Lions vs. Riders: B.C. should easy the tough trip Saskatchewan has given its quarterbacks

The Roughriders’ usually anemic move rush has knocked out two B.C. quarterbacks in two of their final 4 conferences

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have value the B.C. Lions dearly twice prior to now two seasons, even when they’ve solely overwhelmed them as soon as of their final 4 conferences.

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The 2022 season almost spiralled into irrelevance when defensive lineman Pete Robertson landed on Nathan Rourke’s foot, inflicting a fracture that saved him out till the common season finale in August and left him at lower than 100 per cent for the playoffs.

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There have been extra coronary heart palpitations on this season’s Week 7 when Vernon Adams was buried below a blitzing lineman — Robertson was, once more, the offender — twisting his knee like a pretzel. Preliminary issues have been eased when he solely missed two weeks, however the Lions QB nonetheless wears a knee brace due to it.

The Riders (6-8) might have the second-fewest sacks within the league, however these numbers appear irrelevant each time they match up with the Lions (10-4). In each video games this season, Adams has been on the run, listening to footsteps each loud and imagined, and been sacked 9 occasions.

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Friday, 7:30 p.m. PT, B.C. Place

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B.C. heads into Friday’s recreation with out offensive line anchor Sukh Chung and fullback David Mackie, with Andrew Peirson and David Knevel rotating into the beginning lineup.

“They’ve acquired some nice gamers over there. Their line of defense is stout, their entrance seven, they’re superb. Clearly, that speaks for itself,” mentioned B.C. offensive line coach Kelly Bates. “However we fear about us. Clearly we examine our opponents … however we’re a really process-oriented group. We choose the issues that we have to work on that week that we predict are their strengths from a technical standpoint and a schematic standpoint, and we work laborious on it.

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“The place we wish to be Friday evening at recreation time began 4 or 5 days in the past and that’s the best way we method it.”

The Roughriders have been distinctive — towards B.C., no less than — in getting on prime of their opposition from the beginning. Within the Week 7 assembly at B.C. Place, the Lions misplaced Adams within the first quarter after drives of 5, 0 and — 12 yards. Dane Evans did choreograph an 84-yard landing drive on the following collection, however it was again to the grind afterward, with six drives producing 4 yards and two turnovers earlier than some late area targets pushed the Lions in entrance for good.

It was an identical story a month later at Mosaic Stadium, with Saskatchewan throttling a potent Lions offence in taking a 31-13 lead earlier than holding on for a 34-29 win.

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“I don’t suppose we’ve carried out to the extent we wish to and must, to be thought-about constant after we’re enjoying them,” mentioned Bates. “It’s on all people … we must be higher.”

BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke
B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke (12) lays on the sector after being injured on a play towards the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Regina. Photograph by TROY FLEECE / Regina Chief-Submit

Operating again Taquan Mizzell picked a good time to search out his operating kind along with his second 100-yard recreation of the season final week, as an efficient dashing assault will blunt any ears-pinned-back move rush. He had 112 yards and two touchdowns within the 37-29 win over the Edmonton Elks.

And doing something to maintain Adams from being a stationary bull’s-eye within the pocket will assist too.

“It’s large,” Lions coach Rick Campbell mentioned of Mizzell’s large recreation.

“We talked final week about needing to get extra out of the operating again place — no matter meaning, from move professional, to operating the ball, to getting the ball in his arms out of the backfield. We mentioned to Smoke ‘we want extra out of you,’ however we additionally want to assist him out with blocking and play calls

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“That is the time of 12 months not simply that (operating the ball is essential) however you’re making an attempt to get probably the most out of all people.

“They do a great job up entrance,” he added of the Riders.

However “we will’t simply make it a move professional competitors; that’s not good for anyone on this league. That simply means we’ve acquired to combine issues up, transfer within the pocket, operating the ball, operating screens — doing no matter it’s to to ensure we don’t simply have our quarterbacks sitting in a single spot.

“And VA, we’ve seen him do rather well if the play breaks down or one thing occurs he must be a transferring goal and use his legs to go get a primary down.”

Adams was sensible with efficient along with his scrambles towards Edmonton final week, together with a pair late dashes that earned essential first downs late within the recreation. He even out-rushed the electrical Tre Ford 54-43 within the recreation.

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He is aware of there’s not a lot he can do with the move rush besides belief in his group’s safety calls and execution, and deal with his progressions.

“It does suck shedding Sukh proper there. Veteran dude for us,” he mentioned. “However these guys (Peirson, Knevel) have gotten lots of reps. I imagine in them.

“You simply acquired to proceed simply going by means of the reads,” he continued. “If I really feel the strain and I can get out and use my legs and assist us on the market, try this. If I can get to my test down faster, try this. As a result of I do know they’re coming sizzling.

“However you may’t pressure something. Can’t overthink something. Can’t assume that they’re going to get there. You simply must undergo your reads.”

The Riders are third within the West, two video games up on the Stampeders, however have misplaced three straight video games as they attempt to safe a playoff spot. B.C. has gained three in a row after a two-game slide, together with the loss to the Riders, however can clinch a house playoff date with a win on Friday.

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“You may have management the chances of what the end result goes to be, however you don’t have management of the end result,” mentioned Campbell. “So we simply talked about enjoying rather well and enjoying quick. Purpose No. 1 for any group on this league within the common season is playoffs; No. 2 is a house playoff recreation and we’ve acquired an opportunity to do it this week.”

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Friday, 7:30 p.m. PT, B.C. Place

TV: TSN. Radio: AM730

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