Capital Auto Mall

Realty One

Access

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

RODSERVATIONS

NOTES FROM THE DOMINICAN

PUNTA CANA -- I'm celebrating an anniversary today, and will be on a boat on the Atlantic Ocean for much of the day without Wifi or cellular service.  Therefore, when John Chick is introduced at a news conference in Hamilton, and whatever else goes down in sports, I'll be a million miles and half a world away.

So here's the weekly observations column, just one day early.  Because there's only one thing that won't change, and that's the past.

1. WHAT A DIFFERENCE A WEEK MAKES:  Things continue to move fast and furious in the CFL, particularly in Riderville.  I had a whole notebook of items regarding Darian Durant taking a paycut last week, and now that's olddddd news.  Now we have John Chick and Weston Dressler to deal with, and their departures to Hamilton and Winnipeg respectively, on top of the Durant situation.  Are these items all good news or bad news?  We'll know by next November.

2.  FIRST OF ALL, DURANT:  Any doubt that Durant's the face of the Roughriders has been erased.  He seems to be the only player deemed non-expendable in the new Chris Jones era as over half of last year's team has been gutted and there's still plenty of time to go before training camp.  A lady at the bank in South Regina, a teller named "Val" whom I chat Riders with regularly, said last week even before the news of Darian Durant's paycut, "There's sure going to be a lot of pressure on Darian now".  And make no mistake, she's a huge Darian Durant fan.  But really?  Durant has been under the gun ever since he took his first snap as starter of this team way back in 2009.  And, he's always come out smelling like a rose (injuries notwithstanding).

All Darian needs to prove to me this season is that he can stay healthy.  We already know he represents the best chance for the Saskatchewan Roughriders to win, and apparently Chris Jones and John Murphy feel the same way.

3.  THE NEW REGIME:  In the middle of these tryout camps in the U.S. South, Chris Jones is flying back to Saskatchewan to speak at the Estevan Bruins annual fundraiser dinner Thursday night.  It'll be his first public appearance as Head Coach and GM of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and he'll have plenty of things to address.  If you'd like to go, call the Bruins office for a ticket.  I'm guessing you won't be disappointed.

As far as running a football team goes, these guys are heartless.  So too are Wally Buono and Don Mathews who are, incidentally, the two winningest coaches in CFL history.

You want nice guys or do you want championships?  They rarely go together.

I haven't spoken with Jones and Murphy about it but they must be biting their lip with all the criticism they're facing from certain sections of the Rider Nation, not to mention factions from the Chick and Dressler camp themselves.  The proof will be in the pudding or as they say in football, "We'll do our talking on the field".

4.  WESTON AND JOHN:  So Dressler's a Blue Bomber and Chick's a Tiger-Cat.  You really can't blame either for shopping their wares to the highest bidder however it BRIEFLY flashed in my mind at the Darian Durant news conference that, "If Darian can take a paycut, why can't these two guys?"  Of course even with the paycut, Darian's going to make more than these two combined so that notion quickly passed.

But if you're going to take substantial cuts in salary and play elsewhere, why not swallow your pride and stay in Saskatchewan even if it means taking a cut?  Regarding who made who a counter offer, it sounds like a case of "he said, she said" and you rarely ever find out the truth in those situations.

Regarding whether or not Dressler and Chick would have played for $160,000 or $170,000 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016, the answer I got from the team was "We'll never know".  So clearly, the discussions never went that far.

If John and Weston want to tell me what exactly went down, they know where to find me.  Otherwise I plan to respect their privacy because this is all between them and the Saskatchewan Roughriders and it's clear hard feelings remain.

Eventually everyone will move on.  As we all know, this stuff has happened in the past and will go on again in the future.

5.  HOW WE GOT IN THIS MESS:  It would be interesting to hear Brendan Taman's side of this, the deposed General Manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  He's been known to overpay for players in the past for fear of the public backlash if the players signed elsewhere.  I'm sure Taman is sitting back - wherever he is - wishing he had an avenue to explain how the franchise got to this point.  He's certainly free to speak since he's a free agent.  I look forward to hearing what he has to say.  It just won't be here.

