Riders receivers looking to bond over dinner
Bonding is on the menu when it comes to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ receivers.
Veteran slotback Naaman Roosevelt said the receivers were headed out for dinner on Tuesday as a means of becoming familiar with each other away from the CFL field.
“We’re a bunch of new guys getting to know and understand each other and we’ve been trying to do that,” Roosevelt said after Tuesday’s closed practice at Mosaic Stadium. “The more we get around each other, the more we understand each other and the more it will work out on the field.”
The Riders adopted a similar approach in 2017 when they attended dinners, movies and even bowled together. The camaraderie paid off with Roosevelt, Duron Carter and Bakari Grant all recording more than 1,000 receiving yards.
“We’re just trying to get that going now,” Roosevelt said. “It has been a crazy couple of weeks. It’s a chance for us to settle down and understand what we need to do as a team. It’s just focusing on the little things like getting to know each other and working out and understanding what we need to do.”
Saskatchewan’s offence has struggled en route to opening the season with a 1-2 record. The Riders have scored just three offensive touchdowns over that span, tied for fifth among the CFL’s nine teams.
“It’s pretty bad, especially since this is an offensive game,” said Roosevelt, who leads the Riders in receptions (12), touchdowns (two) and is second in receiving yards (129). “We know what we need to do. We need to get our running game going and that would help out the pass in a lot of ways. For all of us, we need to block better.”
It hasn’t helped that the Riders have already used three quarterbacks since the season kicked off June 15.
Zach Collaros started two games before heading to the six-game injured list with a concussion. Brandon Bridge started against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday, but was yanked after struggling in the first half. David Watford replaced Bridge in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as the Riders were beaten 23-17.
Bridge is expected to start Thursday against the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Chris Jones, the Riders’ head coach and general manager, said that Watford will also play if Bridge struggles.
“It’s an adjustment, but Coach does a good job of rotating guys in at practice,” Roosevelt said. “We all know what to look for when they are both out there.”
The Riders, meanwhile, bolstered their offensive line with Tuesday’s signing of Braden Schram. The Tiger-Cats selected Schram in the second round (13th overall) of the 2017 CFL draft. Hamilton is loaded with Canadians along the offensive line and was able to release Schram on Thursday.
The Riders need help, so they signed the University of Calgary product.
Earlier Tuesday, the Riders traded defensive end/linebacker Eric Striker to the Toronto Argonauts for the rights to running back Denard Robinson, who was on Toronto’s negotiation list.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Robinson in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2013 NFL draft after starring at quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines. In 2012, he added running back and receiver to his duties in his senior season.
Robinson spent four seasons with the Jaguars. He had 259 carries for 1,038 yards and five touchdowns and caught 47 passes for 310 yards.
“We’re trying to reach out to him and see if he might have an interest in coming up to the CFL,” Jones said. “I think the big field would be a place that he could excel.”