Realty One

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Chris Jones is taking the same approach to rebuilding the Saskatchewan Roughriders that has won Grey Cup titles in his previous CFL stops.

The Riders' head coach/GM was busy bolstering his defence Wednesday, the second day of CFL free agency. He agreed to terms with Canadian defensive end Justin Capiccotti and signed linebacker Greg Jones and defensive backs Ed Gainey and Otha Foster.

Jones also added running backs Kendial Lawrence and Curtis Steele while acquiring American offensive lineman Bruce Campbell from the Toronto Argonauts for a 2016 fourth-round draft pick. Linebacker Jake Doughty and punter Ray Early, both Americans, were released.

"You've got to play defence in order to win championships,'' Jones told reporters Wednesday. "Everywhere we've been, we've been able to play good D and so adding these guys to what we already have is a good plus.''

Jones knows what it takes defensively to succeed. He won a Grey Cup in '02 as Montreal's defensive line coach before capturing titles as a defensive co-ordinator with Calgary ('08) and Toronto ('12). He led Edmonton to last year's league championship as the head coach but was still instrumental in the Eskimos' staunch defence.

Jones shored up his defence after focusing on the offence Tuesday. Saskatchewan extended offensive lineman Chris Best prior to the start of free agency. Then, after re-signing defensive lineman Dylan Ainsworth, he secured deals with receiver Shamawd Chambers of Markham, Ont., the top Canadian in last year's Grey Cup and national offensive lineman Andrew Jones - both former Eskimos - as well as American receivers John Chiles and Jeremy Kelley.

Jones really drew the ire of Riders Nation last month when he released defensive end John Chick and receiver Weston Dressler - both fan favourites - for financial reasons. Dressler resurfaced with Winnipeg while Chick signed with Hamilton. But Jones was pleased Wednesday with the defensive talent the Riders amassed.

"You've got to be able to get after the quarterback and not have to blitz every down. We've tried, with the addition of (veteran defensive lineman Shawn) Lemon early and Capiccotti if he does indeed sign, those are two very good players.

"And, of course on the second level with Jones he's not only one of the better (middle) linebackers he's also a very good blitzer and tremendous special-teams guy. And in the secondary with the guys we've added it gives us versatility and guys that have played in the league and man cover.''

Capiccotti, a Toronto native, spent the last two years in Ottawa and was a CFL all-star last season. The six-foot-three, 235-pound end registered 23 sacks while with the Redblacks and was a highly sought commodity in free agency.

The six-foot, 242-pound Jones spent the last two seasons with Toronto. Last year, the 27-year-old started all 18 regular-season games and registered a team-high 98 tackles.

Jones was also a member of the New York Giants 2011 Super Bowl-winning squad.

The five-foot-11, 195-pound Gainey spent the last two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after beginning his CFL career in Montreal. The 25-year-old has played in 43 career games with 69 tackles, 25 special-teams tackles, two interceptions and three fumble returns, including one for a touchdown.

The six-foot-four, 212-pound Foster spent the last two seasons with Edmonton, starting all 33 regular-season games he appeared in. He recorded 103 tackles, seven special-teams tackles and two interceptions.

Other moves Wednesday, included:

- Toronto re-signed veteran running back Brandon Whitaker, the East Division's second-leading rusher last season.

- Hamilton added Demond Washington, the former Winnipeg defensive back/kick-returner while announcing the re-signing of veteran Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent and return of American offensive lineman Brian Simmons.

- Ottawa signed Canadian defensive lineman Arnaud Gascon-Nadon, a former Ticat and Montreal native.

- Edmonton re-signed linebacker JC Sherrit, the CFL's top defensive player in 2012.

- Calgary added receiver Bakari Grant and linebacker Taylor Reed, both former Ticats.

- B.C. agreed to terms with running back Jeremiah Johnson while signing offensive lineman Levy Adcock, both Americans.

Saskatchewan announced the signing of Chambers on Wednesday. Chambers spent four seasons with Edmonton, playing in 50 career regular-season games with 112 receptions for 1,234 yards and seven TDs.

"He's one of the top guys out there and he's a young guy who has all the physical tools in the world,'' Jones said. "Certainly he's able to play in a lot of different places for us.''

The five-foot-nine, 195-pound Lawrence spent the last two seasons in Edmonton after beginning his CFL career in Hamilton. In Lawrence, the Riders have versatile performer who can play running back and receiver while also returning kicks.

"He can play across the board for us offensively,'' Jones said. "He needs to work on his blocking, that's the thing he knows going in.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

Its been many long months since I have felt this much elation in Rider Nation!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Reynolds for hiring Jones and Murphy and keeping O'Day. What an incredible couple of days for Rider Nation. Outstanding job of drafting and assembling a team capable of competing every game, game in, game out. While it was sad to see Chick and Dressler go, the cap room created has resulted in improving out team immensely. Go Riders Go.

Anonymous said...

Jones and crew were brilliant in making the team better, bigger, younger all within budget. They have far and away replaced anything we lost with across the board better players. If the trolls had their way we would have tied up big money on 3-15 talent. We may have got to 5-13 but that would have made some happy…losers!

