Former receivers coach Travis Moore believes Riders’ decision not to re-sign him could be ‘blessing in disguise’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Receivers coach Travis Moore will not be back in Saskatchewan following the Riders’ disappointing 2022 campaign, but the team’s decision not to extend his expiring contract could be for the best according to the long-time CFL assistant.

“That’s the nature of the business,” Moore said in an interview with CKRM’s The Sportscage this week. “I’m not gonna get into why [I was let go], I don’t know exactly why. I wasn’t told that. It really wasn’t even a sit-down conversation. I’ll move forward on that and sometimes, it’s a blessing in disguise. I’ll just leave it at that.”

The Riders announced that Moore and offensive line coach Stephen Sorrells would not have their contracts renewed after the team fired offensive coordinator Jason Maas last week. The trio of offensive coaches were the only major structural changes made by the team after they failed to make the playoffs in 2022, with head coach Craig Dickenson and general manager Jeremy O’Day remaining in the club’s top jobs.

That clearly hasn’t sat right with those shown the door.

“Am I mad? More disappointed because you never got a reason why and you bust your butt and you’re working and you’re going out there for your guys and your receivers,” Moore recounted.

“I’ve had more phone calls from guys I’ve coached around the league to old GMs and old players. I know what I bring to the table and my whole thing is if my services weren’t appreciated here, it’s time to move on.”

The Roughriders finished second-worst in the CFL for passing offence, averaging just 233.6 yards through the air per game and surrendering a team-record 77 sacks. Canadian Kian Schaffer-Baker led the team with 68 receptions for 960 yards and five touchdowns, as Saskatchewan finished without a thousand-yard pass catcher for the third time during Moore’s tenure with the club.

Despite that fact, the coach believes that he did his job to the best of his ability and dismisses allegations that high-priced pass catchers underperformed under his watch. Instead, it was injuries to the likes of Duke Williams, Shaq Evans and Kyran Moore that derailed the best-laid plans.

“With these guys battling injuries and you have fractured ankles and torn ligaments in your ankle, people don’t understand what they’re fighting through. And you miss those guys and have to get back on-page with the quarterback who went through injuries,” Moore said.

“There’s a lot of different things a lot of people don’t know that happened on the inside, you only can see the out-product. But those are the questions I think you should probably ask Craig Dickenson.”

While few in Rider Nation would make any effort to defend the team’s dismal offence, many were surprised to see the offensive staff serve as the scapegoat while their bosses, Dickenson and O’Day, escaped unscathed. Having coached with the team since 2018, Moore did not descend into finger-pointing but made clear the blame should not have fallen on him.

“Listen, the guys at the top know what happened and the guys in that office know what went down. I did my job. I coached who I was able to coach, had the players when I had the players and they played well,” he said.

“Other than that, no, I don’t control who’s on the field, I don’t control the depth chart, I don’t control who we sign. I don’t do any of those things. My job is to coach the wide receivers, do what my offensive coordinator asked me to do to make sure they’re prepared, and if the head coach is telling him something that he wants and we do it, I’ll make sure they know that as well. All the other things, I’m not in charge of that. I only do my job; that’s above me. There’s nothing else I can talk about because it’s above my pay grade.”

With 14 years of coaching experience already under his belt and a decade as a player preceding that, Moore is unlikely to be out of the CFL for long. Until such time as another job arises, he will continue to train athletes in the offseason — including several Riders’ receivers who have already agreed to continue working with him.

Even if the team no longer wants him around, it seems the players have a different opinion.