Tuesday seemed like any other work day for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, even if it wasn’t.
The Riders have begun preparations for their must-win game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday evening. A loss would officially end their chances at a playoff spot this season.
“You can’t really look at it too much. Our backs are against the wall, obviously,” said Weston Dressler.
“As a team, we can’t really focus on that too much. I mean, there’s only so much we can control.”
The Riders chances this season is something that is out of their control. Even if they do manage to beat the Ticats later this week, they still need Winnipeg to beat B.C. and Toronto to beat Montreal.
And that’s just to keep their playoff chances alive heading into their second bye-week of the season when their fate will, even more so, be out of their hands.
Despite all of this, the players and coaches continue to remain upbeat as they handle the situation the best they can.
“Guys are trying to stay optimistic and try to keep the enthusiasm up,” said running back Jerome Messam.
“We’re also being real with ourselves. We’ve had a lot of things happen to us this year and we’re just trying to finish strong.”
At this point, putting a positive spin on things is about all the team can do.
It’s an attitude that will have to carry over into after their week off should they get eliminated from playoff contention between now and then. For the men in that locker room, whether they have a chance at the playoff or not, they have a job to do.
“One thing we’ll never take for granted is the opportunity to play this game, no matter situation you’re in. There’s a lot of guys out there that would be willing to do a lot just to be in our position to even play in this game. So, we understand that. It’s pretty special that we’re still playing football,” said Dressler.
Even interim head coach Bob Dyce still enjoys coming to work every day, even if the team he inherited has struggled all year and the chances of remaining in the position next season seem less likely with each passing week.
“Because you want to find the answer to the challenges,” said Dyce.
“We’d all love to have many more victories, even being in this role, you’re looking for answers and challenging yourself and trying different ways to challenge the players. It’s just a different type of challenge. When you’re successful you’re challenged, this one is more of a testament to your will,” he said.
NEWS AND NOTES
Veteran receiver Chris Getzlaf returned to practice on Tuesday. He’s been out the last six weeks with a foot injury. Dyce is optimistic he could play on Friday but couldn’t say for sure just yet.
Centre Dan Clark did not practice as he goes through the concussion protocol. If he can’t play, Corey Watman will start in his place.