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Thursday, December 7, 2017

10 BURNING QUESTIONS ON THE ROUGHRIDERS

Chris Jones has become the face of Canada's Team
One of the highlights of my year is going on the SportsCage/Marlin Travel Ultimate Sports Trip right after the CFL season. We host 60 SportsCage listeners and Rider fans annually on an NHL/NFL trip to a sun destination. Of course these sports fans come from all across Saskatchewan, and passionately follow Canada's Team.

This year we're in Los Angeles and this week I've tried to get around and visit with most everyone on the trip and answer their questions about the Green & White. Here's what's on their minds:

1 - WHO WILL QB THE RIDERS NEXT YEAR?: Isn't that the $64-million question? That's impossible to answer because at this point, even the Roughriders don't know. Sure they have Kevin Glenn under contract and are in contract talks with pending free agent Brandon Bridge, but if Chris Jones was entirely sold on Bridge as "The Next One", he would've started him by now. Obviously it's going to be an incredibly head-spinning off-season but when the game of Musical Chairs stops, my hunch is that Zach Collaros will be sitting on the Rider chair. That's with zero inside information, but it's the feeling I'm getting.

2 - WHERE WILL DURON CARTER PLAY IN 2018?: If it's in the CFL, it'll be with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. No doubt. The Riders' MVP has left Regina and told me his off-season includes stops in New York, Minnesota and South Florida, all to visit family. He's hoping to land an NFL opportunity but the very latest info I received from sources close to Carter is that there have been no offers yet. But it's only been 11 days since the end of the CFL season and things can change on a dime. But it has to be the right opportunity. Otherwise, Duron loves his situation in Saskatchewan and would be very happy to return. Chris Jones is getting more out of him than anyone ever has.

3 - WHAT HAPPENED IN THE EAST FINAL?: The better team won. Toronto outlasted Saskatchewan 25-21 at BMO Field and obviously went on to win the Grey Cup a week later. It only mildly eases the sting that the Riders lost to the eventual league champs. Despite the turnovers and the erratic QB play in that game, Saskatchewan was 23 seconds away from going to the Grey Cup themselves. They would have if only, as Chris Jones said, "The defense had shown up on that last Argo drive". We learned a lot of things in that game. As Luc Millinder said, "Don't be fooled by the bald head and the Dad bod. Ricky Ray's a killer". And, Complimentary Football doesn't work in the playoffs.

4 - HOW LONG WILL CHRIS JONES BE AROUND FOR?: He'll be around for a good, long time, if he has success with the Riders. We all know Jones and the Roughriders are working on a contract extension and that seems to suit the fans just fine. Jones and I have had multiple discussions about his future and in each case, he mentions he only wants to win here. The future will take care of itself after that.

5 - WHO'S THE FACE OF THE RIDERS RIGHT NOW?: Chris Jones, Chris Jones and Chris Jones. I was in a Regina inner city school earlier this week visiting with the Grade 7s and their first three questions were all about the enigmatic Head Coach & GM of the Roughriders. "Do you know Chris Jones?", "Do you work with Chris Jones?" and "Do you like Chris Jones?" The answers were yes, yes and yes. The kids didn't ask once about Duron Carter, or Brandon Bridge or anyone else. Perhaps their infatuation with Jones is because he's on the supper news every night. I don't know. At Grey Cup, everyone was asking where he was. (I don't believe he went to Ottawa, but I could be wrong). Fans are warming up to Jones more and more, and that's only good news for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

6 - HOW DID YOU NAIL THE 10-WIN PREDICTION?: That was an easy one. I looked at the Patriots under Bill Belichick and saw they had 5 wins in his first year in 2000 and shot to 11 wins in 2001 in Year 2. I felt I'd be put in a straightjacket if I predicted 11 wins for the Riders in 2017 so I backed off and went with 10. Voila! As far as a prediction for 2018 goes, let's wait awhile on that.

7 - WILL THEY EVER PUT A ROOF ON MOSAIC STADIUM?: No. So stop asking. Seriously though, to quote Gary Etcheverry, "Never's a long time". It could happen, but there are absolutely no plans on the horizon to do that. And if they did, immediately fans would be bitching about being inside on a hot summer day. If you haven't noticed, Saskatchewan people are notorious complainers. Actually, to a fault. So the powers-that-be simply have to block out the noise and forge ahead. It's the nicest stadium in the CFL, and one of the nicest on the continent. Let's celebrate what it IS rather than gripe about what it ISN'T.

