One might even argue he’s done more with less in running the Riders without much help from his quarterback but we’ve beaten that dead horse enough by now and realize it’s his job to find/groom the right QB. And so far, that hasn’t happened.
The solution: Offer Chris Jones a one-year extension through 2020 at a similarly lucrative price (believed to be around $500k/annum even with the new cap)as what he’s been getting so far to avoid lame-duck status for this coming season which could cause distractions. But tack on a team option for a 2-year extension beyond at a sizeable raise with an out clause for him to explore NFL opportunities.
That should be enough to entice Jones to stick around a bit longer without tying the Roughriders hands. If the team does choose to give him a raise after 2020, well than the coach has probably done his job by then and everybody would be happy.
A bold, pragmatic solution to keep Mr. Everything in Regina to finish what he’s started and away from prying eyes in these other semi-pro startup leagues.
2. FOOTBALL OPS SALARY CAP A GOOD THING: So sad to see John Murphy leave the Riders, Mike Benevides hike out of Edmonton, Jason Tucker exit Montreal and Jerry Glanville high-tail it out of Hamilton. But what disappoints me more is the fact our beloved Canadian Football League is on shaky ground in arguably their 3 most important cities and disabled players like Jonathan Hefney can’t pay their medical bills.
That just has to change.
Teams got by just fine for decades with coaching staffs of 6 or 7 before ballooning to the 12 and sometimes 14-man crews we see today. And it’s not like the on-field product has gotten any better as a result.
I’m fine with a GM and Head Coach making 6-figures and even the odd coordinator. But beyond that, everyone else can make due with the measly sums the rest of us working stiffs have to fight over.
Football coaches aren’t doctors. And besides, this could open more opportunities for Canadian coaches/scouts who wouldn’t ordinarily get a shot.
3. WHY JEFFERSON ISN’T CHASING NFL: It's not always what it’s cracked up to be. Took Henry Burris the better part of 2 years to rediscover his mojo after returning from his NFL chase. Matt Dominguez seemed all-too-happy to be cut by the New York Jets to come home to Regina and play a starring role.
John Chick, too, lived on the Indianapolis Colts practice roster one year and never did get a chance to show his wares on the same field as Peyton Manning. Two more seasons of spot duty in Jacksonville and a serious injury was enough to send Big John packing home to the ‘306’ and he never looked happier.
Lesson learned: NFL money is great but these guys do want to play. Willie Jefferson has been through that song-and-dance and appears to want no part of it by refusing to work out for NFL teams unless they make him a lucrative offer.
Good for Willie. He doesn’t owe anybody down there anything unless they show him the money. And it had better be a big enough signing bonus to cover half his salary up here to compensate him for lost CFL wages if he gets cut like most players chasing the NFL dream do.
4. WILL THE REAL COREY CHAMBLIN PLEASE STAND UP: The 2012 and 2013 Corey Chamblin who re-built Greg Marshall’s disaster into a Grey Cup champion was as good a coach the green and white have ever seen.
The 2014 and 2015 Corey Chamblin was stubborn, arrogant and as bad a coach the green and white have ever seen.
Darian Durant’s injuries didn’t help but Chamblin’s scapegoating of assistant coaches George Cortez and Richie Hall were of his own making and ultimately sealed his demise here.
He’s a solid hire for the Argos because success catches up with every good coach at some point and he’s been humbled. I expect the 2019 Corey Chamblin to be more like the first coach we had in Riderville than the latter.
5. LACK OF GOOD QUARTERBACKS SHOULD INSPIRE RATIO CHANGE: Rod’s quarterback ranking before the Nashville trip got lots of play on the Cage and social media. What jumped out at me was the very real possibility of going into next season with no more then one single elite quarterback in our entire CFL.
If Bo Levi Mitchell goes south, and he probably will, then only Mike Reilly will remain of who’s healthy and deserves that label.
Given the quarterback shortage our league has right now, why on earth wouldn’t you want to tap into an untapped resource of Canadian athletes to fill that void?
Mandate all 3rd string quarterbacks on any roster to be a Canadian. What’s the worst that could happen? We stay at one elite QB for another 10 years? Or we might unearth some good Canadian quarterbacks who could sell more tickets. What an awful thing that would be!
6. ALLIANCE/XFL HYSTERIA: Arash Madani thinks the Alliance of American Football is a legitimate threat and although he’s as good of an insider as there is, he’s dead-wrong.
I argued this point with him on the Sportscage last week and he kept equating the American population’s NFL hunger to “pro football hunger”. Not the same thing. Not even close.
North Americans are already over-saturated with live sports on TV, particularly those they already don’t watch.
Mark my words: The Alliance isn’t going to make year 2. Operating costs are far too high for this minor league entity in the U.S. and unlike the WWE sizzle of the XFL nearly 20 years ago, this league offers none of that.
And don’t expect the NFL to buy it either. They’ve tried that before. It was called NFL Europe and that plane crashed eons ago.
7. WHERE BO SHOULD SIGN: My Denver Broncos! Why not? Case Keenum isn’t half the quarterback Bo Levi is. Like with Doug Flutie, I expect many Rider fans to go from booing Bo to cheering him on once he crosses the border.
8. WHL TRADES: These ‘re-build for 2 years, go-for-it for 2 years and then re-build for 2 years’ cycles are getting old. Just widens the gap between the haves and have-nots and make for awful mismatches throughout the season. Plus, it makes dynasties pretty well impossible.
Solution: Ban trading any player still in high school. This would let the kids breathe a little while they finish their grade 12 and force teams to actually grow and develop their own talent. You could still make trades which make it interesting for the fans and talking heads but more importantly, it would give the paying customers a lot more to get excited about on a down year.
9. BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE: Hadn’t even heard of the 74-year-old Christmas song until last week and I must say, what a great tune! Very catchy sound and even saved the poor girl from freezing to death.
10. BOOK OF THE WEEK: HEART & SOUL OF THE SJHL takes me back to some of my happiest years on this earth, broadcasting for the Estevan Bruins. It truly is our NHL. Given my obsession with now-defunct sports franchises (see picture at the top), I’m most looking forward to the tale of the Lebret Eagles.
Other than the chapter about my Bruins of course.
(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)