Realty One

Monday, June 5, 2017



1 - SASKATOON: After taking a day off on Sunday, the Saskatchewan Roughriders get back to work Monday at 9:00 am at Griffiths Stadium as Week 2 of 2017 Training Camp presented by Coors Light begins.

Roughriders Head Coach & GM Chris Jones has labelled this training camp as "great" and they'll look for even more improvement in Week 2 as the club prepares to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday night in preseason action at New Mosaic Stadium (7:00 pm, 620 CKRM).

2 - There's a distinct air of positivity around this football club which has been missing the past few seasons. Last year was Year 1 of the Chris Jones regime and everyone was just getting used to the new boss and his expectations. The year before that - in 2015 - the club was still in the throes of the 2013 Grey Cup hangover and got off to an 0-9 start.

That's not the case with this bunch. There's an upbeat, energetic vibe around the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders and it's fun to be around.

3 - The talk around Griffiths Stadium on Monday will still be about Saturday's Green & White Scrimmage at SMF Field. It was a productive day, and Chris Jones came away quite happy with the team's performance.

I was caught somewhat off-guard Saturday afternoon when Jones asked me for my thoughts on the mock game afterwards. It was in the endzone, moments after his postgame session with reporters and I offered that it was far better than last year and several players actually made plays.

"Yeah," Jones drawled. "On both sides of the ball."

There's a lot to work with here.

4 - Back-up quarterback Bryan Bennett was the star of Saturday's mock game, going 11/13 for 173 yards and three touchdowns in limited action. However we'll have to wait until after Monday's practice to get Bennett's thoughts on his performance. The players weren't made available for interviews on Saturday, as the team chose instead to have the players sign autographs for the thousands of fans for an extended period. I thought that was a nice touch by the Riders. We'll have plenty of chances to talk to Bennett this week.

And of course the buzz around Saskatoon on Sunday was all about Vince Young. "How does he look?", "Is he going to stick around?", "What's he really like?", were all questions I heard.

The Vince Young Story simply seems to be one that's worth following very closely. He's had an up-and-down camp, at times looking shoddy, then sparkling the next day, and then being average.

But it sounds like he's in it for the long haul which is extremely admirable. He doesn't need to be here, but he's doing it for the right reasons.

5 - I've talked a lot about Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Greg Bishop who was in Saskatoon last week doing a story on Vince Young for the fabled magazine.

This guy has covered the NFL out of New York and Seattle so he's been around the game for quite awhile.

"Who's #5?" Bishop asked of Kevin Glenn, not knowing anything about his age or history. "He's the best player on the field, offense or defense."

It's been hard to miss.

The Riders' management trio
6 - Prior to Saturday's mock game the Roughriders held an hour long Q&A session with Chris Jones, Jeremy O'Day and John Murphy at the SMF Field clubhouse with a hundred or so Saskatoon-area Rider fans. It was an enlightening meeting.

Jones did most of the talking and discussed a variety of topics including the team's scouting system, signing their Canadian draft picks and developing the franchise's next marquee quarterback.

A great question came from a fan who asked, "How do you balance developing a young quarterback, and keeping him, with playing a veteran like Kevin Glenn?"

"We're constantly looking for the next Bo-Levi Mitchell," Jones explained, "While still winning enough games to be a sustainable coach!"

One fan asked how Jones expects the Rider Nation to react if the team has a similar record at Labour Day as they did a year ago (1-7)?

"I'd expect the same thing!" Jones laughed. "I'd be pissed!"

Regarding the delay in signing the club's top draft picks, Jones said the Roughriders won't be forced into overpaying for rookies who haven't played a down in the CFL. He said it's unfair to pay them more than 2- or 3-year veterans who've already proven their worth. John Murphy also chimed in that these these contracts set precedent and they don't want to set the financial bar too high for future first round picks.

"If you want to blame somebody," Jones said of drawn-out contract talks, "Blame me."

6 - Rider President Craig Reynolds was on hand and answered some tough questions as well. He mentioned there's a $12 ticket surchage on all Rider tickets for the next 30 years in order to pay back a loan to the Government of Saskatchewan. He said much of the financial onus will be on the Rider Nation.