8 - WHO'S THE TOP PRIORITY FREE AGENT?: Great question, but tough to answer. If you asked each different position coach who the #1 FA is, you'd probably get a different answer each time. But if you're asking ME, I'd say Willie Jefferson. I maintain he was actually the Riders Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2017 and several of his coaches agree. Ed Gainey was spectacular too, but Willie affected games on a week-in, week-out basis. 3DownNation.com reports the Riders and Jefferson have already agreed to terms on a new deal and if that's the case, it's an early Christmas gift for everybody.

9 - WILL CHRIS GETZLAF BE BACK IN 2018?: Again, too early to tell but obviously we're all hoping so. The thing with the 34-year old Regina product is that, like most star players, he's going to play until he's told his services are no longer required. He got onto the roster for the 2017 CFL Eastern Semifinal simply because he knew the playbook so well, is reliable, was healthy, and was ready at a second's notice. Some of the other young Canadian receivers on the roster couldn't say the same thing. Yes, Chris has had a Hall of Fame career. No doubt. But what's gotten him to that level is work ethic and intelligence as much as it was raw talent.

10 - WILL ALL THE COACHES BE BACK?: There's no reason to think otherwise. In fact Chris Jones told us the only reason anyone would not come back is because they had the chance to advance their career somewhere else. Jones' rule is that he'll never block one of his staff from moving up. The loyalty on this staff is as admirable as it is fierce. I've had several assistant coaches wonder about the questions Jones faces from the media daily. "Do these guys actually think they know more than Jones? Because they don't. He's been around a bit." It's fun to watch how they work.

Always watching. Always listening.

RP
@rodpedersen


44 comments:

Anonymous said...

On your point. 1. Biggest problem getting Collaros? He wants to stay in East. 2. No doubt Carter loves Regina. No offers in NFL speaks volumes in light of his MOP nod in Regina. Other receivers have already got offers. Remember he signed with Als for a year so he could pursue NFL, was dumped early & had last part of 2016 until Feb when he signed in Regina to get invites. Fact is Carter wasn't considered team guy down south or with Als. Does Jones want to babysit Carter with sitdowns daily as he has divulged? Interesting that the little "spat" apparently drawing one offensive coach into it resulted in Carter on defence the last 3 games. Maybe one year is enough for the Rider coaches. Chapdelaine's 1st order of business once he got control was to get rid of him. NFL interest isn't even lukewarm 4. I'm sure Jones will stick around Regina if he stays in the CFL. Who else is going to pay him that money or give him those titles in the league? But if the US colleges come calling, contract or not, bye bye. Unless of course he'd honor his contract, unlike he did in Calgary or Edmonton. That would be very un-Jones like. 10. Wouldn't hold anyone back from promotion? Geez I would hope not. Hervey let him out of his contract with Edmonton for the same reason. Didn't have to do it. Unlike letting a HC like Jones out of a contract, asst coaches are almost always signed for a year. So, very generous of Mr Jones.

Anonymous said...

If Willie Jefferson ever gets hurt we're screwed.
It's so misleading to say the Riders were only 23 seconds away from going to the Grey Cup because the Argos really did control that game for 56 minutes, basically until the punt return TD

Anonymous said...

Yes, bring back Chris Getzlaf and even try to get Fantuz here again too! Bagg, Getz and Fantuz would dominate the CFL again. Just need a great QB to get them the ball. Collaros could be the answer.

Anonymous said...

Anon1 - your predetermined disdain for the Riders is evident and makes your comments irrelevant. There are lots of top end players, specifically receivers, that aren't getting NFL looks. So be it. It isn't a slight on any of them, yet you turn it into one on Carter.
Carter actually started playing corner mid season.
The Riders would have to release Jones from his contract to go to a US college, so it is a two way street.
Rod makes the statement that Jones would allow his coaches to advance. Since you aren't actually following along, I'll let you know that a new policy is in place that a GM has to provide approval to allow a coach to interview for a other job. However, if they are only on a one year contract like you claim, they don't nee approval they could just wait until the end of December and leave on their own merit.

Be better!

