REGINA — CFL All-Star Weston Dressler headlines the Riders group of receivers heading into next season.
The Riders 2012 Most Outstanding Player is coming off a career year with no signs of slowing down. In 17 games, Dressler accumulated career highs in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. His 94 catches for 1,206 yards had him among league leaders, while his 13 receiving touchdowns led the category.
Local product Chris Getzlaf is coming off an up and down season in which he recorded just two receiving touchdowns. While searching to maintain an elite level of consistency, Getzlaf still managed to gain 864 yards, the second highest total amongst the league’s Canadian receivers, while earning his first CFL West Division All-Star nomination along the way. At 30-years-old, Getzlaf is a valuable Canadian talent has averaged 60 receptions and 960 yards over the last three seasons.
Recently re-signed veteran Rob Bagg will once again look to return to form after missing significant time due to injury. After missing the entire 2011 season, Bagg played the first three games in 2012 before another devastating knee injury ended his season.
With the focus on his health, it’s easy to overlook Bagg’s value to the Riders receiving core. In 2009, Bagg broke out with 59 receptions for 807 yards and was named the Riders Most Outstanding Canadian. Through 15 games the next season, Bagg was again on pace for over 800 yards before the first injury struck.
Second year Rider, Taj Smith will return and look to build on what was an impressive debut season. After spending the first four weeks on the practice roster, Smith was activated and solidified his spot in the receiving core.
Through the next 13 games Smith caught 47 passes for 690 yards; a 53 yard per game average. The speedy and sure handed Smith supplies the Riders another receiver with 1,000 yard potential.
Saskatoon product, Scott McHenry will enter training camp at receiver after making the switch from fullback in week eight last season. The fourth-year veteran made a smooth transition and was a dependable wide side outlet totalling 19 receptions for 171 yards and one touchdown, his first in the CFL. McHenry’s contributions stretch beyond the offence as he also registered six special teams tackles.
2012 mid-season acquisition, Greg Carr, will get his first opportunity to spend an off-season and training camp with the Riders. The extra time with staff and teammates will provide the 6’6” target a better understanding of the offence. Carr showed glimpses of his potential through seven regular season games but his performance in the West Semi-Final where he caught four passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns is what Rider fans hope becomes a regular occurrence.
Second year Riders Brooks Foster, Aaron Hargreaves and Sinorice Moss must show continued improvement and reliability in order to earn active duty. Foster had an impressive two game mid-season debut before missing six weeks to injury. Harper played three of the first four games, but never seemed to settle into the Canadian style. Hargreaves brings six years of CFL experience including an appearance in the 2011 Grey Cup and Moss is a seasoned professional having spent five seasons in the NFL before coming North.
Non-import receiver Jordan Sisco, appears to be heading towards free-agency come February 15th. The Regina product played in the first seven games before missing the remainder of the 2012 season due to injury.
Finally, the addition of veteran Geroy Simon to the corps makes things all the more interesting in Riderville.
Simon, who arrived in Regina via trade with the BC Lions earlier this week, will likely slot in at the third spot on the depth chart, behind Dressler and Getzlaf.
Last season saw Simon haul in 54 passes for 700 yards and two touchdowns, but he also missed some time with an injury.