Dickenson believes culture is in place to lead a second half resurgence for Riders


With a 4-4 record, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are not where Head Coach Craig Dickenson wants to be as they head into their first bye week of the 2022 season, but he still has faith that the pieces are set for a strong green and white charge in the second half of the season.

Dickenson appeared on Monday’s edition of the SportsCage with Michael Ball.

The Riders have encountered numerous discipline issues this season with a pair of suspensions and leading the league in penalty yards. Despite all of that, Dickenson believes the culture in the locker room has upgraded from last season and he thinks that leadership will be able to steer the team in right direction down the stretch.

“I think we’ve got a better culture believe it or not in that locker room than we did last year, it just hasn’t translated necessarily on the field.”

Dickenson added. “I think this adversity is going to help us down the road, I don’t know if we will win the West, but I do know this, if we can get into the playoffs, we’ll be playing our best football, and we’re going to be a tough out when we get there.”

When the team returns from their week off, the Riders Head Coach believes that a normal practice routine will bring some rhythm that will translate to more success on the field.

“I think you have to start by just practicing better, I don’t see any other way to get out of a slump, any other way than to keep working.”

On Saturday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the Calgary Stampeders in a battle of the two top teams in the CFL. Along with the BC Lions, the three teams have separated themselves from the pack. Dickenson says his team is not quite at the level of the league’s elite at this point, but believes the Riders aren’t far behind and the talent level is capable of pulling themselves into the thick of the race.

Looking at the reasons why the Blue Bombers have jumped out to a perfect start so far, Dickenson highlighted two areas in particular, the play of QB Zach Collaros and the team’s offensive line.

Dickenson says the offensive line for Saskatchewan is a concern right now and there is a possibility that changes could be made to the unit. Reflecting on the Riders recent struggles, the Riders Coach believes the team has faltered recently because of their struggles on the offensive and defensive lines.

While Dickenson is going to take a few days to relax during his bye week and do some fishing with his father, General Manager Jeremy O’Day is currently on a scouting trip through NFL training camps this week. O’Day is set to return to Regina later this week, Dickenson says him and O’Day will be reviewing the roster makeup at that point.

Addressing his starting quarterback Cody Fajardo play’s this season, Dickenson says his QB hasn’t played his best football. He believes the injury to Fajardo’s knee along with a lack of continuity have contributed to the frustrating start for the QB. Going forward, the Roughriders Head Coach is hoping the team will be able to provide Fajardo more time when he drops back into the pocket.

With a .500 record, Dickenson says that his team must improved their play down the stretch in order for them to move up the standings. He added while the team has to improve, they should be adding plenty of reinforcements for the post Labour Day stretch.

Wide receiver Kyran “Swerve” Moore is expected to make his season debut in 2-3 weeks.

The defensive line could receive a jolt with the possible return of the league leader in sacks, Pete Robertson in 2-3 weeks. AC Leonard could also return to 3-4 weeks.

Even though the linebacking crew has been a strength for the team, Micah Teitz and Gary Johnson Jr. are possibilities to return to the roster in a couple of weeks.

Dickenson added that receiver Shaq Evans could rejoin the team after the Labour Day Classic.

The Riders will enter the bye week 4-4. Their next action is Saturday, August 13 when they meet the Edmonton Elks.

More from 620 CKRM