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The Pride is Gone

Published: Wednesday, Aug 9th 2017, 5:08pm

by Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

I’m getting really sick and tired of this roller coaster of a team that we get every week. I’m tired of trying to defend this team when they give us crap performance after crap performance against West division teams, especially on the road. I want consistency. I want to be excited. I’m sick of hearing about all this promise that the team has and I’m guilty of trying to sell that because they DO have legit talent. I was all for blowing this team up after the joke of a 2015 season and I’m still glad we did. We had overpaid players who contributed nothing to the win column. Literally, we had nothing in the win column until Labour Day. Granted, many of those games were close and winnable, but close doesn’t cut it. The only thing that matters is wins.

Skip forward again to this year. 2-4, probably should be 4-2 or 3-2-1 at worst, looking at a playoff spot as a real possibility. But here we sit, 4 points AND a tiebreaker out of a playoff spot with 4 straight games against Western Division opponents. The Riders need to win 3 of those 4 to legitimately think that the playoffs are a consideration this year. AND 2 of those 3 wins NEED to be Labour Day and Banjo Bowl against Winnipeg, the team we are chasing for a crossover spot. Thanks to the 43-40 OT loss in the Mosaic Stadium opener, if the Riders don’t sweep the Bombers in the annual Labour Day/Banjo Bowl games, they won’t have the tiebreak and will then need to finish the season with more points than the Bombers to make the playoffs. Judging on their 3-30-1 record against the West Division since Banjo Bowl 2014, preseason and postseason included, I’m not confident in their chances of winning one of them let alone a sweep.

Let me break down this team for you since Darian Durant went down that Banjo Bowl 2014… in the regular season, 12-39. Preseason, 0-5-1. Post season 0-1. That’s a total of 12-45-1. They’ve won 12 of their last 58 games. Now I know preseason doesn’t really matter, but it does matter. It gives confidence to the team and to the fans. They can’t even beat backups. That’s how bad this team is. And that includes a season WITH Durant as QB. So before I go further, those saying we can’t win without Durant, well we couldn’t win with him last year either, so there ya go.

But, how did we get here? Let’s go back to Sunday, November 11, 2012. West Semi-Final, Riders @ Calgary. We all know that the Riders took a lead late with a Greg Carr TD catch and subsequently blew that and let Calgary come back and win 36-30 and go on to beat the BC Lions and get to the Grey Cup. Thankfully Toronto won the Grey Cup that year…no doubt in my mind that if we hold on and beat Calgary, we beat BC and then beat Toronto, but I digress. But that game showed that this team was ready to win NOW in 2013. After a disastrous 5-13 2011 season, we were right there a year later. General Manager Brendan Taman went spending in 2013 to insure that the Riders won the Grey Cup at home that year and that’s exactly what happened. He backloaded contracts to sign the best possible team. Ricky Foley, John Chick, Weston Dressler, Geroy Simon. All were given big deals that put us over the top to win the biggest game in team history. And looking back at it, I’m glad he did it, even knowing that it would cost us down the road. Before then, the Riders had 3 Championships in just over 100 years. THREE. It was worth it to win at home.

Banjo Bowl 2014. Riders survive to get to 8-2, everything is great in Riderville, well on our way to another playoff appearance and maybe another Grey Cup game. Durant gets hurt. Tears up his elbow. The team goes 2-6 the rest of the way and lose to Edmonton in the West Semi-Final in a game where Kerry Joseph threw 5 interceptions. This is okay, Durant will be back next year and we will be fine. 2015 season opener, Durant tears his achilles and is out for the season. Well it’s not so bad, we have Kevin Glenn. Riders start 0-9, Head Coach Corey Chamblin is fired, Ridernation is PISSED. 2015 is now a lost cause. It’ll be fine, it’s like 2011. One bad year, we will be good next year.

