Jeremy O'Day Has to Go
I haven't posted in a while and I just felt the need to write about this. I write when I feel like it and, again, I don't necessarily write for you but for me. So, simply put - Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Jeremy O'Day has to go. I'll give you my reasons in my three points below. You could have Vince Lombardi coaching the Riders with this talent and he would still lose.
Point 1 - If you're not going forward, you're going backwards. A lot of people have been quoted saying this and it is so true in the world of professional football. When O'Day stated last off season that he would do nothing special just because Regina was hosting the Grey Cup this year, that already didn't sit well with myself and a lot of Rider fans. I get what he was trying to say - that you should be trying your hardest all the time and you would be doing a disservice to only turn it up when you felt like you needed to - but he also said he was satisfied with the upcoming 2022 roster and didn't think there were a lot of missing pieces. Regardless of whether there are any missing pieces or not, you always bring in competition to push your current players or to find better players - in football, you should never stand pat. After fans and media started noticing that he hasn't been heard from during their current long losing streak and allowing head coach Craig Dickenson to face the media and take all the heat, O'Day finally came out of hiding, in an attempt to appease Rider Nation. When all you say is that it has been a disappointing season and making excuses for why there isn't an airlift of players coming in (players are staying on NFL practice rosters, the USFL and XFL are competing for the same players, trying to have continuity with the current roster), the calls for his resignation have been even louder, especially when the team continues to lose games.
Saskatchewan GM Jeremy O'Day is under the pump
Point 2 - He did have holes on his team and did nothing about it. It was clear at the beginning of 2021 that the offensive line was an issue - veteran RG Brendan Labatte sort of retired (he's not filed papers but has shown no intention of stepping onto a football field again), LT Takoby Cofield did actually retire, RG Dakoda Shepley was signed by the San Francisco 49'ers, backup lineman Dariusz Bladek and Phillip Blake signed with the Toronto Argonauts. With an un-CFL like and shortened season, those issues were masked, and while they made it to the Western final, the issues were still present at the end of the season. In this past off-season, O'Day should have known he had to strengthen his o-line through the draft and through signings and he did little of it because, as he stated - "we like the guys we have here". His first pick in the CFL draft was widely expected to be University of Saskatchewan OT Noah Zerr - everyone knew the Riders had offensive line troubles and Zerr, at the very least, would have been a good understudy and backup. Instead, O'Day threw everyone a curveball and selected WR Samuel Emilus, which was already a position of strength for the Roughriders - Kian Schaffer-Baker, Justin McInnes, Mitchell Picton, Jake Harty and good possibility that Regina native, Brayden Lenius, would be back with the team if he didn't make the cut with the Atlanta Falcons. Emilus may wind up to be a great CFL national receiver, but the much greater need was to get an offensive lineman. He also did little to shore up the two tackle positions - veteran Terran Vaughn was coming back from shoulder injury. Even with Vaughn coming back, there were questions about his talent as he lost his starting LT job to Cofield early in the 2019 season after some shaky play. His backup, Andrew Lauderdale was horrible in 2021 and still looked horrible whenever he filled in for Vaughn. At RT, they got rid of Saskatoon native, Brett Boyko, who had a very disappointing career in the CFL after having a very good collegiate career at UNLV. They spent significant dollars and signed national OT Jamal Campbell from the Toronto Argonauts as a supposed upgrade to Boyko, but he has only been sparingly played this season and doesn't look like much of an improvement over Boyko. The only other signing of note they did make was Na'ty Rogers, who was with Ottawa last year and only played four games. Prior to that, he did not play in 2019 or 2020 and his only other CFL experience was a 10-game stay with the Montreal Alouettes in 2018. Not a really shining resume to build your hopes with of solidifying that offensive line and it was painfully obvious by everyone (except the Riders) over the first nine games of the season he didn't have the chops, giving up sacks, taking holding penalties and taking ill-timed after-play penalties that would put the Rider offence in bad positions.
Saskatchewan OT Terran Vaughn in 2019
Point 3 - Let's not forget he traded the 2021 (and probably 2022) CFL MOP away in 2019. Cody Fajardo had a great 2019 season, taking over from Zach Collaros when Collaros was knocked out in the first series of the first game of the season by Hamilton's Simoni Lawrence. Just to let Cody Fajardo have the warm and fuzzies that nobody is coming after his job, O'Day felt he needed to trade Zach Collaros to Toronto and give Cody the confidence boost that the job was all his for the rest of the season and he didn't have to look over his shoulder. Even without the benefit of hindsight, the trade didn't look great. Sure Cody looked fantastic in 2019, but that was only part of one season (hello Jonathan Jennings, Rakeem Cato, Casey Printers). Collaros was still a valuable contributor, helping Cody behind the scenes during his recovery. He also would have provided healthy competition the next season and everyone knows you need two good quarterbacks if you want to be successful in the CFL. Apparently O'Day hasn't heard the term "two-in-the-box" or building-in redundancy, which has come into play in 2022 with both his offensive and defensive lines. Well, soon after Collaros was traded to Toronto, the Argos made an even more boneheaded move and traded him to Winnipeg where he led the team to the 2019 Grey Cup win and was the game MVP. Now both Saskatchewan and Toronto are left to wonder what could have been if they had kept Collaros, while Winnipeg is looking to win their third straight Grey Cup with him.
Winnipeg QB Zach Collaros after being named Grey Cup 108 MVP in 2019