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Aggressive Craig Dickenson a Breath of Fresh Air

Published: Thursday, Jul 13th 2023, 1:07pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


The Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach feels like a different man this year… and I kind of like it.


Those that know me and have listened to the Piffles Podcast, know my thoughts on Craig Dickenson. He’s a VERY nice man, great dude, fantastic special teams coach… but I feel he’s not a head coach and lacks leadership (case in point, losing the locker room in 2022 when they still had a good record). That has appeared to change in 2023 as we are seeing a more aggressive approach to the game than we’ve seen in the past with Coach Dickey.


Maybe it has to do with the fact that Dickenson is in the last year of his contract, but it almost feels like he is coaching for his career more than he is for each individual game or situation. Last year, Dickey was far too conservative with his decisions. It makes me wonder if it was the QB and the lack of confidence in Cody Fajardo they had? Was it a lack of confidence in Jason Maas calling plays? The O-Line is still as much a concern this year as it was last, so I don’t think it can be that. So what changed?


This season through the first 4 games, I immediately think of 4 specific plays: 


3rd and 2 vs Calgary – I loved this call, especially on the road, early in the game, in your own end. Show the Stamps that you are here to WIN. Jamal Morrow was running well and there was no reason to not trust him in this situation. It sends a great message to your team.


2 point convert attempt vs Calgary – Greg and I argued about this on the show after the game and I maintain that in hindsight, yes, you kick the extra point. BUT you essentially end the game with a successful convert. You are forcing Calgary to score 2 TDs instead of one and a field goal to send it to OT. I didn’t hate the call, but it fit in with what Dickenson has done so far.


3rd and (a very long) 1 vs Calgary – There’s a good debate here with this one. On one hand, you kick a field goal, turn your 3 point lead into 6 and force Jake Maier to have a TD drive with little time left to win, or, you win the game with a first down. I love the call to go for it, I just hated the play call. Give it to Morrow who was turning 2 yard gains into 7 and 8 yard gains all drive. But that’s not on Dickenson, that’s on Kelly Jeffrey for the play call.


3rd and goal from the 3 vs Edmonton – We had no idea that early in the game that points were that much at a premium. For that reason, I like the call. Worst case, you don’t get it, you have the Elks pinned very deep in their own end. That’s exactly what happened. Again, hindsight, yeah, take the points. But I liked the call at the time.


I know that Dickey reads the paper and articles about him and the team. Is he paying too much attention to analytics? It kind of feels that way for me, instead of him coaching each individual situation. But with that said, I like this style Dickey has adopted, it’s much better than the way too conservative head coach we’ve seen the last few years. Luckily, despite a few of these decisions nearly costing the team dearly in the end, I just hope that the team doesn’t lose any games because they out-coached themselves. Sometimes, you have to K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. 


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