Wednesday, August 29, 2018
CFL NOTEBOOK: JONES IN MINNY, MANZIEL BACK, MANNY OUT
It crosses the Canadian border, too. Just ask Brett Jones.
Acquired in a trade with the New York Giants to help shore up a shaky interior of the offensive line, Jones joined the Vikings for practice on Monday after his completed physical exam consummated the deal. He smiled as he spoke afterward about the whirlwind he'd experienced as the final week of the preseason began, when the Giants pulled him off the field during drills on Sunday. Then the Vikings called him to arrange his travel.
"I was pretty surprised,'' Jones said, "and excited at the same time.''
As a youth on the Saskatchewan prairie, Jones rooted for the Vikings long before playing for them became a reality.
"There's a lot of purple up there,'' he said. "Growing up, this was probably the closest stadium we could get to.''
"I just liked offensive linemen, and I didn't think anybody else would have that jersey so I picked that one,'' Jones said.
After attending Regina University, Jones was the CFL's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award winner in 2014, his second year with the Calgary Stampeders.
The Giants signed him in 2015, and he made his first NFL start at left guard in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Jones started 13 games last season at centre, but he fell behind Jon Halapio on the depth chart in training camp this summer and carried a $2.914 million salary the tight-against-the-cap Giants had to shed.
The Vikings have scouted the CFL thoroughly over the past few years. Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra is a fellow CFL alum in training camp.
"It was a unique path. It was the only option I had,'' Jones said. "Coming out of college I was short, and I'm still short today, so it was tough for me. I had to prove that I could play by playing in the CFL, and then when I got to the NFL I had to prove I belong here. I've just been doing that each and every day.''
MONTREAL - If having both Johnny Manziel and Antonio Pipkin amounts to a quarterback controversy, coach Mike Sherman doesn't seem to mind.
After a disastrous start that saw three quarterbacks go down with injuries, the first-year coach is happy to have two other pivots who have shown they can move the ball.
For now, with Manziel dealing with concussion protocol, it appears that Pipkin will get a third straight start when the Alouettes (2-8) visit the Redblacks (6-3) in Ottawa on Friday night.
But with Manziel approaching full health, a decision looms when the team returns from their bye week after the Ottawa game.
"We feel fortunate that we have a couple that can really contribute to us winning, so I don't see any quarterback controversy,'' Sherman. "We're fortunate because when we started this thing we didn't know who our quarterback was and this second half of the season things kind of fell our way a bit and it puts us in a much better position than when we started.''
Manziel missed both practices last week but was on the field for a team walk-through on Thursday. He was back to full practice on Monday, taking second reps with the first team behind Pipkin, who ran 31 plays to Manziel's 19.
Also, veteran kick returner and running back Stefan Logan has returned from the six-game injured list after an ankle problem and will likely see at least some action in both jobs.
The Alouettes also inked defensive lineman Gabriel Knapton, who was cut by the B.C. Lions last week. The Alouettes traded Knapton to B.C. in December for receiver Chris Williams, who was sent to Hamilton in the Manziel deal.
TORONTO - Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, receiver Kamar Jorden and defensive lineman Ja'Gared Davis made it a Stampeders sweep Tuesday when they were named the CFL's top performers for Week 11.
Mitchell recorded 452 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Stampeders improved to 8-1 with a 39-26 win over visiting Winnipeg on Saturday.
Ten of Mitchell's 25 pass completions were hauled in by Jorden, who set the Stampeders' single-game record for most receiving yards with 249. Jorden's night was highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown reception.
Davis had three defensive tackles and two interceptions, returning one of them 35 yards for a touchdown.
VANCOUVER - The B.C. Lions have lost veteran receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux to a torn knee ligament.
The club announced Monday that the 30-year-old has been placed on the six-game injured list after he suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's 24-21 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Arceneaux has played in all nine Lions games this year and leads the team in receptions with 32 catches for 553 yards and one touchdown.
He joined the Lions in 2009 and played two seasons before heading to the NFL, where he had stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and the New York Jets.
Arceneaux returned to B.C. in 2013, and was named a league all-star in both 2015 and 2016.
Injuries have plagued the Lions (3-6) this season, with linebacker Solomon Elimimian suffering a hand injury in mid-July and running back Brandon Rutley also tearing his ACL last month.
Players are on the six-game injured list are eligible to return after four weeks.