We now have a genuine return threat and what a treat that will be to finally have that. An All-Star linebacker and DE. What did anyone we lost come close to that. Before seasons end this will be among the top three defences in the league. Everyone knows that's what wins championships as opposed to tiny receivers.

The self described wrinkled scribe from the LP who routinely puts out his thinly veiled venon should simply stop. He's embarassing himself and the paper. Jones shows lots of class by giving him the time of day.

Only fools will predict where any team will end up, but this team will quietly shove turds down many haters throats. They will finish in the playoffs and after that anything is possible.

Cogratulations Chris and staff. You've put up with garbage from the lunatic fringe with dignity. The real fans love what your doing for the team and it's fans. Please don't let the 1% put you off….you guys rock.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the wrinkled scribe you mention should move to Saskatoon like the rest of his paper.
The Regina Leader-Post! HAH!
More like Saskatoon's version, created there, printed there, why read it here?

Anonymous said...

Just a fan having fun laying out what the Riders strategy might be. With respect to the Defensive backs At Safety we have good depth with 3 National boys competing and giving good depth. Roster can only accommodate 2 so the third fellow to Special teams, ( Newman, MacDougall and Webster). At Defensive Back I see our teir One players as these 4 players - Otha Foster, Ed Gainey, Robert Sands, and Marte Sears, based on size and experience. We have 3 others for back-up, injury coverage, and maybe Special Teams.
I am wondering why Jake Doughty is released because we are very thin at Linebacker. Could this have been soley for cap reasons. At middle we now have Greg Jones, at SAM Jeff Knox, and weekside Denicos Allen. Since there is no one left on Roster is Chris Jones looking for other FA or does he have others coming? We need more depth here to cover off injury and back-up or at the very least to play and develop on Special Teams. Sadly I cannot see how Chris Getzlaf fits in anywhere. One question I wonder is – do we have enough cap space to sign a Ben Heenan if he becomes available?

Anonymous said...

I get a chuckle out of the fact that no team has signed Tyron Brackenridge. They've had two months.
I'm one of the guys that were lambasting him last year for all of his missed tackles, yet the media kept trying to tell us how good he was.
I am really impressed Jones/Murphy and co. and Brackenridge's phone being silent tells me that our current staff knows what they're doing.

Nasty Nellie

Anonymous said...

True fans will stand behind Jones and his staff and cheer for him not against him. Keep up the good work Jones!!!

Darcy from Regina

Anonymous said...

I am encouraged by the signings and hope that it bodes well for our season but I do have a bit of a concern. We now have a team full of good individual players who have never played together (or at least most of them haven't) in the past. We have new coaches. I assume, a new playbook. Along with all of this, we have a very short training camp. How long will it take before these individual players become a team? I think that everyone is expecting an immediate winning season. Heck, some are already planning the Grey Cup parade! Is it possible for these individual players to develop into a winning team with such a short time practicing together? How long will it take to develop that "team chemistry"?

Anonymous said...

Wow - you guys sure are into the green kool aid
you have your manlove for Jones and Murphy down Pat!!!!
Reminds me of what you did with CC and how did that turn out ???
There has only been 2 good signings Newman and Capicciotti
The rest are a waste of time and money - wait and see

Your sudden hate for Chick and Dressler and all things that are not Jones and Murphy is not only embarrassing for you and the Riders it is plain stupidity.

Anonymous said...

First 3 posts obviously written by the Riders staff PR people.

Anonymous said...

Ed Gainey never played for esks

Anonymous said...

Me and my gal would gladly have the Riders go 3 and 15 with Chick and Dressler than go 15 and 3 without them. Just saying. We miss them in their green and white. We may have to cheer with the Oska Wee Wee folks when big John comes to town and wear blue and gold at the Labour Day classic. That's life in the fast lane. They did check out and we wish they never left. I am sure I speak for many down at the Eagles Club.

Jan & Dean

Anonymous said...

The last Anon praising Jones and company for their effort has nailed it.
The super loud incredibly Nieve minority will be silenced soon. Well maybe not as I'm sure they will rise to the top upon the first loss the Riders have. No doubt they will be screaming during the preseason. As Jones will be using that time period to gauge his talent. Not worrying about the score board.
I always laugh when the preseason preachers come full force after a loss.
It's fun being a fan of the ROUGHRIDERS. However it sucks being called a Rider fan as that mixes a person in with the lunacy of the arm chair GMS that embarrass Rider Nation every time they open their mouths or put words to blogs.
I am amongst those who praise this administration for what they are doing. There is no way on Gods green Riderville that Mr Oday could have come close to what has taken place so far. This has been and will continue to be an excellent learning time for Jeremy. He will learn more this off season than the time he spent with Taman.
Go Riders Go

Reginald of Regina

Anonymous said...

We can moan and groan about Chick and Dressler being gone, but they chose to go for money elsewhere and have moved on, divorce these two, wish them luck and move on. Doing a great job so far management, the haters will be back when they see our improved team on the field.

Anonymous said...

To the anon who is concerned about them gelling as a team, let's not forget Jones took a 4-14 team to 12-6 in one year. So let's not worry about that.

