Darian Durant found another level in helping lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a Grey Cup victory last season. For an encore, hell have to find an even higher level still. Durant was sensational last year, posting career numbers (325-531 for 4,154 passing yards, and a career best 31 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions), and featuring regularly in the MOP Watch. By the increasingly criticized metric that is Quarterback Rating, Durant had the best year of his career last year at 95.7, a full seven points higher than his career mark. But Durant had an awful lot of help on the teams third-ranked offence. First and foremost was league all-star and team nominee for Most Outstanding Player Kory Sheets. In his sophomore CFL campaign Sheets was second in league rushing with 1,598 yards and a gaudy 5.6 yards per carry average and 12 touchdowns. His Grey Cup performance will also be remembered in Saskatchewan – and Hamilton, albeit much less fondly – for years to come. The 29-year-old will be preparing for NFL training camp in Oakland when the Roughriders begin their title defence, and while hes in tough to make the Raiders roster, the best case scenario for Saskatchewan is a return sometime around Labour Day. Another Roughriders mainstay and fan favourite Durant will no longer have at his disposal is slight receiver Weston Dressler. The 57 slotback was a 1,000-yard receiver in five of his six CFL seasons, falling just 59 yards short in his sophomore campaign, and scored a combined 45 touchdowns. Durant and Dresslers time in Saskatchewan had coincided, the two emerging together in 2008. But now the favourite target is in Kansas City with no guarantee of returning. So this year Durant enters the unquestioned leader on offence, and with more unknowns on the roster than previous seasons, hell have to shoulder a greater load. The good news of course is that the cupboard isnt completely bare. While Dresslers sure hands and elusiveness will be missed in the receiving corps, two other pass catchers, ones still on the roster, eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark as well last season in Chris Getzlaf, who led the team with 1,045, and Taj Smith, who hit the mark in just his second season. And if Rob Bagg can stay healthy all year, that will be another receiver for Durant to lean on. The running back position is much more of a toss-up heading into the season. The team has five RBs with a combined two carries CFL experience (Clifton Smith, which he gained with the Calgary Stampeders last season). But the last time they tried to replace a solid veteran running back, Wes Cates in 2012, they found a guy who would one day lead them to a Grey Cup victory at home. So, theres hope. Things could work out around Durant; he may have a support staff as talented as the one hoisting the Grey Cup alongside him last year. But the inexperience and uncertainty heading into the season alone means hell have to do even more as both a leader and performer to keep the Roughriders in Grey Cup contention. The football crazy fans in Saskatchewan already love their veteran quarterback; if he can elevate his game and bring more success to the province, theyll cherish him even more. Notes Expansion Draft Roughriders fans were surprised to see DT Keith Shologan get picked by the Ottawa Redblacks in the national portion of the expansion draft after the veteran spent the past six seasons in Saskatchewan. Ottawa also grabbed Shologans backup in Zack Evans one round later, it being evident the Roughriders were making a ratio change. OT James Lee was Saskatchewans international loss in the draft. Coach of the YearIn his second season as head coach of the Roughriders, Corey Chamblin had a dream year. He led Saskatchewan to a scorching start to the season before guiding them to a Grey Cup win in front of a boisterous hometown crowd. Chamblin was awarded in the off-season with the leagues Coach of the Year award, beating out former Roughriders coach Kent Austin. Free Agency The Roughriders lost a lot more talent in free agency than they signed back. Notable losses included S Craig Butler, LBs Abraham Kromah and Graig Newman, WR Kierre Johnson, RB Jock Sanders, and QB Drew Willy, not to mention Kory Sheets and Weston Dressler who are now in the NFL. The team did lock up some of their pending free agents however, including DBs Paul Woldu and Terrell Maze, and WR Taj Smith. CFL DraftThe Roughriders traded out of the first round, stock piling picks later in the draft. With their first pick in the second round the team landed CFL Combine star Dylan Ainsworth, a DL from Western, before also grabbing WR Alex Pierzchalski from Toronto. Saskatchewan also had two picks in the third round, nabbing John Mark from Calgary and WR Kristopher Bastien from Concordia. Their remaining picks included DB Matt Webster from Queens and OL Kyle Paterson from Regina in the fifth round, LB Travis Bent from Concordia in the sixth round, and OL Terry Hart from St. Francis Xavier in the seventh round. New Mosaic StadiumRoughriders fans got a glimpse at the teams new stadium late in the off-season and not much longer ground was broken. The $278 million project should be completed by August 2016 and will give the 33,000 fans surely to pack the place on a regular basis a more comfortable viewing experience than the one they are getting now. Steve Mandanda France Jersey
