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Friday, April 28, 2017

RODSERVATIONS


TO VINCE OR NOT TO VINCE

1 - VERO BEACH, FL: The 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders Florida Minicamp has come and gone and as Head Coach & GM Chris Jones told the players in a group huddle after Thursday's final workout, the event was "outstanding". The quality of play was high, the players were sharp both mentally and physically, and the club has formulated some answers for the many questions they had heading into the camp.

2 - The quarterback situation may not be at the top of the heap when it comes to pressing issues heading into the 2017 season, but it has to be close. And, judging by what went on at Dodgertown over the past three days, Chris Jones has to be feeling good about the most important position on the team. Kevin Glenn showed enough on Day 1 - a "walk in the park for him" as Jones put it - that he was pretty much shelved in the pass skeleton and 7-and-7 drills for the final two days in order to spread critical reps around to the other four pivots.

In short, it would seem as though this is Kevin Glenn's team right now however the stable behind him shows tremendous promise.

3 - As far as the depth chart goes coming out of camp, CKRM's Luc Mullinder rated them as follows: 1) Kevin Glenn, 2) Bryan Bennett, 3/4) A tie between Vince Young and Jake Heaps and, 5) Brandon Bridge. This assessment is from Luc's trained eye, but comes without the benefit of the analytics and passing stats that Jones and his staff are privy to.

Discuss as you see fit in the Comment section.

4 - Did Vince Young meet or beat expectations in this camp? That's hard to say since it's not clear what the expectations were. He certainly didn't embarrass himself (his passing completion percentage was in the 70's, second-best in camp), and he quickly shook off any rust which accumulated during his two seasons out of the game (his last action was on the Cleveland Browns practice roster in 2014). He was generally smooth, and his mechanics never left him. However the Texas grad gave himself a "C+", which leaves plenty of room for improvement.

That improvement will continue during main training camp in Saskatoon beginning May 28 as Chris Jones immediately stated after Thursday's practice that Young has earned enough to receive a camp invite.

5 - One trained camp observer with an NFL pedigree offered this evaluation of Young on Day 3. "He's shown here he possesses two of the three key ingredients to continue this comeback: physical ability and smarts. The third component is heart and desire. We'll find out over the next couple months where he is with that."

It's clear Young still carries the baggage of his track record of "lack of stick-to-it-iveness".

6 - One popular question from Rider Priders who followed our radio and online coverage from minicamp this week was, "How was Vince to deal with?" The truth is, he was nothing but first class. I don't know what he was like 10 years ago, but right now he's mature, friendly and incredibly professional. He signed every autograph, patiently conducted every interview, and carried out whatever was asked of him.

Daily I grew angrier with all the bad things that've been said about Young over the years, but I've only known him for six weeks. What happened in the past is in the past, and his story still may have a few more chapters left to write.

I've become a huge Vince Young fan.

7 - So how will this Vince Young story progress in Saskatoon? Who knows. I asked the Riders' John Murphy on 620 CKRM's SportsCage if Young will be content to be a back-up and his answer was, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it". It seems this is very much a day-by-day scenario right now.

Frankly - if Vince does open the CFL season as Kevin Glenn's back-up - I can hear the American commentators like Skip Bayliss and Stephen A. Smith already. "He was on the cover of Madden 08 and now he's a depth player in the CFL?"

But he doesn't care what they say. Never has. I can't put myself in Young's mind because we're worlds apart but if a back-up scenario is the opportunity presented, given the demeanour he displayed in Florida, I'd be surprised if he didn't stick around.

8 - Plenty of fans have asked what type of media attention the Vince Young tryout garnered. ESPN never sent a reporter but they got video highlights from the Riders and ran some stories. That's the way ESPN does things now. USA Today sent a reporter and ran a story as well, but it wasn't near the circus we anticipated.

9 - It wasn't hard to notice that this camp drew fewer onlookers than last year's camp at Dodgertown. There were some fans who came down from Regina, but like many of the locals who dropped by, they said they likely wouldn't come again. Fans expected live scrimmages but that just wasn't going to happen due to the small roster size.

The Roughriders weren't interested in putting on a show. They put their work in, conducted regular practices, and came away with what they wanted.

One funny note from Thursday was a pair of guys from Philadelphia who said they came to camp just to boo Vince Young!

10 - I misquoted Chris Jones on Twitter after Thursday's practice saying almost all players from the minicamp will be invited to Saskatoon. After listening back to the tape, Jones said the top three-quarters of the roster will earn invites.

Those decisions should be pretty easy to make after the amount of reps they've been able to review.

I asked Jones how any of these receivers could possibly crack the starting roster given the stable of receivers they already have and he replied, "Just be consistent, and show up when the lights come on."

What a great metaphor for success in life. Thanks Coach!

