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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

RODSERVATIONS


A RIDER DOZEN NOTES

1 - Tuesday was a very good day for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club. V.P. of Football Operations and Head Coach Chris Jones cleared up all speculation on the future of Justin Cox when he told reporters after the Day 3 workout that, "We're going in a different direction". The club will not be re-signing the troubled defensive back.

Jones admitted that they'd thought "long and hard" about the situation involving Cox, who was cleared of a Domestic Violence charge on Monday but in the end, the right choice was made.

And just like that, it was back to business as usual for the Green & White. Football, and this 2017 Training Camp.

2 - Sportsnet's Arash Madani questioned on the SportsCage on Tuesday if this was Jones' own decision or if it came from higher up in the organization - and that thought crossed my mind as well - but in the end, it really doesn't matter. The right decision was made and if you listened to what Jones said, he didn't sound like a man who was using forced words. In fact Jones admitted, "It comes down to me".

There were several in the media and other advocates who were ready to pounce on the Riders if they brought Cox back, but now they've got nothing to say.

And this move might've earned the club some extra points with is fanbase, which was uneasy with some of the off-season transgressions. Many are already seeing Jones in a different light.

Again, it was a great day for the football club.

3 - As far as training camp goes, Tuesday was scaled back to just one practice rather than the normal two-a-days but it was a fluent, physical session in pads. CKRM's Luc Mullinder mentioned that it was the type of workout the team likely would've liked to have seen on Day 1. Additional plays were implemented, assignments were carried out well and the ball rarely hit the ground.

The conditions were nearly perfect too: sunshine, 16 degrees Celsius and a 13 km/h wind from the SSE.

It's supposed to be in the high-20's on Wednesday.

4 - Who's standing out? Well the clubhouse leader for our annual Terrence Nunn Award for training camp MVP is a two-horse race in the early going between a pair of rookies: defensive back Mark Roberts and receiver Jenson Stoshak. Roberts continues to be a ball hawk and did a real nice job covering star receiver Duron Carter. Stoshak, on the other hand, has steadily seen work with the "1's" and doesn't look out of place. With the well-documented stable of stars in the receiving corps, it's impressive that Stoshak has already moved towards the front of the pack.

5 - The Good News: Quarterback Kevin Glenn picked apart the secondary, throwing back-to-back 25-yard touchdown passes to Naaman Roosevelt and Stoshak on the first two plays of the Red Zone session, finding them in the corners of the endzone.  The Bad News: Quarterback Kevin Glenn picked apart the secondary, throwing back-to-back 25-yard touchdown passes to Naaman Roosevelt and Stoshak on the first two plays of the Red Zone session, finding them in the corners of the endzone.

The point? The secondary would be upset that Glenn found paydirt with such relative ease.

Kevin Glenn has been sensational in Saskatoon.

6 - Tuesday was the first day the football club played with a full deck. Veteran linemen Derek Dennis and Peter Dyakowski participated for the first time along with receiver Bakari Grant. Early thoughts? Dennis is spectacular and he immediately stabilizes the offensive line. Meanwhile Grant is far bigger than I remembered, and he's a force.

But the injured list is a Who's Who including RB Kienan LaFrance, WR's Caleb Holley and Ricky Collins, LB's Sam Eguavoen and Glenn Love, DE Ivan Brown, P Josh Bartel and LS Jorgen Hus.

On Wednesday morning the club released offensive lineman Kennedy Estelle and added import QB Marquise Williams.

7 - Dyakowski took some time to settle in but he figures to fill a vital role up front. However he was most at home when addressing reporters after the practice, holding court in the north endzone. When asked what he most brings to the offensive line, he remarked, "Modesty".

He's like just about every Canadian offensive lineman I've ever known; smart, articulate, and mature. He adds to that a pretty sharp sense of wit as well. Dyakowski's certainly gotten out a lot of mileage out of winning CBC's Canada's Smartest Person contest.

Wayne "Clamps" Shaw on Tuesday
8 - It took three days but I finally found him! Rider Hall of Famer Wayne "Clamps" Shaw was in attendance at Tuesday's practice and I cornered him for a prediction on how many wins the Riders will collect this season.

You may recall that last year Clamps predicted in training camp the Riders would win only five games due to the massive roster turnover and first-year coaching staff. I told him he was off his rocker!

Well, lo and behold the Riders struggled to a 5-13 record and now Shaw is considered something of a football Swami in the Rider Nation.

