July 12th, 2024

Riders QB Patterson anxious for first CFL start as Argonauts visit Regina


By Jeff DeDekker, The Canadian Press on July 3, 2024.

REGINA – Quarterback Shea Patterson is confident that he’s up to the challenge of making his first CFL start Thursday when the Saskatchewan Roughriders host the Toronto Argonauts.

Patterson was thrust into the spotlight on June 23 when Trevor Harris sustained a knee injury late in the first half of the Riders’ 36-20 victory the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The 38-year-old Harris, who missed the majority of the 2023 season a right-knee injury, was placed on the six-game injury list Sunday with an MCL sprain of his left knee. Patterson come off the bench to take over, completing four of 10 passes as the Riders improved to 3-0.

Patterson joined the Riders in 2023 and dressed for 13 games, seeing sporadic action as a short yardage quarterback. He is anxious to be the starter against the Argos.

“My confidence level is high,” he said. “I’ve put in the work. I’m ready to go. I know our team. Our team’s ready to go.

“Coach Mueller (offensive co-ordinator Marc Mueller) has done a great job getting the offence together and really harping on the details this week. I’ve got confidence in these guys no matter what we do.”

The 27-year-old Patterson played two years at the University of Mississippi followed by two seasons at the University of Michigan. He dressed for five games with the Montreal Alouettes in 2021 and then played for the Michigan Panthers and New Orleans Breakers of the USFL in 2022.

Patterson beat out veteran Mason Fine in training camp for the backup spot behind Harris.

“We feel very comfortable with Shea,” head coach Corey Mace said. “We really gave these guys an opportunity to jockey for position in camp, and he earned it. We made that decision for a reason and unfortunately for Trevor, this would be that reason. It’s time to go and he’s ready to go,” said Mace.

The Argos are working on a short week short week after losing 30-20 to the Montreal Alouettes on Friday. They’ll be additionally challenged by facing an unfamiliar quarterback.

Still, Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie feels his defence will be prepared for Patterson.

“The guy is an athlete. He can extend plays with his legs, he’s not just a pocket guy,” Dinwiddie said. “We’ve got to keep him in the pocket, make him make some throws.

“We haven’t got a lot of film on him, he’s a little bit of an unknown with that, but watched him play college ball and then seen him in another league so I have a good idea what he’s about. We can’t take them lightly just because it’s a backup quarterback in there.”

Mace spent the previous two seasons as the Argos’ defensive coordinator. He understands the challenge Patterson gives the Argos and sees that the unknown factors could be a positive for the Riders.

“I think a lot of people would just say, “˜Oh, well, you know, that’s easy.’ Right? It’s not,” Mace said. “You don’t know what to expect, which, from our side, is a plus. You look at the tape that he had, maybe pre-season or back in his playing in other leagues or in college but as he explained, he’s completely changed from that.

“So yes, I’m hoping it plays into our favour.”

The Riders will also be without receiver Shawn Bane Jr. who will miss the game due to personal reasons.

Bane is coming off a career season in 2023 when his caught 93 passes for 1,104 yards and four touchdowns. In three games this season, Bane has hauled in 13 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns.

Replacing Bane will be KeeSean Johnson, who will be making his CFL regular season debut. The 27-year-old joined the Riders after spending time in the NFL with Arizona, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta and Buffalo.

In 18 games over two seasons with the Cardinals, Johnson had 36 receptions for 360 yards and one touchdown.

“I’m really excited to see what his season is going to look like,” Mace said. “He’s had a great week. I would not be shocked if it’s KeeSean Johnson day. We’ve seen that each week, it’s been a different kind of receiver stepping up. He’s got the talent to be one of those guys as well.”

TORONTO ARGONAUTS (2-1) AT SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (3-0)

Thursday, Mosaic Stadium

RIDERS ON A ROLL: The Riders haven’t started 4-0 since 2013. That season the Riders 11-7 before going on a run in the playoffs, defeating B.C. 29-26 in the West semifinal, Calgary 35-13 in the West final and Hamilton 45-23 in the Grey Cup.

GOT THEIR NUMBER: The Argos have won the last four games they’ve played against the Riders. Before this streak, the Riders posted an eight-game winning streak over the Argos.

GREAT START: Mace is 3-0 in his first season as a head coach. The last Saskatchewan head coaches to win their first three games were Corey Chamblin in 2012 and Ken Miller in 2008.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2023.

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