Monday, September 26, 2022

Monday Morning Sentimonies: Leadership

The Riders will return to the practice field this week after a bye week. Ahead lays a difficult set of 4 games in 5 weeks to end the regular season. In Winnipeg, in Hamilton, bye, Calgary, at Calgary. The crossover is still very much in play. Staying in the west is quickly trending towards a pipe dream. Hell, with the level of play we’ve come to expect over the past 2 months, the very real possibility of missing the postseason entirely for the first time since 2016 is not really a surprise to anyone.

With a merciful reprieve from having a the results of a Rider game to curse about, I spent the bye week thinking about where the team is at and what the issues seem to be.

I kept coming back to one word: Leadership.

I’m not talking about the GM and the coaches and the formal leadership (don’t get me wrong, there are issues there but that’s not what’s been bugging me). I’m talking about the guys in the locker room, the informal leaders. I struggled putting my finger on the issue but then it became crystal clear the moment I asked this question: Who are the leaders on this team? I honestly don’t know the answer.

I think back to previous teams and you could point to guy like Durant, Dressler, Makowsky, LaBatte, Eddie Davis, Hunt, Schultz, Elimimian and you knew they were recognized leaders. Then I look at this team and honestly I can’t tell you who the leaders are. In theory it should be Fajardo but I don’t get the sense he runs that locker room. I don’t think he’s hated but I don’t think he’s one of those guys that when he speaks everyone listens… especially the defensive guys (who may honestly resent anything associated with the offense at this point). So if not him then who? The only natural leader would be Clark and he’s not on the field. So maybe Evans and Moore?? Honestly, tell me who the offensive leader is? 

Even the defense (who seems to have it more together as a unit), who’s the guy? The only guys who seems universally respected is Hughes. Anytime he makes an impact play the whole team just to seems to raise the energy level. He has the respect of the group. The LB group (Dean, Moncrief, Sankey) I think would be core the leadership but are they the kind of leaders that the whole team listens to? Or are they only leaders within the defense.

The only other leader I see on the team is Lauther. And while I have the utmost respect for Lauther and I believe the team does too, if we are relying on a kicker to be a leader on a struggling team then we’re in trouble.

So across the team I came up with no one of offense, a couple guys on D and a kicker. That's not a glowing endorsement of the leadership capacity on this team. 

We are who we are at this point. There are no reinforcements coming. There are no coaching changes coming. The ability to salvage some shred of hope out of what left of this season lies more with what the leaders in the locker room step up and do than it does with anything Dickenson can do. 

Who will be our Shane Falco? Our Bobby Boucher? Our Mox?


Anonymous said...

I don't see Fajardo as a leader on the offence either. When you whine about having no receivers to catch contested balls & whine about getting booed you are a) not talking any of the blame for throwing into coverage with contested balls & b) the resident excuse maker for bad play. Fans have a right to boo the team when you take large chunks of time off with nothing happening offensively.

Very good point. Who are the leaders? I can't name them either.

Dan said...

You are right. There is a big leadership void with this team. I get no sense that this team has much character. The season is not done but it feels like this is a lost year in many ways. Thank you as always for your great thoughts on the team.