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Thursday, December 3, 2015

THURSDAY RODSERVATIONS

LEFTOVERS

1. The events of the past few days are EXACTLY why I wanted no part of this General Manager search by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  The CFL's top two insiders - TSN's Gary Lawless and Sportsnet's Arash Madani - are in a dogfight to see who can report what, and the fastest, in this process.  That has caused a few problems.

Not all of the information that was reported on Wednesday is correct however there seems to be a bit of a gray area.  Madani reported that the Roughriders "did indeed" offer the Coach & GM roles to John Hufnagel however he turned them down.  The Riders maintained, through Lawless, that Hufnagel turned them down before they even had a chance to make an offer (and there was no money mentioned).

See what I mean?  I'm not sure Arash was entirely wrong, but that's how dicey this can get.

2. Some people are on the hotseat for leaking information but I'm happy to say I'm not one of them.  I truly have no idea which direction the Riders are leaning, what their day-to-day activities are in terms of conducting interviews, and am happy to keep it that way.  This way, when I get asked 15-20 times per day who the Rider GM is going to be, I don't have to lie or keep a secret.  Secondly, when the loose lips do sink the ship, at least the finger's not being pointed at me.

Ahhhhhhhhhh.  What a relief.

3. Madani reported on Wednesday that Jeremy O'Day's formal interview with the Roughriders will be today while Chris Jones will interview on Friday.  It would seem this search has come down to a race between these two?  Perhaps the Riders can have both candidates because if Jones is named GM, he'd need to rely heavily on Jeremy.  However, I'm still not convinced Jones is a GM type and my feeling is O'Day still has the inside track.  If Jones is in fact a Don Mathews-reincarnate (and he is, top-to-bottom, inside-out), consider this: Don Mathews was never a CFL GM.  This will be up to Craig Reynolds to decide, and that's why he gets the big bucks.

But I know this: the Riders feel this is a can't-lose situation because Jeremy O'Day is a shining star and no matter what, will be a good selection if it comes down to him.  Jones would be just as big of a roll of the dice as hiring O'Day.

Surfing the Edmonton media today, they're talking as if Jones is already gone.   It's interesting that he hasn't even interviewed yet!

The feeling in the CFL today is that this is Jones' job if he wants it. That's an easy decision for Reynolds to make because Jones is the sexy pick and if it blows up, it's all on Jones. But Craig may view this whole scenario differently.

4. One has to wonder if all of these reportings by the insiders are hurting the process?  Would the eventual successful candidate be miffed to be considered "second choice"?  Is the Rider Nation getting its hopes up only to eventually be letdown even though they're basing their feelings on incorrect reporting?  SHEESH.  That's why I'd prefer to just let Craig Reynolds conduct this process and announce the winner in a couple of weeks.

5. Another thing Arash Madani reported on Wednesday is entirely correct: that there's a sense of urgency on this hiring for the Saskatchewan Roughriders because the CFL's annual President/GM meetings are next week in Las Vegas and the Riders don't even have a GM yet.  Perhaps, if these interviews go well over the next couple of days, the hiring will be accelerated and we'll have an announcement next week while I'm in Florida.

6. I'd be willing to virtually guarantee that 2015 was Paul Lapolice's last as host of the Coach's Playbook on TSN.  Gary Lawless reports that the Blue Bombers desperately want Lapolice to accept their offer to become their next offensive coordinator position and he likely will if and when he exhausts options in B.C., Saskatchewan and wherever else (wait a minute, we wrote that here in this column a few weeks back?)  Meh, let's let Lawless get the glory.  He's doing a splendid job of covering all this stuff and I think I'll even stop referring to him as "Gary Clueless".

The info and rumours are flying to fast and furious that I'm sure you're like me; you can't remember who reported what.  But somebody said yesterday Special Teams Coordinator Craig Dickenson could be on the move out of Edmonton after two seasons with the Eskimos.  The destinations are Saskatchewan or Calgary, depending where Jones lands.  The Stampeders could be a stretch, as they're ecstatic with Mark Killam in that role but Craig's little brother Dave is now the Stamps head coach.

