JO and Dickey – The New Roy and Danny?
Published: Monday, Sep 18th 2023, 3:09pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
With a record of 6-7, the Saskatchewan Roughriders of 2023 are well on their way to a potential 9-9 season (the record that I predicted at the beginning of the year), which is almost a cuss word around these parts. Fans here in Sask HATE average, HATE the 9-9 record. Nearly to the point that I truly think some would rather have the team be 8-10 instead of .500 at the end of the season. Why?
Because of Roy Shivers and Danny Barrett.
I started to REALLY become a fan of the Riders during the beginning of the Shivers/Barrett era and now looking at it, I see a LOT of similarities between the Jeremy O’Day and Craig Dickenson era and that of the 2000s.
Roy brought in a TON of talent, some all time Rider greats! Reggie Hunt, Matt Dominguez, Omarr Morgan, Jackie Mitchell, bringing Eddie Davis, Henry Burris, Kerry Joseph, Darian Durant and yes, even Nealon Greene over from other teams that helped turn the team from one of absolute suck to a contender every year. They could never get over the hump (in my opinion, due to coaching… where have I heard that before?) and make the Grey Cup, but they were always in the conversation in the West Division. Their record was average, they won some games and got blown out in others.
O’Day has done a really good job bringing in talent to this Riders team and I think the depth is really starting to get there. I think that they are their veteran starting QB away from being in the discussion for a West Final appearance. I’ve made it known that I think they are a new head coach away from getting the team over the hump after a disastrous 2022 year and a very average (and frankly, underwhelming) 2023 season.
In the Roy & Danny era, the team generally played pretty well at home and had some very poor efforts on the road. Again, sound familiar? Rider fans have been treated to some pretty good games at Mosaic Stadium this year, but have also found themselves wasting a few hours of their day by watching the team on the road. The frustration from fans back in the Roy & Danny era came from the inconsistencies and I’m sensing that again right now.
But let’s be honest, after the implosion that happened last season for the Riders, a 9-9 (*shudders*) season in 2023 is actually pretty decent, especially when you consider they are down to their third string QB leading the way. So why everyone hates 9-9 is beyond me. There’s nothing WRONG with it. 9-9 usually gets you into the playoffs in the CFL, a home playoff game if you are in the East Division. Obviously, you’d like to be better, but look at the history of this franchise… 9-9 isn’t really a bad thing. Getting to the playoffs isn’t a bad thing.
While this regime may not bring a Grey Cup to Saskatchewan (much like the Roy & Danny tandem), there is at least the groundwork laid for what looks to be a pretty good team for years to come. Just, don’t expect the world of them if they continue on together past this season. I wonder if this regime’s GM will latch on to the head coach and not change things when it was needed the same way Roy did for Danny. JO saw it first hand in his playing days, maybe he learned a lesson about moving on when it’s time.
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