6.  MORE TIDBITS:  Some of these nuggets I've been able to substantiate with the team while others I haven't.  Here are two things I've heard, but haven't confirmed -- 1)  Bombers offensive coordinator Paul Lapolice called Weston Dressler within five minutes of him hitting the open market.  Clearly Lapo is ecstatic to work with Weston again and 2)  Chris Jones is sending Chris Getzlaf to an American specialist to get definitive word on his foot injuries before re-signing the veteran receiver to a new deal.

7.  SILENCE OF THE RAMS:  There's so much to get into with "The Boys in the Horns".  What have we learned since the sudden resignation of Mike Gibson as head coach last week?  Well for starters, that former Rams Marc Mueller and Jason Clermont have both been approached by the hiring committee to apply as head coach but both declined ... And, as of Tuesday, I'm told Regina Thunder coach Scott MacAuley has not been contacted ... Backing up, it's clear to all that Mike Gibson was NOT the correct hire by the University of Regina Rams a year ago.  His departure just one year into his commitment to the Program is all the evidence you need for that determination.  In fairness to Gibson, everything he did in 2015 was for the betterment of the Regina Rams and that's admirable.  However the way he left town, and the dig he took at his exit news conference last week tells everyone all they need to know about him.  He made no secret over the years that he wasn't a fan of mine but I was willing to support him and the program as long as he was in charge. And, I was told by a CFL coach that Gibson contacted his team back in December about a job ...  So, with that mistake being made a year ago, hopefully the University's hiring committee has looked at their practices and policies and don't make another blunder this go-around.

And hopefully by the time you read this, the committee has reached out to MacAuley.

8.  SUPER BOWL 50:  From what I can tell, the NFL is the only North American professional league with a global brand.  When a resort like the one I'm at sets up a room with a big screen to watch the NFL conference championships and it draws people from all over the world, you know it's a pretty big deal.  No one is congregating to watch NHL or NBA games (which aren't even available in the guest rooms).

There were tons of Boston people who showed up to watch the Patriots lose 20-18 in Denver in a nail-biter and by reading New England media reports, the 2015 season is being regarded as a disaster.  Why?  Because the team failed to reach the Super Bowl.  With four Super Bowl titles in the Bellichick-Brady Era, it's easy to see why they feel that way.

However it's unreasonable for Roughriders fans to feel any season without a Grey Cup championship is a failure.

Meanwhile the Super Bowl in San Francisco next Sunday, to quote John Lynch, "is just gonna be fantastic".  You've got Denver's Peyton Manning in his "last rodeo", as he calls it, against the upstart Cam Newton of Carolina who's fast becoming the face of the NFL.

Old against New!!  Who wins out??

Unfortunately for the Manning family, I feel it'll be the Panthers in a romp.  As it is, the Panthers are favoured by 4.5-points.

9.  TOP PROSPECTS:  Sam Steel and 39 other top NHL draft-elligible players will show their stuff Thursday night at the 2016 CHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver on Rogers Sportsnet.  It will be very interesting to tune in and watch how Steel and the other prospects perform.  Although the Regina Pats sophomore phenom slid in the Central Scouting mid-term rankings, he's still a Top 10 talent.  It will be interesting to see how we fares against players his own age, and ones of his calibre.  As one NHL scout said to me last week after the rankings came out, "We can all see he has it."

It would be great if Steel and the Pats could hit top form in the next few months and do something in the playoffs rather than just treading water.  They've been in 7th place since October.  And for Steel, hopefully it starts Thursday night.

