The smoke is just beginning to clear in Riderville after the Saskatchewan Roughriders took another ‘L’ at the hands of the Edmonton Eskimos this weekend. We’ve sat idle here at ProPerspective.ca while “reporters” have lobbed grenades at the door of Mosaic Stadium from behind their “unnamed sources” shields, and have watched Brendan Taman stand in front of reporters and back his Head Coach, while at the same time shouldering the blame for the team’s performance.
The question that has been asked by many of you while all this has been going on is, “Where do the Riders go from here?”
First off there’s going to be changes. It’s already started. Change is inevitable in any production-based business, especially in the professional sporting ranks where production and results are asked of the players, coaches and front office members. Players have to produce on the field, Coaches are responsible for getting those players to produce, and General Managers are responsible for overseeing the entire operation. These changes may come in waves, depending on how the team does moving forward. There’s a very good Toronto Argonaut team waiting for the Roughriders out in Ontario, and the bye week after that may get busy depending on how the Green and White play at the Rogers Centre.
After the change comes adjustment. That too has already started. The language that’s being used by those that are mildly close to the locker room now reflects the hope of “salvaging” the year and trying to right the ship. Talk has gone from supremely confident, to dejectedly submissive. 0-6 has also led to questions regarding the “rebuilding” of a team that brilliantly sold the farm in 2013 to win the Grey Cup on home turf.
Players in the locker room can’t help but notice the adjustmentin focus. The change in the language and attitude from those inside the locker room and the people outside of it; the new faces coming in, and some of the old faces moving out…all of this forces an adjustment. Players have now converted from going out and competing for a championship, to solely playing for each other and remaining in the Foxhole with their teammates. Nobody will quit on their brothers as long as they are coming out every day to practise and trying to get better.
Unfortunately, it was only about 3 weeks back that this team was attacking practise with their eyes set on the Grey Cup. The shift in focus was evident.
Truth be told there isn’t much of a recipe after that. There’s still plenty of 2015 left to push for a CFL playoff shot, but this is unchartered territory for everyone in the organization.
This is where accountability comes in to play. From this point on, Players AND Coaches must be accountable to everyone in the organization, especially themselves. It’s the ultimate gut-check time!
It’s quite simple, it’s a question of character and whether or not one is doing everything that they can to make the Saskatchewan Roughriders a better football club. To a man, players and coaches have to take a good long look at themselves in the mirror and ask the guy staring back at them, “Am I being accountable to my team, and giving them everything that I have?”
Here’s an excerpt from a book that was given to me in my 5thyear in the CFL. The book, “Mind Gym” by Gary Mack, helped me and many of my former teammates harness our mental strength, and aptitude in order to improve on the field.
This passage comes from part of a poem written by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. called “The Man In the Glass” and it was one of Ken Griffey Jrs favourite reads:
“When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the World makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.”
There’s plenty that one can do. Maybe one has to increase his time studying the playbook in order to get everything down that is being asked of him. Perhaps one is making technical errors that need to be cleaned up. One might have to focus in on playing disciplined football in order to cut down on the flags that are constantly shooting this team in the foot. If one is a coach, the question may be, “how do I get more out of my players, what do I need to change?”
The bottom line is that there’s always something to improve on whenever one sits down and truly evaluates where they stand. Coaches, and players. To not look around one’s soul at this point would mean that one isn’t really willing to be accountable to those around him.
Taking a good look at oneself sometimes uncovers details that can be used to make a difference.
Nothing should change from an onlooker’s point of view. Practises should be as lively and as competitive as ever, and players should continue to love what they do and battle hard for each other.
It’s the moments that fans won’t see that will determine the improvement…
When players walk off the practise field, and the last meetings are held, each member of the Green and White organization is going to stand in front of a mirror eventually. The man staring back at them is going to have all the answers and keys to getting back in the winners circle. It’s that guy that the player needs to answer to...One can’t cheat the man in the glass.