Bye, bye.

Anonymous said...

About Jones: But tell him first that they are talking to another team. You mean so that nobody does to Jones what Jones himself did to Calgary.
About everyone liking Jones. Just a few weeks ago, you seemed to be amazed when Arash told you that a lot of Saskatchewan people did not like Jones. Now, you are back apparently believing that everyone adores Jones. Not so. There are a large group that will never cheer for Jones as long as he is here; win or lose. If you read some of the other sports sites, you would know that. And don't try to convince yourself, or anyone else, that it is a small minority. I talk to a lot of people and read a lot of articles and comments from fellow Rider and CFL fans and there is a large number who will NEVER be a Jones fan. I notice that no one puts out any information on how merchandise sales are going this year. I suspect they are down and that is directly contributable to Chris Jones. And if you read other sites, you can learn a lot about this dislike of Jones and his attitude and methods because they do not censor your comments because of your dislike for the "great Chris Jones".

Anonymous said...

my hunch is that Zach Collaros will be sitting on the Rider chair.

I hope not. Does he have anything left? To me he looks like the next Drew Willy or Jonathan Jennings? One good year, now demanding a starter's salary, major negative momentum.

Between Bridge and Adams, we have plenty of potential, and Glenn can groom them and step in if they falter.

(On the other hand, if Trevor Harris suddenly becomes available? Sign me up.)

Anonymous said...

Whether they control the game or not is irrelevant. It is not a misleading statement because if the defense holds and not 23 seconds they go to the Grey Cup. So very fair statement but clearly you're just a troll and looking for things to nitpick about. Yes Toronto did control a big portion of that game but they failed to put the Riders away and the writers were leaving but then the opposite happened and the Riders were unable to put them away. Go troll on some other website

Anonymous said...

Have to agree Anon 2.. The Riders were dead in the water until the punt return. In this case, the best team won. Let's be honest, they were a 4th place team. Sure they had a stretch where they beat up 3 Western teams in a row. That was where they peaked. We like to say we were 8-4 down the stretch, true. But it's more realistic to say that, after those convincing wins over BC, Edm & Wpg, the Riders were 5-4 down the last half, after Labour Day, at which time teams start to hit their stride. If you want to believe the conspiracy theory that the league rigged it for the Argos to win, which is nonsense, all the Riders had to do is beat Edmonton AT HOME game 18. The Eskimos took it to them. Not a championship team yet. They weren't, & aren't, better than Cal, Wpg or Edm yet. Bottom line, you ARE your record.

Anonymous said...

Anon #3. Hello anybody out there. I was responding to Rod's comment on Duron Carter. That's what his point #2 is about. How am I turning a point about Carter into something else? Please read Rod's point. DId he not say Carter HIMSELF said he's had no offers? You like to accuse people of hating the Riders every time you don't like what you read? On your bike, mate.

Anonymous said...

Collaros??!!!?? Yhe guy is injury prone and overrated. He's not even moderately successful! Year three coming up and no direction at the most important position, very dissapointing.

Anonymous said...

What happened in the east final? Poor quarterbacking by the Riders was their obvious achilles heel in that game. They were and are otherwise a better team than Toronto. Please no more Glenn!

Anonymous said...

I can't for the life of me believe that there are people out there that still don't like Chris Jones because he cut all the dead weight and speaks his mind. Some are u are so sensitive.

He took a terrible team and in two years had us this close to going to the Grey Cup.

This team under Chris Jones will win Grey Cups, mark my words(and yes, that is plural)

I was upset when Durant was shown the door as well but I said I will wait and see the results and he results are in. 10-8 and 23 seconds away from the Grey Cup.

You people need to start becoming fans of the team, not individual players. And stop. Wing so sensitive.

Anonymous said...

The only type of roof that should ever be discussed is a retractable roof. Even saying "fans would be bitching about being inside on a hot summer day" suggests that you think a permanent roof should even be part of the conversation. It shouldn't. 1978 called and it wants it's terrible stadium gimmick back! No permanent-roofed stadium has been built for a field sport in a major league since Ford Field and that's like 15 years ago. Why? Because permanent roofs are utterly stupid and negatively affect the atmosphere of the game when it's nice out. A retractable ain't happening either, but if you INSIST on addressing this dead issue, at least do so in a meaningful manner. The idea of a permanent dome is utterly laughable and should not even be considered if we're going to actually have the conversation.