10.  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:  This is the annual Harvard Broadcasting Sun Trip, but our first-ever getaway to the D.R.  For those who don't know, if you spend enough on advertising with 620 CKRM, MY 92.1 or the Wolf 104.9, you are elligible for a trip like this and I'm always there to accompany.  It's not a bad deal! ... From what we've seen, this is a fantastic island country.  The people are great, quick with a smile, and huge baseball fans.  One guy on a bicycle saw my Blue Jays shirt and yelled, "Hey Blue Jays!  BAUTISTA!"  ... The capital of the Dominican Republic is Santo Domingo which boasts a population of 4-million, which is far bigger than even Toronto ... You can get a massage on the beach for just $35/hour however be forewarned -- the gal put Kenny G's Christmas Hits on her Ipod and it was stuck on I'll Be Home For Christmas.  After the 15th replay of the song, my head was ready to explode!  Didn't she notice?  Oh well, it was a fun day ... It rained only once while we've been here and the temperature has been steadily around 29 degrees Celsius and sunny.  Somebody complained about it being too hot and we threw them in the ocean.  ...  It would be wonderful to be able to put the phone away and relax while on a vacation such as this but it's difficult when you've got 100 people coming up to you daily saying, "What's going on back at home?"  You need to stay on top of things at all times, plus the "insiders" keep texting with info.  Hey, it's not such a bad deal.

We've basically been south since the CFL season ended but fear not ... come Friday I'll be back in the SportsCage and won't be going anywhere for a good long time.

------

THANKS FOR READING AND HAVE A GREAT DAY!
RP
@rodpedersen

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

what's your big anniversary?

Rod Pedersen said...

Being a friend of Bill W.

Anonymous said...

That's the difference between Taman and Jones. Taman was always afraid of what the public thinks and based his decisions on that. Which, as we've seen, turn out to be the wrong ones. Jones (and even Tillman) don't give a shit what the fans think. And that's the way it needs to be. You can't let fan opinion or a players popularity get in the way of doing what is right for the team.

Maybe that's why we only have four Cups in 100 years. The old boys club from Hopson, Ford, Shepard etc thought that keeping popular players around was the best way to sell tickets and keep the fans interested. Completely wrong. Winning sells tickets and sometimes you have to do unpopular things to be a winner. That's what makes Jones a winner. He gets it. And most of the fans in this province do. Unfortunately there's always going to be knuckleheads who think they know something. That's life.


Gundersons Yorkton

Anonymous said...

"I haven't spoken with Jones and Murphy about it but they must be biting their lip with all the criticism they're facing from certain sections of the Rider Nation"
Would the criticism be from the buffoons who comment on the Voice of the Rider's blog?

Rod Pedersen said...

Umm, or from Weston's Twitter monologue. Why stir something up?

Anonymous said...

Exactly Roddy. Maybe Dressler isn't the patron saint some people make him out to be. He's a great player no doubt and a nice guy but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a mean streak.

Anonymous said...

Rider Nation extends further than Dressler's Twitter account. The criticism of Jones and his staff on this blog is embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Most of the media and mediums in this area try to walk both sides of the fence at the same time. They certainly talk out of both sides of their mouths. Everybody knows who they are. They are the ones who refuse to hold the responsible parties to blame for the mess this organization was in. The same ones who would crucify Jones/Murphy if they were to fail. The ones who try to show support for current management but are luke warm in approval and semi-cryptic. The ones trying to keep this crap steaming even though they have no right and are being unfair to management. The ones who may end up paying a price on this. The same ones who criticize Gibson but fail to report he was subject to continual backstabbing by alumni and bigger problems at the U of R. Ones who try to promote MacAuley even though he has a very thin resume with no CIS or pro experience. Ones who are overtly or otherwise a part of the small minded old boys network. Everybody knows who they are.

Dresssler and Chick took big paycuts in Winnipeg and Hamilton, but wouldn't here as DD actually did. 95% of Rider Nation understands and accepts what had to be done. The other 5% like the trolls, haters, man-lovers, agenda benders, and generally dispicable people are soap boxing for something and someone. These players had an opportunity to counter-offer on the the teams offer, but didn't. They were willing to play for less elsewhere. How much did these hero's really want to be here you say. How classy is that? These guys were no longer elite players and didn't deserve to be paid as such. What they signed for proves that fact. Most think it's very important who made the counter offer. The statement that they might have got the same money clearly shows that the team was listening but the counter offer never came.

