The Saskatchewan Roughriders interim head coach Bob Dyce and interim general manager Jeremy O’Day are showing fans that mixed messages won’t fly in Riderville. Instead, the Riders will have serenity.
The plan eight months ago was to rebuild this 2013 Grey Cup champion into a champion within the next few years. Contracts tied to key players paralleled that same time line.
Winning, and playoff football, were clearly not to be sacrificed at the expense of this rebuild, which coincides with the building of the new Mosaic Stadium and the rest of the Regina Revitalization Initiative.
So What’s The Plan, Jeremy?
The Riders only have four games remaining starting with Hamilton on October 9th. At 2-12, the overall team philosophy, just as it always was, is that the Riders are not out of the playoff picture and the team is still in full-competition mode until they are mathematically eliminated from the post-season. This is a popular angle with most players because there is consistency in the message and they don’t have to look over their shoulder more than they normally would.
The younger Riders are still trying to earn their spot but demands for playing time are unlikely to pay off career-wise. We’ve seen how that has worked for the highly publicized defensive lineman Michael Sam and running back Nic Grigsby. Where are they now? Nowhere in football.
Since week seven, fans have been generally calling for a season plan to change and are outraged at their “give-it-your-all” strategy. These types of fan would rather not prolong the inevitable but would rather start the rebuilding and remoulding process of evaluating the young and inexperienced players. Who can blame them? Logic says, the sooner you start the sooner you will finish.
As understandable as it is, several teams employ this strategy as soon as the seasons goals seem unattainable. Professional sports teams that are affiliated with minor pro leagues stocked with prospects are a main example of this strategy. Logic isn’t always logical.
GM Jeremy O’Day has showed responsibility to have been as quiet as he’s been with a team that fans are finding harder to protect.
There has been plenty of talk and speculation surrounding the team as the losses keep rolling in. It snowballed into a mass personnel firing, player releases and more losses but, for the most part, the core of the team is still in green and white.
Things that do not belong to us shouldn’t be touch, and so far, O’Day has not parted with an untouchable, despite having likely tempting offers as we approach the CFL trade deadline which is next Wednesday, October 14th at 3:59 PM EDT. He could still go out there this week and “sell the farm”. He could do whatever the board of governors allows him to do as the interim boss, which is best estimated at keeping with the tradition of the organization. However, some of the governors and new CEO Craig Reynolds have likely shifted their expectations enough to loosen the reigns a little.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have been hammered this season, and on more than one occasion. So maybe the serenity prayer-like angle isn’t such a bad example to follow in order to put the life of this football team back on track.
Someone within the Riders management must appreciate Reinhold Niebuhr’s quote, “the victorious man in the day of crisis is the man who has the serenity to accept what he cannot help and the courage to change what must be altered.”
Indeed Mr. Niebuhr. Indeed.