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'I know there’s a lot of talk': Riders' GM meets with media amid teams' losing record

On Wednesday, Saskatchewan Roughriders General Manager and Vice President of Football Operations, Jeremy O’Day, addressed media to discuss the team’s current situation and contract negotiations.

O’Day is in his final year of his contract and when asked if he’s had conversations with CEO Craig Reynolds about returning next season, he did not provide many details.

“I think what we need to understand is I’m not someone who is really comfortable taking about that. We have half our players that are on one year contracts, probably 90 per cent of our coaches are on one year contracts, so for me to sit up here and talk about my own situation, I don’t think that’s fair to anyone in the building,” he said.

Head coach Craig Dickenson is also in the final year of his contract and is facing similar scrutiny from outsiders on whether he deserves an extension.

“Expectations are high, which you like. You want to go some place where they expect you to do well. So no more pressure, I’m not feeling any more pressure now than I ever have. But the reality is we have to win games,” said Dickenson on Monday.

“It’s pro football, you’re always going to feel pressure, right? I think they [the coaches] always do. As the season goes on, you’re closer to the playoffs, that’s pressure I’m sure. But it’s pro sports, it’s always there and in Saskatchewan, it’s always there,” said O’Day on the coaching situation.

Fans and spectators cannot help but notice the similarities of this season to last as the team started strong then dropped seven games in a row to end the season. The Riders are currently on a three game slide.

However, both the coach and players who were here last year believe there is a difference.

“We got beat up a little bit early last season. We couldn’t shake it, but we’ve gotten through injuries early, we got beat up physically, but I think our confidence is what’s holding our mental part [during this losing streak],” said defensive back, Jayden Dalke.

“It’s not our first three game skid that we’ve had so we have enough guys in the locker room that experienced what we went through last year, so I think it’s having the leadership in the locker room [that is the biggest difference],” said Jamal Morrow, running back for the Riders.

“Coach Dicky has been on us about being better men off the field too and that helps us on the field as well,” shared Tevin Jones, wide receiver for the Riders.

“You guys will probably disagree. I was a little harder on them last year and it didn’t work,” laughed Dickenson. “I think I needed to learn when to be stern and when to be strict and hard on them. Now this year we certainly haven’t eased up by any means but we’ve been way more positive,” he added.

O’Day also does not seem concerned about where the team is sitting right now, pointing to the fact that they are still in a playoff spot and third in the West Division.

“I think everyone should understand the sky is not falling inside this stadium. I know there’s a lot of talk and we lost three games, and you’re in a rut. You want to pull out of it. The guys are not thinking that the season’s going astray. They’re focused on the next week and trying to win a football game,” he said.

O’Day was also asked about the likelihood of quarterback Trevor Harris returning and could not comment on a potential timeline or if he will return this season. He also would not comment on the future of Jake Dolegala as the starter for the remainder of the season in the event Harris does return.

“That’s a coach question. But I think if that happens, we’ll do what we can every week when a guy comes back from injury, we’ll evaluate how the guys are playing at that time and then you make that decision,” he explained.

“There will be a long evaluation process before we determine anything. I wish I had a crystal ball to be able to tell you that but there’s a long ways to go before we would even think about that.” Top Stories


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