"The #1 reason we have a new stadium is you guys, the fans," Reynolds remarked. "The people who come to the games."

7 - Reynolds also provided an update on the CFL's search for its next Commissioner. He said Rider Chairman Wayne Morsky is part of the hiring process and that the hiring committee is about to begin the first round of interviews.

Reynolds said that until the new Commissioner is named, the League is content to have Jim Lawson fill the role of acting-Commissioner.

8 - When the CFL announced on Thursday that it would have a special announcement on Monday in Edmonton, I got real excited thinking the new Commissioner would be unveiled. As it turns out, that was wishful thinking.

Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun broke the story that the announcement is that Edmonton will be named the host city of the 2018 Grey Cup.

My initial reaction?  Why not?

Edmonton has a world class facility and I was surprised to learn that they've only hosted four Grey Cups before.

There's plenty of time for the Riders to get their ducks in a row with the new stadium before playing host to the CFL championship again.

9 - I read with interest a Saskatoon sports blog last week which mentioned, "Who Are These Guys?" with regards to the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders. I took a little umbrage with that comment. Sure, Darian Durant, Weston Dressler, John Chick, Chris Getzlaf et al are long gone but how long are we going to pine for the old days?

What does this blogger want these Riders to do; show up at his house for supper?

It may take a little work to "get to know" the 2017 Roughriders but I assure you it'll be well worth it. Henoc Muamba, Duron Carter, Peter Dyakowski, Bryan Bennett and players like this all have interesting stories and promise to make this a very interesting season.

It's only just begun!

10 - QB TRACKER: Good news out of Montreal on Monday morning as Darian Durant has returned to the field for the first time since injuring his left knee early last week ... Meanwhile in Edmonton, the Eskimos have released former Roughrider and RedBlack quarterback Brett Smith. He subsequently announced his retirement on Instagram.

11 - I can't leave without a review of Sunday night's Faith Hill & Tim McGraw concert at Saskatoon's SaskTel Centre. Facebook lit up with scathing reviews of the show Sunday night saying the sound was awful, marring the performance of Faith Hill who they felt was drowned out.

In truth, I thought she was the star of the show as she belted out her hits and shook her bottom vivaciously to the beat all night long. She performed like it was her first, or last-ever, performance. The only thing I didn't like was the beat mix of her famous Piece Of My Heart single.

Just give me country!

Her husband Tim McGraw did just that, but I was dismayed to hear a shortened version of his legendary I Like It, I Love It tune (the long-standing Nashville Predators goal song). He just didn't seem as into the performance as his wife was.

But it was still Tim. And I found the redneck slipping out of me just a little bit as I sang along to Felt Good On My Lips, Live Like You Are Dying, and Angry All The Time.

Old habits die hard I guess.

It was a fantastic light show, but I'll agree with those who thought the whole performance seemed just a little "weird".

Thanks to Curtis Nelson of Nelson GM in Assiniboia for bringing me along to enjoy the show!




Bill said...

Good Morning Rod. I am a little handicapped with walking any distance and I want to attend the Rider Camp this week in Saskatoon. Do they have any type of a set up to transport people from their vehicle to the field? I understand it is quite a Long Walk which I am not capable of doing with my diabetic legs. Thank You....

Rod Pedersen said...

That's tough to say. I'd suggest coming to the entrance at Potash Corp park and flagging someone down. I believe there are several carts which could be of assistance.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rod, Edmonton has hosted the Cup four times: 84, 97, 02 and 10. Two of those times we were there and both losses.

Gunderson's Yorkton

John Moore said...

Rod what amt did the gov't leaned the Riders? At $12 a game X 30,000 a game is $360,000 X 9 home games is $3.24M X 30 years is $97.2M is that all they borrowed??

Unknown said...

Great point^^^Its actually 10 home games a year + some playoff games added in(hopefully). Without a single playoff game thats $108 million, surely they didn't borrow that much or is the government making a hefty amount in interest!?!?

Anonymous said...

I believe the loan was $100 million so your math computes correctly John.

Rudyman said...

Sorry, math is 12$ per game at a maximum 30,048 = $360576. 10 games a year = $3605760 for 30 years. = a maximum of $108172800.

