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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

O'DAY ON INJURIES AND THE "EAST OR WEST" DEBATE

Saskatchewan Roughriders Assistant V.P. of Football Operations & Administration Jeremy O'Day joined 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Monday to discuss the state of the 10-7 team heading into Week 20.

The Riders host Edmonton Saturday at 5:00 pm at Mosaic Stadium and the situation is very simple: a Rider win means they'll finish in third place in the CFL West and stay in their division for the playoffs. However a Rider loss means they'll finish in fourth place and crossover into the East Division on the Road to the Grey Cup.

The Riders have been dealing with a rash of injuries including several starters such as WR Naaman Roosevelt, WR/PR Nic Demski, LBs Otha Foster and Sam Eguavoen, and several others. RB Trent Richardson was dinged up near the end of Friday's 37-12 win over Montreal, and he was starting in place of the injured Cameron Marshall.

O'Day was asked specifically about Marshall's status, the team's leading rusher.

"He's week-to-week. He's been practicing," O'Day reported. "Again, we have a few guys who are in a situation where they may or may not be ready to go. We're going to take the approach of being cautious with those guys and make sure we're going into the playoffs with all our ammunition. There are some guys who may or may not go into the lineup so that we're healthy going into the playoffs."

Saturday's game is only "must win" if the Riders intend to stay in their division for the playoffs, but the most important games will come afterwards. It's clear Head Coach & GM Chris Jones has a lot of decision-making to do for this week's roster.

"That'll all be determined by Coach Jones," O'Day deferred. "He's let it be 100% known that we're playing to win this week and that's the approach we're gonna take; to play to win every game regardless of where that puts us in the playoffs. We're going to play anyone who's healthy enough to play and if there's anyone that's close, we'll err on the side of caution and hold them out."

We asked O'Day if there's been any discussion on which road the team would rather take in the playoffs: East or West.

"Sure," O'Day admitted. "You're gonna discuss it naturally because you need to make travel plans for either scenario. But honestly, and I'm not blowing smoke, we're going after this game to win it. We want to get to 11 wins. If that's the case, we'll be in the West. If it doesn't work out on Saturday, we'll go East."

The prospect of a crossover doesn't scare the Riders. They've swept back-to-back visits to Ottawa and Toronto in each of the past two regular seasons.

"We've had some success going East like this the past two seasons but we know the playoffs are a lot different," O'Day warned. "Honestly, we don't really care which side we go to. We just need to play our best football going going into the playoffs and eventually you'll face the best teams no matter what. We just want to be playing our best football.

"No team has ever crossed over and went to the Grey Cup so it's a tough thing to do. It's travel, it's getting out of your schedule, getting over there, planning for postgame plans if you win. Those are all things you have to figure out and any additional travel plans can distract a team."

If it's up to the Rider Nation, they'd like to see the Riders stay in the West. In a poll I posted to my Twitter feed @rodpedersen, 67% of respondents said they want the Riders to finish in third place and go to the Grey Cup through their own division.

RP
@rodpedersen


17 comments:

3RD and 1 said...

I agree .... Go West!
Beat the EE at home. Finish with an 11 win season. The last time that happened was 2013 and Taman had purchased every all star free agent and without sneaky contract negotiations. Like paying Geroy Simon 50% of his 1st year money in the second year as an office assistant. Now the cap is under control.
Go into Winnipeg all prepared knowing how hostile it is. Go after a team that has lost more games than they have won lately. Plus injuries are really affecting them right now.
Then after a beautiful victory in the Peg. Head into the mild McMahon stadium of the Stampeders who have lost 2 in a row. As a jacked up ramped up Riders team that just won in Winnipeg and find the Stampeders who went on a break and haven’t played in 3 weeks because of 2 buys in a row. Stampeders team lethargic and ripe for the picking.
Then head to Ottawa to win it all..
It’s a plan and a good plan. Probably a lot more sound plan than the Bombers or Calgary have at the moment.

Anonymous said...

67% say they want to go west, or 67% want them to finish regular season with a win? Or are you saying 33% of Rider fans will be cheering for Edmonton this week? I sure hope not!
LF

3RD and 1 said...

My Mistake... Its Ottawa that has an extra by before the playoffs. Still Calgary may be a little flatfooted while they await the winner of the semi

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Riders deferred money in 2013 but your example is horribly inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

Looks like it's a-gonna have to be through the Eastern Division folks......after the #1 quarterback Mike Reilly and the #1 power-ranked Eskimoes dump the Riders into 4th place. not 33%, not 67%, but 100% guaranteed!! Chow!!

SaskSlam said...

Part of me wants the Riders to go the traditional way to the GC - but part of me (the part that's in Ottawa) wants them to come East. They'd have a great shot vs the Argonauts and RedBlacks - with a possible Sask/Calgary Grey Cup - epic!

Anonymous said...

100% guaranteed? LOL. A little early in the day to be drinking isn't it?

Anonymous said...

A Stampeder/Roughrider Grey Cup game would be mind boggling. It would pit the 20,000 Stamp fans in Calgary faintly cheering against roar from the rest of Canada.

Canada's team.

Anonymous said...

This must be the alberta clown again on a riders site. Go drink some milk ,go potty, then your mom will tuck you into bed little boy.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Eastern Canada gives a rat's ass about Regina in the Cup. Did Trudeau set up his smoke shop in your neighborhood? The only fans showing up to cheer for the Riders at away games are the yokels who moved out of your province to begin with. Must be something in your water that you all suffer from the same delusions. You always complain that there's so many haters on your sites. That should tell you how unpopular your team is outside of Gopher Flats.

Anonymous said...

East or West?
Good to go, this is the way! Saskatchewan Roughriders Jones/Murphy give Mike Keenan a coursory phone call asking how to obliviously tank the last game and than win a championship title. Media headlines once it's all said and done will read; Ladies and gentlemen! your 2017 Grey Cup Champions, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Anonymous said...

Mike Reilly number 1, I don’t think so, he’s more of a cold hopper, I don’t know how he passes as a quarterback, he looks so clumsy.

Doovy 49 said...

Anonymous. East or West? What in hell does Mike Keenan have to do with the CFL?

Anonymous said...

Dear Doovy Doovy don't be moody,

Mike Keenan knows how to tank a game real good and then win a championship title.
See - Memorial Cup Tournament/Regina Pats for the full story.

Hubba The Sask Rockabilly Preacher

Anonymous said...

Mike Reilly does...best Qb in the game period, you will find out very soon.

Anonymous said...

Sask isn't going to the Grey Cup, get over it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, anonymous a few notches above.....OF course Mike Reilly is Number 1 (or as the Iron Sheik used to say "Numba Vun!!" Don't believe me???? Check it out......

https://www.cfl.ca/quar-quarterback-rating-ranking/

even the CFL says so itself.