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. Goldeyes third baseman Ryan Pineda drove in three runs and the pitching staff didnt allow an earned run, as Winnipeg downed Kansas City 6-3 in American Association exhibition action at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas.SAN FRANCISCO - Mere minutes into the game, you could sense that Tuesday night would be a memorable one for the Raptors. It had been nearly a decade since the franchise had tasted victory in the Bay Area, as Toronto seemed poised to shock the hosting Golden State Warriors and the rest of the NBA, who began to take notice of what was transpiring in Oakland. "The @Raptors lead the @Warriors by 27 early in the 3rdQ in Golden State #NotATypo," tweeted the leagues official account. If you tuned in at that point, an impartial viewer expecting to see something remarkable, you were not disappointed. This Raptors team was on the verge of an improbable and much-needed win, instead an epic collapse secured its place in franchise history. It turned out to be a night they wont soon forget. "Weve just got to get a win," Rudy Gay said after the Raptors suffered the largest collapse in their 19-year existence, falling 112-103 to the Warriors. "However, whenever, we just need a win. It should have been tonight. Now we have to go out and find another one." "We made it tough on ourselves tonight. We just need a win, man." Like watching in slow motion, it seemed inevitable once the Warriors began to make their run late in the third. It started with consecutive turnovers (one by Gay the second by Terrence Ross) and turned into a series of open looks for the dynamic, sharpshooting backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Fortunately for the Raptors, who took an 18-point lead into the fourth, the Warriors guards missed two of three wide-open threes to end the frame. At that point Curry and Thompson were 3-of-12 from long distance and the Raptors had been closing out on most, if not all of their attempts. With 14 minutes remaining the visiting Raptors started to play with fire and against this team, in that arena, it wasnt a huge surprise when they got burned. "They just started making [shots]," Dwane Casey said of the Warriors, who went 8-of-11 from three-point range and outscored Toronto 42-15 overall in the fourth quarter. "They were the same shots and we were right there. A couple of plays guys were draped all over them." "But we knew that going in. We knew they would be lethal, that they were going to be hard to stop." The Warriors run was expected, the crowd - largely credited as the best in the league - came to life and the Raptors had nowhere to hide, though they sure tried. In those 12 minutes of basketball, the Raptors played scared. They looked like a team that was unsure of themselves, oof every pass, of every shot, a team that was playing not to lose.dddddddddddd "The thing about it is when they get the momentum then the rim gets wider," said Gay, who had 18 points in the loss. "It gets bigger and they keep throwing shots at it and they keep falling. Its all confidence." Whatever confidence the Raptors had and had worked hard to maintain for 34 minutes was gone. Their offence was almost non-existent. It "stunk", as Gay put it himself. They recorded just one fourth-quarter assist, turned the ball over four times and shot 1-of-7 from beyond the three-point line, many of those shots were forced early in the clock. DeMar DeRozan led the team in scoring with 26 while backcourt mate Kyle Lowry added 20 to go along with nine assists. The momentum began to shift when Lowry was taken out of the game with a head injury late in the third after colliding with Warriors centre Andrew Bogut. Lowry passed concussion tests on the bench and then again after the game but by the time he re-entered in the fourth the Raptors lead was shrinking at a rapid pace. "I just wanted to get back out there and see if I could help the team," Lowry said. "I didnt make any shots and I didnt really help the team. They made a hell of a run against us." The crowd didnt help Torontos cause. "I couldnt hear my defence," Lowry admitted. "I couldnt hear my guys out there. I mean honestly, that crowd, I really couldnt hear." The Raptors first half was as good as theyve played all year, for what its worth. Their 65 points were the most theyve scored in a half this season. They led by 17 at the break, shot 60 per cent and out-rebounded the home team 25-11. Amir Johnson, who came off the bench for the second straight game, looked like his old self. Johnson had 14 of his 16 points, on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half. Toronto has now dropped four straight, with two more games to go on the road before returning home to face San Antonio, the defending Western Conference champs. The schedule gets tougher before it gets any easier and with GM Masai Ujiri watching and waiting, time is not a luxury they can afford to waste. Tuesdays was an embarrassing loss and one thats hard to justify without making excuses, something this team is no longer supposed to be doing. It was the type of loss - for all the talk about moving on and getting the next one - that sticks with a player, a coach, a franchise. It could be the type of haunting, season-defining loss this same team experienced on the road a year ago. Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping
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