Mosaic Stadium was estimated to cost around $278 million to build.[3][6] Funding will be provided by multiple sources; the government of Saskatchewan will provide a grant of $80 million, and a $100 million loan to be paid off through ticket surcharges. The city will provide $73 million in funding, which will be subsidized through property tax increases. The remainder of the budget will be covered by the Roughriders themselves, primarily through naming rights.[4]

Anonymous said...

Looks like Brad Wall math. So when do the cutbacks start? Fewer gates, bathrooms, and food venders open. Toll booths for walking the concourse. Maxtron half lit. Halftime show privatized with extra cost for viewing, gainer half dressed all to be implemented by labour day?
Could the $100 M debt be sold to GTH who then could triple the surcharge yearly?

Anonymous said...

I'm no math or financial genious but compare this to your own mortgage at today's very low intrest rates and 8 mIL on a hundred over 30 years barely amounts to just over 0.5 percent intrest. A very very favorable rate for the riders and their fans and very generous for the government so the comment about allot of intrest for the govy should get a free loan app for their smartphone. 30 years is a long time so thus will amount to virtually intrest free and let's hope this organization is still healthy and viable by then . I've seem allot of ups and downs over the years . Can't wait to see this new jewel on the prairies this year. Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

So the Riders App says Saturday's game is on TSN, but the TSN website indicates otherwise, as does my Shaw guide. So it won't be televised, or?

Anonymous said...

Just curious why when talking about Bennet stats from the game you only talk about 11-13 and 173 yards and why no mention of his 2 interceptions lol

Anonymous said...

Jake Heaps cut by Seattle. Will Riders call him?

Anonymous said...

For the fan asking about rides at camp. Not sure if you are going to Griffiths or SMF field. At SMF field on Friday, they had a person with a golf cart to transport people over to the stands. My hubby was very happy about that.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line_ City of Regina is the sole owner of the new stadium. What are the (primary tenants) Roughriders ongoing monetary contributions to this entity to help offset associated costs? ie; maitenence, power bills etc etc ... Does the last person ever turn off the lights when leaving the building? It's a collosal tax payer deficit conundrum waiting to implode.

Mr Cost Effiencency

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the exhibition games to see the Qb's... Training camp is ok, but you never know what you have til live action.
Give Vince some slack, he has to learn the Canadian game. He will be fine...


Anonymous said...

Got free tickets to Faith and Tim in Edmonton and to say it was a disappointment would be an understatement. No energy, other than the people on the floor everyone sat. Now the night before Def Leppard and Poison had the crowd dancing, singing and pretty much rockin out. Sorry Rod it ain't about the country it's about the Rock! Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

I think this Vince young was the coaches plan all along, that's why he got rid of durant, then he could get Glenn to play while Vince learned the game. To bad other young q.b.'s will pay the price, and a possible Canadian quarterback may lose out over this.

Anonymous said...

Right now I would say that Young is the #4 QB in camp. Now, things could change yet before the season begins but if it doesn't and they keep him, just because of his name, that will be a real shame for the QBs that lose out.

Anonymous said...

As AL Davis would say "just win baby"

Anonymous said...

It'll be Glenn, Young &Bennett. Young will be the backup because anything less he won't stay.

Anonymous said...

Joe Craig and now Collins playing defence. You want to keep all your receivers so the answer is putting them on defence. Bennett on coverage teams. Call it Jones' genius if you want but I'd just as soon bring in prospects who have actually played the position regularly the past few years. Really let's stop the goofiness. We already have Leonard, Francis to go withe the Steinhauer at FB trial. Enough of the nonsense. How well did the basketball player work out on DL last year. If we go below 500 again it'll show just how stupid this is. Coming soon Jefferson playing LB and DB to augment his role as DE. Oh yeah he's already doing that.

Anonymous said...

"The story of Vince" as told me;

Vince Ferragamo, ventured north, took a look, got reps, couldn't adjust, bye bye.


Anonymous said...

A Canadian qb of note_ Jerry Datillio was the man who relegated Ferragamo to the bench/3rd string status.


Anonymous said...

Holy smokes Rod you actually attended a concert without Mrs Sportscage? Be prepared for a month sleeping on the couch when you get home!