Perception, blocking schemes among the things Dickenson and the Riders are working on

Less than 24 hours after the Saskatchewan Roughrider’s 31-21 loss to the Toronto Argonauts, Head Coach Craig Dickenson made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with Michael Ball on Monday.

A shorthanded Riders  squad gave all the effort that they could, but were unable to hang on to a second half lead against the Argos as the green and white record has dropped down to 4-3 after a pair of losses to the double blue.

Looking back at his Jake Dolegala’s  performance on Sunday, Dickenson felt the quarterback did a good job considering the circumstances that he was facing with, including a depleted receiving group along with a short week of practice.

“We didn’t help him a lot, we want to run the ball better than we did, that was difficult, when we couldn’t run the ball, we got into second and long and it’s tough, he’s only got four receivers on the field. ”

The Riders return to action on Friday against the BC Lions. Dickenson said no decision has been made on who will get the start for the Riders at QB. Cody Fajardo will return to the starter’s position if he’s healthy says Dickenson.

The Riders will be using this week of practice to determine their next option if Fajardo can’t go. Either Dolegala or Mason Fine would then get a start for Saskatchewan.

Running the ball has a been a strength for the Riders offensive line in the early part of the season, but the ground game for the green and white could not get it going against the Argos. The Riders Head Coach believes a lack of execution and not winning the one on one battles were the reasons for the run blocking failures on Sunday, but added that he believes in the players he has right now and says this week at practice they will try and simplify the blocking schemes.

Kian Schaffer-Baker was unable to get on the scoresheet against the Argos as he didn’t get a reception. Dickenson acknowledged the Argos were keying on #89 , he added there were other factors for the quiet night for Schaffer-Baker.

“We just didn’t have the bodies to do a lot of formations with only four receivers and I think that’s where you get Schaffer-Baker on the edges.” Dickenson added “We could only go a couple of different personnel packages and as a result you saw limited ways of getting him the ball.”

Over the last few weeks a lot has gone against the Riders on and off the field, despite it all, Dickenson explains how he keeps himself from losing his cool.

“I think I’ve always been pretty level headed and logical in terms of how I think and I think you stay in the present you don’t have time to get emotional and remember things, you’re always focused on the play at hand.”

Officiating in the CFL has been a hot topic this season and it seems like the Riders have been in the middle of the fire, especially with low roughing the passer hits. Dickenson says he’s going to try and work with the league officials to get a clear definition on the hit.

“Tell us exactly what the standard is on that low hit. I do think there is some confusion right now on what is roughing the passer and what isn’t on the low hit, we all know what’s late, we all know what’s high, but I really think it would be good for all us to get together for some clarification on what is the standard for the low hit and help us coaches better, cause right now it’s hard to coach, other than just don’t hit him low at all we know sometimes it happens inadvertently.”

With the team’s less than ideal image at the moment, Dickenson says he wants to change the outside perception of the team.

“I think we have a little bit of a reputation of being on edge and playing a little bit over the line and I want to try and change that dialogue, I don’t think we’re getting the benefit of the doubt on a lot of borderline calls we want to get the benefit of the doubt on those.”

The Riders Head Coach also pledged that his team will try and play disciplined football that will lead to them receiving the benefit of the doubt from the officials in due time.

The green and white return to the practice field on Tuesday as they host the BC Lions in Friday night football action at Mosaic Stadium. You can catch the game on 620 CKRM, opening kickoff is 7:00.

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