Jones keeps Roughriders’ quarterback carousel spinning
Chris Jones has a rhyme and reason for his handling of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterbacks.
All three of the Riders’ quarterbacks saw action in Friday’s 37-12 CFL win over the Montreal Alouettes. Kevin Glenn started before twice being replaced by Brandon Bridge. Short-yardage specialist Vernon Adams, who is third on the depth chart, also took repetitions behind centre.
Jones, who didn’t give the quarterbacks advance notice of his plans, made the switches with an eye toward the playoffs and building depth for the future.
“You have to be ready for whatever,’’ Jones said after Friday’s game. “You never know when your opportunities are going to come. Just when you think you have things figured out, you don’t — as a coach or as a player. I had it in my mind how I was going to do it (Friday) and that’s what we did.’’
Jones, as per usual, didn’t leave room for speculation regarding the Riders’ starting quarterback.
“Kevin Glenn is our starter and it’s a pretty simple process,’’ Jones said. “We have three pretty good quarterbacks and I’m confident in all three of them running different packages.”
On Friday, Glenn led the Riders to a 14-0 lead before being replaced by Bridge on the first possession of the second quarter. Glenn thought he was done for the day when Bridge took over.
“When you go up 14-0 and he does that, I’ve been around long enough to decipher through things,’’ Glenn said. “That’s what I thought, but he never said anything.’’
Glenn played in the first and third quarters, completing seven of 14 passes for 104 yards and touchdown passes to Chad Owens and Caleb Holley. Bridge connected on 10 of 15 pass attempts for 124 yards and an interception while seeing action in the second and fourth quarters. Adams didn’t attempt a pass, but rushed twice for 14 yards.
“The coach makes those decisions and I had no clue,’’ Glenn said. “As players, you go with what the coach calls. He makes the decision and that’s what you have to go with.’’
Glenn led the Riders to three converted touchdowns and a field goal. Adams guided them to a converted touchdown. The Riders had two field goals with Bridge in the game, although he had a touchdown pass wiped out when Bakari Grant prematurely celebrated and was stripped of the ball at the one-yard line.
There were more than the quarterbacks involved in Friday’s win. Trent Richardson led the Riders with 20 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns in his fourth CFL game. Chad Owens had nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in just his second game with the Riders.
Defensive halfback Crezdon Butler led the defence with five defensive tackles and two sacks. Cornerback Kacy Rodgers II had two knockdowns after being sidelined by injury for the previous two contests.
Plus, Ed Gainey registered his leagueleading 10th interception while playing for a defence that kept Montreal offguard.
“We don’t pigeon-hole ourselves into we’re going to do this or do that (defensively),’’ Jones said. “We just see where the opportunities lie and take advantage of them.’’
Saskatchewan, which has already qualified for the playoffs, will meet the visiting Edmonton Eskimos on Nov. 4 in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Edmonton can finish anywhere from second to fourth in the West Division, whereas Saskatchewan can place third or fourth.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers can clinch second place in the West, and home-field advantage for a divisional semi-final, by defeating the host Calgary Stampeders on Friday.
If Winnipeg wins, the Roughriders and Eskimos will be playing for third place on Saturday.
In the event of a Winnipeg loss or tie, Edmonton can claim second by defeating Saskatchewan. An Eskimos loss in Regina would put Saskatchewan in third and Edmonton in fourth.
The fourth-place team in the West will cross over to the East Division and play either the Toronto Argonauts or Ottawa Redblacks in the first round.
“I would much rather stay (in the West) and not travel out East for a long time,” Riders defensive back Jovon Johnson said.
“The way we’re playing right now, it really doesn’t matter which way we go. East or West, we will be a tough team to beat.’’
Saskatchewan quarterback Kevin Glenn delivers a pass during Friday’s 37-12 win over the Montreal Alouettes.