Another league note:  kudos to long-time Eskimos equipment manager Duane Mandrusiak for capturing his ELEVENTH Grey Cup ring Sunday night.

7. I got a tip this week that it's true -- those new CFL logos were indeed hastily painted onto the turf at Investors Group Field for Sunday's Grey Cup game after a monumental ball-dropping by the League Friday morning at the Commissioner's news conference.  AND, if the tip is true, the League is considering keeping the old logo which was introduced 15 years ago by then-Commissioner Michael Lysko.  We'll see, but that would be a great idea.  No harm, no foul.  Let's move on.  Maybe the logo which was introduced last Friday could be some sort of secondary logo for the League.

8. Speaking of logos, the Riders hit it out of the park on Wednesday with their news conference regarding the Farewell Season of 2016.  The Rider locker room was nearly filled to capacity with sponsors of the club and afterwards some of them mentioned they didn't really get what the fuss was about.  "It was a news conference about nothing," one of them said to me.  However, that person couldn't be more wrong and are suffering from a lack of forward thinking.  The 2016 Roughriders season is going to be ALL ABOUT the fact it's the last in Mosaic Stadium/Taylor Field and Wednesday's announcement was to get a jump on it.

The exact same thing is going on up in Edmonton at Rexall Place and the concourse is filled with pennants commemorating the final season at the old "Northlands Coliseum".  It actually puts a lump in the old throat for those of us who were Oiler fans way back in the day (a part of me still very much is, but God are they painful).

So the Riders announced their logo for the Farewell Season on Wednesday (which is displayed a few posts below), unveiled a clothing line, and are ready to hit the ground running.  Genius!  The Riders have always down the right thing for as long as I can remember and this is just another example.  I expect their GM hire will be the right decision as well.  The club actually unveiled TWO commemorative logos on Wednesday, one with four colours and another with just two.  I like the second of them because it's a little more subtle, but everyone has their own opinion.

9. It's been incredibly tough planning the SportsCage because of all the news which has been breaking across the CFL on a seemingly hourly basis.  Wednesday was nuts with the news in B.C. of Jeff Tedford's resignation or firing (depending on who you believe), the retirement of Jon Cornish and all the goings-on with the Roughriders.  We tried to slip in new NHL analyst Rich Sutter of Rogers Sportsnet on Wednesday but barely had any time for him.  For the most part, we're leaving today's show wide open to address all of this speculation.  And that's the fun part.

10. Remember the Regina Pats?  They spanked the Saskatoon Blades 5-0 last night at SaskTel Centre to improve to 3-3-1 on their nine-game rodeo trip.  The wheat gets separated from the chaff in the WHL on December 1 and it's beautiful to see that the Pats are in a playoff spot as of that date.  They are "rebuilding on the fly" and may be able to do it without missing a playoff spot.

You can watch the Queen City Kids on Friday on Access 7 province-wide Friday night as I'll be broadcasting their game along with Jared Dumba live from Brandon's Westman Communications Group Place at 7:00 against the Wheat Kings.  We're taking the SportsCage on the road in order to call the road game on TV so we'll be live on 620 CKRM at 4:00 pm from Brandon.  It'll be mostly hockey, but we'll have legendary Rider figures George Reed and Norm Fong on after 6:00 pm so tune in for that.

------

THAT'S IT! HAVE A GREAT SPORTSCAGE DAY ...
RP
@sportscage

46 comments:

Brian Shepherd said...

When exactly are the CFL meetings in Las Vegas, I'll be there next week, Thursday to Sunday. What hotel?

Anonymous said...

Roddy what are the plans for Riderville in Phoenix this winter? Mama and I want to book the flights this week.

MERV

Rod Pedersen said...

I'm not sure Merv. They didn't include me in the planning this time around.

Anonymous said...

If Chris Jones gets the job kudos to him he earned. If Jeremy O'Day stays then flat out he has no dignity. You do not stay as the second choice. If he wants to advance in football, get on the road and go to other teams just like everyone else does. O'Day hasn't paid his dues, Jones has. Another thing why would Jones keep O'Day? He has ties to the old regime so he'd be the first guy Jones should tie a can to.