I'm sure Jones knows that smiling faces tell lies. They too know who they are. These guys have been hired to fix Tamans mistakes and some don't like it or want it fixed. The people who were crying over the narrative Dressler and Chick created are idiots. Those who were endorsing and supporting O'Day for the GM's job were left looking foolish. Now those same people are backstabbing from behind their smiling faces!

Anonymous said...

The old boys club that has rained down criticism of Jones ever since he was hired only does it here cause they know they aren't welcome on Riderfans.com. In fact on there they've been supportive of Jones.

Rod Pedersen said...

I know this: Chris and John are secure enough that they won't be bothered by the skinheads in this comments section.

Anonymous said...

Jones and Murphy couldn't give a rat's ass about certain sections of the whining buffoons from riderville. Why would they be biting their lip? Jones and Murphy are here to rebuild the franchise top to bottom while cleaning up the mess left by the buffoons hop son/ta man and their cohorts.

Anonymous said...

A guy with the initials RV comes to mind. He stuck up for Taman and has defended Dressler. Whose side do you think he's on?

Anonymous said...

Just watche the piece on TSN sporscenter of former Pats star Rick Rypien. MAKE SURE YOU WATCH THIS TODAY. Great story about a great person who left us too soon.

#bellLetsTalk

The Captain.

Anonymous said...

Rod you should have seen the short film on Rick Rypien during the Jets broadcast on TSN3. That was a tough one. Glad that more attention is getting paid to these issues so more people come forward with them and talk about it. #BellLetsTalk

Congrats on your anniversary (marriage or sobriety). Keep up the great work, you've got my support.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

If anything I wish there was a way to show a blogs IP address of their where about's. Meaning not the address itself. Just if its coming from a neighboring Province. Its obvious that many times EE fans have posted on here. A majority pretending to be Rider fans. They just cant stand that Jones and Company jumped ship. Even though Edmonton had them do the same thing from Toronto. Im sure Jones will do it again when a better opportunity comes around. Its human nature to better ourselves.
Even Manitoba fans gets in on it here now and then. I have found the so called "Friendly Manitoba" football fans to be the most foul mouthed fans in the league.
My experience in Winnipeg at the Grey Cup was the worst CFL game Ive ever been to in Canada. Everywhere our group of people went in the stadium wearing Rider hats or jerseys were sworn at and made to feel completely unwelcome. Winnipeg fans seem to be a cesspool of ignorance. Its one thing to disrespect people on a blog. Its a whole other thing when people have made a trip to your city. Supported your team and your new stadium with buying tickets. Only to deal with that crap from the beginning of the game to its very end. Ive never seen a group of people so happy to get out of a City.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to hear any conversation containing criticism of Jones and Murphy (or O'Day for that matter) beyond that of the one Eskimo fan who repeatedly spouts drivel in this comments section. Sure, fans were sad to see the two long-time Riders leave, but the time had come and fans understand the realities of the salary cap system. Criticism or applause will come once the season is underway and there are wins or losses.

Garth

Anonymous said...

Sadly these leaders haven't been allowed to lead without the trolls out in full force. All 6 of them.
These guys haven't even gone through their free agency where lots of is likely to happen.
There will be a number of big name signings to rebuild a horrible defence.
Offence will not be a problem either.
They haven't been all;owed to build their team and go through training camp, yet the jackals are out.
We will be a good team and the haters will be back butt kising in no time at all.
Put your agendas aside because the only agenda should be the return of the Riders to excellence.
In a moment of lucidity please direct your venom to those who created the situation.
Remeber players are only mercanaries and not gods. Some like DD chose to be Riders.
Dressler and Chick chose to elsewhere, that's business and it's OK.
It's not Ok to be troll and hater especially when you know nothing of the truth or inner workings.

