It’s obvious the Saskatchewan Roughriders are simply going through the motions.
The players and coaches are biding their uninspired time, reeling toward the team’s first two-win season since 1980, because really — who are they trying to impress?
Since Craig Reynolds, the team’s first-year president/CEO, fired head coach Corey Chamblin and general manager Brendan Taman midway through this CFL season, the franchise has been rudderless.
Bob Dyce, the special teams co-ordinator, was promoted to interim head coach. Jeremy O’Day, the assistant general manager, was promoted to interim general manager.
Note that word: “Interim.’’
Who’s in charge right now? Who will be in charge next season?
Reynolds was the Roughriders’ chief financial officer. He was a logical choice to replace Jim Hopson, who had been the team’s president/CEO for 10 years before retiring in the offseason. Now Reynolds, seven months into his tenure, has to make the most important decision of his career. Without any experience running a football franchise, Reynolds has to decide who is going to run his community-owned football franchise. He’ll get help from the board of directors, a volunteer group, and the team might hire a head-hunting firm. Reynolds will be thorough in his search, interviewing everyone who might be available and capable of running the CFL’s richest franchise.
Reynolds may make the correct decision. If he doesn’t, the Roughriders will look exactly like they have looked since Chamblin and Taman were fired amid a nine-game losing streak.
When the Roughriders made their most recent mid-season changes, they had somebody ready to step in. They didn’t simply put somebody in charge on an “interim’’ basis.
When head coach John Gregory was fired in 1993, Don Matthews immediately took over. When general manager Roy Shivers was fired in 2006, Eric Tillman immediately took over.
Matthews made the team better. Tillman made the team better. They were also given the opportunity — immediately — to assess the roster and make any changes required to improve the team. Their teams played OK, not like the 2-13 crap being produced by this year’s squad.
Those teams knew who was in charge. The players and coaches knew who they had to impress. A plan was put in place and the franchise moved forward.
That can’t happen now. The Roughriders are hamstrung.
O’Day will get serious consideration as the team’s new general manager, which shows that the franchise is honouring the idea of a succession plan. Maybe he’s the best candidate, but it won’t be decided until the offseason.
Based on Saskatchewan’s last two losses, 46-20 to the B.C. Lions and an embarrassing 30-15 defeat Friday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, both of whom had quarterbacks starting their second CFL games, Dyce does not inspire the troops and will not be retained next season. Any worthy players — and there are dozens who don’t fit that category — realize they will be working for someone else in 2016.
So the players are wondering what everyone else is wondering. Who is in charge? Who do they need to impress if they want to play again next season for the Saskatchewan Roughriders?