Surrounded by a bunch of his old Hilltops cronies on Tuesday, Wayne was very hard to pin down for a prediction on this year. He preferred to lament the fact his doctor told him that he needs to be fitted for a pacemaker. He was much more distressed about that situation - and rightfully so - but he offered a prognostication, albeit reluctantly.

7 wins.

Please discuss.

9 - Just like the Florida minicamp, the rookies are in awe of being on the same field as NFL great Vince Young. But in Saskatoon, the same goes for the veterans!

"Certainly!" gushed 32-year old WR Rob Bagg. "That Rose Bowl in 2006, I watched it from college obviously, and I remember that whole game. It was awesome.

"There's moments where you look at a full stadium like the Rose Bowl was that night and you go 'Wow! That's something'. To be on the same field with him, I'm not sure I could've ever predicted that. The coolest part is my buddies back home. Everybody wants to know what Vince is really like. That's been kind of cool and he's turned out to be a great guy. Very humble and he's approaching learning the CFL game the right way."

10 - So we've established that this is Kevin Glenn's football team and it would take a miracle for him not to be starting in Week 1 in Montreal. So how's the battle behind him? That appears to be shifting on a daily basis. Bryan Bennett has had a very good camp throughout and Brandon Bridge took a big step forward on Tuesday. Vince Young has gotten better everyday too so it appears to be a wide open race for the #2 spot.

This will all likely be established in the two preseason games, beginning on June 10 when the Riders host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at new Mosaic Stadium.

Can't wait!

11 - TUNE IN: I'll be talking Riders on 96.3 CRUZ FM in Saskatoon Wednesday at 8:10 am and on 104.9 FM The WOLF in Regina Wednesday at 8:20 am. For more Rider news, tune those stations in.

12 - Sports Illustrated senior writer Greg Bishop is spending four days in Saskatoon at Roughriders training camp doing a piece on Vince Young for the July 4 issue. He certainly got plunked into a hornet's nest whatwith the Justin Cox situation, and has received a crash course in Rider Pride. He's compared this franchise to the Green Bay Packers and even the Dallas Cowboys.

Bishop will be on the SportsCage today and you can follow him on Twitter at @GregBishopSI.

13 - My phone's been blowing up from Rider fans regarding Darian Durant's injury in Montreal. They're saying, "Thank God we didn't pay him the money!"  Yep, it's true and the trade could turn out to be a genius move by Chris Jones. But I wouldn't rule DD out of the Week 1 meeting of the Riders and Alouettes just yet.

RP
@rodpedersen

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome job Roddy. Going 'Camping' with the Riders and a bonus Rodservations on a Tuesday (and hopefully Thursday) this week just adds to our Rider fix. Let's admit this Rider fans. Who knows for sure how this season will play out, but there is a huge buzz of excitement going on right now with what looks to be a much improved team and a FANTASTIC new Mosaic Stadium.

Aaron Anderson

Anonymous said...

Wayne is being pretty generous.

stephen preston said...

Flashback 10 years and tell me Vince Young would be competing for our #2 QB spot someday. Still unreal!

Keith Pottruff said...

Looking forward to the #2 battle at qb shakes out at the preseason games. Hoping the VY keeps progressing. If he can get the game mentally the sky is the limit.

Anonymous said...

Wayne Shaw's a wise man. I had Riders for last in 2016 & again in 2017 & also for 7 wins. I see them closer to the 4th place team this year & that team will be Winnipeg. They won because of turnovers. I believe they were 10-1 or something like that when they had TWO more turnovers than the opponent. Their record was not good when they had 1 turnover or less better than the opponent. They continued to lose at home being sub .500 & they had the worst defence in the league. Their offence wasn't great either. They haven't made too many changes. In my mind, a very overrated club. Nichols played well under LaPo but might be the worst QB in the West - even the Bisons coach said his former QB had a better arm. We'll see how it goes but I have to agree with Shaw - 7 wins sounds about right UNLESS Young is a lot better than people make him out to be. But who knows. That's why we play the games.

Anonymous said...

7 wins ??????

I would be surprised if jones won 7 games but if after 6 games he does not have a 50/50 record he should be gone !! Maybe a good hc could save the season

Anonymous said...

Love the Wayne Shaw perdiction of 7 wins thats more like it!

Anonymous said...

Is there cheese cake being served at training camp

Anonymous said...

"a very good day for the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club" because they didn't sign a player who has a pattern of beating his girlfriends? Has the bar gotten that low under Jones?

Rod, there's plenty of things to talk about, you don't have to spin that.

Rod Pedersen said...

^^^^ You have NO idea what I have to do.

Unknown said...