Anonymous said...

So you would rather have a 3-15 team to keep Dressler and Chick wow!
Leader Post is dying a slow painful death. Day after Super Bowl coverage consists of go to our website for the story. What will happen during the Roughrider Season, no game coverage until 2 days after the game has been played?

Anonymous said...

Hervey said he didn’t even bother to make contract offers to the majority of those players because he didn’t see the point.
“Why get in the process of a bidding war when you don’t need to?” he said.
“I don’t feel like we lost anyone that we didn’t expect to go. My objective wasn’t to go out there and spend the most money and make that kind of news. It was to redefine our core players, go after those guys. We’ve got a lot of guys on our team making minimum salaries. We can’t make everyone the highest paid at their position.
“I’m confident about what we do here and excited about moving forward with the players we have, the players that will have the opportunity to step into the positions that were vacated.”

Anonymous said...

Regarding the present state of the Leader-Post these days, let us not forget the lack of NHL scores from the night before. We may be Rider Nation but NHL matters a whole heck of a lot too. RIP (REGINA) Leader-Post.

Anonymous said...

Here is an bit of Ed Hervey's comments about Jones re-tooling of the Riders;

“I would have done the same thing, I’m sure,” Hervey said Wednesday. “I would have probably went to a team, gutted the roster and created a war chest for free agency as well. That’s what you do to turn your team around. Did you expect him to play with that same roster?”

Now doesn't that tell it all? His previous GM saying he would have done exactly the same thing. Seriously it's time for the trolls to head back to the Shivers era where they seem to like it best. One guy saying he would rather have a 3-15 team with Dressler and Chick than a winning team. That truly shows beyond any doubt that you can't fix stupid.

Great job by management in doing what needed to be done. Outstanding!

Anonymous said...

It is indeed sad to read the Leader Post these days when so much of it is filler from other cities and the National Post. I am old enough to remember the days when there was a large and talented group of hard-working local reporters, not just in sports, but in labour, community, entertainment, civic affairs, and provincial issues. But years of cuts to their staff levels have had an obvious impact and there is little hope for things to change for the better. I still read the paper daily but I do long for the days when it was in its prime.

Anonymous said...

Jan and Dean,
Please do. I don't know you, and nor do I wish to know you.

Rider nation, and frankly any organization or location on earth, will be better without you.

Anonymous said...

First off, the Rider news comes from HERE! Where else do you get the up to the minute, first thing in the morning Rider news! (that's why the Leader Post doesn't print it, because it's old new already (thank RP, twitter etc.)

Second, definitely the first three posts were Rider staffers.

Third, really, to the 17th anonymous poster, you would REALLY want another woeful 3-15 season with Dressler and Chick, than actually enjoy a winning season!??? #mindblown #changefanshiptolawnbowling


Anonymous said...

Riders didn't overpay for these players. FACT.

Hervey didn't have any money to spend because he now has 1 Million a year locked into Bowman, Sewell and Reilly. FACT.

Keeping TBrack, Macho, Chick, Dressler, Maze, Hall, Fulton and Getzlaf actually cost more than all the FA's signed in the last two days combined. FACT.

Anonymous said...

Crybaby cry! No room for your pathetic banter in riderville!

Anonymous said...

I deliver the paper on a daily basis before work and the subscribers on my route has been in steady decline for the past 4 yrs. Most of the people left are older, very few middle age people still get the paper. Not sure how much longer i'll be delivering for.


Anonymous said...

Hervery would have done the same thing…you bet he would. He couldn't because he didn't have the Cap room to go after anything knowing he still had to sign Sherritt. Considering he has to keep money for possible NFL returnees, he has very little to spend. With the money we had spent on defence we should have been better on that side of the ball. A couple years before Toronto won primarily with defence. Our D was awful in all areas and contributede to not stopping anyone or holding leads.

Not only on defence are we better but also offence. We already have an elite QB, a revamped O-line, better O-line, much better receivers and we will find a great running back before too long (after all they are a dime a dozen). We also have a genuine game breaker in Lawrence every time he handles a punt or kickoff.

We have in a short time become twice as good as we were anytime last season!

Kudos to Chris, John and Jeremy. You guys did good.

CB said...

I personally think the 2 guys from the Argos are the best additions here. Campbell is a stud left tackle. And Greg Jones was a beast at times for the Argos. He solidifies a MLB spot that has been a trouble spot for us.

Anonymous said...

Show me where you know how much they paid cause fact is, you dont know and you are stating something you know zero about.

Anonymous said...

To those concerned about "team chemistry" please refer to the Ottawa expansion team made up of various players drafted from the other 8 CFL teams, etc. and went to Grey Cup the following year.

Anonymous said...

I can see Ainsworth accelerating his development at DE this season with more opportunities afforded as a backup relieving Cappiciotti on occasions.

Anonymous said...

To those who responded about team chemistry. Did Jones make the kinds of changes in Edmonton that he did here and take the team to a Grey Cup? As someone mentioned, it did take Ottawa a couple of seasons to get there, so I will expect improvement (how can it not be better!) but will not expect a Grey Cup victory this year. Anything better than 3 wins will be a step forward!!!