There’s no I in team

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The Riders are back on track thanks to the effort of numerous personnel

Colin Buchinski
Contributor

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0-0 since the return of head coach Ken Miller. There are many reasons to be excited about our football team right now. As of press time, they sat two points out of the final playoff spot in the West Division, and there is also a possibility of a crossover to the East.

Despite the team’s average play last weekend against the Toronto Argonauts, the worst team in the CFL, the Riders’ defence forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter and did what they needed to do in order to win. If the Riders get into the playoffs, there is a very big possibility they could make some noise because of the contributions multiple players and personnel have made to the team.

Craig Butler (safety)

Just how good is this kid? I can’t even remember a time I was this excited about a young Canadian defensive back. His hit on Buck Pierce in the Banjo Bowl was an absolute beauty. If you need a reason to watch CIS football, this is it. Guys like Butler are coming out of the CIS every year now, which is really a testament to the quality of university football in Canada.

Chris Getzlaf (slotback)

He may get a case of the dropsies every now and then, but how clutch is this guy? It seems like he always comes through right at the moment we need him. The past few weeks, he and quarterback Darian Durant have led an aerial assault. Getzlaf is one of the hottest receivers in the league right now, not to mention he is also a former member of the University of Regina Rams.

Tristan Jackson (defensive back/returner)

To me, this guy is one of the most exciting players on the roster. When returning kicks, he has the ability to flip the field and make something happen every time the ball comes his way. His coverage in the secondary has also been solid. Props to general manager Brendan Taman for bringing Jackson to Saskatchewan.

Dario Romero (defensive lineman)

He’s one of the best defensive tackles to ever wear a green jersey I can remember. Romero brings his best every single game, plays with tons of aggression, effort and energy and lights a fire under the whole bench.

Weston Dressler (slotback)

How can you not include Dressler in a list like this? He’s one of the best receivers to play for the Riders in the last 10 years. Some of the catches I’ve seen him make are unthinkable and, as such, he deserves a plug here.

Wes Cates (running back)

This week, Cates passed Mike Saunders for Number 2 on the Riders’ all-time rushing yards list. In recent years, Cates has been a monster for the Riders in big games. Look for things to be no different this year.

Dallas Baker (wide receiver)

Yeah, yeah, this name probably doesn’t belong here, but I really like Baker and, as such, I’m going to include him. His size and speed are going to be huge assets and he will break out soon. His nickname during his time with the University of Florida was “The Touchdown Maker” for a reason.

Ken Miller (head coach)

I never really saw him as the smartest head coach, but for whatever reason Miller connects with the players. He knows how to motivate them and, most importantly, players want to play for him. There is a reason Miller’s teams have been to two straight Grey Cups, and there is no reason they can’t get back there this year.

In the Riders’ final seven games of the regular season, they are to face the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos on the road twice, while hosting the British Columbia Lions twice and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats once.

With the Riders and Lions heating up and the Stamps and Eskimos possibly slumping, the West is wide open.  While in the East, the Ti-Cats risk falling out of a playoff position. The final seven regular season games will be a dogfight for the Riders. Anything can happen now – that’s the beauty of sport. Don’t be surprised to see the Riders or Lions go all the way and make it to the show.

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