Seven wins is a good pick by Shaw.
This team has better talent than 2016, but QBing is unsettled, and the Riders will most likely have a competent game manager in Glenn rather than a guy who wins outright.
As much as my green blood would like me, I don't see Winnipeg regressing a pile given how they played in the back half of 2016 and Edmonton maybe a little more, but betting against Reilly makes me queasy. I think we are in the 7-9 range for victories and a possible crossover.

Anonymous said...

I just want Vince young to be #1

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, is the scrimmage going to be aired live on Riderville? Do you know? Thanks! S in Van.

Anonymous said...

So Cox played in the league with a criminal record, got charged again, but was found not guilty of said charge, and now isn't welcomed because of his criminal record? Makes zero sense.

Criminal record checks for everyone in the league if that is the CFL stance.

The league and the Riders look pretty bad on this one.

Would be curious to see how many comments on this post aren't being cleared.

Anonymous said...

Riders will eleven games 2017, no problem.

Wayne Shauu

Anonymous said...

Too bad for you. Was always a VERY long shot that he'd even make it out of camp.

Anonymous said...

This is the issue with Jones's personnel philosophy. Hes all about getting as many of them in on the cheap. That means hes more willing to look at guys with troubled histories.

Cox's past was so bad that it doesnt matter whether hes found guilty. The fact he put himself into another domestic incident was his one and only strike.

The optics in keeping him around would be too negativr for the Riders.

Anonymous said...

Not as worried about the QBing as many others. If you look at how Jones assembled this team, he took a risk of downgrading his qb, by strengthening his receivers and his hoggies. That is why Durant was traded for a sack of footballs, to get the money to do this. I think he is doing two things, allowing Glenn to manage games and get some wins, and do give the developing QBs a snowballs chance to not run for there life and have someone that can catch if they do get it off. I guess we have 18 tries to see if it works!

Smitty

Jonny Morgan said...

Find myself chomping at the bit in the morning now to read rods comments from camp. Keep em coming please!

Anonymous said...

Getting falsely accused of a crime gets you kicked out of the league? When does the CFLPA step in and do something for Cox?

Anonymous said...

9-9 and this will be a good record for only year 2 of a rebuild. I see the overall team better this year.

Anonymous said...

Drop it already

Anonymous said...

I thought Bennett looked really sharp out there today, and he was throwing to the 1's along with Glenn. It felt like he could be the front runner for the #2 spot, which would likely mean Bridge at #3 and Vince hits the road. Can't wait to see how they all look in the preseason games, but at the moment I'm pulling for Bennett to be the QB of the future.

Rod, you mentioned Caleb Holley was on the injured list today but I could have swore I saw him out there catching some deep passes...

Wishing all the best for Doubles.

Gern said...

Where do I start? First the CFL wasn't going to let Justin Cox play in the league anyway, so it was hardly a great day for the Riders. I note that according to 3 down nation that he still has to face domestic abuse charges in the US so the question remains with those charges pending, why the hell he was ever here in the first place. Second, I think if one of quarterbacks can throw a reasonable spiral, with our receiving corps and our defense, we win 9 games. Finally, now matter how the Riders do this year, I say Jones and his people come back for year three. Its a slippery slope to becoming the Cleveland Browns of the CFL if you changes horses too often.

Anonymous said...

No RB's with experience, Glenn has 3 wins in 2 years @ QB, mediocre DL, missing 2GOOD LB's from last year & DB's are a mess. Hard to see them winning crossover in the West. Riders may be better but so are the other clubs out West. If QBing & Nationals needed to win, we are behind other clubs in both areas. 7 wins sounds about right.

Anonymous said...

Glenn's last season in green he was averaging around 30 points per game. It isn't his fault the Rider defence was so bad. Should've never traded him (both times.)
LF

Odie said...

Far be it for Odie to disagree with My friend Mr Shaw but ... I think 9 or 10 wins ia attainable . I reached that prediction when Dyakowski was signed , I see the O line as a whole lot improved with him there , giving Keven Glenn a chance to show Mr Rose Bowl the ropes to contribute later in the season .

Unless we are getting smoke blown up the back of our front about the caliber of receivers we now have , I expect 10 wins . The defense will be a bunch of nasty improvement to make this an exciting season ... I expect and predict a playoff spot .

Better make way for a looong breakfast argument Wayne . Odie doesn't say you're wrong ... he just says he's right .

Just saying..... said...

i don't see Vince making the team. if he's just on par with the #2 or #3 QBs we cant keep him.

Anonymous said...

Jenson Stoshak will be a star, work ethic and hands make him a must have wr.