The Saskatchewan Roughriders have nothing but time on their hands as they begin their first bye week of the season.
The team goes into the week off with an 0-7 record following their latest loss to the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.
At this point, time away from the football field can be both good and bad.
“As a competitor, when you’re losing, you want to get on to the next one so you can get your win,” said offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte after the game.
“But, I think this bye will help some guys mentally recharge. It will definitely be good for the bodies.”
Last year, the Riders struggled heading into their first week off as well. Their first break came during week four of the season and the team held a 1-2 record.
After a little time away from each other and the game, the Riders put together a seven-game winning streak. That streak came to an abrupt end when Darian Durant injured his throwing elbow in the Banjo Bowl. From that moment on, the team never recovered.
The Riders are going to need a winning streak coming out of this break if there is to be any shot at salvation this year.
“We’re going to come into after his bye week and sort of look at it like a new season,” said defensive lineman Rory Connop.
“It’ll be a good to get a break, sort of look at things and refocus.”
At this point, a long winning streak to get back into the playoff hunt seems highly unlikely. However, stranger things have happened in the CFL.
Some may wonder why the team would take a break at time like this, why not stay and work through it? First, the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow it. Even if it did, the coaching staff is encouraging the players to get away for a few days and spend some time with their families.
“They have to and regroup,” said head coach Corey Chamblin.
“I told them to make sure that when they get back that they’re ready to have some conditioning. So, they have to be working out during the break.”
Chamblin himself will be spending some time with his family as well. Then, it’s back to work trying to get this team their first win of the season.
“After that, create some new defences, let that light go from there and look forward after this bye (to) making a positive run.”
The Riders next game is August 22 as they host the Calgary Stampeders.