Mr H

Anonymous said...

It's the SaskTel Centre now Roddy, just a heads up.

Regarding Don Matthews never being a GM, the Riders history book says that the Don was in full command of football ops when he was here and Al Ford was to look after the administrative stuff. Can anyone who was in the know at that time confirm that? Jones obviously has an eye for talent and knows how to motivate that talent so if he applies these same principles to being a GM then that's good enough for me. Plus I'd hope that Jeremy would stay on to work with Jones as he knows the team. Craig, make er happen!

Why would the CFL do an about-face and put the old logo back in? Seems kind of silly after they did all the market testing on it like Morsky told me at Riderville. Maybe make the maple leaf a bit bigger but other than that, I don't mind it actually.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

Why would Jones keep O'Day? Absolutely no reason. Zero! O'Day is not the guy. And second if Rod knows nothing about what's happening, why is he calling it a two way race between O'Day and Jones. What about Murphy and Sunderland? Both of those men ought to be light years ahead of 34-47 O'Day?

Bottom line is this: if we win we'll love the GM no matter who it is. Lose and yes we'll be doing this all over again.

Anonymous said...

what facts make Jones a risk and O'Day a shining star? Fact: Jones took a 4-14 team to 12-6 and 14-4 and a Cup. Two years. He was heavily involved in player recruitment. O'Day may be a great guy, but no one said Taman or Miller were bad people either. Doesn't make any of them the best choice. Reynolds seems ambitious. 'Im sure he likes O'Day and hopes Jones would find a role for him. But make no mistake Reynolds is not hitching his wagon to O'Day. He'll go to Sunderland if Jones passes. Remember you all may like O'Day, but Reynolds gets fired if this ship isn't a winner in a few years and starts bleeding cash.

Anonymous said...

"If Jeremy O'Day stays then flat out he has no dignity"

If Brett Smith stays here next year as second string he has no dignity! He was the starter most of last season now he doesn't get the starters job? Also, he is part of a 3-15 season. Why would we want to keep him?

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. h,

Where else would Jeremy ODay get the opportunity to work in football ops other than in Regina? For some odd reason many in the media here like to pump Oday's tires & suggest he has all the experience in the world even though he isn't responsible for the 3-15 season. Try explaining that to someone without a self serving agenda. Truth is, outside of Regina ODay is a nobody & wouldn't even be considered as an option to build a franchise around. That is why Roddy deleted the ODay poll on here a couple weeks ago, it didn't fit his narrative. If Rynolds does pick ODay, prepare for outrage by the fanbase when it's already public knowledge that Jones wants to come here. Thankfully I don't think that will happen because Reynolds doesn't come across as an idiot.

Les

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod,

The thing that bothered me about the reports was that they took place in Grey Cup week. I remember not so long ago, that it was forbidden to talk or announce anything but Grey Cup news during Grey Cup week. I think it's a shame that the focus was taken off the two teams who earned the right to play in the big game.

I always think that when 2 conflicting reports come out the truth is usually in the middle. My guess is that the Riders made an oral offer and not a "formal offer" when they approached him. "Huff, wanna come to Saskatchewan?" Huff: "what would the offer include?"
Riders: "Full control, $750K a year" Huff: "no thanks."

I am kind of torn. I am not the biggest JOD fan but I do think he's got the tools. The first thing the new GM does is re-vamp the scouting.

Have a good trip to Florida Rod. Travel safe.


Russ from Saskatoon



Anonymous said...

I think everyone should get over this GM hunt thingy or whatever it is. The fix has been in since day 1 and nobody but O'Day will ever be given the job. It's really the only way the old guard can run the ship regardless of where the ship goes. Realty shows that Taman never built anything either here or Winnipeg. However that's plenty good enough for the Riders. O'Day was an average player who tutored under a career .450% winning GM. Taman never excelled at anything except signing free agents from other teams. O'Day never coached and has no real ability there. Hufnagel, Popp, Barker, and Buono among others have all been coaches and turned out to be pretty decent GM's. It's a mandatory skill to be able to recruit players.

