REGINA - Ken Miller bristled at the suggestion that the Saskatchewan Roughriders simply came out flat in their embarrassing 42-5 loss to the B.C. Lions on Saturday.
"I've watched the films," he said. "It was not a lack of effort."
The head coach offered a theory of his own.
"We weren't playing well collectively," he said. "For some reason, we were not synchronized."
The loss to B.C. ended Saskatchewan's three-game winning streak. The Roughriders dropped to 4-8 and are now fighting for their playoff lives as they prepare to meet the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.
"It's time to get back to work," said quarterback Darian Durant when asked what the prevailing sentiment is among the players this week.
"We have to put that one behind us. It was a bad day at the office. It happens. The timing was not good. But as long as we have time left, we've got a chance. We're not going to give up until the last game. You have to keep plugging."
It has also been suggested that the Roughriders were not adequately prepared for the Lions, who have won six of seven games since opening the CFL season at 0-5.
"They came out with more energy," Durant said. "They jumped on us, and we just weren't ready."
Slow starts have been a problem for the Riders all year. Durant said the team is concerned about this, and is trying to correct it, but the bottom line is, "We just have to make sure we're in it at the end to give ourselves a chance to win."
According to Durant, the head coach's message to the players on Tuesday was "to stay focused, stay positive, don't let doubt creep in."
Saskatchewan is 0-5 against teams in the West, and five of their last six games are against divisional opponents.
In addition to a home date with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Riders play twice against Calgary, once more against B.C., and twice against the Edmonton Eskimos.
Centre Marc Parenteau, whose two bad snaps were among Saskatchewan's many miscues against the Lions, said it's crucial for the Riders to not look at the schedule beyond the upcoming game in Calgary, and to count on assistance from other teams.
"You can't rely on any one team beating any other team," he said, adding, "You can't win all six (remaining) games on one weekend."
The Riders added six players to their practice roster Tuesday: import defensive backs Tyron Brackenridge and Justin Wilson; import wide receiver L.J. Castile; import defensive ends Roberto Davis and Kenny Rowe, and import linebacker Chris Francis.
Brackenridge signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 and spent the last four years in the NFL. In two seasons with the Chiefs, he played in 14 games, making 27 tackles and forcing two fumbles.
A product of Washington State, Brackenridge spent the previous two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played in 32 games and finished with 44 tackles and three forced fumbles. He was waived by the Jaguars in July.
As a senior at Southern Mississippi, last year, Wilson had 38 tackles, three tackles for losses, and four pass knock-downs in 12 starts.
Castile helped Delta State reach the Division II championship game by leading the team's receiving corps in all categories with 67 catches for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Before transferring to Delta State for his senior year, Castile played three seasons at Houston.
Davis played at Northwest Missouri State. In his senior year, he recorded 52 tackles, 10 tackles for losses, and seven quarterback sacks. He started his college career at New Mexico State and transferred in 2009.
Rowe played for Oregon. In his senior season, he led the team with seven sacks and 16.5 tackles for losses. He had 48 tackles in all, and was tied for second in the NCAA (first in the PAC-10) with five forced fumbles.
In 2010, Rowe appeared in the East-West Shrine game. In 2009, he tied a Rose Bowl record with three quarterback sacks and was named Rose Bowl Defensive MVP.
Francis played with Baylor. In his senior year, 2010, he had 72 tackles in 12 games, to finish his college career with 159 tackles, three tackles for losses, two interceptions, and 1.5 quarterback sacks.