A bad couple of weeks does not a season make. And neither does an 0-2 start in an 18-game schedule where six out of the nine teams make the playoffs.
But if the Saskatchewan Roughriders are going to compete in the wild west of the Canadian Football League, back to back losses out east would have to all but signal a death knell on their 2019 season.
Think about it.
If Cody Fajardo fails to lead this juggernaut out of our nation’s capital with a ‘W’ Thursday night, it’s hard to envision a path where the quarterback-less (with apologies to Fajardo) version of the green and white has any legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot.
The eastern games early in the season are when the Riders are supposed to get fat on some easy lightweights.
The Rider defence is supposed to be among the league’s best and showed signs of it during their Week 1 loss to the Ticats but in this quarterback-driven league, that’ll only take you so far. Last year’s Roughriders proved just that. Just ask key figures of that blueprint, Chris Jones and Willie Jefferson, after they left town without so much as even a Grey Cup appearance to show for it.
The Riders need a quarterback in a way they haven’t needed one in a while. And if general manager Jeremy O’Day isn’t willing to back the money truck up for Kevin Glenn (despite forking over close to $100,000 for Jon Ryan to punt), then O’Day is opening himself up to more scrutiny then he already gets by having the job in the first place.
He (O’Day) had better have a plan B up his sleeve and it better be something better than Cody Fajardo.
After all, had Fajardo been the answer for the Argos or Lions over the past four seasons he was there, surely someone in Toronto or Vancouver would have figured that out and not dare let him escape to Regina.
But escape he did and now he’s potentially Rider nation’s great hope for 2019 aside from rookie Isaac Harker.
If Saskatchewan’s ‘ground and pound’ offence, which hasn’t worked in the CFL since the all-American 1995 Baltimore Stallions, can’t grind out a win against the Dominique Davis-led Ottawa Redblacks, then what kind of realistic hope would they have against a stacked western division chalk full of stud quarterbacks Mike Reilly, Bo Levi Mitchell, Trevor Harris and Matt Nichols?
It’s only Week 2 but for the Riders that rest of the year will look like an awfully steep hill to climb if they can’t even muster up a win in a game they were supposed to get.
We’ve been waiting for a weak team to emerge out of the west. One that even the likes of the Argos, Ticats, Redblacks and Alouettes could toy with.
And if they drop another on Thursday night, that weak squad just might be the Saskatchewan Roughriders.