Riders Face Season Defining Game Against Ottawa
Published: Friday, Aug 4th 2023, 8:08pm
By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)
When the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Ottawa Redblacks this upcoming Sunday, it isn’t quite a must win game for the team as much as it may feel like it. But will this game define where the season is headed for the Riders? Absolutely.
A loss to Ottawa would be the 4th straight after starting the year 3-1 and would certainly have Rider fans even more pissed off than they already are. I listened to a caller on one of the post game shows after TD Atlantic and he went OFF. On everyone! From Craig Reynolds and the Board to Jeremy O’Day, Craig Dickenson, the entire coaching staff and even called out the players for not caring. He cited Reynolds and the “sustained success” he is always talking about and how we haven’t seen it since he became President and CEO of the team. It was a great, thought out call and it just showed me how frustrated this fan base is with the organization right now.
So a loss definitely wouldn’t help that feeling this Sunday. In fact, a loss would have me feeling exactly like 2022. The parallels of this season compared to last year’s dumpster fire are there. The team starts out pretty well, then goes into a free fall. Last season, the team stopped playing for Coach Dickey and if they lose again, I fear the same will happen again. Granted, losing Trevor Harris is part of the reason this season has gone the way it has, but many things are still the same from last year. The biggest issue last season, the Offensive Line, is still horrendous and what else remained the same? The coaches. Blame Chris Jones and the coaching cap put in place all you want, but remember it was Craig Reynolds who couldn’t rein Jones in and went to the league and the board of governors to get this put in place. It’s his fault the Riders couldn’t move on from Craig Dickenson after last year and the reason why they won’t fire him until the end of the season this year (assuming they don’t make a Division Final appearance).
Would a win against Ottawa cure everything? No, of course not. But it would show me that the team IS an average team, a 9-9 team. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the fans demand better. I think the talent on the field is better than a 9-9 team and to me, that’s the frustrating part. To me, that’s on the coaches not putting their players in a better position to make plays and win.
Beat Ottawa and there is still some hope for this season to be turned into a (moderately) successful one. Lose to Ottawa and the pitchforks and burning bales of hay will be outside of Mosaic Stadium by games end. A loss may force Craig Reynolds and Jeremy O’Day to make some sort of change with this team before 2022 completely repeats itself.
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