The Craig Dickenson-Jeremy O’Day watch in Riderville is on.
Now that the Saskatchewan Roughriders have been eliminated from playoff contention, the focus has shifted to what happens next.
The next revolves around who the decision-makers will be this offseason and whether or not the team will remain with the status quo of Craig Dickenson as the head coach and Jeremy O’Day as the general manager.
At the end of a season like this one, where the green and white have lost 10 of their last 12 games, it is no surprise that much of the fanbase wants to see change. Often it is the head coach and/or general manager who bears the brunt of that. Especially the head coach.
Both still have one more year left on their contracts but that won’t stop the speculation that changes are coming.
Coach Dickenson addressed that fact head-on following his team’s elimination from playoff contention by way of their Week 20 loss to the Stampeders. The 51-year-old made it clear he does want to come back, despite the trying season it has been.
“Absolutely!”, said Dickenson. “I like it here. And I feel like we’ve got a lot of work still to do.”
When asked about what’s to blame for the Riders’ disappointing season, the coach made no bones about the fact that both the offensive and defensive lines need major improvements in order to correct course. Beefing up the trenches will be essential to getting the team back to the form it had with winning records in his first two seasons at the helm, going 23-12 including playoffs before dwindling to 6-11 this year.
The coach plans to work with O’Day on a plan to revamp their line of scrimmage play but also revealed he and his general manager have not yet been given assurances that they will even be back next season
“No, we haven’t”, Dickenson said.“But we’re going to keep working like we are because that’s the way we do it.”
The coach swears he will not lose any sleep this week in preparing for a meaningless game against the same Stampeders while knowing he could be pro football’s 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, probably being one of the coaches or GM, even a player, is not the way to go,” Dickenson acknowledged. “So, we’re going to just keep working.”
“We’ve got good jobs. We enjoy being here. We’re going to work as hard as we can to put a good product on the field. And if at the end of the day they decide to go a different way, then that’s the organization’s prerogative.