Tuesday, February 2, 2016
MURPHY ON THE RIDERS
WHAT'S THE LATEST?
JM: The last time we spoke we were moving from Florida and headquartering out of Alabama. We had a good workout in Montgomery on the way to Mobile and then had the majority of our coaching staff and the majority of the guys that are going to be considered to be scouts for us both in the U.S. and in Canada there. We made the journey to Mobile for Senior Bowl Week. We met Monday and did a bit of an introduction and an initial seminar. Then we watched practices Tuesday and Wednesday and had meetings at night time with them. We think we're on the right track with the people we've found. It's a combination of guys that Chris, Jeremy and myself had either for or worked with in the past and a few have playing backgrounds, a few have coaching backgrounds and a few are guys we just feel we'd like to get involved in the organization in some way, shape or form. At some point between now and the spring time we'll go into further detail and do a release on it but we want to get all our I's dotted and T's crossed. We just wanted to get all these guys sharing a room over the course of three days and share information.
HOW MANY SCOUTS DO YOU PLAN TO HAVE?
JM: It's not a number. It's been reported that we had 20-odd folks down there which is true. We'd like to have as much of the U.S. covered within a 3-5 hour driving radius for the scouts and then have Canada broken up into four scouts as well. By the time we're done, you're looking at the mid-twenties in terms of numbers. Chris, Jeremy and I will cover the NFL camps and the Canadian Draft will fall heavily on us as well.
WHAT DID YOU GET OUT OF SENIOR BOWL WEEK?
JM: Obviously for the NFL, for the guys that'll make a lot more money than we can offer, it'll be an interesting (NFL) Draft. It's a very heavy front-end in terms of O-line and D-line. There was very good quarterback play and then I thought there was a number of good pass-rushers. You're gonna see that heavily-laden again with the under-classmen kids and this makes for a very interesting NFL Draft. For us, it's just pressing the needs that we have as an organization, talking about the changes and developments we have going on with us. If there's a guy who slips through the draft, maybe he'll think of us later in the spring and we can get them to camp or after they're cut, or next fall once the rosters expand. That seems like a long ways away but it's really not when we want to identify players.
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THE NEW MAJOR LEAGUE FOOTBALL SPRING LEAGUE?
JM: The pro is guys are getting to be active which is better than sitting on the sidelines or hoping to come to an open tryout. The negatives would be guys that are hoping to play there right now would not be elligible to come to a minicamp that we'd be doing in April. If the league goes forward after their draft, we're not the only team that would feel a knock. The other eight CFL teams and Arena League would feel the pressure of that. They're talking about an eight team league and an 8 or 10 game schedule. It would be over by May or June so in the big picture maybe we'll get some film on a guy to look at after training camp has started but in the big picture, I'm gonna say a league that's been in business for 60 years like ours and has written hundreds of thousands of paycheques to players versus a start-up league that I still have never seen a game, never seen a practice, if you can't make a decision on which way to go with that, you may not be smart enough to play for us.
DOES QB BRETT SMITH FIGURE INTO YOUR PLANS?
JM: We've spent a lot of time watching film of both Brett and Keith Price as well as their college film and getting as much background information on those guys. It was a unique scenario where Calgary got to play Saskatchewan down the stretch so they were more familiar to me than the Edmonton guys so we have a pretty good handle on what we think of those guys and how they can work in our new system.
I thought Brett did a number of good things last year. You could see obviously by the production that's there. What wasn't there was the wins and losses and the turnovers were concerning and sometimes maybe the accuracy in terms of intermediate accuracy. He made some big plays rolling out of the pocket sometimes but you want to make sure that some of these younger QBs could've gone to the checkdowns instead of running as often as they did. You don't want to have your starting quarterback or developmental quarterback running so much out of necessity. You only wanting them running on designed plays or when the pocket breaks down. We understand the situation that those guys were playing under at that time of the season so you don't want to be too hard or critical at the end of the day. Starting quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses and that was a component that just wasn't good enough there but Brett did a lot of good things to make you realize the kid was only 24 years. Brett, coming out of college when he did, was only 21 years old and has already been with two CFL teams. Having a full training camp will be a difference-maker for him and how he plays in training camp and the preseason.