After Saturday’s game, offensive lineman Thaddeus Coleman said he wanted to practice red zone offence nonstop until the team figured it out.
Quite simply, he was sick of not scoring touchdowns.
“It really hurts that we can move the ball all the way down there but just not put it in the end zone and we just got to do better,” Coleman said.
It a sentiment felt across the Roughrider offence right now who struggled mightily against the Ottawa Redblacks on the weekend, losing 30-25.
It was a score that flattered the offence given that two touchdowns were scored on special teams.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Brendon LaBatte on the team’s inability to score. “That’s what we’re here to do is put points on the board and we’re not doing a very good job of it.”
Not only are they not doing a very good job of it, but they also aren’t getting that close to the end zone.
The Roughriders offence has only had 25 trips to the red zone – which in football terms is the location between the 20-yard line and the goal line – and is the fewest in the CFL. They also have the lowest conversion rate when they get there. The Riders score a touchdown only 32 per cent of the time they get within 20 yards of the end zone – that’s also the worst in the league.
You have to look to Montreal to find the next closest conversion rate and they’re able to do it 46 per cent of the time.
Add to that 76 two-and-outs over 12 games and the problem becomes more glaring. The Roughriders had 76 two and outs over the whole season in 2017.
“It’s not a good stat. It’s no different than being worst in the league in sacks given up. Any time you’re at the bottom of the barrel you got to look at yourself and you better come up with some answers to get it addressed,” LaBatte mused.
“The plays are there,” insists receiver Naaman Roosevelt. “We got plays that were open we just got to execute. For some reason, I don’t know what it is, we just can’t make it happen. We just can’t get out of our own way for some reason, but we just got to keep working and try to figure it out.”
Work it out in a few ways, if you ask head coach Chris Jones.
“We need to stay on the football field, we need to maintain possession of the football, we need to run the football effectively. We need to catch the football when we throw it. That’s the biggest key is consistency,” the coach said, adding the offence is not alone in its struggles.
“Everybody wants to blame the offence for lack of production, and again, defensively we gave up nearly 500 yards offence the other night so it’s not just one side of the football – it’s all sides.”
Fortunately, the Roughriders still sit in a good place in the standings at 7-5 which means they still have lots of opportunities to get back in the win column and even host a home playoff game.
“The sky’s not falling,” LaBatte said. “It’s a loss, it’s a bad loss on offence, but really, if you lose by one or you lose by 100 it’s still a loss, so you got to come in next week with the intent of getting better.”
“It’s right there for us,” added Roosevelt. “It’s still in our hands we can still get on a run and get back up to second place and try to fight for first place … It’s all on us.”