The off-season — or business season as commissioner Randy Ambrosie likes to call it — is already well underway across the CFL.
The Riders opened their winter by announcing the signing of defensive back and returner Louchiez Purifoy. It shouldn’t be surprising that Purifoy was one of general manager Jeremy O’Day’s first moves. Purifoy was the Riders best defensive back in 2019 and had some strong returns as well. O’Day told reporters on Wednesday that Purifoy won an internal award for playing the most number of plays over the course of the season.
That wasn’t all O’Day had to stay in the nearly 25-minute gab session. Though there was nothing overly pressing to address — as to be expected after a team finishes first in the division — there were still a few tidbits worth dissecting.
The one big question on the minds of many across Saskatchewan right now is what’s the status of the coaching staff? Specifically offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo.
The answer? We’ll have to wait and see. O’Day has left the coaching staff decisions up to his head coach Craig Dickenson — which is the right thing to do.
Perhaps this is one reason why O’Day and Dickenson had the success they did this year, O’Day let Dickenson do his job, and Dickenson let his coordinators do theirs. It’s a simple idea, that often seems obvious but it’s one that isn’t always universally grasped.
Hot button league issues
Across the CFL two of the big talking points right now seem to be one-year contracts and only having two designated quarterback slots on the game day roster next season.
There’s been no shortages of opinions on these topics. If O’Day has a really strong feeling one way or the other, he certainly did a good job keeping it to himself.
Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson has come out against the one year contracts, many fans feel the same. There’s probably many across the league who do. O’Day sees it as both a challenge and an opportunity. Yeah, there’s a lot of free agents every year and roster continuity can be an issue, but at the same time if you need to make a lot of change, it’s more achievable.
The overall number of Riders’ free agents doesn’t seem all that daunting to O’Day. Right now, him and Dickenson are going over the roster as it is and making decisions on players regardless of contract status. If some of the keepers are free agents, then the process will begin.
As for the quarterbacks, O’Day says that plans are underway to have a third guy on the roster ready. Don’t expect that to mean that Bryan Bennett will be listed as a linebacker, though.
O’Day did reference research that suggests the third stringer doesn’t often see the field. We obviously saw that this year, personally I’m not in favour of it. O’Day feels it comes to whether you think holding a clipboard on the sideline is important to development or not.
Next year the Riders will host the Grey Cup for the first time at new Mosaic Stadium.
We all remember the last time the Riders hosted the big game. The Riders won and they pulled it off gambling big time on themselves, you could argue the effects of that year were felt for a few years after the fact.
Don’t expect that to be the case this time. O’Day hasn’t been shy about using president Craig Reynold’s famous “sustained success” line. Going bonkers for one season isn’t going to attain that.
This doesn’t mean the Riders won’t be trying to win, every season is sacred and winning is always the goal. Just don’t expect the moves to be as extravagant as 2013.
Ryan was a big story in Saskatchewan this year for better or worse.
Though the punter struggled with his directional punting for a good chunk of the season, there’s no doubt his big leg got the team out of trouble at various points this season.
Last year, Ryan did only sign a one-year deal with his hometown team and it seems like there will be a bit of a waiting game. O’Day said that Ryan wants to enjoy the off-season for a bit. He also suggested it was a bit of a slow process last year, which leads me to believe it could be much of the same this year as well.