Realty One

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Craig Reynolds
The roller coaster which has been the 2017 Saskatchewan Roughriders season will start another upwards climb on Wednesday when the team returns to practice for the first time since Saturday's 30-15 loss at BC.

A lack of consistency on the field has plagued the Riders so far this year, with their 2-4 record looking like this in the opening third of the season: L-L-W-L-W-L.

However off the field, the Riders have sold out five consecutive games and the financial fortunes appear to be on the upswing. Although the Rider Nation is on fire with the team's frustrating performances, it's clear that everyone is paying attention.

Rider President Craig Reynolds feels that as soon as his organization turns the corner, the 306 is about to explode. In a good way.

"Everything is poised for that," Reynolds said on 620 CKRM's pregame show on Saturday. "We've got an outstanding stadium experience, we've got an outstanding game day experience and our fanbase is waiting for that.

"You see it coming. It's a little bit of a process, as you know. It doesn't happen overnight. We live in a world where you'd like it to happen overnight but we made some progress last year and this year we're seeing continued progress."

Reynolds said his cohorts around the CFL's Board of Governors table agree.

"You see it when you talk to people throughout the league. They see it as well," Reynolds continued. "It's coming. But it's a very, very competitive league. Literally any team can beat any other team on any given week. We just need to consistently do what we need to do which is build on any success we have, have this young team grow, close out games like the Toronto game, and learn how to win."

And that's the only thing holding this franchise back. Other than the on-field performance (which we know is the most important thing), the Riders are at the top of the league in most other areas.

"Absolutely. I can't say enough about that stadium and the fans' response to the stadium," Reynolds explained. "We have that five game sellout streak including the last game at Taylor Field and the atmosphere is just amazing.

"It's such a social atmosphere. Whether it's in Pil Country, hanging out along the railings or in the Harvard Studio 620, it's an amazing, amazing atmosphere. Our players feed off that as you see them playing very well at home."


Reynolds was one of the CFL Presidents who was on-board with Commissioner-elect Randy Ambrosie's decision to cut coaches' video challenges down to one-per-game last week.

"That was a really important move and I give full credit to our Commissioner for addressing the issue of the challenges and really, the flow of our games," Reynolds said. "I hear it consistently from the fans as well, and I expressed that in the call to Randy.

"We were collectively supportive as team Presidents, GMs and Head Coaches. It was an important issue that needed to be addressed."

Reynolds agreed that other than that rule glitch, not much else was standing in the way of the CFL being, perhaps, in its best shape on field that it has for decades.

"This has been an absolutely amazing season of Canadian football," Reynolds surmised. "Close finishes, that Winnipeg comeback against Montreal just speaks to what Canadian football can be, and is. The rules are in great shape; scoring's up, penalties are down and games are shorter.

"We had that one issue where the flow of the game was impacted by too many challenges, coaches were fishing, and there were obvious changes which needed to be made and our Commissioner made them."


The elephant in the room facing the CFL right now is the attendance issues in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. There are thousands of empty seats in a lot of stadiums across the country this season, but the biggest embarrassment comes from the biggest cites.

Reynolds said every team is pitching in to lend a hand.

"Certainly, with the Riders, we put the league first," Reynolds said. "And so we're all actively involved in making sure that we're doing the right thing, as a league, to support the big market teams. They're the ones having some attendance challenges right now.

"We work collectively on things that help improve the game, and with those markets to help determine how to get fans out to games."

Fan 590 Toronto radio host Bob McCown reportedly said last week that the Toronto Argonauts are an impossible situation and will never be fixed. I disagree, and so does Craig Reynolds.

"Absolutely," Reynolds said hopefully. "They have a fantastic stadium, they will have a good team and they have good football people running the organization. It's not without its challenges but that brand has been damaged over the last number of years and they're working proactively to help restore the brand.

"But it takes time. It's not an overnight fix. I think everybody's aware of that and you've heard both the Commissioner and the Argos say that. They're working hard to fix that brand and it's absolutely fixable. Toronto's a very, very important market for the CFL."


