Riders GM Jeremy O’Day joins the SportsCage to discuss team’s recent struggles


The only thing hotter right now than the summer temperatures in the prairies, is the pressure building up in Riderville, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders who have lost four out of their last five games, and are now 5-5 and sit in fourth in the CFL’s Western Division.

On Wednesday, Roughriders Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Jeremy O’Day joined the SportsCage and discussed the current situation of the team with Michael Ball.

One of the reasons for the recent struggles for the green and white has been the offence not living up to their expectations.

O’Day says the offensive struggles has been a result of different players struggling at different times.

“Offensively, there’s the old saying there’s got to be 12 guys pulling in the same direction, we’ve kind of all taken our turns of not playing well.”

After Friday’s loss to the BC Lions, there was plenty of discussion about the confidence of the Riders starting quarterback Cody Fajardo following him being replaced by Mason Fine in the late stages of the second quarter. Fajardo admitted after the game his confidence wasn’t at the level he wanted it to be.

The Riders General Manager believes the idea of Fajardo’s lack of confidence was taken out of context, since the QB’s answer came shortly after the game against the Lions.

When it comes to confidence, according to O’Day, Fajardo isn’t lacking it, noting that if there’s a position that has a requirement for confidence, it’s playing quarterback.

“I would say that quarterbacks are the most confident guys that I’ve been around, a number of really good ones, and one thing that they don’t do , they don’t lack confidence.”

O’Day continued.

“If I would say if anybody in the room that has confidence it’s Cody and all the quarterbacks, they’re thick skinned and they’ve played quarterback their whole life. One thing they don’t lack in anything they do is confidence.”

A lack of continuity has been an issue for the Riders as O’Day explains.

“When you’re working with guys that you haven’t worked very long and we’ve had a rash of injuries at our receiving core the timing is off and that takes time, it’s hard to put everything on one guy , or  it’s hard to place the blame on one guy, I think that we can play better in all areas, but they’re working hard.”

A lack of consistency surfaced once again when O’Day spoke about the Riders offensive line struggles. The Riders GM says the o-line for Saskatchewan hasn’t formed enough cohesion this season, adding that it’s not one player alone that is the fault for their troubles.

The development for offensive lineman take time according to O’Day, as he believes that some legendary Rider offensive linemen achieved a lot of their success later in their careers after the addition of several years of experience.

“I think as time goes on you improve as lineman, the greats we’ve had in the best, the best years that the Roger Aldag(s), the Gene Makowsky(s)had,  or the Andrew Greene(s), it’s later on in your career, you become better with time and experience getting used to the players you’re playing against.”

With NFL training camps winding down, and cuts being made, fans in the CFL are optimistic at this time of year about the possibility of their team adding additional resources for the playoff stretch drive.

The Riders Vice President of Football Operations says that while it’s his job to improve the weaknesses of the team, he admits it’s difficult bringing American players north of the border right now as the players try to exhaust all of their opportunities in the National Football League. (NFL) O’Day says currently the main focus of the team will be looking at adding to their negotiation list.

With the Labour Day Classic just around the corner, heading into the second half of the season, O’Day is confident the Riders have the pieces to get the offense back on track, as it begins with the return of key bodies in the lineup, especially at the receiver core.

Like all regular season games, O’Day thinks this upcoming game against BC is a must win matchup as he hopes the team begins to build some momentum heading into September.

“You got to win that first one before you can get rolling and find a way to win the game and get the positive feeling back in the building.”

For local sports talk including the Saskatchewan Roughriders, make sure you catch the SportsCage with Michael Ball at 4:00 on 620 CKRM.

Friday’s Riders game in BC can be heard on 620 CKRM, with Countdown to Kickoff at 5:30, Opening kickoff is at 8:30.

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