Riders Training Camp Preview: Receiver

How can you not be excited about this battle when you have some pretty good pedigree coming up from the NFL?

In: Sinorice Moss, Bogdan Raic, Dwayne Jarrett, Justin Harper, Jason Chery, Taj Smith, Jock Sanders
Out: Andy Fantuz, Jason Clermont, James Robinson, Terrence Nunn, Ernie Wheelwright, Cary Koch, Freddie Barnes
Returning: Rob Bagg, Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf, Scott McHenry, Patrick Brown, Jordan Sisco, Dallas Baker, Efrem Hill

Camp Battle Grade: A - There are jobs definitely to be won and the Riders have brought in Sinorice Moss, Dwayne Jarrett and Justin Harper, who all have good college and NFL resumes. But we know what that means in the CFL? NOTHING!

Never again will I grade a player just based on how he looks in the first couple of days of training camp. Most people were hypnotized by Terrence Nunn last year ... and were put to sleep by his play by game three or four.


You have to look heads and tails above everybody else if you’re going to get as much hype as I gave Nunn last year. I was covering the hated Eskimos in 2008, but that’s what everybody told me about Weston Dressler. It was just soooo obvious he was going to be good.

Right now if you’re going with the starting five receivers, it’s Dressler, Getzlaf, Bagg, Hill and Dallas Baker.

Competing for Baker’s spot as the big tall down field target will be Jarrett, Harper and to a lesser extent, Taj Smith.
The problem I had with Baker at times last season is he seemed a little timid. The Riders need aggression to go up and get balls and to fight off tight coverage to make the key first down catch ala Matt Dominguez.

Jarrett and Harper are definitely used to press coverage in the NFL but need to show their competitive edge early.

If the Riders are serious about using Bagg in the slot and having two import wide-outs that means taking Efrem Hill out of the middle. Hill deserves serious consideration to be  a starting slot. He was on pace for a 1,000 yard season last year until Ken Miller had him pulling weeds on the sideline. The other import receivers should also be pushing Bagg for time in the slot.

Although, the Riders will use a lot of different mix and match formations with players in different areas so everybody will be used at different positions.

Sinorice Moss, Chery, Smith and the man who is actually smaller than Weston Dressler, Jock Sanders are challenging Hill. If either of them are exceptional returners, they have a better shot at day one roster.

The horse I’d be keeping a close eye on in this race is Patrick Brown. I thought he really started to pick up the CFL game as the year went on and as he got more reps due to injury. In the pre-season game last year he had three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. If he can build on what he learned last year, he could be an interesting piece to this import puzzle.

Now to the Canadians. Yes, I made it this long without writing about Andy Fantuz. He only played four games last year, so it was hard to put him as ‘out’. He already was out.

I’ll put it out on this blog now as I’ve told many fans and friends. A prediction; Three Riders receivers will have more yards than Fantuz. Getzlaf and Dressler, obviously, but I think another receiver will step up as a key third target for Darian Durant. Plus I think Henry Burris and the gang out East won’t be the offensive juggernaut being predicted. We’ll find out Week One how off the mark I am. (If you’re a believer in the Nye Jinx, you know who to blame)

Getzlaf and Bagg are on the roster but Bogdan Raic will give Jordan Sisco and Scott McHenry a good run for their money to make the roster. I was excited to see Ismael Bamba until I learned the agenda of his representative will have the talented receiver back at university.

This is the year Sisco has to show that he was worth a high draft pick. An injury last year was at the worst time as it looked like the coaches were about to give him a bigger role.

I’m still concerned at the lack of depth at non-import receiver. They are an injury away from scramble mode if one of their younger players doesn’t show well.

Look for running back Nathan Riva to get reps at receiver.

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