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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ROUGHRIDERS CONFERENCE CALL NOTES

Saskatchewan Roughriders President Craig Reynolds and GM/Head Coach Chris Jones fielded questions Tuesday morning on their annual State of the Franchise conference call.  Here are some notes and quotes from the 25-minute session:

WHAT'S THE FOCUS GOING INTO CAMP?

JONES:  We're just looking for buy-in.  We sell the fact that we have fun everyday and that's what we do.  It's all about football.

RATING THE OFF-SEASON

JONES:  It's been very busy but we're used to it.  We've been doing this for a long time.  There's always going to be lots of changes.

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

JONES:  We're more about running around and playing fast.  We know they can hit.  We saw that on film.  Can they keep it up over two-a-days?  That kind of thing.

HOW WILL THIS CAMP BE DIFFERENT?

JONES:  We've been through this before.  We had lots of new faces in stops in Calgary, Toronto and even way back in Montreal in 2002.  We're kind of used to that.  Offensively there are a few more vets.

ON CANADIAN DEPTH ...

JONES:  We picked up some real good guys in free agency and the Draft was good to us.  Quarterback play and Canadian content is key and we feel we're in really good shape.

WHY DO YOU WEAR BLACK ALL THE TIME?

JONES:  It matches my personality!  It makes it real easy to pick out clothes in the morning.

WHO'S ATOP THE RUNNING BACK DEPTH CHART?

JONES:  Curtis Steele has the most experience.  If there's a front-runner, he'd be it but he knows he'd better be ready.

WHAT ABOUT THE CHICK AND DRESSLER RELEASES?

JONES:  We've rehashed that but we'll do it again. It's natural for fans to love players but I was hired here to win, not win a popularity contest.  Those are great guys and great players but this was what was best for the team.  All moves are made to win a Grey Cup.

HOW DO YOU BUILD A TEAM AND CHEMISTRY?

JONES:  A combination.  We look for certain physical attributes but if we have a guy with special talents and characteristics, we'll let him do a whole bunch of that.  We just try to be simple with the players and give them simple assignments to do over and over.  Those that can do that will stick with us.

HOW DOES THIS OVERHAUL COMPARE TO EDMONTON?

JONES:  We had a lot of changes over there in the first year two.  We've brought guys over that have played in the league.  There are some close parallels.

DESCRIBE THE DEFENSIVE MINDSET ...

JONES:  I'll leave that for you guys.  We'll do the same things we've been doing since 2002.  We'll stop the run, rally to the football and do everything in our power to get to the QB.

WHAT'S PLEASANTLY SURPRISED YOU ABOUT SASK?

JONES:  The passion.  You can only assume things from looking from the outside but seeing it from the inside, there are some very genuine people at this place that love the team and want to win.

WHAT'S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR COACHES?

JONES:  They're some of my best friends in the whole world.  We're more like family than co-workers but everybody knows why we were brought over here.  It certainly wasn't for our looks.

HOW'S DARIAN DURANT?

JONES:  I think he brings a level of leadership.  He and Mike Reilly are similar in a lot of ways.  They're tremendous leaders.  He looked outstanding at minicamp and is in fantastic shape.  He's been out for two years so he has to prove certain things but you can't worry about things or you'll worry yourself to death.  95% of things you shouldn't even be worried about.

WHO'S THE BACK-UP?

JONES:  We'll have more guys there to evaluate.  I won't comment on anybody until I see them.  Darian's our starter and then we'll go from there.

WAS THE OFF-SEASON OVERWHELMING?

JONES:  No.  I love every aspect about this job.  I love coaching and personnel and when the season starts, it's like Christmas Day.  Players is the name of the game.  In high school years ago and Coach Lolley was the head coach, we found out personnel is how you win football games.

WHAT'S UP WITH THE DRAFT PICKS?

JONES:  We've got all of them signed but Josaih St. John (the #1 overall pick).  We hope to be able to have him signed.  We certainly would like him to join our team but we have certain philosophies in how we'll do things and that's sort of where we are right now.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FOOTBALL?

JONES:  If it wasn't for football, there ain't no telling what I'd be doing.  I'm just very blessed to be in football.  I wasn't good enough to play it, but I love every aspect of it and I think our staff parallels that.

RUMOURS ABOUT XAVIER FULTON AND JONATHAN WILLIAMS?

JONES:  Yeah we've got them both coming in.

HOW ARE EXCITED ARE YOU TO GET UNDERWAY?

REYNOLDS:  It's exciting.  It was exciting in December when we named Chris and he's surrounded himself with great people.  I'm excited to see how it plays out in the final season at Mosaic Stadium.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE FAREWELL SEASON?

REYNOLDS:  It's an important year.  We have a couple coming up here with the new stadium as well.  It's exciting and I can feel it across the whole province.  Saskatoon is excited to welcome us for training camp.  We'll only do this once-in-a-lifetime, closing down a stadium.  It will be very emotional for our organization but more importantly, our fans.

SEASON TICKET UPDATE?

REYNOLDS:  We're at 80% capacity right now with seasons and single game tickets go on sale June 1.  We've started the seat transition process and we've started conversations.  That's started with club seats and come mid-June we'll start discussions with others.

***

We'll air this conference call on today's SportsCage on 620 CKRM.

RP
@rodpedersen

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rod

Anything more specific concerning their training camp schedule. You had mentioned on the Sports Cage you had heard 8 - 12. In this article Coach Jones refers to two a day.

Dave from Saskatoon

Anonymous said...

Didn't a couple of the draft picks sign NFL contracts? If so, how did we sign "all" of our draft picks?

Rod Pedersen said...

All eligible?

Anonymous said...

Had a good laugh at the silly "what are you wearing" type question tossed at the coach. Did a reporter who normally covers the Trudeau's sneak into the conference call? Sadly, the key question about Coach Jone's choice of running shoe was neglected.

Anonymous said...

interviewing jones sounds as exciting as talking to a fence post.

Anonymous said...

The Riders gave up a 2017 third round CFL draft pick to grab North Carolina A&T receiver Kevin Francis in the supplemental draft on Tuesday.

One CFL personnel man says a third rounder was a “hefty” price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Who cares. Does he win. Yup

Anonymous said...

This Blog has a mean tone to it.

Anonymous said...

Quit being racist of how coach Jones talks. He is great and he wins.

Anonymous said...

Another CFL personnel man says a third rounder was "the right" price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rod for posting the most up to date and accurate Rider news around. As for Chris Jones, he has won everywhere. This will be no different. Just give him and his staff some time. Roster adjustments will be ongoing and building depth doesn't happen overnight. Murphy will do that, Jones will win. I would much rather having him coach the Riders than having us play against him. Ask the Riders how that went the last two years...............not good!!!

Aaron Anderson

Parkside said...

I'm surprised seasons are only at 80%. I thought people would want to secure their seats for this year and beyond.

CM said...

Agree with Aaron. Jones is a winner and so is Murphy. Reynolds was smart he figured out cleaning house and turning the page was the right move. Team will be good.

Anonymous said...

Rod who is this Kevin Francis we have acquired in the supplemental draft. Everything on the internet shows he is an American Tight end from North Carolina A & T. Born in Brooklyn. I thought the supplemental draft brought you Canadians. (Screw this national/international description.

Anonymous said...

Another CFL personnel insider reports that a 3rd rounder was a cheap price to pay.