Carter remains at cornerback for Riders
Quarterback Brandon Bridge knows where he would like to see Duron Carter line up with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I would love to have him on offence,” Bridge said in advance of Thursday’s CFL game against the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
“He would have the same impact that he did last year — 1,000 (receiving) yards and the attention of defences. The defensive co-ordinators are probably scared to have him out there because he’s definitely a playmaker for us. If he has all of that attention, it helps out other guys as well.”
Carter, who is slated to make his third consecutive start at boundary cornerback on Thursday, also wants to be more involved in the offence.
“I like being on defence all the time because I like to affect the game,” said Carter, who was a 2017 all-star after leading the Riders in receiving yardage (1,043) and finishing tied for second on the team in touchdown receptions (eight).
“Still, I want to be on offence. I don’t particularly like being on defence when we’re out there every play. When the offence is going (two-and-out), it’s not conducive to a win. I want to be out there as much as I can. I think the coaches are thinking about what’s best.”
Saskatchewan (1-2) hasn’t been at its best without Carter on offence. The Riders are sixth in net offence (910 yards) and average points per game (20.3) and seventh in offensive touchdowns (three).
This season, Carter has only four receptions for 45 yards in limited action as a receiver compared to 14 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown after three games in 2017. Carter also returned a pick 28 yards for a touchdown in a 40-17 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on June 22.
It’s unlikely that Carter will return to offence anytime soon. He’s starting at cornerback because Nick Marshall (finger) is on the six-game injured list. Chris Jones, the Riders’ head coach and general manager, needs Carter on defence because the Riders don’t have any options at boundary cornerback.
Jones feels that Shaq Evans is a capable replacement for Carter at wide receiver. Evans leads the Riders with 133 receiving yards and is second with seven receptions in just two games.
“Coach Jones is the head man and if Coach Jones told Duron to line up at centre, he’s going to line up at centre,” Bridge said. “Whatever happens and whatever Coach Jones says, we have to follow. We may not agree with it or people may have their own words to say about things, but we’re a team. (Jones is) our leader. We’re going to follow and support him.”
Saskatchewan’s coaching staff also supports Carter, who has given up two long touchdown receptions this season.
On Saturday, Montreal Alouettes receiver Chris Williams torched Carter for 130 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run, on three receptions in the Riders’ 23-17 loss.
“What Duron is learning as a defensive back is that on any given day you can be beat,” said Riders defensive backs coach Jason Shivers. “Even Deion Sanders got beat. Being able to come back from that might be the biggest thing (for Carter).”
Ed Gainey, Saskatchewan’s veteran defensive back, said Carter has to learn from his mistakes.
“When he came to defence he made an impact right away,” Gainey said. “Now, he’s going through a rough patch. It’s about him learning from his experience and making sure that those plays never happen again.”
Jones, meanwhile, has been the subject of criticism from Rider Nation for the team’s start to the season and how he’s utilizing Carter.
“I worry about this football team and I can’t be worried about the fans,” Jones said. “If we went undefeated, there would be somebody complaining. I remember when we won the state championship in high school, I was sitting in a cafe the next day and they were complaining that we didn’t throw the ball more.
“I’m not going to sit here and worry. I know what we have to do. We’ve been here before. Unfortunately, we’ve stubbed our toe again. We took too many penalties last week, which helped cost us the football game. We’ve got to correct that, play good football, and get back to our winning ways.”