Receivers are used to being at the centre of the play, making spectacular catches and scoring touchdowns, but with the Roughriders they’re focusing on a lot more.
Head coach Chris Jones has been putting a strong emphasis on his receivers making big blocks to help run plays and screen passes get further down the field.
“It’s tough,” admitted rookie receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert. “We have to make that transition and that’s one of the things we want to work on this week is blocking on the perimeter … if you get people blocked on the perimeter it’ll turn a 10-yard run into a touchdown or maybe a 40 or 50-yard run, so we realized the significance.”
“Coach Jones, he harps on us for getting our blocks because he wants to screen, he wants to run the ball,” added Naaman Roosevelt.
Jones admitted that the offence would be using those plays more after Saturday’s loss to the Calgary Stampeders, despite the Rider faithful booing the play calling.
“You better get used to it because we’re going to do some more of it,” the head coach said to the assembled media after the game. “I can tell Edmonton right now, we’re going to run the football, we’re going to be running sally, we’re going to throw screens and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to get good at it and we’re going to play great defence and special teams.”
Now, with Zach Collaros returning to the offence the playbook may be altered some to reflect the different playing style Collaros provides.
Williams-Lambert said he’s also looking forward to what Collaros brings into the huddle.
“To have a veteran quarterback in the huddle makes a big difference because they’re lost of things that he’s paying attention to as far as detail and knowing the defence … having him in there and that extra leadership is a big help,” he said.
But regardless of if it’s Collaros – who Jones said will play a bunch – or Bridge, who Jones says could also play a bit, Roosevelt and Williams-Lambert both said they know the receivers need to be better, especially in light of some costly drops in the game against Calgary.
“We always talk about (eliminating drops). Every ball is not going to be the best ball, it’s not going to be right to your chest and stuff like that so for us as receivers – we got a lot of big athletic receivers here – it’s for us to go up if it’s high and get the ball, if it’s low, go to the ground and get it and if it comes our we got to make a play on it,” Roosevelt said.
Along with Collaros, the Roughrider offence will be bolstered with the return of Duron Carter. Defensive back Nick Marshall, who Carter was filling in for, was activated Wednesday morning and will start at cornerback. Carter comes in to play slotback replacing Caleb Holley. Holley was placed on the one-game injured list.
The Roughriders square off against the Eskimos at 8 p.m. on Thursday.
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