Quarterback controversy? What quarterback controversy?

As everybody knows, the Roughriders were trailing 30-0 late in the fourth quarter Saturday in BC when quarterback Kevin Glenn was lifted in favour of back-up Brandon Bridge.

Bridge - known as "Air Canada" because of his Mississauga, ON roots - promptly launched two late touchdowns to make the score respectable. That touched off a mild QB controversy which lasted up until about midnight on Saturday.

CKRM football analyst Luc Mullinder chimed in with his $0.02.

"Obviously all the attention goes to the quarterback when you can't manufacture any points, but the offensive and defensive lines cost the Riders against BC," Mullinder explained. "BC manufactured way too much pressure for Kevin Glenn to get going. Brandon Bridge threw darts late, but it's one thing to do that in garbage time.

"You still build positives into Brandon Bridge's performance. All the way from camp, he's played well. It's not his fault he's getting in when it's 30-0 and he's been able to put good things on tape."

Like Chris Jones stated on CKRM's postgame show, Mullinder agreed the BC Lions "called off the dogs" late in that football game.

"BC just sat back in their zones," Mullinder explained. "They knew the Riders were going to try to go through the air because of the situation they were in and Brandon Bridge came out and found those spots.

"The Riders executed well in the last two minutes but you can't go out - not play well for 58 minutes - and then expect to do anything when there's only two minutes left.

"It doesn't even make sense."


NOTES: The Riders will hold a walk-through at 11:45 am on Wednesday ... For out-of-market fans, I'll be chatting Riders on Fan 960 Calgary at 1:20 pm Wednesday and on TSN 1040 Vancouver at 10:10 am on Thursday ... This week's guest on 620 CKRM's Coaches Show is defensive line coach Ed Philion. The show airs today at 5:07 pm. ... Rider Hall of Famer Wes Cates joins us on In The Huddle this week. The show airs on Shaw Wednesday at 6:00 pm and again on Access Thursday at 7:00 pm ... Sunday the Roughriders host the BC Lions at 6:00 pm on 620 CKRM and TSN.



Anonymous said...

Well it's not happening fast enough, it's 28 games already and still no quarterback.

Anonymous said...

Reynolds and crew did an awesome job on the stadium. He sure has huge confidence in the continued progress of the team. I like it.
Bridge really looks good out there. I hope he gets more chances to play. I like watching him throw. Great arm

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree with Reynolds opinion. But I do find it interesting that he fired Taman/Chamblin stating as much as losing was a concern there was a lack of leadership in the football team. He hires Chris Jones and the clown factory that has joined him. This is leadership? Cutting popular players with no replacements or plan, multiple fines, signing disgraced players, staff partying and public altercations.

What one player has this regime added that we would be afraid to lose?

He's ok with all these things? The ONLY reason the fans are paying attention is because of the new stadium.

Anonymous said...

Uh, yeah. Could I get a pair of those rose coloured glasses and a glass of that kool-aid. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"We made some progress last year and this year we're seeing continued progress."
Who the Hell are you kidding ?
Couldn't get inside the BC 30 yard line until the 1st stringers left the game for BC. That's Progress? The ONLY PROGRESS this organization has made since Jones stepped in and blew it all is the Building of a Beautiful Stadium. The team itself has shown NO Progress whatsoever so why keep writing this Crap over and over. This team will go nowhere until Major Changes are made and you know it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wanted to hear from Mr Reynolds but I was mistakingly thinking he would say something about the course of the team. Instead it's just propaganda. Oh well.
Dave from Medicine Hat

Anonymous said...

Me Reynolds_ Sounds like the Roughriders will be contributing monies to support their less unfornuate CFL brethen due to attenance decline keeping the league afloat.

Anonymous said...

"Cutting popular players with no replacement ..."

I seem to remember seeing the list of players Jones has cut. I believe the number was around 45. Only four players played significant time again in the league.

