It has been an agonizingly long time since we've heard from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
In fact when we last heard from the Green & White, they were trying their best to explain how they blew a massive fourth quarter lead for a second-straight week and wound up with a loss. That was Saturday evening, July 28th, after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats came into Mosaic Stadium and roughed up the Riders and stole their lunch money.
Since then, it would seem as though you could hear a pin drop around Mosaic Stadium/Taylor Field. Slotback Chris Getzlaf got out of Dodge and visited his brother at his Okanagan sanctuary. Fellow receiver Weston Dressler planned to make the short drive down to his hometown of Bismarck, ND. Others hung around the Queen City to make various player appearances and heal up bumps and bruises.
A summer holiday? During FOOTBALL season? Unheard of. But that's the way it's gone in this head-scratcher of a 2012 CFL campaign. And maybe that's what's best for the Riders. When they left they didn't seem to have the answer for what ails them. Maybe, with some time to cool off, they'll have those answers now.
The thing I get asked the most, by those outside our fine province, is 'How's the Rider Nation taking the slide?'. I've replied that while initially Rider fans were cheesed off at blowing the games and squandering a chance to be 5-0, they've lightened up and turned to humour to deal with the situation.
"What does it take to beat the Riders?" one guy asked me at the Buffalo Days fair in Regina this week.
And they didn't stop there.
"Don't ask the Riders for change for a dollar," another fair-goer cautioned. "They don't have a fourth quarter!"
You can bet the Saskatchewan Roughriders don't like being a punchline. Things were rolling along like a well-oiled, finely-tuned machine during the club's 3-0 start. We were starting to track the meteoric rise of rookie head coach Corey Chamblin and where his perfect start ranked amongst modern era first-year coaches (Ken Miller was 6-0 in 2008 and Kavis Reed 5-0 in 2011).
Then the wheels fell off.
A prolonged break during football season is as rare as a $3 bill, or a sighting of the Lochness Monster or the Sasquatch. But, as they say in football, "it is what it is". We'll find out soon if the Riders were able to find themselves during their absence.
With upcoming road games against Edmonton and B.C. plus a home-and-home set with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the horizon, very soon we'll find out for ourselves exactly who the 2012 Saskatchewan Roughriders are.