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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CAMPING WITH THE RIDERS


SASKATOON - Notes from Day 2 of Saskatchewan Roughriders 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light:

1 - All of the good work put in by the 91 players in camp with the Roughriders on Monday seemed to fall by the wayside when news broke late in the afternoon that former Rider defensive back Justin Cox was found not guilty for the domestic violence charge he was facing.

Social media lit up with all kinds of opinions whether or not Cox should be allowed to play in the CFL again at all, let alone with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That's because CFL Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge issued a statement this spring that Cox would be banned from the league due to its policy against domestic abuse.

However as we all know, Orridge has stepped down since and many are wondering if the edict is still in place. When you add to the fact that Cox was found "not guilty", can the order still be enforced?

Near as many of us can tell, Orridge was to remain in office until June 1 so the entire situation remains up in the air as of this writing.

A fine mess for all involved.

2 - The Saskatchewan Roughriders face a conundrum too. Since Cox was found not guilty, how could they legally bar his return to the club if the Orridge decree is tossed out? It's not a secret that the Riders feel Cox is one of the best defensive backs in the country, but they face the potential of a massive backlash from the public if he's re-signed.

Tuesday should be an interesting day in Riderville.

One of my favourites: LB Dillon Grondin
3 - Monday was a markedly better outing than Sunday's Day 1, with the team being much more "crisp". However my assessment was that the receivers let the quarterbacks down with wayyyyy too many dropped passes. But, there's a long ways to go.

To my surprise, the offense won the final reps competition tally by just one play!

4 - The club's release of quarterback Maty Mauk Monday afternoon hardly came as a shock to anyone, other than it came so early in camp. Mauk seemed a distant fifth on the depth chart and my guess is the hierarchy looks like this: 1) Kevin Glenn, 2) Bryan Bennett, 3A) Vince Young and 3B) Brandon Bridge.

5 - The Riders were in pads for the first time on Monday and that led to a very spirited affair. Tempers flared and defensive end Willie Jefferson came after fullback Spencer Moore but the spat flamed out as quickly as it arose. There was no need to separate them, but it was evidence enough that emotions were elevated on Day 2.

6 - Rookie defensive back Mark Roberts led to his camp-leading interception total and I had him marked down for one pick while Luc Mullinder counted two.

7 - The running back battle is turning out to be an interesting one, as promised. #29 Kienan LaFrance was running with the 1's while fellow Canadian Greg Morris ripped off a few long runs. Imports Daniel Thomas and Cameron Marshall got a lot of reps too, and showed well.

8 - The club seems to be experimenting with their veteran Canadians, auditioning them at starting spots to see if they'll be an option on opening day. Jeff Hecht was the #1 safety, followed closely by Mike Edem. Tevaughn Campbell continues to do good work on the corner while Kevin Francis was in the top linebacker group along with Henoc Muamba. All have Canadian passports.

9 - The Riders introduced some tightend sets and utilized the talents of Dariusz Bladek, Matt Vonk and Eddie Meredith at that position. They showed twin tightends in training camp last year - much to my delight - but early injuries in the regular season forced that game plan to be tossed into the "G-File". The depth on the offensive line has been augmented in the months leading up to camp, with 17 bodies on the roster. If I recall correctly, there were only 11 offensive linemen in camp last year.

10 - Which got me to thinking; here's a breakdown of the numbers by position in camp: OL (17), REC (17), QB (5, until Monday night), RB (9), LB (8), DL (16), DB (15), LS (1), K (3).

11 - Rookie LB Alexander Gagne is long-snapping due to the absence of Jorgen Hus. Gagne is an undrafted Canadian who showed very well in the Florida minicamp.

12 - Absent from the workout were Hus, punter Josh Bartel and defensive tackle Mak Henry. Chris Jones said after the workout that if any players weren't on the field, it's because they weren't able to perform and they were therefore left in the locker room. Lineman Peter Dyakowski isn't in camp yet but Jones said he was enroute from Toronto on Monday.

13 - There really were no game balls to be handed out on Day 2, as no one really jumped off the page. It was just that kind of day. However veterans Kevin Glenn and Rob Bagg are playing consistently at a level far above everyone else. They could get game balls every day.

Rookie receiver #72 Jenson Stoshak saw a lot of work with the top receiver group which means the coaches are liking what they're seeing. The Florida product was a standout at the minicamp in Vero Beach.

