Heading into the 2015 CFL season this game, which goes at Mosaic Stadium today at 5 p.m., along with a rematch in Calgary on Halloween afternoon, were likely seen as potential first place showdowns between two traditional CFL West powers.
Seven games into the season, the Stamps, at 5W-2L, are definitely in the hunt. They sit one game back of the 6W-2L Edmonton Eskimos pending the outcome of last night’s game in Edmonton where the Eskimos hosted the CFL East leading Hamilton Tiger Cats. After their horrible 0W-7L start, the Riders, though, are pretty much done for 2015, and are now in a position to start the rebuilding process for 2016.
How far the Riders will go in rejigging their roster is a hot topic among fans these days. Do they hang on to fading veterans who are still capable of performing, but who command high salaries, and whose best days are behind them? Or do they either release and/or trade some of these veterans to contending teams to make room for younger players and hopefully stockpile some draft picks.
The Riders play their ninth game of the season on Aug. 30 in Ottawa against the Redblacks. After that, they are on the hook for the salary of any player with six or more years of CFL service. After the Labour Day and Banjo Bowl games against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, that protection extends to players with five and four years of CFL experience respectively. So if Rider GM Brendan Taman and head coach Corey Chamblin are going to make any big moves now would seem to be the time to do it.
As for this game, the Stamps are still missing their star RB Jon Cornish who is on the six-game injury list with a broken thumb. But unless the Riders have found a way during the bye week to solve all their self-destructive tendencies tied to penalties, turnovers, poor tackling and shaky defence it’s hard to envision them notching their first win of the season tonight.
You can find out more information on today’s game on the Riderville website. And in our Sept. 3 issue, we’ll have our mid-season installment of Rider Fan Forum where Cal Corduroy, John’s Chick, Earl Camembert and Ron Mexico will offer their prescriptions to cure what currently ails the Green & White.