The Saskatchewan Roughriders’ depth is such that one of their reinforcements is a former CFL leader in interceptions.
Trumaine Washington, whose five picks with the Edmonton Elks paced the three-down loop in 2021, steps in at defensive halfback on Friday against his former team (7:30 p.m., Mosaic Stadium).
Washington was promoted to the active roster after Deontai Williams suffered a hamstring injury on Saturday against the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“I’m excited,” Washington, 28, said after Thursday’s practice at Mosaic Stadium. “I’ve been to all the home games (since signing with Saskatchewan on July 25), so I know it’s going to be packed.
“I just did a community (event) out here and it was fun playing with all the kids. I’m hoping to see a lot of kids out here come to the game.
“We’re just ready to put on a show.”
Washington did just that on Sept. 22, 2018, when he was a first-year CFLer with the Toronto Argonauts. He registered his first two CFL interceptions, one of which he returned 62 yards for a touchdown after stepping in front of a Zach Collaros pass, in a 30-29 loss to the visiting Roughriders.
Washington followed up with three interceptions for the 2019 Argonauts before returning five picks for 93 yards with Edmonton in 2021. He added two more interceptions with the Calgary Stampeders last season.
Three of his 12 CFL interceptions have been returned for a TD.
“I’m a playmaker who touches the ball,” Washington said. “With six games left, I see myself touching the ball a lot while I’m here playing.”
That is also the hope of Craig Dickenson, who labelled Washington as “a true pro.”
“I expect him to come in and not miss a beat in terms of knowing the calls and being where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be there,” the Roughriders’ Head Coach said.
“He’s got ball skills so, if a ball comes to him, I expect him to intercept it.”
RIDERS VS. ELKS, PART 3
The Roughriders are looking for a season sweep of Edmonton after edging the Elks 17-13 (on June 11 at Commonwealth Stadium) and 12-11 (July 6 at Mosaic Stadium).
Trevor Harris was the victorious quarterback on both occasions. With Harris recovering from a knee injury, Jake Dolegala is to start against Edmonton for the first time.
What does Dolegala expect from the Elks?
“A lot of the same from what we saw the first two games,” he replied. “They have been doing a few things differently these last couple of weeks. And it helps with how (well) they’ve been playing on offence, I think, because they can change things up on defence, for sure.
“I feel great about our game plan and I’m just looking forward (to Friday night).”
Dolegala, who is about to make his fourth consecutive start, will strive to dissect a Chris Jones-choreographed defence that can present a quarterback with some unexpected twists.
“But no matter who you are, I think guys have tendencies,” Dolegala noted. “I think our Defensive Co-ordinator, Jason (Shivers), does a great job of mixing up coverages and giving us different looks throughout practice each week. That’s obviously a huge help.
“I see Jones and him as being rather similar in their styles of calling defence, so it’s going to be fun. They’re going to throw a lot of looks at us, but we’ll be ready.”
Jones was the Roughriders’ Head Coach, General Manager and Vice-President of Football Operations when Shivers joined the team as the Defensive Backs Coach in December of 2015.
Shivers was promoted to Defensive Co-ordinator after Jones left the Roughriders and Dickenson took over as Head Coach early in 2019.
- Saskatchewan and Edmonton have combined for four touchdowns — two by each team — over their two meetings in 2023.
- Brett Lauther has provided the winning point(s) in both games. On June 11, his 11-yard field goal at 11:37 of the third quarter gave the Roughriders a 14-13 lead and put them ahead to stay. In the July 6 rematch, he snapped an 11-11 deadlock by registering a 95-yard single on a kickoff with 1:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.
- The Roughriders’ last 11 games against Edmonton have been decided in the final three minutes. Those contests have included 31 lead changes.
- Saskatchewan has won nine of its past 10 games against Edmonton.
- Dolegala has gone 107 pass attempts without an interception.
- On Friday, Roughriders middle linebacker Larry Dean will make his 100th CFL start. It will be his 103rd game overall.
- Dean’s 537 defensive tackles tie him with Matt Finlay for 30th on the league’s all-time list. Dean is poised to overtake Finlay, Marvin Coleman (538), Joe Montford (540) and Gerald Vaughn (541).