After a very impressive September 3rd game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers earlier in the season, the Roughriders have suddenly started quite the decline, they losing 4 games in a row. The question being asked in Rider Nation right now is: Can they turn this around before it’s too late?
Last year they blamed Cody Fajardo and thus released the passionate player, even going as far as embarrassing him for those last two games of the season, but now we’re seeing that perhaps last season’s string of losses weren’t at all to be laid at the QB’s doorstep.
Maybe in the end, something wasn’t jiving behind the scenes, and head coach, Craig Dickenson, took a wee bit of the blame if not all of it after the recent loss to the mighty BC Lions.
“Ultimately it all falls on me…If our team’s not prepared or not executing, that falls on me as the head coach…You can point the finger at me and I’ll take it. I’ve got to do a better job of preparing the team. I’ve got to do a better job of getting our coaches on-board with the game plan and calling it the way I see they should be calling it…
For the most part I think they do. I’m not unhappy with my coaches at all. I’ve got a good staff; they work hard and put in everything they’ve got. But 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. That’s just what you sign up for when you become a coach. I understand.”via Regina Leader-Post (link below)
-image via Sportsnet
Where were these sentiments last year? And to go back to Fajardo for a spell, he is quite obviously introspective and an introspective QB is one that can be worked with. Had he been given the opportunities he deserved with the Riders he would have been that much better this year, but the organization decided to cut their losses at the time.
Fajardo is doing well in Montreal this season and being given his chance, a chance he is running with, all the while being the introspective sort of gent he always was…
“In the CFL, that’s pretty unheard of, to have that much yards…We moved the ball well, but that hasn’t been our issue. All year we’ve moved the ball well against every team. When we play the top teams in the league we seem to move the ball…
For the most part it seems the red zone is the issue. Comparing yourself to other quarterbacks, that’s what jumps off the page — the passing touchdowns compared to other quarterbacks around the league…It’s not good enough…There’s good picks and back picks. Some balls you throw up at the end of the game, it gets picked and everybody (comments)…
Of those five picks, one of them was in the red zone and that takes points away from us. Another one in Hamilton the receiver slipped in the red zone…Quarterbacks get blamed for a lot of interceptions. That’s what makes football so special…
It’s 12 guys that have to be doing their job. A lot (of responsibility) goes on the quarterback. I have to make us right when we get in the red zone. I have to play better. I can’t make bad decisions, bad throws, because things tighten up. If we want to win a Grey Cup with this team I have to be better in the red zone.”via Montreal Gazette / Transcription
He has passed for 318 yards so far this year—a season high for him.
The last time the Riders and the Lions faced each other, on August 20th that was, the Riders came out on top, winning the game 34 to 29. Unfortunately this past Friday, September 29th they weren’t at all so lucky.
But does luck have anything to do with it? In the end, morale was definitely up and the games being played were sharper it seemed and although their mere winning streak never really produced wins by a large margin, Rider Nation was happier than they had been in a while with a team really going hard with a goal in mind, and that goal: The post season.
But the decline of the team is a sad sight to see for fans, as well as it is for those of us who cover this team. Writer for the Regina Leader-Post, Darrell Davis, had this to say about the current state of the Roughriders: “A team so uninspired, unprepared and unfit doesn’t really deserve to be in the hunt for the Grey Cup.”
I must concur. They need to win their following three games in order to make it to the post season, but right now, that feat seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb as it stands.
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