Everyone did what they were supposed to do, and that’s all that good teams need to do to win. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are a good team.
Charleston Hughes doesn’t need to get three sacks a game all the time, but he was brought in to pressure quarterbacks and help Willie Jefferson cause havoc, and that’s what he did. It’s also nice to see Zack Evans back; the Roughriders should never have let him go in the first place.
Brett Lauther doesn’t need to be perfect, but he recovered from a bad start and he made the field goals when they needed to be made, from distances that were neither desperately far nor disappointingly close.
Nationals Joshua Stanford and Devon Bailey don’t need to become fan favourites, but if they keep playing like they did last night, we’ll all feel a little better about the departure of Rob Bagg.
Jerome Messam doesn’t need to rush for 100+ yards every game, he just needs to secure the ball and pound the defenders into small bite-sized pieces, just like he did last night. I’d still like to see him break a long one just to watch that freight train run people over.
Duron Carter doesn’t need to make spectacular career-defining receptions every game, and while he tried and failed yesterday to relive that catch from last year, he was a reliable receiver that Toronto could never ignore. And I suspect Caleb Holley is going to cause a lot of problems this year for opposing defenses. Naaman Roosevelt was Naaman Roosevelt (never has one name done so much with so few letters).
Nick Marshall doesn’t need to snag a pick-six every game, but when the football gods smiled upon him, he smiled right back.
Samuel Eguavoen and Derrick Moncrief don’t need to murder anyone out on the field on every play, but it’s comforting to watch them circling like a couple of Tiger sharks. Throw in that Cameron Judge guy, who always seemed to be lurking around nearby, and you got yer’self a defense.
The defense is not going to be able to clamp down every week on a dangerous quarterback/running back duo like Ray and Wilder Jr., and those two still did break out here and there, but the damage was limited and manageable. Toronto ain’t gonna win a lot of games on 233 yards passing and 16 yards rushing from those two.
Tre Mason doesn’t need to fumble the ball every game, and I hope he doesn’t because you know what Coach Jones don’t particularly cotton to that, but the Roughriders’ defense didn’t crumble when they had to unexpectedly return to the field, and otherwise, Mr. Mason showed all the speed, power and agility that one would expect from a former Heisman Trophy finalist.
Zach Collaros doesn’t need to light it up to win ball games. He just needs to avoid mistakes and spread the ball around. Let the receivers do the rest. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like a 400 yard game now and then (possibly as soon as two weeks from now against the hapless Montreal Alouettes), I’m just saying this team does not require any player, including its quarterback, to shoulder too much of the load. Many hands make light work, and one-dimensional teams are not only easy to game-plan, but they can’t adjust in the second half when the other teams figure them out.
The referees don’t always need to (probably) blow a pass interference call and allow a pick-six that (probably) should’ve been called back, but luck is when preparation meets opportunity. You have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good. The ball always seems to roll the way of good teams, and even when it doesn’t, good teams find ways to overcome.
The 2018 Saskatchewan Roughriders are a good team. Now it’s time to see if they can become a great team.
I have spoken.