roster. Also, I'm too lazy to look into the actual number but it seems to me the Riders have an abysmal pre-season record (not that that matters).
Monday's post was about guys I was keeping my eye on so I won't rehash that. Instead I'll look broadly at the positions of interest.
The first is the trenches. Defenses will likely be running some very vanilla schemes so there should be lots of one-on-one matchups ot see where we stand on both lines. Guys like Shepley and Schram should get lots of reps on OL. On the D-line I want to see how new guys like Dabire, Faulk and Graves hold up when they start pushing for real.
The other place that you get a good sense of in preseason is running backs and LBs. In practice you don't get a good sense of who can tackle or break tackles or who has a nose for the ball. Our 2 young RBs have a great opportunity to show there stuff. One will be retained in some form and I will damn near guarantee will see at least 1 game this season (I stand by by "no way Powell and Thiggy both play 18" claim").
Receivers and DBs are a lot tougher to get a sense of just by watching. I've seen DBs get picks and WRs get long TDs and be cut the next because they only got those because they we're in the wrong spot and got lucky. Obviously you can see if a receiver is making contested catches or if a DB has good man coverage but beyond that its tough to read much into the stats and what the fans see. I would like to see Picton have a good game. He patiently waited 2 years on the PR and now with both top drafted Cdn Wrs out has a golden chance to impress.
Then there is QBs which I'm honestly not excited about. Fajardo will be our back-up. Its a done deal. Obviously him not looking like hot garbage tonight would be a real morale booster. I think the only battle is whether Watford can show enough to be kept another year or whether we've seen his ceiling and its time to try developing someone else (i.e. Harker).
As much as this is a meaningless game I think it is an important one for the Riders. Not as far as determining the starters or even the majority of back-ups, that's mostly decided. But I count at least 10 projected starters who are 31 or older. I think we are lucky if 7 of those play a full 18 games. That means success this season will require tapping into our depth. This game is a chance to see what we have in terms of depth and a chance for guys to step and show they can be that next man up.
It's also a Friday preseason game, so a great chance to "drink this game pretty". It will take a lot.