Davis: Riders continue process to respectability

As they return to the CFL playoffs for the first time in three years, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are not just trying to win the Grey Cup.

They’re also in the process of becoming respectable again.

Their 10-8 record was pretty impressive, considering they lost four of their first six games this season. As the wild-card qualifier they can continue their climb out of the gutter Sunday in the East semifinal when they visit the Ottawa Redblacks, the reigning Grey Cup champions. Even a loss wouldn’t devastate the Roughriders, who have shown a growing aura of competence and confidence during the latter half of the season.

It’s sometimes hard to remember the Roughriders won the 2013 Grey Cup before a hometown crowd, the highlight of a storied franchise that dates back to 1910. Because so much has happened since that championship, it seems like decades ago; indeed, only four players remain from the Cup-winning roster.

Since 2014, when they desperately summoned 41-year-old quarterback Kerry Joseph out of retirement to replace injured starter Darian Durant, then saw him throw five interceptions while losing their West semifinal 18-10 to the Edmonton Eskimos, the Roughriders had become embarrassing. They stumbled through 2015, dumping their head coach and general manager midway through the season, and recruited Chris Jones to replace them after a 3-15 campaign.

Jones immediately dispatched popular veterans and whirled through players at a record pace in 2016. The Roughriders were fined repeatedly for roster transgressions, posted a 5-13 record and in the offseason traded away Durant, one of the remaining fan favourites.

But Jones and his oversized staff of coaches, advisors and scouts started putting things in place during that 2016 season, harvesting starting defensive ends Willie Jefferson and A.C. Leonard, cornerback Kacey Rodgers and offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. They recruited vital free agents like linebacker Henoc Muamba, receiver (and part-time cornerback) Duron Carter, slotback Bakari Grant and cornerback Jovon Johnson.

Saskatchewan’s defence has been staunch. On offence, the addition of 38-year-old quarterback Kevin Glenn, for his third go-round in Saskatchewan, looked great at the start of the season. Since suffering a hand injury, Glenn’s hasn’t been as stellar and has regularly been replaced by journeyman Brandon Bridge, a change of pace that has sometimes benefitted the Roughriders’ offence.

Playing home games in a brand-new, ego-inflating stadium, the Roughriders were 2-4 before realizing they were actually pretty good. They rebounded from an embarrassing loss in B.C. to maul the Lions in a rematch, shellacked the previously undefeated Eskimos in Edmonton and won back-to-back road games for the second straight year, while staying in Eastern Canada between matches, against the Toronto Argonauts and Ottawa Redblacks.

They’re trying that route again — staying east — because if they win Sunday in Ottawa the Roughriders will visit the Argonauts for the East final one week later.

A victory in Toronto would send them back to Ottawa for the 105th Grey Cup. Despite their previous fall from grace, the community-owned Roughriders remain among the CFL’s wealthiest franchises, so they can easily assume the extra expenses of an extended road trip. And it is a long, winding and costly road trying to get back to the top.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (116 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

31 Comments on Davis: Riders continue process to respectability

  1. This organization may have gained some respectability in the standings page. But they still live with the smoke of Justin Cox Greg Hardy, Vince Young, fines from cheats and a organization head who carries a reputation.

    • Dan Bombers // November 11, 2017 at 12:11 pm //

      Welcome back stampland, see your Gettn everyone going again lol

    • If you’re talking about Jones, he also was an assistant in Calgary. I guess that was fine back then.

    • Ernie Eisenstein IV // November 12, 2017 at 7:08 am //

      Typical Alberta Citizen and Stampeder fan. Living in what was once an oil rich Province. Then the world changed and they find themselves in a Province of the unemployed, deprived, credit chaos, business and personal bankruptcy all over the place. In fact the Toyota Tacoma that my Sin drives was purchased at the last minute from an Alberta citizen before the bank was going to take it. My kid saved his credit for him. Also helped raise 1.5 Million dollars to send to the fire ravaged city of Fort McMurray. Yet Alberta people can’t see past the end of those nose because of how they see them self.
      To bring up men who are trying to get a job to feed their families. But hey if your an Albertan your above all of that. Just sit back and wait for the NDP make things all better.
      Before you start pounting fingers. Allow me to point out that fortunately no other team in the league has had incredibly sad night club fatal violence. So if I was a Calgary fan I might just keep my Mouth shut and worry about my own team. Otherwise I put my foot in my mouth and it really does show stupidity at its finest.