Anonymous said...

As a General Manager, if you start listening to the fans, you will soon become one.

Dennis said...

This Dressler, Chick mess reminds me of the Shivers Burris fiasco back in 2005 when there was lots of speculation, but nobody knew for sure what exactly went down in negotiations.

Chris said...

It was fear of negative public opinion that made the previous regime break the bank for JC and WD (or maybe it was sheer incomptence...that's also possible). Jones has been successful at everything he has done in the CFL to this point. I suggest the vocal minority tone it down a little and give Jones a chance to do what he has been hired to do. If the QB stays healthy I would suggest the Riders should be back in contending status within 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary RP. Proud of ya buddy if you don't know that already


Marshall

Anonymous said...

Great column today Roddy! This Jones/Murphy era does remind me a lot of the Matthews era the short time the 'Don' was here. We were instantly better the next season. And while we weren't the elite team Don wanted us to be, he was hamstrung by Al Ford's penny pinching. Jones and Murphy don't have to worry about that this time so we had better embrace their style at least for the next two seasons. We may not get a third and that's fine. As long as we're a better franchise when they leave, that's all a fan can ask for. Enjoy your vacation Rod.

Voice of Reason

Anonymous said...

Pick you poison, have a vagabond coach with all this experience but doesn't understand or have the support of the football community or have a coach with No CIS experience but everyone in the community both in football and out. This is a no brainer hiring committee of the Rams.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mr Pedersen on your sobriety aniversary.

ElA

Anonymous said...

Toronto is twice the size

Dean said...

I bet the same people that are complaining about Chick/Dressler are the same ones who would complain when we would sign other teams 30+ players that were released.

They would bitch and moan and say they can't you find your own players!!

That's why I'd like to see some kind of handle used (doesn't have to your real name). That way we would know the track record of these know it all's.

Anonymous said...

nice pic Ego Pedersen Is that your new Tinder profile pic?

Anonymous said...

At least Rod can actually get something on Tinder. You haven't had one girl swipe right yet!

Anonymous said...

Rod, that Green cap and Blue shirt make you look like you just got off the Banjo playing Saskatchewan boat. Get some sun or spray paint yourself with a little more Brown . You look like the Ghost of Riderville.

CM said...

Nice trip! Too much noise about Dressler/ Chick. Hufnagel cut Reynolds and Juwan Simpson no public backlash. Jones/ Murphy know what they are doing. Their track record says so. If you want to blame an old losing team with a high payroll blame Taman. He also thought Getzlaf was worth $225K per yr. He traded Foley for Emry. Just be thankful Reynolds had the brains to fire him asap.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your sobriety anniversary.

Anonymous said...

What the hell would either of those 2 know about running / coaching a football program.

Clermont is a real estate agent and Mueller a ball boy for the Stamps.

If that's the best we can get, then I say let them fold.

Anonymous said...

wow last anon... jealous? Clermont and Mueller have been around football their entire life. I’m quite sure they both would be capable of running the rams program. Sure there would be a learning curve but I’m willing to bet they learned a thing or two along the way from guys like Buono, Lancaster and Hufnagel. The program needs someone committed to the long term… not someone looking to use the position as a spring board.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Having someone that is committed long term get you a guy like Frank and a program stuck in neutral(look at Saskatoon also). Hiring a true professional with a desire to succeed and progress gets you a program like UofC. I don't even know who would be willing to work here.

Anonymous said...

Aqua and blue don't mix your right.

Anonymous said...

Rod no one wears visors since the 90s and take the sticker off your brim. You are white... Plus ditch the women's sunglasses too. Buy a pair of white oakleys they suit you better.

Rod Pedersen said...

I bet you guys are real winners.

Anonymous said...

love this guys blog but spare me the pretentious selfies on a sports blog...unless it's a hot chick.