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Monday, February 15, 2016

CHRIS JONES IMPRESSES KINSMEN CROWD

Chris Jones and Johnny Athens
Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach and GM Chris Jones made his second public appearance of the off-season Friday night at the 2016 Kinsmen Celebrity Dinner & Auction at the Delta Regina, benefitting Big Brothers of Regina.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Jones on stage, but we also took some questions from the crowd.

Regarding what the team's done in free agency and throughout this entire off-season, I asked Jones how he feels about his team.

"We got a shot.  We got a shot," Jones smiled.  "We get Darian back and healthy and get everyone figuring out exactly what we want offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, and our coaching staff will expect to win every football game.  We're not going to sit here and say 'Grey Cup this' and 'Grey Cup that'.  All I know is you can expect us to give 100% effort every time we step on the football field and we got a shot."

I further asked Jones what was the plan behind their moves this week, signing or trading for 13 new players.  Most of them are in their mid-to-late 20's.

"We want athletic, fast, characters," Jones answered.  "When we were at Tennessee Tech, a very academic school, when I first went there to work on my masters degree, Mike Smith - who went on to be the Falcons head coach - was our defensive coordinator, Doug Malone coached our O-line, we had a tremendous staff.  But when you looked at us, you knew we'd play hard but we were gonna fall short.  We weren't as athletic or fast as we needed to be.  So we picked out all the kids from our camps who ran 4.4 40's, guys with verticals jumps of 37", 38", 39" and watched their film.  We wanted to get big, fast and athletic.

"The next thing you know we put 11 guys in the NFL, were nationally ranked back-to-back, and should've probably won more games than we actually did.  But we knew at that point it was about the players."

We then took it to the crowd and one patron asked Jones where the club is with its backup quarterback position behind Darian Durant.

"We brought two or three quarterbacks down to Houston and worked them out," Jones said.  "It's a little premature to say I'm comfortable with anybody.  B.J. Coleman did some real nice things the other day as did the other two guys.  Before we jump off the bridge, we're gonna see some more of them in person."

Jones had a short answer for the fan who asked what the status of veteran receiver Chris Getzlaf is.  "He's gone to free agency," Jones said.

If the Roughriders do elect to move on from Chris Getzlaf, it'll ruffle more feathers in the Rider Nation.  They've just settled down from the releases of John Chick and Weston Dressler.  However Jones and his righthand man John Murphy are undaunted.

"Yeah you know what?  It's just part of reality," Jones deadpanned.  "They can't play forever.  When guys are little bit older and slower, you have to make the decisions that'll allow you to win football games.  That's what they brought me in here for.  They didn't bring me here to win a popularity contest.  They brought me here to win football games and I'm trying to win as many as I possibly can and use the experience I've gained in the past."

To that, Jones received a thundering ovation.

Fans here just want to win.

RP

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones >>> Kent Austin

Jeff Sastaunik said...

I think Chris Jones is doing exactly what we need. We need someone not afraid to make changes. This is refreshing and I can't wait till the season starts.

Anonymous said...

The signing of Chambers means the end for Chris Getzlaf here. Part of going younger. A healthy Getzlaf can do good things for a CFL team, but it won't be in green and white. Montreal goes for older players, so perhaps he has a shot getting on with them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Jeff. Chris Jones will deliver a Grey Cup to the Riders within the next 2 years and it wouldn't surprise me if it is this year if Durant stays healthy. I like all the moves he has made so far despite releasing Dressler but hey I'm over it and its the nature of sports. Heck even Wayne Gretzky got traded. Nobody's untouchable.

Anonymous said...

I will say this one more time...at the end of last year when we had Ryan Smith,Dressler,Chick and everyone else and we were getting it handed to us I struggled to go to the games. If we are more entertaining and and are atleast in the games no one is going to complain that we moved on from all them. New hero's will emerge.

Darcy from Regina

Anonymous said...

Boy am I glad Reynolds cleaned house last year. We now have a regime in place that wants to win and knows how to do it as well. Sure there's the sour apples in the bunch who will be bitter forever that guys like Dressler (and probably Getzlaf) are gone but the vast majority of fans understand that to be a winning team you have to make unpopular choices. Taman and Hopson didn't seem to understand that. But that's in the past and everyone I talk to is looking forward to this whole new team.

Maybe we won't win the Cup this year but I have no doubt we're going to be dangerous in the years to come. Even the fact that these guys are going to play 100% is a major improvement over last year.

Go Riders! Glad to have a team we can be proud of again.


Dubya

Anonymous said...

OPEN THE CHOKE AND PULL THE CORD!!!!

Can't wait for kickoff.

Anonymous said...

Thank God Craig Reynolds has balls.

Anonymous said...

Hopson who??