11 - We're still confused over CFL rules for these minicamps. The Riders felt they complied with regulations by inviting only 35 signed players, yet reports of the Tiger-Cats and Argonauts minicamps this week suggested those teams had 60 players on hand. What's the difference? We're not sure but it was suggested perhaps those clubs split the field in half and separated signed and unsigned players.

12 - The happening place in Vero Beach, FL on a Thursday night was TGIFriday's. That was just fine by me for two reasons: 1) That's about my speed these days and, 2) They were hosting an NFL Draft Party. Fans showed up in their jerseys from the Eagles, Buccaneers, Bears, Packers, Dolphins and Raiders. They had a blast watching Round 1 of the NFL Draft on the gigantic High-Def screen and it was a joy to witness.

It's a concept I've tried to bring to Regina with no success. Maybe in the future.

13 - One TV screen in the back of the joint was airing the Washington-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Playoff game but there wasn't one person paying any attention other than me. I suppose it's tough to keep your mind on hockey when it's a sweltering 35 degrees Celsius outside.

However with ESPN's decision to axe hundreds of employees this week - including most of the network's NHL reporters - the mountain to notoriety for the NHL in America just got a whole lot higher.

Meanwhile I'm surprised today's Politically Correct crowd hasn't jumped all over Penguins announcer Mike Lange for one of his signature calls, "He beat him like a rented mule!" which he used again during last night's Game 1 against Washington.

I'm shocked the Animal Cruelty advocates haven't come after him for it, and I'm not even joking.

14 - That's not the case in Regina for the WHL's Pats however. Judging by social media posts in the Queen City over the past few days, people are going absolutely bonkers over the Pats. It really seems the city has come alive with signage all over town.

Friday's Game 5 sold out in five minutes and the Brandt Centre will be rocking as the Pats host Lethbridge at 7:00 with the Eastern Conference Final all tied up at 2-2. You can listen to the game on 620 CKRM - or watch on Access and Shaw - if you didn't get a ticket.

Some fans felt Wednesday's 6-2 Pats win tipped the series in their favour.

We shall see.

15 - I'm very much looking forward to Friday. After dropping Luc Mullinder off at the airport in West Palm Beach, I'll be headed down to Miami to catch the Marlins-Pirates MLB game before attending some meetings in the area on Saturday and returning home early Sunday morning.

As I write this, I'm listening to the waves crash up against the shore outside my hotel window and watching the NFL Draft on ESPN.

Life is very good.

RP
@rodpedersen
IG: rodpedersenofficial
SC: Pedersenmedia

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Vince Young or Kevin Glen for #1 ... that's' the long and short of it, for 2017.

Anonymous said...

holy crap, look at the size difference

Anonymous said...

One can expect to see Gary Bettman and NHL owner's heads exploding if it ends up being an Ottawa vs Edmonton final for the Stanley Cup. It would be great to see Ottawa hoist the Cup so that that quiet town could truly be hailed as the new City of Champs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reports and photos Rod.

SWC

Anonymous said...

Nice last sentence. You live a charmed life, Pedersen. Lucky bastard

Anonymous said...

Hopefully one of those waves washes you into the Atlantic. You live a charmed life Pedersen. Lucky bastard ;)

Anonymous said...

Yep........

Anonymous said...

"I'll be headed down to Miami to catch the Marlins-Pirates MLB game"

That beats having to watch the Blue Jays.

John Knight said...

Are there any QB's at the mini camp than Vince and Glenn and did any other QB than Vince throw a pass? It sure doesn't sound like it by your report!

Rod Pedersen said...

You must have missed the QB rankings for the week.



3RD and 1 said...

You ask if there are any QBs at the mini camp besides Vince and Glen.
Did you not read the following????
>> - As far as the depth chart goes coming out of camp, CKRM's Luc Mullinder rated them as follows: 1) Kevin Glenn, 2) Bryan Bennett, 3/4) A tie between Vince Young and Jake Heaps & 5) Brandon Bridge <<

Anonymous said...

John Knight often types without thinking.

@mrt_man said...

Cover of madden 08... jeez, I didn't realize he was quite that big.

stephen preston said...

Rod, great job covering mini-camp. Much appreciated!

CM said...

Thanks for the reports! Hope Vince sticks with this because if he's on he will be great up here. His physical skills blow away all the other guys. Including Bo Levi etc. and he is huge especially in Texas. 30-2 as a Longhorn and should have won the Heisman. Just unfortunate he was coached by Jeff Fisher who basically was forced out of LA by a half empty stadium at the Falcons game and fans holding signs saying "Not our coach". Fisher's record is awful and he would have ruined Goff just like he tried to ruin VY.

Anonymous said...

Cover of Madden...2008. 2008! Nine years ago!

At one point, he was without a doubt an amazingly talented guy. But he's been out of competitive football for years. The odds are stacked very high against him. If he was a superstar nearly a decade ago, spent years away from the American game and headed north as a CFL rookie then he SHOULD be expected to open the CFL season as Kevin Glenn's back-up. He SHOULD be a depth player in the CFL.

