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The Morning After – Riders Lose TD Atlantic, Fans Losing Patience

Published: Sunday, Jul 30th 2023, 2:07pm

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)


To nobody’s surprise, the Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped Touchdown Atlantic to the Toronto Argonauts, marking their 3rd straight loss and dropping the team down to 3-4 on the season. I thought the Riders would keep it closer than they did and by all accounts, it should have been closer, but a loss is a loss is a loss… and fans are starting to get really fed up. 


Here are some thoughts on the game as I sit and enjoy my coffee The Morning After:


– I thought QB Mason Fine did pretty well. He was much better than last week against the BC Lions. He made his best throws while he was under pressure and getting hit, which was a lot. But, I think despite not scoring a TD with him for the second straight week, he should get one more start next week against Ottawa. He showed more this week and I’d give him one more game… I’d just cut that leash a bit shorter.


– Enter Jake Dolegala. He looked good on his TD drive, including a really nice TD pass to Shawn Bane Jr. Entering the season, I thought he should have been the #2 QB behind Trevor Harris, but what do I know? Sure, it was a garbage time TD, but his performance has earned him some more starter reps in practice this week. If Fine doesn’t do much in the first half against Ottawa, Dolegala NEEDS to get the second half.


– Can literally ANYONE else play O-Line? Time to bench Evan Johnson (actually, the time to bench him was last year). He spends more time with his back to the play because he’s getting beat so bad than he is actually attempting to block. Brandon Council wasn’t much better, either. The right side of the line with Colin Kelly and Logan Ferland is fine, but that left side is causing a lot of problems.


– On the plus side, at least for the offense, was that they moved the ball most of the game. Over 450 yards in offense is usually a good day… they just couldn’t punch it in. Shawn Bane Jr., Tevin Jones and Samuel Emilus all had pretty good stat lines (if you can actually trust the CFL’s website) and were able to make some things happen. 


– Sadly, the Riders failed to get the running game going with Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson (why is he only getting 2 touches per game??) yet again. The run game is too predictable and you’d think that the Running Backs Coach turned Offensive Coordinator Kelly Jeffrey would get creative a bit with them, no?


– Big thumbs up to the Riders defence. For the second straight week, they were excellent for most of the game. They are the reason the Riders have been able to keep these last few games close, despite them feeling out of reach. Jason Shivers has turned that defense around, but I was a bit disappointed by the team only getting 1 sack yesterday after finding their pass rush against BC.


– The biggest disappointment of the game to me was the Riders special teams unit. There was nowhere for Mario Alford to run and the Riders couldn’t cover punts yesterday to save their lives. What is usually a really good unit was terrible yesterday. I’m sure Craig Dickenson will make that a focus this week.


– Speaking of the head coach… I just don’t know what to say anymore. You all know I’m not a Coach Dickey guy and I’m sure I’ll say it every week. He has to be fired either at the end of the year or towards the end of the year. I know with the coach’s cap it’s hard to make that decision in game and you aren’t going to fire someone who is still in a playoff spot, but he’s in so far over his head that it isn’t funny anymore. I just don’t know who you replace him with if you fire in season. I’d lean Jason Shivers, but I don’t think that’s happening. Hopefully next year, they can make a play for Jordan Maksymic, Buck Pierce, Corey Mace or Ryan Phillips. Whatever they do, the fans want it to happen sooner rather than later. I haven’t seen fans turn on a coach like this since 2015 when Corey Chamblin was fired.


Join Greg, Steve and myself this week on The Piffles Podcast where we will talk a bit more about the loss, the Fine/Dolegala debate and much more!


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