If your are still whining about Dressler and Chick, well you need to turn the page. We have three receivers better than Dressler. Chick, I wish we still had but I like a lot younger Jefferson and the Shaun Lemon (adequate replacement) situation should have turned out better. It's obviously unfortunate that Lemon put his own individual stats and performance ahead of the teams' goals.

Glenn and Durant are a saw-off. Either way, we are still searching for the next franchise QB. This situation, more than any, is the number one priority and there needs to be a solution asap.

CM said...

Reynolds is stuck with Jones due to the size of the contract. Even if he wants to toast him he cant financially right now. He has to be disappointed with the performance of Jones' and his staff though. Who wouldn't be? TSN asked if Jones bit off way more than he can chew. Looks like he has. I use to live in Toronto for 10 yrs and now live in Vancouver. The reason football is dying in those markets is the change in demographic. In both cities a lot of immigration in the inner city, and those people don't understand football. They watch soccer. The football fans live far out like Missisauga, Oakville, Surrey, Langley etc. If Toronto's stadium was in Missisauga or they shared one with Hamilton in Burlington/Oakville Im sure they would draw way better. As for Vancouver the inner city is wealthy immigrants. No clue on football. Transit not bad to BC Place. They should try weeknite games start earlier and let people exit to suburbs by transit which is decent.

Anonymous said...

So a GM/HC had to start from scratch building a team, and fans want to start over again already? After 1 1/3 seasons? Hilarious.

Remember, he took over a 3-15 team with empty cupboards and overpriced veterans on significant decline.

There still won't be much change without a QB ....... and stop talking about Bridge. He is not a good QB. Throws off his back foot, doesn't follow the plays as called, ignores proper progression on his reads and vacates the pocket prematurely. He's Mike Bishop light.

gman80 said...

...well I just get tired of all the negativity with almost every fricken Riders fan being their own Head Coach thinking they know everything and that the team sucks and Chris Jones is terrible and that they need a new OC as Mcadoo sucks too! .. ya know what?? Everybody needs to chill a little.. they all seem to think that this team should automatically flip the switch and start beating every team and go 13-5 when in reality this team is on the right track but their having their growing pains and unfortunately their coming up against one of the strongest West Divisions(Edm,Cry and B.C.) that I've ever seen and it's tough to beat those teams unless you play 100% mistake free football.. cause these 3 teams are verry good and yes I'd love to see Sask beat those teams but with this current Riders team and the lack of a starting QB (Yeah! Glenn is not it!) .. It's going to take a little longer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders to be a #1 contender and a winner in the West Division! .It's getting there and I'm content with a 7-11 or 8-10 record because I'm a realist who knows what his Riders team is up against this season! Can the Riders get better and surprise these West Division teams and WIN? Sure! But it's going to take a solid team effort and a team learning how to win! AND I know most Rider fans are too impatient for that and think they know better and want another house cleaning!(firing Chris Jones..etc).. well you can't do that yet cause you will only make things worse and the Riders will be back at square one having to start over AGAIN! -NOPE! Can't have that! .. let's see what these next 4-5 games have in store for the Riders before we all jump off a bridge! GO RIDERS!

Anonymous said...

They will never fix the problems in Toronto! We supported them before and the people just don't like the CFL.

Anonymous said...

I am confused why it is the media's job to stop a open discussion about Bridge. I don't buy the backup thing. The backups are trying to become starters. Anyways it would have been nice to see bridge sooner. Bridge brings a different skill set and it would be benifit to utilize his skills on occsion. Just my 2 cents as luc would say. Not stirring the pot just think it is not a door to close. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

gman80, You are 100% correct but you have to realize that a lot of these comments are coming from other teams fans and bandwagon jumpers. We will be fine if we stay the course.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, starting over again would be ridiculous! I'm as frustrated as any other fan, they should be winning by now, take a step back from the ledge and let it pan out for a few more weeks. John Chicks team is winless, Dressler is hurt again, Chris Getzlaf hadn't seen the field and Durant had been Durant, just in different colours. Speaking of leadership, Travis Lulay signed for a little less money to stay in BC to groom the next quarterback, Darian had the same opportunity here. That's what leaders do.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Gman!!!

