Rideau a catch for Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

Brandon Rideau is just beginning to scratch the surface, slowly finding his place in a foreign land that is three-down football.

Much like many of the players he lines up with on offence, Rideau is learning on the fly, taking lessons from each week’s experience and applying them to the next opponent.

When the Argos gathered for the first time on Monday to prepare for Friday’s game in Edmonton, head coach Jim Barker made a point of seeking out Rideau and planting a seed he hopes his CFL rookie takes to heart.

“I just told him that he has now played five games,’’ Barker said following Tuesday’s workout. “His attention to detail needs to change. He needs to become more detail-oriented.

“When you’re first learning this game it’s all a blur. Now, he needs to understand how a guy is playing him and how he needs to adjust to help the quarterback out.”

Physically, Rideau has all the tools to dominate the CFL. He’s fast, can make people miss, has decent hands, but more than anything Rideau is as physical as they come.

He’s the kind of player who doesn’t shy away from contact. In fact, he welcomes it.

What he must do, which Barker alluded to, was become more crisp in his route running, more aware of what opposing defences are apt to throw at him and recognize soft spots in the defensive secondary.

Anyone who witnessed last Thursday’s loss in Montreal had to take notice of the hit Rideau took when he came across the middle of the field to haul in a Cleo Lemon pass.

It was one of those highlight-reel hits that is sure to make any top-10 list, but a play that underscored Rideau’s need to pay more attention to details.

“He ran too flat a route,’’ Barker added. “If he had been where he should have been, he wouldn’t have taken that hit.

“The fact he understands it shows progress. It’s that attention to the little things that need improvement. Brandon was in the general area, but he wasn’t in the exact area.”

Rideau made the catch and he was the first to get back on his feet after two Als defenders rocked the CFL rook.

“It was an over-route,’’ Rideau said of the play in question. “I made the reception, took the hit and felt great.”

Rideau is 6-foot-4 and weighs in at 200 pounds, a load for any defensive back to handle in the secondary.

He’s so new to the CFL that Rideau still doesn’t know how to use his physical assets to his advantage, but you can see in glimpses what he’s capable of and the dimension he presents to an Argos offence that has yet to establish its passing game.

His 96 yards receiving was the closest any Argos pass catcher has come this season in reaching that mythical 100-yard barrier.

Five games into the season and Rideau is the team’s leader with 226 receiving yards, which isn’t exactly good, but the kid is getting better and more importantly more comfortable.

“I just feel a lot more relaxed out there,’’ Rideau, who doesn’t turn 28 until

Oct. 18, continued. “I do have natural gifts and I like to take advantage of them.”

Whether it was his exposure to collegiate football at Kansas or during his NFL stops with Cleveland and Chicago, Rideau has come to appreciate the extra contact that comes with playing slotback in the CFL.

Talk to any football player, regardless of position, and they’ll always say how important it is to feel part of the game by engaging in contact.

“That’s one of the features to this game that I like,’’ Rideau added. “There’s much more contact than I’m used to, which makes playing this game more fun.

“In the CFL, you’re able to run into guys a little bit more. Just being able to initiate that contact makes you feel more involved in a game, it gives you that feel for the game.

“I think that’s why I feel more relaxed, why it allows me to get into the game quicker.”

Rideau has nowhere to go but up, but it all depends on his attention to detail.

Physically, he’s the complete package.

“He’s a warrior,’’ Barker praised. “There’s no such thing as being injured in that guy’s head.

“He’s a kind of guy you win with in this league. As he learns the game and gets more in tune he can be dangerous.”


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