This is a different Roughriders team and it has proven, at least through four games, that even though they are still capable of staying close, the defense will not be able to carry the team anymore. Others have to step up. Their game against the Stamps on Saturday has shown us how far this team might actually be from contending.
What was seen as a strength before the season started, the defense has quickly turned into a bit of a liability early on for the green and white. Let’s not put all the blame on them though, because there are holes on the offensive side as well. Obviously, we know the QB situation. Now, Cody Fajardo has seemed more than capable the last few games. He has quickly shot into the franchise record books with the most passing yards in his first two starts, surpassing a couple of guys named Darian Durant and Kent Austin, who have a cool three Grey Cup rings between them (four if you include Austin’s run as head coach in 2007).
Is that to say that Fajardo is going to carry the Riders back to the promised land? Absolutely not. Despite the company he keeps in Riders lore, two games is agreeably a very small sample size. Let’s also remember that losing your starting QB on the first drive of the season has obviously thrown a wrench in things. However, Fajardo will bounce back after a less than stellar performance against Calgary on Saturday and Isaac Harker looks like a capable number two option in the interim.
The offense looked lost against an injury-depleted Calgary defense and a weak O-line caused Fajardo to scramble more than he should have, putting him into forced throw situations that never end well. Positively though, Naaman Roosevelt quietly had a great game, averaging more than ten-yards a catch and 2019 first-round pick Justin McInnis got the start with KD Cannon being out with an injury.
Fans almost aren’t sure which defense they’re going to see from game to game. One week they look okay and the next they get absolutely shredded. They almost got lucky in Ottawa but no such luck exists against the defending champs, even with MOP quarterback Bo-Levi Mitchell sidelined with an injury. They couldn’t finish plays and Calgary ran through every tackle the Riders threw at them. When they had Calgary inside their own five-yard line, and the Riders’ D still allows them to march down the field for the touchdown, something isn’t right. Solomon Means had a rough time with penalties, one of them extending the aforementioned touchdown drive. As always though, there were some bright sides. A.C. Leonard had a great game with a couple of sacks and Solomon Elimimian returned from injury and had a solid five tackles.
Coach Dickenson acknowledged in his post-game presser that this loss was on everyone and that they did not look good. With the bye week coming at what might be the right time, the team will get a full week off before they have to try and regroup or get left behind.