With the season over, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will have some big decisions to make – especially when it comes to the offensive side of the football.
Three of the Roughriders four quarterbacks are potential free agents in February including Zach Collaros, Brandon Bridge and the recently acquired Drew Tate.
Head coach Chris Jones was tight-lipped when it came to which, if any, of the quarterbacks he was interested in keeping but he did make one thing clear – his offensive coordinator, Stephen McAdoo was staying put.
“Certainly we need to be more consistent offensively but with that being said we had a lot of shifts in personnel throughout the year,” Jones said pointing to injuries to Naaman Roosevelt and the situation with Duron Carter.
The offence struggled all year with its ability to find the end zone, hitting it just 25 times this season.
By comparison, the Roughriders defensive and special teams scored 15 touchdowns.
Part of that struggle could be attributed to four games missed by Collaros at the beginning of the season because of a concussion.
Complications from a concussion suffered in the Roughriders final game of the regular season on Oct. 27 also kept Collaros from playing in the west semi-final which saw Bridge play in his place.
The Roughriders suffered a 23-18 loss that ended their Grey Cup dream.
“I think that any organization that is a winning football team you have to start at (quarterback) and you have to have a guy that is capable of winning games and has the physical attributes and the mental attributes to do that,” Jones said.
For his part, Bridge would like to be back in Saskatchewan because he’s enjoyed his time here. But if he were to return, he hopes to have the full faith of Roughriders coaching staff.
“Time, patience, roll with me. Roll with me through the good times and bad times,” Bridge said.
“I don’t want to compare myself to anybody but you know with Jeremiah Masoli, he had a couple picks but you see how he’s balling. He’s throwing touchdowns, he’s leading a team to potentially a grey cup … it’s just like how coach (June) Jones said ‘this is our guy we’re rolling with him good and bad’ and that’s what a player likes to hear just the loyalty and the love and the trust that you have in him to win the game.”
Bridge, by the way, is not suffering any long-term effects from the gruesome head-to-head hit during the second last play of the west semi-final.
“I’m feeling pretty good, obviously, the night of the hit I was a little woozy. Days after I feel fine,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Bridge believes that the league needs to allow the so-called “eye in the sky” referee in the command centre to make calls like the one that was missed on him, but he also thinks that harsher penalties would bring the number of hits down.
An opinion shared by Collaros.
“In the NCAA if you have a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first half you’re ejected from that game and I think if you have a hit in the second half you’re ejected for the next game. So I think if you start hitting people’s pockets I think they’ll definitely start second-guessing,” Bridge said.
Bridge, along with Collaros and 25 other Roughriders will hit the free agent market in mid-February.
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