Anonymous said...

Great article Rod. Enjoyed it thoroughly and the last two sentences capture it all. 99.9% of the fans and followers understand that some hard things had to be done. It's not about putting blame at anyones feet, it's about doing what needs to be done going forward. Chad Owens just moved on from the Argos and the comments are about thanks for the years of service etc. They are not "Barker your an idiot" or anything like that. If we had cut loose an MOP from a couple years back the lunatic fringe would be out in full force. One LP type would be going nuts. It shouldn't be like that and our management of Jones, O'Day and Murphy should be getting Kudos from all fans. They deserve it as the decisions were tough and I', gut wrenching at times. It's really sad the trolls seem to come out and try to pee on peoples parade. It's hard to make tough decisions but when done for the good of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, it has to be applauded.

The thundering ovation comes from the 99.0% of us. The .1% will never be happy with anything even a GC win.

Nice article!

Anonymous said...

With all the changes, I am not expecting to win a Grey Cup this year but I do expect a much better showing than last year. But, really, was there anywhere to go but UP? I don't think we could be any worse!!!

Anonymous said...

Chris Jones will do well in Sask with the fans

Anonymous said...

Saskatchewan Roughriders >>> Hamilton Tiger Cats

Anonymous said...

The previous administration thought that the best way to sell tickets was to have our popular players signed long-term. They didn't want to make any unpopular decisions for fear of losing fan support. Problem is, those decisions resulted in us losing games and the fan support disappeared anyway. These riches the team has would have dried up real quick if we had to endure a few seasons like this like the 90's and 80's were. Al Ford made the same mistakes after 89, refused to make the tough decisions. All we heard was excuses as to how we couldn't afford anything and that we should be thankful we even have a team. Pathetic. We deserved better and now we have better.

Speaker Ryan

Anonymous said...

I'm like the others, cant wait for the season to start. Jonesey has the right attitude, that the majority of fans like, and some seem to forget its about wins and losses. Not whether you have hot chocolate and cookies ready for the team after they got their butts kicked. I agree with the one comment, and the comments on the blog, was that he's brought in a lot of under 30's that have some speed, and some years left to build a longer term contender. ( and probably cheaper by the way). Not some guys who are eating up cap space and have had ho hum years. Let other teams pick them up. Whether we like it or not Dressler and Chick had average years last year with above average salaries. What business can survive with that. The demise of the Green Bay packers in the late 60's after the Lombardi era was an example of older players staying around too long. You've got to cull guys and keep winning. That's the name of the game......

Anonymous said...

Not keeping Getzlaf won't ruffle my feathers. Then again, I'm not a privileged member of the Old Boys Club. Refreshing indeed!!

Anonymous said...

Everything I have heard from Chris Jones and about Chris Jones makes me believe he will achieve success. I can't imagine him settling for mediocrity and there will be no slackards this year. That was the frustrating part about last year, there were glimpses of potential at times but nobody had the season they should have. Even our best did not shine as they should have.

GangGreen said...

Getzlaf is local talent. There's value in promoting that as an organization. He's also big and durable and smart, and can still contribute. I hope Getzlaf finds a role and makes a deal.

Trav said...

Jones has come in and put every player on the same level before releasing the few dozen players he's released or hasn't re-signed in free agency. This is not something we've seen in years if not decades and I'm glad it's finally come.

I'm not upset that Dressler, Smith, Chick and all the others have been released or went to free agency and signed with other teams. Jones has made this his team and I'm excited for next season. Brand new management and a brand new roster, things r looking up. No more keeping players just cuz of who they are.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere, Hopson is shaking his fist at your post. Don't worry about it, he isn't in control anymore.

Anonymous said...

For whatever reason Getzlaf seemed to have issues hanging onto the ball the last couple seasons but it wasn't always that way. If he comes back and shows he can make those big catches he can still contribute even if it is part time. If Fantuz is still playing Getlaf still can. However it would not surprise me if he is hoping to catch on somewhere else to have a bigger role.

Anonymous said...


So why are players loyal to Jones? He sound like a Coach that will use a player to get where we wants to go and then throw them away when they no longer have a use to him. It only hasn't haunted him so far, because he hasn't stayed anywhere for very long and that means other's get to axe players. Now he is a GM and will learn that get what you give and there is no more hiding behind others when it comes to the tougher calls. 

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I wish coach Jones all the best..the proof will be in the pudding.

Go Riders

Greg Mikolas said...

Players LOVE playing for Coach Jones and other coaches/managers lover working with him ... I can see NO REASON for any of y'all to bash him. He has done nothing but win all through his entire football career.

He isn't here to play favour to the media nor to the fans. He is here to clean up a bad football team and turn it into a winning one.

Go Riders!