Recruiting, scouting and building defences especially with new rules!! Isn't that exactly what we need. However what we need won't be what we get. There is no way that bloggers or reporters are picking sides on this one unless they have the answer. You don't openly endorse someone if you don't know the end result. The fix is in and has been all along. People will soon see this was an exercise in public relations and will ensure long term mediocrity. The apologists will be out in full force defending the hire. When the fall comes and the romance fads, they will then become the antagonists. It most likely will be thrown in their faces. It will forever polarize and define Mr Reynolds.

If someone with a winning pedigree like Mr Jones is passed over, there will never be a competent self respecting candidate who will ever take any job here. New stadium but same old Rider mentality. Management is treating fans like mushrooms, but most intelligent people see right through it. Managements mind was made up day 1 and this has been a done deal since day 1.

Anonymous said...

The Don was also General Manager in Baltimore with the Stallions.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it but you are probably right.

Rod Pedersen said...

Jim Popp was the GM in Baltimore then and Al Ford was the GM here. I was around back then just as much as you guys were.

John said...

Dream team organization
Jones, GM and coach
O'Day assistant GM
Lapolice Offensive Coordinator
Benevedes Defensive coordinator
C. Dickenson special teams

Anonymous said...

Yeah but Rod didn't the Don have a big part in player recruitment and scouting too? He would never accept mediocre players and to get the guys he wants he'd have to be part of the process.

Hopson is probably trying to get a hold of the Esks brain trust desperately to get them to do all they can to keep Jones from jumping ship. If Jones comes here, he'll tell Hopson to beat it. Which is how it should be.


Speaker Ryan

Rally Driver said...

I know Don Matthews negotiated some player's contracts and his negotiations with the players, I spoke with, were brief, amicable and fair. I don't know if he negotiated all contracts, but he did some for sure.

Anonymous said...

The smart decision is Jones-and I am confident the Riders will make the smart decision.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the 3-15 season was the fault of the rookie QB. YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO LIVE!! YOU ARE BAD AT LIFE AND SHOULD GIVE UP IMMEDIATELY!!! Smith is the future of this organization at QB, probably sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Both Madani and Lawless are shameful. They don't worry about facts they just throw stuff out there and hope something sticks. Remember back in the day when everyone would wait for the press conference? I think that's what I'll do.

Anonymous said...

"CFL's top two insiders"....By what standards/parameters are these guys measured???
Also, if Jones is the "sexy" pick, then O'Day would be the convenient pick.

Anonymous said...

The current sports media model is throw _ _ it on the wall and see what actually sticks, it also applies to some regular journalist personalities as well


If I were a sports team owner/president I’d put different comments out to different staff members and see what comes out in the media, then fire all those with loose lips.

Anonymous said...

The riders don't unintentionally leak info. The info comes from their media personality to Arash and Gary who then put enough spin creating half truths to cover up the source. This is orchestrated. The drama deflects the embarrassment and blame of a 3 and 15 season.
There are two truths in the world. 1. Whenever someone says it's not about the money, it's about the money. 2. Whenever someone pleads ignorance they know something.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones:
- No GM experience
- The Riders only want him as a Head Coach; are seemingly so desperate to get him as a HC, they are willing to 'throw in' the GM role
- This doesn't seem right

Geremy O'Day:
- The Riders gloat about his star potential as a GM
- Has GM experience
- Some actually still question if he is 'ready' yet are willing to accept someone who obviously is not ready to be a GM as he has no experience whatsoever, in Chris Jones.

I am not saying either of these guys should be the choice, yet, as for Chris Jones, the idea of simply giving him the GM role so that Sask can get him as the HC seems a bad idea.

Kel in Victoria

Anonymous said...

Comments from some folks, like "Speaker Ryan", make me despair over the shrinking intelligence of some fans in Rider Nation.

Lewis Grant said...

I think it's a shame that the focus was taken off the two teams who earned the right to play in the big game.

Agreed. How would we feel if our Grey Cup win in 2013 was overshadowed by rumblings about the coach leaving?


