Hewitt Commentary: The good, bad and the ugly
Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo runs in the winning touchdown during second half CFL action at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on Thursday, August 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor
Every single professional sports team, the world over, has strong players who are elite athletes (except for maybe the 2003 Tiger-Cats, they lost 17 straight). Each CFL club roster features former college stars, many of whom spent time in the NFL, including some Canadians.
CFL squads hire coaches who know a lot more about football than you or I, except for maybe Mike Sherman, Kavis Reed and Lary Kuharich.
Never underestimate the will to win. You saw it in the Raptors and St. Louis Blues this spring, and you see it every season in Pats Quarterback Tom Brady. The will to win is closely tied to the hatred of losing.
A winning sports team must have it, regardless of talent or coaching.
It was that will to win which gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders their 24-19 comeback victory over Hamilton Thursday night. Rider Head Coach Craig Dickenson correctly called it a “gut-check” win.
On a short week, the Riders dug down deep in the last minute.
Football games are won an inch at a time, every inch hard fought - we saw Rider QB Cody Fajardo score the winning TD by exactly two inches.
Speaking of Craig Dickenson, I’m no longer worried, at all, about whether or not he is a CFL Head Coach.
He appears to be just that.
After Thursday’s game during the media conference, despite the dramatic last minute victory, Coach Craig was not celebratory, but rather composed and quietly matter of fact.
He practises what he preaches, never get too high, never get too low.
Coach Craig did miss a much needed time out at the end of the half because he was lining up a punt cover. If he had taken the time out, the offense might have had an opportunity for a wind aided field goal.
I still think he should coach special teams in the practise week, and then hand over some of the ST responsibilities come game time - it’s best he can concentrate mainly on the critical decisions he must make as HC.
No doubt next season Coach Craig will be fine doing both.
How did football legends like Marc Trestman and Wally Buono miss how good Cody Fajardo is?
I have no idea, but Rider GM Jeremy O’Day somehow figured it out.
Rider offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo can now input more crossing routes because he has a QB who can actually hit them.
Do you believe in bad karma? You should, because that pretty much sums up the Zach Collaros experience as a Roughrider.
A Saskatchewan pivot for just over a season, Zach was paid a ton of cash. Using salary estimates courtesy TSN and the Regina Leader-Post, the Riders paid Collaros roughly around a collective total of $650,000.
It’s not fair to say the team was taken to the cleaners, because, as GM Jeremy correctly stated, the concussions Zach suffered as a Rider were the result of dirty head shots, not normal football hits.
Sometimes when you are sitting at a losing poker table, you have to take your losses and just walk away, so a good decision by the GM.
I will say this, even without the concussions, Collaros was not good enough to earn that amount of money from the get go.
Most of the money Zach earned was clearly from the Chris Jones era.
We wish him luck in Toronto because he had a lot of bad luck here.
The Rider receiving group need one more speedster. K.D. Cannon back into the lineup ASAP would certainly help. Paul McRoberts needs an opportunity as well.
Good teams in the CFL are always fast and frankly the Saskatchewan receiver corps need one more breakaway threat.
Running back William Powell is better than even advertised. I’m still hoping rookie Jamal Morrow gets his chance as the backup soon.
Linebacker Idowu Oluwaseun deserves more snaps.
Rookie defensive tackle Charbel Dabire did rather decently filling in after both Zack Evans and Micah Johnson went down. Makana Henry really shone.
It’s always very hard, in fact extremely difficult to watch CFL Head Referee Andre Proulx fumble and bumble his way through a football contest on a live mike. The tongue tied and frustrated Proulx reminds me of myself as a former on-air broadcaster.
The Roughies had nine penalties for 88 yards and deserved most of it.
The SaskTel MaxTron video production is as good as you’ll see anywhere in North America.
It looks like the CFL in the Maritimes is a struggling concept.
Rider radio legend John Lynch called me the other day after being upset with the Roughriders. There was steam coming out of my phone receiver!
I hope that never changes.
Well, that’s the good, the bad with hopefully no ugly.
Life is too short for that.
Don Hewitt started covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders for CKCK-TV in 1979.