Anonymous said...

To Scott Thompson;

I didn't hear Wally bad-mouthing Lulay during negotiations.


Anonymous said...

Play after play someone misses their assignment.
Maybe it's time to 'dummy-down' our schemes.
It's a year and a half into this regime and no one on either side of the ball consistently knows what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Scott just so you are aware Getzlaf played last week and is shown as a starter this week...for your information. You can say whatever you want about Chick and Dressler also but they are still playing well and injuries happen. Dressler injured will still most likely hit 1000 yards this season.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Durant and Glenn are not a saw off. Durant is superior and has at least three seasons left as a viable and proven starter.

Anonymous said...

As much as I despise Jones, I'm not calling for him to be fired. You have to keep him here until at least mid-way of next year.

That said, Im still going to post concerns and complaints about him. That wont go away until he changes my mind.

Anonymous said...

Haha, you are clueless. Which young gun was Durant supposed to step aside for? Vince Young or Kevin Glenn?

Anonymous said...

If we hadn't had the 'Vince Young sideshow' through training camp Bridge and Williams would have had more reps to learn from. That's on management.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Kevin Glen should be starting but I'd like to see bridge a lot sooner in the game. I also don't think Williams should take many snaps this year. Rushing another young QB into action is just asking for another Brett smith.

Anonymous said...

Durant is far superior to glen they are not even in the same league, your the clueless one.

lee said...

five sell outs even if they were zero and 18 they would sell out people wanting to see new Mosaic if they have a record like this next year lets talk attendance

Anonymous said...

These comments are coming from disgruntled rider fans. There's lots of us.

gman80 said...

I do have one concern though... How long does Jones plan on going with Glenn and does it take the Riders missing the playoffs before we start either Bridge or Williams and give them the experience?? Im wondering if Jones is still on the Franklin hunt in the off-season, should he be a free agent at that time.

Anonymous said...

Jones is 100% on the Franklin hunt. Doesnt mean he'll get him. Pretty much no matter what happens we are likely starting over at QB for a third straight year. Thats probably better tjan another KG yawn fest though I guess.

Anonymous said...

A rebuild does not have to take 3+ years in the CFL. the 1997 Hamilton Tiger Cats had a 2-16 record. The 1998 Tiger Cats (12-5-1) lost in Grey Cup. The 1999 Tiger Cats (11-7) won the Grey Cup.

The Ottawa Red Blacks did not exist in 2013. In 2016 they won the Grey Cup.

It can be done.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. And to add to that, the Red Blacks were in the Grey Cup in 2015 but lost to Edmonton. As it looks now, it could be two and a half or three years before the Riders have a quarterback that isn't a career backup to lead the team. Or maybe even longer.

Anonymous said...

The difference between O'Shea and Walters was , they brought in Nichols I believe mid season, and there fortunes turned around, or I'm sure they would be done by now

Anonymous said...

Comparing apples and oranges.... for the riders rebuild did they happen to have a Danny macmanus and or a Henry Burris quality of qb become available to them??? That kind of accelerates a rebuild. Also how strong is the east division the last few years? Would Ottawa have made the playoffs last year if they played in the west? Let alone win a grey cup? They had home field advantage with a losing record in the east, and were even beat twice by a chris jones coached team.... but still won the grey cup I guess. The riders don't have that luxury playing majority of its games against eastern teams and padding its record, the riders have already beaten maybe the best team in the east this is quite obvious the quality of teams in the west compared to the east is significantly different. The top 4 teams in all of the cfl play in the west who happens to be the majority of the riders schedule.

Totally different sitauations those teams found them selves in compared to the riders are in.

Anonymous said...

Ottawa was given every advantage, cherry-picking players from existing teams and getting first draft picks for two years. Their rise was less unlikely than the Riders tearing their team apart while receiving very few advantages except being higher in the draft due to our poor record.