To the commenter who likes to use all-caps, I believe the post you were responding to was sarcastic. Please stop embarrassing yourself. Sometimes the comments on this blog make me wonder why I stay.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hopson lover. Now run along, it's almost time for your daily grovelling at his feet. Don't be late.


Speaker Ryan

Anonymous said...

I tried to read the article, but the amount of ads on your page is an embarrassment. Maybe stop whoring yourself out so much and stick you writing articles. Your webpage looks straight out of the 90's

Rod Pedersen said...

So angry.

Anonymous said...

Come on Rod don't be angry, the losers are losers for a reason. Eat a snickers and put on some George Strait, you'll feel better and be cooler.

Anonymous said...

Speaker Ryan,

Hopson no longer works for the Riders....you amaze me dude!

Realist

Anonymous said...

Glad we have Reynolds in place as pres. Hopson would never hire someone like Jones, a guy who wants complete control. He would never allow Hopson's meddling in the football ops side.


Bill

Anonymous said...

smith is about as much of the future as mccallum is....CLUELESS!

Anonymous said...

Rod was there ever any mention of the other individuals let go the same time as Taman and Chamblin. I believe one was a scout who had been with the Riders quite some time including the last 3 Grey Cups.

Anonymous said...

One can only feel a sense of sadness for people like the lonely ones who take time to troll websites for the sole purpose of expressing anger and hate (in one case - whining about the amount of ads on a website - in another about the retired Jim Hopson).

I think the best approach towards trolls and bullies was exemplified by the girl in Newfoundland and Labradour in her response to the sicko's with their "ugly" list.

One hopes that these poor soles can find a way out of their bitterness and towards a more happy life.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

You don't think Hopson still has influence in the organization? He was hanging out with all the bigwigs this past weekend at Grey Cup. Don't kid yourself, Hopson might not have salary on the books but he still wants a hand in the decision making that happens, both football and business side.


Speaker Ryan

Rod Pedersen said...

I'm not angry. Why would I be angry? That previous commenter seems to be.

Anonymous said...

Question RP:

You said another coach says the Riders have no money for free agents. I don't understand that comment because if the team has no interest in signing dead weight like Getzlaf, Brackenridge and some of the others on there it will free up some coin right. I can't see a lot of those free agents being re-signed here so that statement doesn't make sense. Can you explain if I am on the wrong track? Thanks!

Rod Pedersen said...

All i know is he said all contracts are visible to the rest of the league and the Riders are up against it financially. I don't profess to be an expert in these matters.

Anonymous said...

Rod:

Can you tell your boy Andrews to actually put together a noon sports of substance? I'm driving into work today and of course he has to lead with his beloved Regina Pats, but he completely ignored anything and everything to do with the Riders GM search. It seems like he just grabs a piece of paper and reads it. CKRM sports is a shadow of itself, but at least do it and show that you care somewhat about what is happening. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

There is NOTHING to report on the Rider GM search, so what is there for Phil to report?? Give me a break. Just let us know when the Riders come to their decision.

Anonymous said...

stop listening then THANKS!

Anonymous said...

Not sure what's worse - the paranoid meatsticks that piss and moan about the GM search being a sham, or the guy above that thinks he can do a better job at the sports.

Get out and enjoy life, people. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, the 3-15 season was the fault of the rookie QB. YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO LIVE!! YOU ARE BAD AT LIFE AND SHOULD GIVE UP IMMEDIATELY!!! Smith is the future of this organization at QB, probably sooner rather than later"

Really? And with comments like this towards other human beings that voice their opinion give you the right to live?? Get yourself a life bud, your getting all worked up over a sport, of which you have ZERO control of. Time to get out of the old proverbial "mother's basement and stop hiding behind the keyboard" tough guy. Wonder if you were bullied as a kid and now maybe need some help!!

Anonymous said...

Rod, your comment, if Jones is GM, he would have to rely heavily on Jeremy. What a joke Jeremy could be out the door and no one would miss him except you and your buddies.

Anonymous said...

Awww, would you like some tissue to dry your tears? You're probably one of those losers who uses the phrase "I'm offended by that" like intitles you to something, when all you're doing is being a whiner. You can join the first idiot as well.