Much like the situation the Montreal Alouettes were faced with a few weeks back (when they were forced to put rookie QB Rakeem Cato at the helm of their O) the Saskatchewan Roughriders are looking at that exact scenario this week, and moving forward. Fortunately, the Alouettes proved that a team can be successful in this situation if they manage the circumstance correctly. On Offense, they need to put their new Quarterback into down and distance positions where he can be successful. This means that the Riders have to consistently run the rock against the Esks. Not only will a successful rushing attack set Smith up with manageable throwing downs and decisions, but it will also allow him to infuse some play action passes, where he can use his legs, as he has shown he's capable of. The Rider screen game is going to have to be part of the equation as well.
Our GAMEDAY GOTTA HAVE IT puts the spotlight on Saskatchewans Guard-Centre-Guard combo of Best, Clark, and Labatte. If the Riders are going to rush the ball and help out their young QB, they're going to have to impose their will on two of the CFLs best Defensive Tackles, Almondo Sewell and Eddie Steele. The Roughriders Offensive Tackles (Fulton and Adcock) can handle the Edmontons D-Ends, but everything the Esks do defensively predicates on their D-Tackles pushing the pocket and wreaking havoc in the middle. The last thing the Riders want to see is Brett Smith being rushed into bad decisions and forcing throws because he's under duress due to the middle of his pocket being crushed.
Chris Best, Dan Clark, and Brendon Labatte keeping the Edmonton Eskimo Defensive Tackles from dictating the pace of this game...they GOTTA HAVE IT!!!