If anyone expects Vince Young to be the opening day starter, they are probably the same people that expected the Riders to win their division last year.

In 2016, I believe every starting CFL QB went down with the exception of Bo-Levi. If Young is the backup, chances are he'll get his shot. But I don't think it'll be in week 1. And that is likely to his benefit.

John Moore said...

Coming out of camp Rider QB depth chart is very interesting. Wonder in the end how many QB will they keep...usually 3 but if they do that it could be 37, 33 & 25 not smart for developing team so will it be 2 25 year old and 1 vet meaning Glen or Young...very interesting...but it has stopped for now that big pressure to get trade with Edmonton and lose a quality player. We now may have all the QB we need and more

Anonymous said...

"Cover of madden 08... jeez, I didn't realize he was quite that big."

Watch ESPN's 30 for 30 "Trojan War" starring Pete "The Cheat" Carroll, you'll get how big Vince once was.

Again, another young guy ridden by many that made millions off him but didn't have solid leadership in his personal circle.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like that Bennett could be a keeper, and he's young in age .

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhhh......the truth now comes out......."The CFL has also fined Chris Jones $5,000 for meeting with Johnny Manziel’s publicist, which constitutes tampering and is in violation of CFL By-Laws. Based on evidence to date, there is nothing that concludes that Saskatchewan held any workouts involving Mr. Manziel." If I remember right, when these news first came out, Jones did nothing but deny, deny, deny. There may have or may not have been workouts with Manziel, they just couldn't find evidence of it.

Anonymous said...

how many fines does the coach have to get and keep hurting the team before something is done seriously

Anonymous said...

Any word if Dash Tours will be doing a bus from Regina to Saskatoon for the Rider fan day and scrimmage at the main training camp?

John Knight said...

I read about the rankings BUT the article was almost all about Vince! There were 3 other QB's that are trying out and it would be nice if there was a little insight into the others!!!!!!!! Are you posters to idiotic to understand that.

Anonymous said...

People in the US don't go to ESPN for hockey coverage, so it makes no difference.

Anonymous said...

No evidence, no infraction, end of story. There's a new sherrif in town .... Jones .... Chris Jones the name.

"In Jones We Trust"

Anonymous said...

Is Dash Tours still in business?
Dave passed away last yr and the store on Wpg St has closed for quite awhile now...

Steve in YQR

MC Matt said...

Fantastic coverage from Florida, Rod! Great questions by the media folks down there. Even Meyers sounded happy! And The Duke is a famous pessimist! If you gave the Duke a new Rolls he'd say "Its nice but the fuel efficiency sucks." If The Duke was happy, must have been awesome! By the way, best of luck to him with YQR sports venture. I'll be following.

Good news that VY showed well. If he was rated 2 or 3 in that format, bodes well for how he will perform when bullets flying and a play breaks down and he needs to improvise using his legs, size and strength. It's going to be very interesting.

Rod, do you think Riders scheduled mini-camp at the same time as NFL draft to avoid a media frenzy?

Anonymous said...

Interesting week. I think it was all about seeing if Vince came prepared in body and mind. So far so good. We have friends who are Tennessee season ticket holders and the story they say is that Vince was a guy who whined and couldn't remember the plays. Ten years grows a person up, though, so I guess we'll see what kind of jam he has when the bullets fly and guys like Elimimian take a chunk out of him. I am interested to see how the young QBs do and if Jonesy keeps Bridge or not. You don't build your team on 38 and 33 year old QBs but...they serve a very useful purpose this year. Sounds like a couple of D backs show promise and a new monster LB might be emerging. This year, Jones needs to shore up a number of positions and hope that the QB position can hold it's own...at least until Franklin becomes a free agent. Despite what you say Roddy, it'll take three years to win big. First year to blow it up (which was done) and insert some good bodies. Second year to fill in key positions and the third year to put the icing (maybe Franklin) on top and roll over other teams.

Anonymous said...

Pretty funny how in both media articles about the riders being fined once again you cannot make any comments about them...ridiculous how people support the crew doing this.

Anonymous said...

Keeping Vince Young as a back up would be (another) complete asinine move by Chris Jones.

If Young stays that means two of the young qb prospects would be cut.

nice move to the future.

Anonymous said...

Dash Tours? There is no dash tours anymore

Legalize It said...

ya i don't understand that either. The readers should be able to express our opinions as long as its done in an appropriate manner. I read in the paper we've been fined $116,000 since jones took over. Probably could have kept either dressler chick or durant if not 2 of the 3 with that. Seems like Jones has no respect for the organization, its one thing to rebuild a team, but to get rid of all our franchise players that were all still producing on the field, and then waste that kind of money that way is sickening. I know things have changed a bit, but less than 20 years ago we were holding telethons to save the team, it would be nice to have a little insurance in the bank considering we haven't fielded a competetive team since the '13 grey cup, and i have definitely notice the attendance dwindling the last 2 seasons.