2016 season and Chris Jones is signed away from Edmonton a few days after winning the Grey Cup with the Eskimos. John Murphy, Assistant GM of Calgary is lured here as well. This is it. Our saviours are here! We have Durant healthy and a new regime that is used to winning! Weston Dressler – cut. John Chick – cut. Whoa. This is not okay, those guys are our franchise. Well, we still have Durant and can spend that money elsewhere. We need to upgrade our O-Line, D-Line and we will be okay. 100+ players and about 20 fines handed out to Chris Jones and the Riders (well, more like 3, but ALL HE DOES IS GET FINED) and we limp our way to a 5-13 season. 2017, Darian Durant is traded to Montreal. Ridernation loses their collective minds. This is NOT okay. Chris Jones is ruining our team.

Well, it’s not so bad, we will go younger at QB and start the official rebuild and look at the promising future. Kevin Glenn and Vince Young signed to be our QBs. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? Thankfully, Vince Young gets hurt, Brandon Bridge plays lights out in both preseason games, okay, we are in decent hands. We see the promise of this team and we should be good. Jump ahead to the present, we are not good. 2-4 and already 2 full games out of the playoffs is not good. Where is the consistency and promise of a good, competitive team we have been promised the last few years? Well, at least at this time we have a Head Coach who graded himself as not very effing good, so accountability is there. So what’s missing? A defensive coordinator, a good offensive coordinator, a consistent O-Line, a D-Line that gets pressure without blitzing, a remotely mediocre secondary. THAT’S what’s missing.

It’s hard to get excited over this team when none of the glaring weaknesses of this team seem to be addressed. And that starts from the very top. I’m talking about President Craig Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds seems like a really great guy and I think he’s the right guy for that position right now. But he doesn’t want to meddle into the football operations of the team, which is fine. But he HAS to now. GM/HC/VP of Football Ops/DC/whatever else he’s doing, Chris Jones CLEARLY has too much on his plate. Some of that needs to be delegated and he needs to be told that by Craig Reynolds. It’s almost as if the team doesn’t care about creating a winning culture as long as we spend our money at this fancy new stadium we have and keep buying anything green they put an S on. I’m guilty of buying merch. I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I’m a sheep like the rest of the fans. As long as we spend our money on them, they have no need to get better. But now I find it much harder to buy a $10 beer, a $22 hot dog and thousands of dollars on tickets when I can tell you right now, this team won’t win against a West Division team. Do I still want them to win? Of COURSE I do. I just have lost complete faith in this team to win.

I don’t expect them to win anymore, I’ve accepted that they are a poor team and I’m okay with that. They just won’t get much out of me. I won’t buy more merch, I won’t spend money in their stadium, I won’t waste my voice screaming at games, because it will all be for not.

This must be what is was like to be a fan in the late 1990s. A bad team, management that didn’t seem to care and no end in sight. I want to compare this team to the early 2000s when Roy Shivers and Danny Barrett took over, but they at least showed improvement. But the difference is that this team here in 2017 actually has a lot of talent. That’s the frustrating part! They should be winning games. They shouldn’t be down 30-0 to BC and show zero effort for 56 minutes.

The pride is gone. Being a Rider fan is no longer as cool as it was from 2003-2014. We are back to being the losers of the league that everyone makes fun of and it sucks. I hate it. I’m sick of it. All I want is wins. I don’t care how, I don’t care who, I just want wins. And until they consistently start getting some, I’ll continue not spending money on them, I’ll continue going to games and being quieter than I should be. One win won’t change this, they need to beat good teams, West Division teams. They need to show that they WANT to win and we don’t see that every week. I can deal with losses if they TRY. The last 2 losses in Calgary and BC there was no energy, there was no try, there was nothing. They are giving me nothing, so I am returning the favour.

So, I challenge you, Saskatchewan Roughriders… MAKE me proud again. Make it cool for me to be a fan again. Do whatever it takes, change things up, keep it the same, whatever. Just get wins, because this is painful and it pisses me off.


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