Opinion: Riders’ GM Jeremy O’Day has firmly hitched his wagon to Craig Dickenson

Photo courtesy: Ingrid Bulmer/3DownNation. All right reserved.

The first domino of what should be a busy offseason for the Saskatchewan Roughriders has fallen.

After the team’s season ended this past weekend on a seven-game losing skid and having only won two of their last 11 games, changes were inevitable. Change is the only sure thing in football, even when a team is good. When a team is bad, they are usually faced with big changes.

A significant portion of Rider Nation had been hoping for sweeping moves. Most of them had decided it was time for the organization to clean house. Some suggested that everyone from president Craig Reynolds on down should be gone, including head coach Craig Dickenson and general manager Jeremy O’Day.

While wholesale change isn’t coming to Ridervile, a significant move was made with the dismissal of offensive coordinator Jason Maas along with the team’s offensive line coach Stephen Sorrells and receivers coach Travis Moore. None of these moves should be considered a surprise.

Dickenson and O’Day will both return in 2023, which likely surprised some.

Since the departure of Chris Jones in January 2019, stability has been the name of the game under the watch of O’Day. There’s something to be said for stability as there were once calls for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to fire head coach Mike O’Shea during his first few seasons at the helm. Now his team could very win their third straight Grey Cup.

The duo that led Saskatchewan to back-to-back West Finals will get a chance to right this ship themselves. Part of that I’m sure is because of the football operations cap, but that won’t be a factor beyond this upcoming season as both men are entering the final years of their contracts.

Only time will tell if this decision ends up being the right one, but it has firmly made O’Day and Dickenson a package deal.

Generally speaking, a general manager should get to hire at least two head coaches before losing his or her job. Had O’Day decided it was time for a change at the head coach position, then he should have gotten a chance to hire Dickenson’s replacement. Especially since O’Day didn’t have many options at his disposal when Dickenson was hired in the first place.

Now, I would say that O’Day has essentially used that hire to keep Dickenson for at least another season.

In supporting the decision to not make a change, Reynolds has added some heat to his seat as well.

If things don’t improve drastically next season, then some Riders fans may yet get the wholesale change they were looking for.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.