Perhaps many were indeed scratching their heads when it was announced that head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Craig Dickenson, would be keeping his position with the team heading into the off-season (this writer included). There are many out there that actually would rest the blame on his very doorstep for the unfortunately terrible season that just passed for them.
The Riders of course won’t be making the playoffs, but for a disappointed fan base, that is old news. What isn’t old news is that Dickinson will remain in his position, despite questionable decisions, and a number of them throughout the season.
Of course a Grey Cup champion is still to be crowned and the playoffs are to get under way, but for the Riders, as stated above, it’s off to the off-season to make new plans. This plan here however, doesn’t seem like they’re headed off to a great start. Many would have hoped that a complete shakeup was indeed in the works, and perhaps a start at the top would have been a tad more appropriate.
Instead, the team announced this week that Dickinson’s seat was safe, but a whopping 3 other members of the coaching staff would get the proverbial axe. Players on the offensive line are also to be looking for new teams to play for in the off-season.
Offensive coordinator, Jason Maas, is out; run game coordinator and offensive line coach, Stephen Sorrells is out, and receivers coach, Travis Moore is also out of there. Along with Dickinson, Jeremy O’Day, who is Vice-president of football operations, is also keeping his job.
We all know that Cody Fajardo is also, or is probably headed to be on the proverbial unemployment line, he really taking the brunt of the blame—a narrative that the team officials have helped broaden from its kernel of minimal truth, and all in order to protect their own situations and/or positions with the team, many would assume. Some would call it the blame game, and my-oh-my, what a game of chess these men did in fact play in the end. A round of applause, folks.
Riders CEO, Craig Reynolds, decided to let one and all know what the reasoning was in keeping the aforementioned two on the team when so many others were discarded of. Here’s some of what he had to say:
“I think when you have somebody in-house who has been through the year that we just went through, he understands best what needs to be done and how we go about (fixing) that…I feel like we’ve done a good job here…
But I understand that you’re judged on wins and losses and I can live with the decisions that are made regarding my future. They decided that I was worth bringing back…
At the end of the day, I still believe in coach Dickenson as a coach. I feel like he’s a very good football coach…I feel like he obviously (deserves) an opportunity to come back with the success that he’s had in the past, and I just really still believe in him.”via CBC
And what about Cody Fajardo? Doesn’t he ‘deserve’ another chance? Mason Fine did not do better than Fajardo. Dickinson replacing him made not a single bit of difference. When it was all said and done Fajardo had this to say on the horrible season:
“I felt like the way the season played out was a little sickening for me, a little frustrating after giving everything I had for three years…”via CBC (link above)
But in the end, Dickinson is still convinced that the issues were in the offense and not at all in the ruckus and overall team dynamic that the defensive line caused with their shenanigans earlier in the season (yes, the Garrett Marino fiasco). No, that lack of appropriate disciplinary action and the way Dickinson spoke of the incident publicly afterwards, did nothing to shake the team up in the slightest (please note my sarcasm).
Here’s some of what Dickinson said:
“We’ve already done a pretty deep dive into the season with Jeremy and I and the staff…We feel there will be a lot of lessons learned from this season and one of them is we have to do a better job on offence…
That’s why we had to make some changes there. Productivity and we just weren’t good enough on offence…”via Regina Leader-Post
(And yes, he is signaling out the aforementioned Maas with that last bit there.)
In the end, it all sounds more like a corporate restructure than a sports team restructure, and it reminds the fans, the press and anyone else paying attention that big business mentality sneaks its way into all walks of life; even the good old CFL.
It’s sad too, to be human about it, and the machine just keeps on mowing forward, doesn’t it, dear readers? And left behind are the hearts, souls and careers of men that laid it all out on the line out there in the trenches; men just like Cody Fajardo.
“Welcome my son
Welcome to the machine
Where have you been?
It’s alright we know where you’ve been
You’ve been in the pipeline
Filling in time…”
-Roger Waters /Pink Floyd “Welcome to the Machine”
*For all of your 2022 CFL Season News: CFL News Hub