Lions' QB situation uncertain against Roughriders
Veteran Travis Lulay out with shoulder injury
About all Corey Chamblin knows for sure is the Saskatchewan Roughriders won't have to deal with quarterback Travis Lulay when they face the B.C. Lions on Sunday.
But who'll replace Lulay under centre? Well, that's another matter.
"It's pretty hard to prepare when it could be this guy, or it could be that guy," Chamblin said Friday. "At the end of the day it's still the same offence."
Lulay (shoulder) definitely won't play. Thomas DeMarco replaced Lulay after he was hurt in last weekend's win over Montreal but has never started a CFL game before. The Lions also have veteran Buck Pierce, but he's been with the club less than two weeks after being acquired from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
It's pretty hard to prepare when it could be this guy, or it could be that guy. At the end of the day it's still the same offence.- Roughriders' Corey Chamblin
Saskatchewan linebacker Mike McCullough says the two quarterbacks present different challenges, DeMarco is an athletic player who is very mobile while Pierce is a nine-year CFL veteran who has plenty of experience and knowledge of the CFL game.
Veteran defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall agrees. He has tremendous respect for Pierce's talent and ability to rise above injury but is also concerned about DeMarco, who he described as a "gifted quarterback" with a strong arm who can also "jitter bug."
Saskatchewan (8-3) has lost two straight to drop into second spot in the West Division standings. And the Riders have little margin for error considering B.C. (7-4) is right behind them.
"Sometimes it's not about changing what you do," Chamblin said. "We know what we have to do.
"We just have to do it better."
The game will be the first meeting between the teams since Simon, who played 12 of his 15 CFL seasons with B.C., was traded to Saskatchewan in January. Simon, 38, is the league's all-time receiving yards leader (16,128 yards) and needs just six more catches to break former Montreal receiver Ben Cahoon's CFL record of 1,017 career receptions.
Simon was a go-to receiver throughout his time with B.C., but the Riders acquired the 38-year-old for his veteran presence and leadership. After missing Saskatchewan's first three regular-season games with an upper-body injury, Simon has recorded 23 receptions for 341 yards and three touchdowns.
But Saskatchewan also has injury concerns of its own.
CFL rushing leader Kory Sheets won't play due to a knee injury. The expectation is Chris Garrett, the former Winnipeg Blue Bomber who signed as a free agent two weeks ago, will get the nod in Saskatchewan's backfield.
"He's done a good job all week," Chamblin said of Garrett. "We'll see what he has."
Right tackle Ben Heenan is day to day with a reported knee injury. Slotback Weston Dressler, who didn't play in last weekend's 31-29 loss to Toronto with an assortment of injuries, is expected to play against B.C.
Starting quarterback Darian Durant is also dealing with a bruised right pinky finger. After a torrid start to the season, the Riders star quarterback has cooled off in recent weeks.
Durant said the injured finger has caused him more trouble getting a proper grip on the ball than his passing velocity. But Durant isn't using it as an excuse.
"For me, it's all about winning games," he said. "It's all about going out there and making plays."