July 10, 2014

Nye: Roster changes speak volumes in Riderville

Adam Gagnon

48-15 tells you many things about the team on the losing end:

What could have gone wrong did go wrong

This story line is pretty self explanatory, before we get to the more complex ones below. Even an offensive line that many believe is the best in the CFL had deficiencies against the Toronto Argonauts.

Turnovers, missed tackles, missed field goals, kickoffs out of bounds…. well yeah, it all went wrong against Toronto.

They have work to do

Nobody said it was going to be easy for the Roughriders but after their week one win, we thought the Green and White were a lot closer than they actually are.

Early this week Head Coach Corey Chamblin didn’t deny that growing pains were coming. Not every week, but in the first half, or at least he hopes it doesn’t go longer, the Riders still have some things to figure out.

By no means is this a championship team yet. Chamblin knows it, General Manager Brendan Taman knows it, and so to do the fans.

The Riders are being realistic and whether it was a motivator for his team or a precautionary warning to the fan base, Chamblin was clear that the first half of the season is about finding the players they can rely on for a strong second half.

It’s quite the change from the 8-1, clear contenders they were last season.

A fan to my show after the game was bang on, when he told the fans to let 2013 go. As great a time it was, this isn’t the 2013 Riders and Chamblin’s message was in line with that thought.

The evaluation process of this roster is no where near complete, and that’s where we get into the much more difficult assessment…

Changes will be made

It wouldn’t take long either.

Dwight Anderson was the first major move after being punted for a conditional pick. The veteran defensive back was traded to Toronto for reasons beyond the field of play and one of the things Head Coach Corey Chamblin wants to see is some other players take on a bigger leadership role.

But with Anderson’s departure it also means there will be changes on the field and at a position group we didn’t have many questions over in the off-season, we all of sudden are left wondering how the secondary will do with Macho Harris getting thrown in the mix and Terrell Maze moving positions.

Along with the Anderson trade, players saw the pressure increase to improve their performance.

Anthony Allen may have fumbled for the last time, or at least, he better have fumbled for the last time.

While we await final word, Chamblin at least admits it looks as though Hugh Charles will be put on the roster. Another subplot to the Anderson trade is the team will fill the extra international spot with a running back after giving all the snaps to Allen in the first two weeks.

Then comes the Jerome Messam signing. Right now, he’ll be thrown on the roster to offset the loss of Neal Hughes to a foot injury but you have to think Messam is also in Saskatchewan to try to find his 1,000-yard calibre running attack again.

These aren’t the only changes. There are other players who are definitely seeing more practice reps with the first team than they were in the first two weeks.

The coaching staff is sending the message loud and clear they aren’t afraid to test the depth of the team early.

It will be telling on how the Riders come out to play in the coming weeks. Are they tense and playing scared to lose a job or are they playing motivated to keep or win a job.

As we found out after their big win in game one, we can’t make any conclusions based on their next game against B.C.

But the benefit of an 18-game schedule is that Coach Chamblin and the Riders have more than enough time to figure it out.