“We’re kind of a misfit group.” Riders HC Craig Dickenson credits Roughriders camaraderie as a reason for 3-1 start


Somehow, some way, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-1 through the first four games of the 2023 Canadian Football League (CFL) season.

Saskatchewan escaped their Week 5 matchup on Thursday with a slim 12-11 victory over the Edmonton Elks.

Monday’s edition of the SportsCage featured the “The Craig Dickenson Show.” Speaking to Michael Ball, the Roughriders head coach says the team enjoyed a couple of extra days off.

“It’s good to have a break, it’s nicer to have a break when you won the previous game, so no complaints.”

Last season the Roughriders jumped out to a 4-1 start, but there is a different feeling in Riderville this year, even with their current start. Dickenson was expecting some bumps to start the campaign.

“The expectation is that we’re going to take some lumps along the way, and there’s going to be some growing pains, I think there still will be, it does feel a bit different this year, but it feels good.”

One positive Dickenson has seen from his team through the first four games has been the team’s ability to find ways to win.

“When we needed to make plays, whether it be a drive on offence, a stop on defence, a big play on special teams, I feel like we’ve been able to make those. I think that’s good, I think you can build off of that.”

According to their head coach, a unique camaraderie has formed amongst the Roughriders in their locker room.

“We’re kind of a misfit group.”

Dickenson added, “Guys who come from sorts of different backgrounds and different upbringings, different places in the country.”

“It just felt like since day one these guys wanted to be around each other and I think that serves you well.”


Add Some Pressure, Sacks Will Follow

Dickenson didn’t express concern about the defensive line’s production. Although he would like to to see the D-line apply more pressure to the quarterback and win some more one-on-one matchups.

In their Week 1 victory over the Elks, the green and white racked up five sacks. Since then, Saskatchewan has only picked up one sack and has recorded none over the last two games. The Roughriders head coach believes the D-line has made lives difficult for quarterbacks despite the lack of sacks.

Anthony Lanier II has spent the majority of 2023 on the edge at defensive end. Dickenson says Lanier will still see time inside of the defensive line.

He added an injury to the Savannah, Georgia, product has forced their hand a bit.

“He’s a little beat up right now so we like to keep him on the edge, avoids the doubles a little more, certainly Lanier is a good enough player you could use him on the edge, or can kick him down, into that three technique also.”


Beginning without Zero 

The green and white will have to start their week without one of their top players. Defensive back Rolan Milligan went down with an injury early in Thursday’s contest.

Dickenson hopes to have Milligan in the lineup for Saturday’s matchup against the Calgary Stampeders.

The Roughriders were off on Monday before they began their practice week on Tuesday. Dickenson said there’s a good chance that Milligan will sit out Tuesday’s practice.


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