Now that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have been eliminated from the playoffs, the focus has shifted to what happens next.
That next it revolves around who will call the shots this offseason and whether or not the team will remain with the status quo of Craig Dickenson as head coach and Jeremy O’Day as general manager.
At the end of a season like this, in which the Verdiblancos have lost 10 of their last 12 games, it is not surprising that a large part of the fans wants to see changes. Oftentimes, it’s the head coach and/or general manager who gets the worst of it. Especially the head coach.
Both still have a year left on their contracts, but that won’t stop speculation that changes are coming.
Coach Dickenson addressed that fact directly after his team’s elimination from playoff contention in their Week 20 loss to the Stampeders. The 51-year-old made it clear that he wants to return, despite what a difficult season he has been through.
“Absolutely!” Dickenson said. “I like it here. And I feel like we have a lot of work to do.”
When asked what’s to blame for the Riders’ disappointing season, the coach didn’t mince words about the fact that both the offensive and defensive lines need major improvements to get them back on track. Strengthening the trenches will be crucial for the team to return to the record winning form it had in his first two seasons in charge, where it went 23-12, including the playoffs, before falling to 6-11 this year.
The coach plans to work with O’Day on a plan to revamp his line of scrimmage, but also revealed that he and his GM still haven’t received any guarantees that they’ll be back next season.
“No, we haven’t,” Dickenson said. “But we keep working the way we do because that’s how we do it.”
The coach promises he won’t lose any sleep this week preparing for a meaningless game against the Stampeders themselves knowing he could be the pro version of a dead man walking.
“It’s not a profession where longevity is part of the deal. If you want to be somewhere for a long time, being one of the coaches or the general manager, even a player, probably isn’t the way to go,” Dickenson said. “So we keep working.”
“We have good jobs. We enjoyed being here. We are going to work as hard as we can to get a good product out in the field. And if they finally decide to take another path, that is the prerogative of the organization.