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The Morning After – Better Players & Better Coaches – Same Result

Published: Saturday, Sep 30th 2023, 10:09am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


The Saskatchewan Roughriders of 2023 are better than the Riders of 2022 that crash and burned when they started out 6-5 and lost their final 7 games. At least, that’s what we’re told by Head Coach Craig Dickenson. Yet, another week, another crash and burn by the 2023 Riders, who are now 6-9 on the season after being 6-5. I actually picked the Riders to win this game on episode 241 of the Piffles Podcast, but I should have known better. Sigh. Here’s some of my thoughts on the Riders 33-26 loss to the BC Lions on The Morning After:


– The Riders defense held in pretty well in the first half, except for the final BC drive where they got a touchdown. I know they gave up a lot of yards, but they held when it mattered and limited the Lions to field goals. It was promising. But they are just getting worn down and exposed throughout games. I’m not really sure what happened to Jason Shivers’ D this year, but it’s by far the worst in the league. Players that can’t keep up speed wise, bad schemes, it’s just brutal.


– Following up on that point, Derrick Moncrief was awful at Halfback. He was a stud on the Riders’ defense for years, but it’s time to move on after this season. He just can’t keep up anymore. He used to play close to the line of scrimmage and that’s where he made a name for himself.

For those mad at me for saying that on X(twitter), telling me that he’s a linebacker, I hope you realize he was playing the SAM LB position for years, which is a cover position spot. He’s been going up against the top slotbacks his entire career, he’s been dealing with the waggle his entire career. Halfback is no different. Moving him back to SAM isn’t going to make him an all-star again. Putting him closer to the LOS and having him float around there is what he should be doing, not covering receivers anymore.


– The run defense was good this week. They have gotten eaten alive over the last few weeks, giving up 721 yards on the ground over the last 3 games, but only gave up 64 yards rushing this week and held Taquan Mizzell Sr. to just 38 yards. If there was a positive about the defense in the game, this was it. Actually, you can add C.J. Reavis to the short list of positives as well. 2 sacks, 4 tackles for losses, he was pretty good around the LOS in the old Moncrief position.


– On offense, I’ll start with a few positives. I love that Kian Schaffer-Baker was a clear focal point in this one. I’ve been wanting that since his return. 104 yards on the game to lead the team was nice to see. Jerreth Sterns getting his first 100 yard CFL game was also nice.


– Loved seeing Thomas Bertrand-Hudon get in the endzone a couple of times, albeit too late in the game. He’s been great on special teams in his rookie year and getting him some touches on offense is definitely welcomed by me.


– That’s about it for the positives. I’m not going to be too hard on the offense (it’s hard to be mad at a QB that throws for over 400 yards), but I will say that right tackle Brandon Council should have been left in Vancouver. He’s been terrible on an otherwise improving O-Line this year. There’s got to be another American tackle somewhere in the world not playing right now that is better than him, right? I mean, there HAS to be one ON THIS ROSTER, right??


– One of Coach Dickenson’s post game quotes is sticking with me right now:

“If our team is not prepared and not executing, that falls on me as the head coach. You can point the finger at me and I’ll take it, I have to do a better job of preparing the team and I need to do a better job of getting the coaches on board with the gameplan and calling it the way I see we should be calling it. Ultimately at the end of the day, it falls on me. If we don’t do well this year, I’m sure there will be some consequences for that and that’s just what you sign up for as a coach. I understand.”

Well, coach, I commend your accountability here, I really do. This is the first time I’ve REALLY seen you take the blame… kind of. You said “if” the team isn’t prepared and not executing. IF. It’s clear to everyone they aren’t prepared and aren’t executing. I’m not sure how that translate to you telling everyone that you are a better team than last year and the staff is better and the players are better, but here we are. There’s just no assertiveness here from the head coach, a position that demands it.

But it’s that last line about not doing well, channeling his inner Kavis Reed talking about consequences. While yes, you are right about what you said, you can’t be thinking about it while you are coaching! Are you coaching scared, knowing you’re going to be fired (actually, Jeremy O’Day won’t fire you, your contract just won’t be extended) at the end of the season? IF (there’s that word again) that’s the case, you should have been gone long before I took heat from other Rider fans when I wanted you gone with a winning record.


Oh well, on to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Legends Night at Mosaic Stadium. At least we’ll be able to honour Darian Durant and the rest of the 2013 Grey Cup winning team. But judging by the ticketmaster seat map, there won’t be many of us there to do it, though.


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