Thursday, August 24, 2017
CHRIS JONES' PREGAME COMMENTS AT EDMONTON
ON FACING THE 7-1 ESKIMOS
CJ: Edmonton's a very strong football team. They've got a fearless leader that knows how to play, especially down the stretch. He's good in the fourth quarter. Their defensive line is playing about as good as I've ever seen a defensive line play. And their receivers are guys that can always go get the football.
THE ESKIMOS ARE BANGED UP AND THE RIDERS ARE COMING OFF A BYE!
CJ: All the numbers are relative. We've gone studies on bye weeks and they don't necessarily help you. Short weeks don't necessarily kill you. They didn't win last week and I know that didn't sit real well with them. They'll be ready.
ON THE RIDERS' 41-8 HOME WIN OVER BC IN WEEK 8
CJ: It was a good 3-phase game. It was the best game that we've played since we've been in Saskatchewan. The guys came out and realized we're not asking them to be super-human. Just execute at a high level in all three phases. Don't try to play outside the framework of anything we ask you to do in those three phases. Go out, play fast and have fun.
ARE YOU GAINING MOMENTUM?
CJ: We've got an awful good group of guys. Tremendous character in the locker room. They work extremely hard and now it's just a matter of being consistent.
WHY IS THE DEFENSE SO MUCH BETTER FROM LAST SEASON?
CJ: Early in the season we gave up some big plays which cost us some games. Guys realized that if we communicate, make sure everybody's in the right areas, the right gaps, the right zones, that you have a chance to be competitive in every game. It's pro football. We've gotta coach 'em better and they've got to execute better. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times early in the year. We had momentum in a couple of ball games and then gave up big plays over the top which resulted in our opponents gaining confidence. We ended up losing both those games.
HOW BIG IS CONTINUITY WEEK TO WEEK?
CJ: It's easier to get continuity when you don't have much shuffling going on. That was one of our issues last year. We were snake-bit across the board. We had injury after injury last year and again, it is pro football, and it's my job that whoever gets on the field, plays at a high level.
IS IT INTERESTING THE ESKS AREN'T MUCH DIFFERENT FROM YOUR 2015 TITLE TEAM?
CJ: I'm worried about what we have to do. We've got a big job we took over there in Saskatchewan. We pretty much just worry about ourselves. Ed Hervey did a real nice job when he was here and put together a good team. A lot of those guys are still here.
(His tenure in Edmonton) was real quick. We came into a place that had already kinda gone through that losing phase. They were sick of it. They were looking for a way to fix it. It didn't matter what we did - the guys bought in. They played fast but it was two years, bang bang, close your eyes and it was over.