Picton
14 - Rookie receiver Mitch Picton celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday but he cautioned me about making a big deal out of it on social media. He didn't want to be subjected to "the bumps" by his teammates, or being taped to the goalposts!

But I was happy to hear Chris Jones use the same term for Picton that I did in the Monday Morning Goalie column: "smooth".

15 - From what I could see, the first group on the defensive line consisted of: JEFFERSON-MRABURE-MILHOUSE-LEONARD followed by REAVES-STEELE-MINTER-NEWSOME. However those names will rotate in and out regularly.

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THAT'S IT FOR NOW! SEE YOU ON THE RADIO
RP
@rodpedersen

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the key to this situation is that Cox was found NOT guilty - NOT because of some technicality or he said/she said, but because he DID NOT assault his girlfriend. Given that he did not do anything wrong here, how could anyone possibly see it as in anyway fair or just that he not be made whole in terms of returning to his position with the Riders.

MC Matt said...

Thanks, Rod.

Also best to Carm and Luke. Grew up on Carm, he's the real deal. Luke terrific as well. I wish you could have a 3 man Monday Night Football type broadcast team.

Jonny Morgan said...

I believe he should of stayed on the team but been suspended until they got to the bottom of it. What ever happend to innocent till proven guilty? I'm guaranteeing he is re-instated today sometime.

Anonymous said...

Cox has a history stateside of domestic abuse charges. You read the article it seems fishy all the way around. Steer clear of Cox: http://www.leaderpost.com/news/national/former+roughrider+found+guilty+assault/13409665/story.html

The reality is if we need ONE guy to win, Jones and co have really failed.

CB said...

If AC Leonard, Jeff Hecht, and Kevin Francis are starters on defence... then we're in a lot of trouble this year AGAIN

Anonymous said...

I can see the Riders picking up Cox. The DB area has a lot of question marks. Really need Campbell & Rodgers to pan out @ CB.

Anonymous said...

Picton wearing Fantuz's old #!

Anonymous said...

exactly

Anonymous said...

Innocent until proven guilty? The problem is none of us are innocent. We all have past sins that can be forgiven, but still carry the consequences the rest of our lives here on earth. Cox is realizing this truth. However, if he was fit to play before this most recent incident, he should be fit to play now. CFL may have jumped the gun on this one, but cannot be blamed for their (over)reaction either.
LF

Anonymous said...

The woman admitted to trying to wreck his career in a fit of rage after Cox was going to leave her (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned).

She used his past against him. She should be the one who is charged and belittled. Its women like her that make it harder for women who really are abused to get the justice they deserve.


Anonymous said...

EARLY SEASON CFL PREDICTIONS;

Ridiculous high payout contract player Darian Durant will not last (non performance or injury) the season in Montreal and will be cut as the CFL Alouettes implodes into disaster under the stewardship of Chapdelaine, Reed.

Billy Reed



Anonymous said...

Early season prediction: Durant will have better protection and a more stable roster, not a different group every game and will take Montreal to the Eastern final and possibly even the Grey Cup. The Riders on the other hand will be uncontested in the league basement. Kevin Glen will get injured midway through the season and they will be alternating between Bennet and Bridge as starters. Vince Young has gone home.

Anonymous said...

Black and white issue. He was found not guilty. He should be able to resume his career. Shame on Orridge and his idiotic policy of not letting this man have his day in court before jeopardizing his career. He should get his job back with a full apology from the league.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what he says. That's 3 times Cox has put himself in these situations. The Rider brand has taken a beating which is why Reynolds had to finally step in. Jones is close to his last chance so if he is to convince Reynolds Cox is worth the risk & screws up again it looks real bad on the whole organization. Didn't Jones say they knew about his past history & was told it wouldn't happen again? He was already acquitted twice before so now it's 3. What wouldn't happen again - any INCIDENTS. Convictions have nothing to do with this. He's had his last chance. Jones can't say it won't reoccur because it already has.

Anonymous said...

What about the Bingham kid he's been playing solid at the half back position where cox played he plays great man-man and he has a great back ground jones may know what he's doin

Anonymous said...

Brandt Group of Companies, Mosaic Company, SaskTel, Harvard Broadcasting, Capital Automotive Group, AGT Foods, Evraz Steel, Viterra, Young’s Equipment, Crescent Point Energy and Dream Unlimited Corp and Molson/Coors. Not a bad group of founding partners for the Riders! Regina Rules!