Retractable or nothing.

Anonymous said...

Bagg, Getz and Fantuz would dominate the CFL again? LMFAO
Sure glad your not our GM!

Anonymous said...

THE STADIUM IS NOT EQUIPPED FOR A ROOF.

Anonymous said...

Oh shut up and stop living in the past. You can't possibly be serious that you want fan to back and gets left couldn't even crack the lineup after he was Cut Loose by Edmonton. Give your head a shake and get out of 2008.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe there are people that are so defensive against people who don't like Chris Jones because of his obvious mishandling of the qb position and classless treatment of members of the riders organization.

Some people just need to stop being so sensitive and realize that people can be true fans of the team, while still disliking HOW Jones does some things.

He may win a cup, or cups here, but mark my words it won't be with Kevin Glenn OR Brandon Bridge as a starter.

Anonymous said...

23 seconds away from a grey cup is moderately successful. Big deal.

Anonymous said...

Best bets at QB are Bridge, Franklin and Harris. Pretty sure Harris will stay in Ottawa, unless they are going after Franklin. But Jones doesn't believe in spending big bucks on a QB and Harris will come with a big price tag. If the Riders landed Harris I would put my money on them winning the Grey Cup in 2018.

Anonymous said...

There is alot more method to Jones's madness than I initially gave him credit for. He's got a vision and a system that he's 100% committed to.

I just find his system boring from an offensive standpoint, and unappealing from a personnel standpoint. He's brought in a lot of solid defensive talent, but you look at the offensive talent and hos philosophy is pretty obvious - go cheap. You can see it in the way the players on offense conduct themselves and its hard to get fully on board. They celebrate after every play the way all of those cocky stampeder teams used to, before they'd lose in the playoffs. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Rod wrote; "We all know Jones and the Roughriders are working on a contract extension and that seems to suit the fans just fine."
Not all fans Rod. I suspect Craig Reynolds is dragging his feet because merchandise sales has dropped drastically. That's on Jones.
My dislike for Jones has nothing to do with John Chick, Weston Dressler or Darian Durant and everything to do with $160K worth of fines and the ridiculous Vince Young episode.
To those that think making the east final was a big deal, it's not. Each year forty-four per cent of CFL teams make it to the conference finals.
By the way, I've lived in Saskatchewan and bled green my entire life, but if the Riders won 5 consecutive Grey Cups I still wouldn't like Chris Jones.

Anonymous said...

this comment board is sure proof of Rod's comment about complaining....it is a Saskatchewan tradition born out in farming country that has made it's way throughout the entire province. In Sask it's all about the negative!

Anonymous said...

Everyone in the province that wanted to see the new stadium got that done this year. Then the sellouts quit.
Let's see how much support Jones has next year before talking extension.
Maybe he should take a pay cut for only being 'moderately successful'.

Anonymous said...

I can't for the life of me believe that no one listens to anyone's reasons for disliking Chris Jones. I have repeated it several times but will do so one more time. It is not that Jones got rid of Durant, Chick, Dressler or anyone else. Every coach has the right to do that in building his own team. After all, building a winning team is what is job is all about. However, any coach does not have the right to cut that teams heros and icons in an arrogant, egotistical, belittling manner, kicking them in the ass on their way out the door and taking the process to the media. Any coach does not have the right to rack up $160,000 in fines with no apologies but a whole bunch of excuses; most of them pointing at other teams. Don't worry about what other teams are or aren't doing; just do your job in classy, respectful manner. No coach should ever be coining phrases like "moderately successful" or "numbers don't lie". After all, those phrases apply to coaches too and up to now, Jones is "moderately successful" and his "numbers don't lie" either. His whole attitude means that I will never cheer for Chris Jones, no matter how long he is here. I will be happy when the Riders are "turning over every stone" to find a new head coach and GM.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you witty 'moderately successful' anon. Going from 5 wins last year to 10 wins this year is better than 'moderately successful'. But haters gonna hate.

Anonymous said...