  2. Horsie you never say anything good about the Riders if you can’t say anything good don’t say anything at all

    • Rick I have some friendly advice for you. Tomorrow night use a gental detergent to wash that jersey. It will keep the colors bright. Also put it in a plastic cover before storing it for the winter.

  3. Donkey, will you follow the same advice the next week when the Stamps choke again?

    • Yeah. Absolutely. I place all my stamps gear in a big Rubbermaid container after it’s washed the day after the end if season. That’s a job for Monday Nov 27

      • Ibleedgreen1111 // November 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm //

        That’s the end of the season for everyone. I would hide it away to one they choke in the western final.

        Hey Horsie. Since you know everything about everything. Do tear stains washout or do you buy a new jersey every year? Its probably the new jersey. Stamps need the extra merchandise sales.

        Me. I’m proud to wear me Rider gear all year round.

        Go Riders!
        Go CFL!!

        • No I do not buy a new jersey every year. Only years when a new design comes out. Spray n wash works well to remove tear stains.

      • True Green // November 11, 2017 at 9:35 pm //

        You mean October 31st? Stamps go into hibernation every year by Nov 1st. Last win you had was October 13th against Hamilton. I guess some years hibernation comes early. I’m sure your jersey is all nicely pressed, folded and tucked away for next season.

  4. Tommie Campbell, Quinn Smith, Joffrey Reynolds, Anthony McClanahan. Stamps fans best not to throwing stones while standing in their own glass house

    • What???? What do those names have to do with anything? 2 of those guys are long gone and 1 also spend time with the riders 🙂

  5. Rider Prider // November 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm //

    Donkey everything and everyone you listed about the riders is long gone as well you mental midget. Go play with your Lego and clean your damn room before your mom spanks you.

  6. Respectability has to do with more than just winning and losing. It has also to do with your demeanor and attitude on the sidelines and off the field. The Riders have a long way to go to reach respectability.

  7. Davis eased up for a change, but sadly the loser hating Stump fans found the story and had spew their garbage. What sad little insignificant lives they must lead to have such a hatred for things they have no control over. Frigging pathetic. The Riders will run the table and a big smelly dog dropping soaked rag gets stuffed in their mouths. And Glenn hoists the cup first.

    • Ladd Law . You can demean me all you want. But as someone viewing the riders from outside the green windows I can tell you this team had a reputation that is less than flattering …regardless of what their record might be. Ask around.

    • Point made. That was a very disrespectful comment. And really had nothing to do with sports, only with someone disagreeing with you.

    • Settle down Ladd law stop being owned

  8. Margaret m // November 11, 2017 at 1:47 pm //

    Growth in riderville and a well developed gag reflex in stampeder land-again and again. Boo boo November 26. Choke full of nuts.

  9. justforkicks // November 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm //

    Getting easier to read the comments now as I can skip postings based on their handle. Enjoy some comments by friend and foe alike but I pick and choose whose to read. Slim picking today.
    Maybe the grownups are shoveling snow or working.

  10. Only in your mind lou. Only in YOUR mind. As small as it is.

    • Well I’m sure if you look around on here or other sites you will see that sentiment expands well beyond my mind.

      • Lancaster/Reed // November 12, 2017 at 1:02 am //

        Donkey, thats only because your obsession with the riders keeps you commenting on every rider and cfl board out there. 1 person with multiple names on multiple boards badmouthing the rider is not indicative of a broad consensus. Its just one sad, pathetic loudmouth who is a liar and welcher, trying to be a troll because his stamps cant beat the riders when it matters most. In the playoffs. 1stamp playoff win and 3 losses vs riders since hufnagel arrived. You must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the riders went east for these playoffs.

  11. I am not Stamps. I do not not know if he writes under more than one name. But I was a Rider fan until Jones came. I am one that despises Jones and I have no respect for him, never will, and he will never bring respectability to the Riders, win or lose.

  12. …sigh…

  13. Does anyone like football?

  14. Rider Prider // November 13, 2017 at 10:13 am //

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out Wait.

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