That’s a wrap

© Submitted A panoramic shot of Taylor Field

Putting a bow on a disappointing campaign as we dive into the offseason

Well, there she goes.

Another year of Riders football is in the record books as the fan base continues to search for answers.

“It was disappointing on just about all levels,” play-by-play voice of the Roughriders Rod Pedersen said.

“The four-game win streak in the second half had us all excited about what is probably going to come. It was a glimpse into the future for the football team, and then they ended the season on a three-game losing streak and looked dreadful … What’s disappointing to me is, with all the criticism that these guys faced last Spring, I thought once the season started they’d do their talking on the field, and that never really happened.”

When asked to review his teams’ effort this season, head coach Chris Jones gave his team an “F,” which most can agree with. The Roughriders ranked last in total points, passing touchdowns and were eighth in rushing yards, touchdowns and sacks allowed.

The season came to a screeching halt early on in the year, and as the clock ticked down against the B.C. Lions, the questions surrounding the team began to pour in.

The biggest question, of course, revolves around fan favourite Darian Durant and whether or not he will be under centre as the new stadium opens next season. As of now, contract discussions are at a standstill. Can the re-signing of Naaman Roosevelt, while also having Rob Bagg return somehow coax him into coming back? For Durant, it’s clearly not about the money.

“He’s asking for $350,000 a year which is a pay cut of $100,000 from what he made this season,” Pedersen said.

“He’s said ‘here let’s go, let’s sign it’ and he’s surprised, not angry, but surprised that it wasn’t immediately jumped on by the Roughriders. It’s a good deal for the Roughriders, I think a lot of other teams in the CFL would sign Darian to that … there’s some hard feelings right now that I hope get resolved.”

As much as fans do not want to go down this path, there is no clear-cut quarterback to take over if Durant were to remain unsigned and test free agency. Brandon Bridge — who we saw take the majority of snaps against the Lions — lacks experience, and for as good as Mitchell Gale had been this year, are supporters ready to see him take the helm for an entire season?

“If there is a plan B, I don’t know what it is,” Pedersen said.

“I’d like to think that John Murphy and Chris Jones — the guys that are doing the negotiating with Durant and planning for the future – have a plan moving forward without Darian Durant because they are really playing with fire here … I shutter to think where this franchise would be without him.”

For eleven years the starting pivot has been a loyal commodity to the Roughriders. A player of this caliber deserves to be back with the organization he started with.