Durant, Dressler a dynamic duo

Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant throws against the Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium in...

Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant throws against the Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton, Ont., June 29, 2012. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:24 AM ET

REGINA - You could get goofy here and do the projections.

At this pace Darian Durant will complete 450 of 612 passes for 7,020 yards and 72 touchdowns and Weston Dressler will make 234 receptions for 3,240 yards and 54 touchdowns.

“Hall of Fame!” laughed Durant after practice here Friday to prepare for Sunday’s Saskatchewan Roughriders home opener against the Edmonton Eskimos, when your correspondent threw those numbers at him.

“That would be quite the year,” laughed Dressler.

“I’d be more than happy to take half of that. That would still be a career year. It’s definitely a good start on it. But I’m putting that game behind me. We’re about to play an Edmonton defence that really flies around a lot.”

It was an eye-opening season opener in Hamilton, as Durant completed 25 of 34 for 390 yards and four touchdowns, 13 of them to Dressler for 180 yards — three of those touchdowns.

Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed said it happened because Durant “was incredibly accurate, lazer sharp, threading the eye of a needle.”

The seven-year veteran admitted it felt like that.

“I felt good. I had a good off-season and a good training camp and the coaches here gave us a great game plan. As long as they put you in the right position, execution is all you have to worry about, not where everybody is going to be. Everybody was going to the right spot.”

While not a record on either end, it was one of the greatest games of pass and catch between quarterback and receiver in CFL history to lead the Roughriders to a 43-16 win in Hamilton.

When you open the season with a win on the road, where last season the Roughriders only managed to win one game (the Labour Day Banjo Bowl rematch in Winnipeg), it’s good to be alive and walking around Regina.

“It’s been good,” said Durant, last year’s much-maligned quarterback.

“But I always keep things in perspective. It’s a long season. You’re always only as good as your last game.”

But that last game was pretty good.

“I know I’m not going to have 390 yards in passing yards every week,” he said.

It was a resurrection all around.

If the CFL had a Comeback Player of the Year award, Durant would be so far ahead of the next guys they’d all fold or call mis-deal.

His QB efficiency rating out of the gate this year is an insane 150.4.

Last year Durant was the sixth-ranked quarterback in the league with an 84.5 quarterback efficiency rating as he completed a mere 3,653 yards of passing with only 18 for touchdowns.

The year before he had his career year, completing 391 passes for 5,542 yards and 25 touchdowns along with a QB efficiency rating of 87.2, all career highs.

“Last year was tough,” said Durant.

“We’d just come off going to the Grey Cup two years in a row and we thought we were going to go to a third straight Grey Cup,” he said of a five-win season and missing the playoffs.

“We weren’t as good as we thought we were.”

Dressler’s discrepancy isn’t as dramatic, especially considering that Durant was his quarterback. Last year he caught 79 passes for 1,061 yards and five touchdowns. His career high is 81 catches for a season for 1,189 yards and six touchdowns came the year before.

“The big thing is for the team to start the year like that,” said the receiver.

“It’s such a good confidence-builder. It doesn’t win the Grey Cup on Week 1 but coming off last year, this team really needed that. Last year was one of those years. It didn’t matter what we changed, it just seemed to make it worse. It’s a new year with a new coach and a lot of new players and we don’t want to go back.

“And when it comes to Darian, the more confidence he has, the better he plays. When he finds that zone …”

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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