The Saskatchewan Roughriders are approaching this week like any other.
Even though the team is 1-11 and need a miracle if they hope to make the playoffs this year, the players are ready and prepared like it was any other week.
“It’s always important to make sure players are in the right mindset,” said interim head coach Bob Dyce.
“I don’t really look at it as any more important with what our record is.”
All week, the players continue to say the right things, everyone refusing to believe that the season is over until it is.
That’s just the mindset of a professional athlete.
Even if the playoffs were mathematically impossible – and that day is coming – the players don’t plan on taking a different approach into the game.
“This is our job at the end of the day. Any time you approach the field, we’re trying to win a game,” said defensive back Don Unamba.
“For yourself, your team, your coaches and for your job – it’s the same thing either way.”
Also being a professional athlete means blocking out all of the noise from the outside. The players likely hear what the fans and media are saying about them, but they can’t let that impact how they play.
“That’s part of being a professional. We know who we are here in the locker room and what’s going on and the task at hand. It’s not that hard, we’re just playing football,” said Unamba.
SPECIAL TEAMS TEST
One thing the Riders will have to be very mindful of on Sunday is the powerful Alouettes kick-return game.
So far this year, returner Stefan Logan has returned kicks at will and the unit has seemingly been getting stronger as the year has gone on.
“I think any time you’ve had some success it makes those guys block and work that much harder because they believe every time he touches the ball he can score,” said Dyce.
Throughout this season, the Riders punt cover units have done a tremendous job at keeping returners at bay. They’ve only averaged about seven yards per return against.
After giving up six touchdowns last year, the Riders haven’t given up a touchdown on special team this year.
That doesn’t mean everything is perfect. They could improve on their kick-off coverage, and it will have to be better with Logan on the field.
“The common factor on all of (the returns) is that there’s a guy on the cover team that is out of position or not doing his job,” said defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth.
For the first time this year, the Riders are making no changes to their 46-man roster.
There will be a slight change to the game day 44-man roster as fullback Matt Rea will join running back Steven Miller as the team’s scratches. Safety Dan West was the other scratch last week.
— The Green Zone (@HomeOfTheFans) September 26, 2015
You can download a printable version of the depth chart here.
Kick-off is at 2 p.m. on TSN.
The Green Zone 10-Hour Game Day begins at 10 a.m. on News Talk Radio with Game Day with Wray followed by the Green Zone Pre-Game Show.
During the game, stay up-to-date and entertained with Scotty and the King on the Fan Zone.
After the game, it’s your turn to be the star by calling the Green Zone Post-Game Show at 1-877-300-7275.