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Rod Pedersen: play-by-play

Rod Pedersen 

Rod Pedersen is the play-by-play voice of the Riders. He is a weekly contributor to, sharing his point of view on news from the green and white.

It's time for reflection.

Just like exactly one year ago at this time, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have opened the CFL season with a 3-0 record and understandably, the province is going nuts.

I think most fans will admit to their mind drifting, for at least a minute, to imagine where the inevitable Grey Cup parade will begin, and end. 

However, far fewer people have stopped to think about what also happened last year at this time.  As you recall, the bottom fell completely out and the team suffered through a painful five-game losing streak on its way to a 5-10 record after that torrid start.

How do we know if won't happen again?

We don't.

But head coach Corey Chamblin admits that things are far different from 12 months ago.  He's done a lot of self-study, not only on his team, but of himself as well.

Chamblin won't reveal all of what he learned, but he's admitted to pulling his horns in somewhat and not making those brash, bold guarantees which were front-page news and led off SportsCentre weekly.

"Last year it was a young team and I had to get those guys going with the macho/bravo stuff," Chamblin laughed.  "It's still there, behind closed doors, and the team knows I'm still that fiery coach.  

"I'm not afraid to make the public statements but I think my statements are at the end of the game where the scoreboard says it."

So far, so good.  The team generally does what Chamblin says it will and through these opening three games, they've made some real good teams look bad.

That's a change from last year, where the 3-0 start, with a rookie coach and a roster which had been totally overhauled, was truly jaw-dropping.  Even the team surprised itself, playing error-free football.  They were nearly perfect.

This is different.  Much was expected of the Roughriders going into the season and they have not disappointed.  I mentioned in training camp that this is a veritable all-star team and they've looked very much the part, so far.

But I've also mentioned that adversity is hiding in the shadows, ready to pop out without warning.   It may have reared its head already with last week's ankle injury to prized quarterback Darian Durant.   He's been as good as anybody, but left Thursday's 39-28 win in Toronto in the third quarter.

"I do not have an update," Chamblin said upon the team's return to Regina.  "I haven't spoken to (the medical staff).  I just know it's an ankle injury and we'll assess it in the next couple of days."

Over the weekend Durant went for x-rays, which turned up negative, and Darian Tweeted that he'll be rehabbing the injury for this week's game, Sunday at home to Hamilton (5:00 pm kickoff on TSN and CKRM).

Durant then missed two days of practice this week (Monday and Wednesday) before being in full pads for Thursday's workout. 

What's going on here? 

"Definitely you worry about it," Chamblin admitted. "But at the same time, if he's not able to go, (back-up) Drew Willy's up and that also maybe gives Tino Sunseri some time in there as a back-up.  We just have to move on and hopefully it's not a more-than-a-couple-of-days thing."

And let's remember one more thing; these season-opening win streaks are fun to talk about and sell a lot of tickets but they don't amount to a hill of beans come November.

The 2008 Riders went 6-0 to start the season under Ken Miller, their best start since 1928, but Miller's bunch didn't even get out of the Western Semifinal in their own stadium.

Slow and steady wins the race.  But they sure look real good right now.

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