Three Riders were nominated for major CFL awards. Unfortunately for each of them, the voters thought there was someone just a bit better.
Cody Fajardo finished runner up for Most Outstanding Player to the Ticats Brandon Banks. Fajardo’s league best 4,302 yards passing, and 611 yards rushing (#2 among quarterbacks) was not enough to sway voters from the league’s top touchdown maker.
Head Coach Craig Dickenson led the Riders to a 13-5 record and a surprise first place finish. But at 15-and-3, the Ticats Orlondo Steinhauer took home the Coach of the Year.
“It’s really flattering,” Dickenson says of being nominated. “But oftentimes I feel like they (nominate you) based on results. And I appreciate that, but what they don’t see is the hard work that the team puts in, the hard work the players put in. And we certainly work hard as coaches. A lot of things have to happen right to be successful in this league.”
Dickenson often gives credit to the coaches and players under him–understating his role in the Riders success.
“I really just tried to give them direction,” says Dickenson. “We have very good staff, very good workers and all they need, honestly, is just to know where to go. So I tried to be very pro-active in terms of our schedule, their expectations and I let them set the standard. And I felt they did a good job with that.”
Dickenson earned praise from the Coach of the Year.
“He just always strikes me as a guy was ready,” says Steinhauer. “He’s paid his dues. He’s seen a lot of things. Was never in a hurry. His name, maybe, was not consistently mentioned as the guy who may be the next head coach around. It’s funny how things just kind of work out. He’s very deserving.
“As coaches, we see how his players play. They always play really hard and the schemes are always solid.”
Linebacker Cam Judge was the runner-up for Most Outstanding Canadian. His career highs in tackles (61), sacks (5), interceptions (2), and touchdowns (1) were not enough to beat Alouettes linebacker Henoc Muamba.