Opportunity is knocking for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Out of the playoff race, the final three weeks of the regular season are an opportunity for the coaches and the players to make their case to stay or to find another job in the league next season.
“In this business you don’t know how many you’re going to get. We were talking about our team from 2013; we got a big mural on the walls in the offices as you go down to my office. There’s about 74 guys on that team and went back how many counted are still here, just to see. When it was all said and done, there’s 41 guys who are not even in football,” said interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“There’s a number of coaches who aren’t in football, who aren’t coaching. I know for me, I’m thankful that I am. When you have to make the most of it because you don’t know when you’re next one is.”
When the team returned to practice on Tuesday after their bye week, Dyce had a pretty simple message to his players and how he hopes they approach these final few weeks: this is a chance to pad your resume.
“Your film is your resume. Right now, whether it’s a new head coach that’s in here or coaches across the league who are going to see your film. This is a great opportunity to make your resume a little bit better,” he said.
That message appears to be getting through to the players.
The elimination from the playoffs also gives an opportunity for the team to look at some of the younger players on the roaster. They will be doing that over the next three weeks, but the veterans on the roster hope to get noticed as well.
“We’re fighting for jobs,” said running back Anthony Allen.
“I think the guys that are here, we just have to show that we still have that dog in us. We’re not writing off the season. We’re still here to play. We’re still here to compete.”
The biggest opportunity these final few weeks might be for quarterback Brett Smith.
During the week off, the Riders traded veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn to Montreal leaving Smith as the defacto starter for the rest of the season. On Tuesday, Dyce would only commit to Smith starting on Saturday against Montreal. He also suggested that Keith Price will get some playing time eventually as well.
No matter how it shakes out, Smith wants to make the most of it.
“It’s so fun for me to get an opportunity to play and to get experience. I think it’s so valuable for myself,” he said.
“Just getting opportunity to play and even to be on a roster makes the game exciting for me.”
NEWS AND NOTES
The Riders announced on Tuesday they’ve re-signed quarterback Blake Sims and released quarterback Huston Mason. Sims was released by the club just a few weeks ago.
Defensive back Keith Lewis was also signed on Tuesday. Lewis was the negotiation list player acquired in the Jerome Messam trade with Calgary.
The Riders were mixing and matching a lot of Tuesday. Dyce suggested he wanted to look at a number of players in practice and get them up to speed before playing them in a game.
With Messam no longer with the team, it appears they will once again going with a Canadian defensive lineman to fill out the ratio. Dylan Ainsworth saw some time at defensive end with Tim Agbaje and Rory Connop at defensive tackle. Andre Monroe saw more time as the American defensive tackle.