Friday, June 30, 2017
RIDERS READY FOR HOME-OPENER
Saskatchewan Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones held his traditional day-before news conference on Friday as his team prepares to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their 2017 home-opener, and the grand opening of New Mosaic Stadium.
Here are some notes from the session:
ON LB HENOC MUAMBA GOING TO THE 6-GAME INJURED LIST
CJ: He's got a knee injury. An MRI came back and said there's a "little something" with the knee. It looks as though it "could be" a long-term injury but we're hoping it's not.
ON SAM EGUAVOEN TAKING HIS PLACE
CJ: It's been a long time waiting for him, almost a year. He did some very good things in the third of the year he played last season. He's shown he can be an explosive player in this league. He played middle linebacker before in college so it shouldn't be a problem.
ON HOW BIG THE ABSENCE OF MUAMBA IS
CJ: Henoc's been around the league for quite some time and he's a ratio Canadian that you now have to make different packages with different guys so you have seven starting Canadians.
IS THERE TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON THIS TEAM WITH THE MAGNITUDE OF THIS GAME?
CJ: I talked to them this morning. It's all great, we've got a super nice building, there will be a huge crowd and there won't be an empty seat in the house, but if we're playing in front of 2,000 people in Toronto, we still have to go out and play a football game. That doesn't really factor in. You have to play disciplined football and that's just the reality of it.
CAN THE HOME CROWD HELP YOU OUT?
CJ: They can certainly make noise when Winnipeg's offense is out there. But we do have an educated crowd and they know when to be loud, and when to be quiet. If we can use that to our advantage, that's great.
HOW DID LB'S SAM WILLIAMS AND ERICK DARGAN PLAY LAST WEEK?
CJ: Williams did a pretty good job. That position is more of a DB and that's what it is when the opposition is in five receivers. He's a natural safety. He hit very well, covered decent, but he's still learning what we're doing. Dargan was very solid. We're gonna have a multitude of people playing MIKE and WILL tomorrow so good luck deciphering who they are.
DO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF HOW BIG THIS GAME IS FOR THE CITY AND PROVINCE?
CJ: What we need to do is worry about what we can control. I can only control what we do and I have to control the message that goes out to the guys. Sometimes when you play for the wrong reasons, you do things outside the framework of what you need to do on offense, defense and special teams. They just have to go out, play good solid football and play our A-game.
WHAT HAS TO CHANGE FROM LAST WEEK'S GAME?
CJ: We need to hang onto the ball, make sure we don't turn it over, keep control of the football and when we get the lead, we need to shut the door on people. We did a very good job on special teams last week, but this week will be a huge challenge. Mike O'Shea will have a very well-coached team, especially on special teams. We did some good things last week, but you don't get any kind of points when you lose a football game.
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE PLAYING LAST WEEK VERSUS HAVING A BYE?
CJ: I don't know. You'd have to go back and look at the records but quite honestly I don't know the odds. I saw where Winnipeg did some things off field last week to build team chemistry. They were a playoff team last year and will be a good challenge.
IS IT HARD TO PREPARE FOR THEM SINCE THEY DIDN'T PLAY LAST WEEK?
CJ: We have the film from preseason but they didn't play 50% of their starters. It was a vanilla game plan and Mike O'Shea is very creative. We'll have our hands full.