Enough is Enough and it’s Time for a Change, Roughriders
Published: Sunday, Sep 24th 2023, 4:09pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
My 1990’s pro wrestling fans will understand when I say it’s time to channel my inner Owen Hart and tell you that enough is enough and it’s time for a change here in Riderville!
It’s become more than obvious that serious changes are needed for the Saskatchewan Roughriders to get them back on track, winning games consistently and making playoff runs. But until we see major changes in the management group, we won’t see any changes at all with the team on the field. But how far does the team need to go with the changes? Does it go as high up as the President & CEO Craig Reynolds? Will it even go as far as General Manager Jeremy O’Day? It has to include Head Coach Craig Dickenson and the rest of the coaching staff, right?
The 2023 Saskatchewan Roughriders have become unglued at the EXACT same time that they did last season when the players quit on Coach Dickey and they lost their final 7 games of the season. Yes, the team is down their #1 QB in Trevor Harris, but Jake Dolegala has done a pretty decent enough job that you can’t make that excuse. Actually, Dolegala led teams this year have outscored Harris led teams this year by 6 points per game. That said, they still boast the 2nd lowest scoring offense in the CFL this year with first year pro coach Kelly Jeffrey, having scored just 5 points more than Hamilton, only scoring 21.6 points per game. And the Jason Shivers defense? Atrocious. They give up the most points this year, giving up 30.4 points per game. Not to mention the amount of yards they give up, including 721 yards rushing against in the last 3 games. SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE! It’s pretty obvious that Shivers and Jeffrey won’t be back in 2024.
Execution, discipline and effort are all lacking right now for the Riders, especially when they are on the road. And that’s on the Head Coach. Dickenson isn’t doing enough to control his team, focus his team and motivate his team. “Stick with us” Dickenson said to media following the Riders 36-28 loss to the basement dwelling Ottawa Redblacks. Why, Craig? You said last week that this team is better than 2022 and you’re a better coach than in 2022. We haven’t seen it! The team did improve their discipline in the first half of the year and I commended you for it, Coach Dickenson, but it’s spiraled out of control lately. When you are shown CLAPPING on the sidelines when your players just took 6 penalties to allow Ottawa to score a TD, it gives me no faith that things are better. I could go on and on, but you all know how I feel about him. Great guy, very good special teams coach, lousy head coach. He needs to go (and should have been let go a long time ago).
From what I gather from other Rider fans, it seems split on Jeremy O’Day getting a contract extension past this season. I’m torn on it. I really do think the talent on this team is there. O’Day has done a great job in the Canadian Draft and scouting American players, a good job at bringing in free agents… I could easily make the argument that O’Day should be given another chance with a new head coach. But at the same time, I see the argument against getting rid of him. The team isn’t improving their record. That alone is basis enough. Keeping Dickenson as HC this year was a misstep and could ultimately be the reason O’Day loses his job. I don’t think he’s as attached to Dickey as Roy Shivers was to Danny Barrett, but it just seems like there is no accountability anywhere in the management.
When things go wrong, he should be answering to it, not just leaving his head coach to do everything. Going back to last year’s Garrett Marino disaster, I actually felt bad for Coach Dickey because he had to answer questions for a week, when it should have been O’Day answering them from day 1. O’Day cowered away and we didn’t see him until the season was nearly over. Doesn’t sound like that great of a leader to me. The more I think about it, as good as a job as JO has done, the culture needs to change. Time to move on from him too.
When it comes to President & CEO Craig Reynolds, I don’t think a major change is needed here. I know some fans want him gone, but I don’t think that’s the answer. I think Mr. Reynolds should stay on as the CEO. He’s a money guy by trade and he’s a huge asset to the organization in that sense. But as the President, I think there could be a shift, at least in who is the face of the team. When it was Jim Hopson, people knew who he was. He was smiling, he was doing interviews everywhere, we saw him around all the time. Reynolds has done a better job of that lately, but not to the same extent. I think the Saskatchewan Roughriders need a face. A face of the team to do the promotional videos, the appearances, to tell the fans that everything is great. Maybe it’s a former player with a big personality that fans recognize. I’m not sure who it should be, just that there needs to be a shift in that role.
The time is now, Roughriders. Enough is enough and it’s time for a change!
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