Miller said the Roughriders are just like every other team in the CFL, but with one big difference.
“You look at the teams across this league and the talent is pretty equal,” said Miller. “The thing that makes the difference so much of the time is effort.”
Miller, the Rider’s old bench boss, replaced Greg Marshall as head coach eight games into the CFL season. He got off to a solid start in his coaching return, rallying off three consecutive victories after Marshall led the Riders to a 1-7 start. Miller suffered his first loss in Week 13 in a lopsided game against the B.C. Lions.
Veteran offensive lineman Gene Makowsky went through quite a few losing seasons at the start of his 15-year career, all with the Riders.
“It’s a cliché, but we can only win one game this week and that’s what we’re concentrating on,” said Makowsky.
Miller said they can only let the chips fall in place from here. Even if the Riders win their remaining games, they will need help from other teams in order to make the playoffs.
To have a shot at making the playoffs, the Riders will have to run the table. They will need B.C., Calgary and Edmonton to lose some of their remaining games. Of the five games remaining, the Riders play Edmonton twice and B.C. and Calgary once, all games they need to win.
But defensive lineman Dario Romero said the team can’t look at the big picture yet.
“Coach Miller always starts out by (telling us) what we need to do for this day to get better,” said Romero. “So right now, it’s day-to-day.”
Romero, in his first season with the Riders, said coming out with urgency in the final third of the season is key.
“Nobody in the locker room is done. We’ve got a lot of fighters here and that’s what we are going to do,” he said.
A few games since returning to the Riders after a short stint with the NFL’s Chicago Bears, Andy Fantuz said the team needs to be prepared each day. Fantuz, bit by the injury bug in Week 12 against Toronto, is hoping to contribute to each game down the stretch.
“It is frustrating,” Fantuz said of his injury. “We need these games badly and I want to be out there with the guys for sure.”
Makowsky added that the team needs to be prepared each time they step on the field and approach every game as a must-win.
“We have to stay positive,” said Makowsky “There’s still a lot of football go to.”