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Piffles Top 5 – Biggest Offseason Moments for the Saskatchewan Roughriders

Published: Monday, May 6th 2024, 9:05am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

 

The offseason has come and gone and the 2024 season is set to begin! Rookies report to camp today, they take the field on Wednesday and main Training Camps open on Sunday! CFL season IS HERE!!

 

Looking back at the offseason, it was no doubt an eventful one here in Riderville. Big changes both on and off the field were the main talk of Saskatchewan coffee shops for the last 6 months and we’re seeing a cultural shift in our green and white. Here’s my Top 5 biggest moments from the offseason:

 

 

5. Finding a new Voice of the Riders

When I talk about a cultural shift for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, I’m also talking about the people that represent them, even if they aren’t directly employed by them. Harvard Media hiring Dave Thomas as the new voice of the team is one of those steps and the Roughriders are going to get a professional on the game broadcasts and someone who will represent them wonderfully at events and on social media. Want to know why this is a big change? The Riders themselves have already had Dave do more hosting events than the last guy. The TEAM actually announced this hiring and acknowledged it. They didn’t last time. And Dave won’t be the guy arguing with other fans and players on Twitter like the last guy and that’s already a big win for the team.

 

Former Roughriders LB Derrick Moncrief – photo courtesy TSN

 

4. Releasing longtime Rider Derrick Moncrief

Not all of the offseason moments are necessarily the “best” moments. The Roughriders moving on from longtime LB Derrick Moncrief no doubt stings at the hearts of us fans in Rider Nation. ‘Crief gave his all to the team over his tenure and to me, is a sure fire Plaza of Honour inductee in a few years. That said, he slowed down significantly in the back half of 2023 and the team needed to move on. No more will the team be keeping guys around just because we like them. General Manager Jeremy O’Day did what’s best for business, even if we all were big fans of #42.

 

 

3. Free Agent Frenzy – Bringing in AJ Ouellette, Jermarcus Hardrick, Jameer Thurman & more

The Riders had so many great signings in the offseason that I have to lump them all together. The team needed big time help on the roster and it didn’t take too long for the new regime to address those needs. Running Back A.J. Ouellette, O-Linemen Jermarcus Hardrick and Ryan Sceviour, Linebacker Jameer Thurman and Defensive Back Jalon Edwards-Cooper headline the list of new players brought in that are expected to turn things around in Riderville. Add in some very impressive newcomers to the CFL and the Riders will get that talent infusion that they so desperately needed in 2024 to be a contender.

 

 

2. Renaming the Auditorium in Mosaic Stadium after Jim Hopson 

Easily the classiest thing this organization has done in a long time was pay tribute to former President & CEO Jim Hopson by renaming the team auditorium after him. Even classier was doing so back in February when Mr. Hopson was able to be there for it. Sadly, we lost Jim to cancer in April, but the Riders having Jim and his family and close friends in attendance for a special night was a wonderful thing and was incredibly well done. I know that his family will deeply appreciate being able to see Jim enjoy it and have that special night.

 

Roughriders introduce Head Coach Corey Mace – photo courtesy Saskatchewan Roughriders

 

1. Hiring Corey Mace as Head Coach

The biggest change the Riders HAD to make this offseason was with their head coach. Gone is Craig Dickenson and in comes Corey Mace. Talk about a change in culture… Mace brings in new energy, new ideas and hopefully some accountability and motivation to the locker room, something that was sorely missing the last few years. I like Craig Dickenson, very nice man, he was just in way over his head as a head coach. I’m fired up to see what Coach Mace will bring to the green and white and based off what the Roughriders social media team has shared of him and how he interacts with players, I imagine that the players will be MORE than fired up to play for him. This is the shot in the arm the organization as a whole needed and I can’t wait to see where it leads!

 

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