George Alexander sports column

George A PortraitHow the mighty have fallen! Once a feared warrior and opponent of every team in the Canadian Football League, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have now plummeted to the bottom of the nine team league. Their home, Mosaic Stadium, was arguably the most menacing place to play in for at least the past decade. However, it’s now become a gimme “2 points” for opponents alike. So what’s gone so drastically wrong with this proud Prairie franchise this season and back to the season beyond? I’m writing a column, not a novel, so the reasons seem and vast varied, simple yet complex.

What can the Riders do to fix this rapidly sinking ship? Fire the coach? Bench the starting QB? Make some trades? Or maybe a combination of all the above? I know every fan is an arm chair coach and GM and has all sorts of solutions for the Riders quagmire. I’ve talked to, listened and read numerous opinions regarding necessary changes to the green and white. The bottom line is, fans, and I’m sure the team alike, know consistent losing is not an option!

Coach Corey Chamblin and to some extent General Manger, Brendan Taman must know they are definitely on the “hot seat” when it comes to their jobs. Saskatchewan is no longer the whipping boy of the CFL and is the most successful franchise by far. Winning is essential to put bodies in the stands. The new and very expensive Mosaic Stadium will be operational just around the corner in 2017. Pro football is measured only by wins and losses and not close games as some detractors may point out. The coach has to get the most out of the players and it’s obviously not happening here in Regina where coach Chamblin is appearing to lose the locker room. Yes, he’s not alone to blame in the ordeal. Taman, has not brought in adequate talent or internal competition right across the board. Injuries have hit hard but we simply don’t have the replacements.

GA Riders Dressler vs Ticats July2615

Photo credit: George Alexander.

Do the Riders sit QB Kevin Glenn injured or not? At 0-5, the choice is obvious, give back up Wyatt Smith the ball regardless. It’s time to see if this kid has true CFL potential. Don’t expect miracles either, especially headed into a hostile environment in Edmonton on Friday. The schedule is certainly not kind and Riders may find themselves at 0-9 heading into the Labour Day Classic.

The Riders do have some talent but it seems to be aging and limited. The trade route may be just the way to go. I’m sure John Chick, Chris Getzlaf or Jerome Messam could command a king’s ransom. We especially need young talent at the QB position and across the board on defence. Both Edmonton and Montreal have a plethora of young QB’s who could be pried away by a team with serious Grey Cup aspirations.  Depth, talent and youth to some extent would obviously help the solidify a future Riders roster.

Unfortunately, all is practically lost for the 2015 campaign of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  They simply can not tank to get the first draft pick which means a lot like in the NFL or NHL. The first Canadian chosen is never a QB or often signs south of the border if he’s seriously good. The Riders can only play out the string to try and develop a team that may be under new commanders in some shape or form. The CFL is a cyclical league and the Riders bad times can’t and wont last forever!

Follow George Alexander on Twitter @Big_G_09

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