Dickenson okay with winning ugly as the Riders begin August with a win in Edmonton

It wasn’t pretty victory against Edmonton on Saturday, but Riders Head Coach Craig Dickenson was still in good spirits as he made his weekly appearance on the SportsCage with Michael Ball on Monday.

Saskatchewan (5-4) is coming off a 34-23 win against the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium. Dickenson admitted the triumph against the divisional rivals wasn’t a work of art, but he was happy to see the green and white win ugly, as the team had to rely on making key situational plays to propel them to a crucial win against a divisional opponent.

Even with an ugly win, Dickenson knows the Riders will have to execute on a more consistent basis in the near future if they want to pick up some important “W”s.

One area of the team that has seen improvement over the last few weeks has been the team’s special teams. Mario Alford has proven to be a valuable addition for Saskatchewan since being acquired from Montreal in July, as Alford returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Edmonton in the final minute of the opening half, right after the Elks had scored.

The return of some key bodies have aided the coverage units. Dickenson noted the returns of Gary Johnson Jr. and Justin Herman-Reed along with the emergence of the coverage skills of Tevin Jones.

An obvious concern for the Riders heading into a crucial stretch of the season with their next four games against the BC Lions and Winnipeg Blue Bombers is the team’s offensive line. Dickenson didn’t reveal any changes for Friday’s game against BC, but hinted the unit could be shuffling some personal at practice this week.

Defensive tackle Garrett Marino is set to return to practice. The Riders Head Coach says the team will decide if he will return to lineup later in the week. Dickenson is hopeful the defensive tackle is ready to face the music with media availability this week and is optimistic that Marino is ready to move on from the matter.

Friday night football this week will feature the second matchup of the season between the Riders and the BC Lions (7-1). Canadian QB Nathan Rourke has stormed out to be the leagues leading candidate for Most Outstanding Player with his achievements this season. Dickenson believes Rourke is the best young QB to enter the league over the last 10-15 years and thinks there is no doubt the BC Lions quarterback is capable of joining an NFL team during the upcoming offseason.

With the Riders getting set to meet the top two teams (BC, Winnipeg) in the league over the next four games, the team may get some reinforcements in the lineup over the next couple of weeks. Shaq Evans is slated to return to practice on Tuesday according to the Saskatchewan Head Coach. Kyran Moore and AC Leonard are also possibilities of returning in the near future and Dickenson is hopeful to have a near fully healthy squad when the Riders head into Labour Day weekend.

Pete Robertson did practice last week but ultimately did not suit up in Edmonton, Dickenson mentioned that Robertson had a flare up with his foot injury after his first practice last week, and they are hoping for a better fate when Robertson practices this week in his attempt to get back into the lineup.

The Riders will meet the BC Lions on Friday night, you can catch the game on 620 CKRM with opening kickoff at 8:00.

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