You keep dreaming that Franklin is going to Regina to compete with Bridge. Most CFL insiders don't agree with you. Here's a little part of what Farhan Lalji had to say about that. "Many assume the fact that he & Jones have worked together before is a positive. False assumption." You keep forgetting that once Reilly returned, Franklin never saw the field under Jones. He only saw the field even after Reilly was injured after a few games when Nichols didn't get the job done. In other words, Jones didn't develop him. After all the hubbub about Eskimo players following Jones to Regina, only Foster remains. Jefferson was signed as a FA later, but notably Grymes & Walker didn't. Bowman, Sewell, Sherritt were 3 among a bunch of FA's in 2016 that stayed with the Eskimos. The big free agents never did follow Jones. So now Riderville sits there thinking Franklin is BOUND to come to Regina??? He is going to get offers to start. Why go to Regina to compete for a starting position when you can get one handed to you?? You guys really don't get it. You assume Jones is the guy everyone wants to play for & everyone else is stupid. Repeat - false assumption. Ask Shawn Lemon who owned you in the final.

Anonymous said...

And nobody cares about that dislike of yours. Nobody. So stop telling us all the time.

Anonymous said...

Let it go sweetie.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Chris Jones fan but am resigned to the fact that he is the coach and will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Where else could he get to do anything he wants with more titles than anyone else in the league for a ton of money. He cleaned up his act this last season and he stopped doing stupid things and getting fined and the team started to actually win some games so that makes it better.

Anonymous said...

new stadium_ a cost feasable tower system will be built shorty on the south/north end-zone (whichever is determined architechally safe and sound). Long lasting durable kevlar type skin will be stretched to cover the open air portion. * It wont be a actual dome stadium per se per se but it will be more user friendly to all venue events any time of year. Hazard safety issue (accumulation, hard falling snow, other) on the over hangs will be addressed at this time.

markit bookit.

Anonymous said...

"but if the Riders won 5 consecutive Grey Cups I still wouldn't like Chris Jones."....

Wow. That says it all right there.

Sensitive people because he hurt Durants feelings.

News flash, it's a business. It's harsh. Get over it. It's attitudes like this why we have four championships.

Sign Jones for another three years...like yesterday.

Anonymous said...

What the hell are you talking about?? Sell-outs ended??? The team sold 98% of its tickets past year! The only two games that didn't sell out were the last two due to bad weather and nothing important on the line. The "sell-outs quit"?? You're an idiot.

Anonymous said...

The foundation is indeed capable of supporting a roof.

Anonymous said...

Curious to know what our record would be if Bridge does not out perform all expectations.

DJR

Anonymous said...

Nothing on the line?????? Losing the last game meant the crossover & playing TO which of course was going to the Grey Cup coz the CFL rigged it that way. Just ask Rod. As for point 2 Carter's got no offers to the NFL yet but tweeted the usual - "everybody knows what I got". Maybe that's the problem, Duron. You're still a me me guy & "everybody" doesn't like what you got. If Manziel already is the most overrated guy in the league by June Jones, Carter is second. The self proclaimed best receiver out there managed to finish 10th, over 600 yards behind a guy who missed 2 games. Laughable.

Anonymous said...

10 wins is moderately successful, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

I think Durant actually hurt Jones feelings, thats why he had his little blowout in the media. He's just that kinda guy.

CM said...

Cant believe the negative hate in your province esp for Chris Jones. Hes done a good job BUILDING a team. Everyone out there seems to like Miller and Taman they did a good job of making a great team poor! Rod isn't misleading anyone by saying they were 23 seconds away from the final, hes just stating a fact. Reality is KG cant get it done. Just say no to KG and bring in someone else along with Bridge. And lol at Fantuz Getzlaf Bagg together add Dressler to that and bring back Durant. It ain't 2009!.

Anonymous said...

Come on, man. Listen up. The reason Jones haters hate Jones is not about Durant or Dressler or Chick or Getz. It is all about Jones. Jones brought it all down on himself. Leave everyone else out of this. Got that?

Anonymous said...

Trestman and Popp were better than moderately successful, Jones was not.

Anonymous said...

I care, keep it comin!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, Saskatchewan people - we can be bitter, fickle critiques for something we care about. Just watch an episode of Corner Gas, Brent's bitter Dad nails it.

Still a fan of the Riders.

Anonymous said...

Until the QB situation is clear, how do you justify extending Jones?

DJR

Anonymous said...

Bingo! It's not just what you do, it's just as much about how you do it.