Last month our esteemed panel of pigskin prognosticators reviewed the many off-season changes the Riders made as they prepared for what the team and its supporters undoubtedly hope will be a momentous 2013 campaign — with the Grey Cup scheduled to be played at Mosaic Stadium in late November, and all.
For the most part, Cal, Earl and Ron viewed the off-season moves in a positive light. And in the weeks that followed, the Riders made even more moves, highlighted by the resigning of former all-star defensive end John Chick.
In last Friday’s pre-season game in Edmonton the Riders got off to a decent start with a last-minute 31-24 victory over the Eskimos. Especially impressive was the performance of the defense, which recorded four interceptions, with two of the picks being returned for TDs, along with several sacks. On offense, all four QBs moved the ball well through the air, although the running game did struggle, and there were some costly turnovers. As far as special teams go, the kicking game is still somewhat up in the air, with three punter/placekickers in the running, and no one having really stepped up.
Tonight, the Riders take the field at Mosaic Stadium for their final pre-season game against the Calgary Stampeders. The Stamps opened their pre-season at home last Friday with a 31-29 loss to the B.C. Lions in a game in which starting QB Drew Tate struggled mightily while second-stringer Kevin Glenn shone.
Following the game, both teams will trim their rosters and start preparation for the regular season. That starts for the Riders with a return engagement against the Eskimos in Edmonton on June 29. Prior to that game, look for another installment of Rider Fan Forum where Earl, Ron and Cal assess the training camp and pre-season and offer their thoughts on how the Riders stack up against their CFL rivals.
Game time tonight is 8 p.m. And it doesn’t look like it’s on TSN as it’s showing game seven of the NBA final between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.