VANCOUVER – I’ve touched down in one my all-time favourite cities in the CFL.
It was an uneventful day, which seems to describe most pre-games when it comes to the league. The Riders and Lions are to play Sunday at BC Place, so there was some news. Here are the highlights, and observations after taking in the Riders walk-through on Saturday.
- Today marked one of those rare occasions when I was on the same flight as the team. You would be pleased to know, that I was among the worst-dressed member of the entourage. I had on a golf shirt, shorts, sandals and a ball cap, which is fine for a day at the golf course or practice. I was clearly outclassed by the Riders, many of whom were dressed in jackets and ties. All wore dress shirts and dress pants. I’m not sure what effect dressing up in public has on the play of the team, but they do look professional.
- The Riders’ moves weren’t surprising: On the 46-man roster are Woodny Turenne, Dan Clark, Justin Harper and Zach Evans. Off are Nick Graham and Chris Patrick (who were released on Thursday), Brandon West and centre Dominic Picard. West and Picard were both placed on the one-game injured list. I know Picard has a lower body injury, not sure there is anything wrong with West.
- Turenne will start at cornerback with the release of Graham. Turenne played pretty well the last time the Riders played B.C. The Riders are hoping he can repeat that effort on Sunday. Chris Best starts at centre for Picard.
- In case you didn’t know, Best is a Duke grad and quarterback Darian Durant is from the University of North Carolina. The two schools are intense NCAA rivals and Durant had this to say when recently when asked about snuggling up to Best on snaps: “As long as we are the same team, we aren’t arch rivals. When football is done, I hate him.’’
- The Lions have made a couple of significant moves: Jabar Westerman and Maurice Evans will rotate at defensive tackle for Khalif Mitchell, who is serving the first game of two-game suspension. Westerman was the Lions first pick (second overall) in the 2012 CFL draft. Evans is making his first appearance in the CFL. Look for Matt Norman to fill in for Jon Hameister-Ries at right guard. Hemeister-Ries has been suffering from back spasms.
- Here’s an interesting stat: Slotback Geroy Simon leads the Lions with 22 receptions for 329 yards. That’s pretty good. In his last two games, Simon has been limited to six receptions for 76 yards. You can read what you want into that. I think it means that Simon is posed for a break-out game.
- It’s beautiful day in Vancouver and the forecast is just as nice on Sunday when the Lions and Riders play. The roof is supposed to be open, which means it might be cooler for the teams. I hear there are lots of good tickets available, so maybe I’ll see you at the stadium.
Remember to follow me on Twitter for updates Sunday.