Craig Dickenson is the only Saskatchewan Roughriders’ coach under contract beyond 2019.
The first-year bench boss signed a three-year pact after he was promoted to the role of head coach in January. Dickenson’s prior contract — originally inked while Chris Jones was the general manager and head coach — made him the CFL’s highest-paid special teams coordinator and would have expired in 2019.
Saskatchewan added two more years onto Dickenson’s deal to match it with general manager Jeremy O’Day. That pairing inherited Jones’ group of assistant coaches when he left for the Cleveland Browns. Due to the league’s new coaches cap, Dickenson kept the crew intact for the year.
Continuity paid dividends in Saskatchewan as the Riders finished 13-5 to finish atop the West Division regular season standings. The crossbar at Mosaic Stadium was the only thing that kept the green and white from a potential Grey Cup spot.
Offensive coordinator Stephen McAdoo and quarterbacks coach Steve Walsh were integral in the rise of Cody Fajardo. McAdoo was the assistant head coach and play caller and should be given more credit for the success of the offence and building the playbook around the new face of the franchise.
Defensively, pundits questioned whether the massive void left by Jones could be filled by a rookie scheme, but Jason Shivers answered the call to duty. Saskatchewan allowed the fewest points in the West Division (386), the lowest amount of offensive touchdowns in the league (30), and net offence per game (294). They also tied for the CFL sack lead with 56.
Both McAdoo and Shivers are starting to be mentioned as developing head coach candidates around the league — the performance from their respective units stood out in a strong Riders season.
Special teams coach Terry Eisler, offensive line coach Stephen Sorrells, running backs coach Kent Maugeri, receivers coach Travis Moore, defensive line coach Mike Davis, linebackers coach Chris Tormey and assistant defensive backs coach Richard Kent came together well under Dickenson.
Dickenson was not able to hire his own staff. It’s conceivable based on the results from 2019 that the same men could be back next season, especially the two closest to Fajardo. Keeping the No. 1 QB comfortable is a high priority.
However the deals work out, Dickenson is going to have the ability to decide on the hires for his staff moving forward.