Friday, January 18, 2019
SCRUFFY'S THIS 'N THAT
- How was your week?
- Chris Jones dropped a bombshell on Rider Nation Tuesday with word he is heading to the Cleveland Browns. The "who is going to be the quarterback" talk has certainly slowed to a trickle as the conversation revolving around Canada's team is what's next in the wake of the Jones departure.
Many want Paul LaPolice, many want Marc Trestman, the most logical choice because of the inane coaches salary cap may be current special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson who does deserve an opportunity.
At the end of the day, it will be a decision made by Jeremy O'Day. It is highly expected O'Day will be promoted to the GM position. What he does will obviously very important when it comes to where this team is going to go moving forward. What that person does with a staff he probably doesn't want because they are not his guys and what type of team he wants is another question. There are a million of them out there.
*Did Chris Jones bail on the Riders? No, he didn't. He took an opportunity that was presented to him to advance his career. It is something everyone of us would do. If you are going to be mad at Jones, be mad at every other Rider who has tried his luck in the NFL. It is THE league and if you think you are good enough to be in it, you take every chance you can.
*Did Jones know about this before signing his extension? He says no. By all accounts, the Browns reached out to Jones on the weekend by asking the Riders permission to speak with him. Whether or not Jones had had any previous conversations with Freddie Kitchens before that call was made was something we will never know. If he did, I am guessing he wouldn't be the first one to have done such a thing.
*Did the move surprise me? Yes and no. As I said on the Sportscage this week and as I said in this column last week, I thought 2019 was the end of the line for Jones no matter what happened. The interest was there. What happened was something I expected, but I expected it after the season and not January 15.
*Does Craig Reynolds have to take blame for this? Yes he does! I have a great deal of respect for Reynolds, but he has to wear this one. That being said, when he signed Jones to that deal that shook the CFL after the Eskimos won the 2015 Grey Cup, he had no idea what the future would hold when it comes to the coaches salary cap. Had he been able to look into a crystal ball, I am sure he wouldn't have made such a grandiose move. One person suggested the "out" in the contract extension should have been something that took effect after the 2019 season ended. That's a valid point, but I don't know if that is sound business. While I do say Reynolds has to shoulder some of the blame, would I do it again if I were him not knowing what the future would hold. Yup!
*What is Jones' legacy? I think Sportscage's Derek Meyers put it the best Tuesday shortly after the news came down when he said he was "moderately successful". Jones was 27-27 as the head coach....22-14 in the last two seasons though While the team did have growth each year in wins going from 5 to 10 to 12, the team only won one playoff game and that game was an Eastern Conference playoff game. We can debate whether or not the Riders would have beaten Winnipeg in last year's West semi with a healthy Zach Collaros, but the bottom line is he didn't.
At the end of the day, the Riders have gone from a team that I think was ready to go to the Grey Cup to one that I think will slide no matter who the head coach is. There is a lot of time between now and training camp, but this team has taken several steps backward in the last week. Oh, its never dull in Riderville.
- Don't look now, but here come the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Don't tell me they haven't created some noise by first signing Adam Bighill to a three-year contract and then Stanley Bryant to a one-year deal thus avoiding free agency with both. The Bombers think they are close and with a Western Division in a state of upheaval, they are perhaps the most stable team in the West right now.
- Darian Durant is in Saskatoon this weekend for the Rush game against Rochester. I wonder what Doubles thinks about the goings-on with his old team. I am guessing he is OK with the fact Jones is no longer the coach of it. I wonder how many will ask him to trade Rush green for Rider green this weekend. I don't realistically see that happening, but hey this is the CFL right?
- Championship Sunday in the NFL should be fantastic. The top two teams in each conference going at it in Kansas City and New Orleans. I can't bet against Tom Brady, and I'm not betting against Drew Brees.
- The Regina Red Sox let it be known on Sportscage that former Blue Jays outfielder Matt Stairs will be their guest speaker at their 2019 dinner in April. While that was news enough, team president Gary Brotzel says the discussion about a new baseball facility for the city has not been put on the shelf. Hmmmmm!!! I think it is time Regina put Currie Field to bed much like they put Taylor Field. The city and the Red Sox deserve a new home. It doesn't has to be splashy, but something that we can be proud of and something which be great for a baseball community which is growing. By the way, I can't wait for opening day
- The Regina Pats have lost eight in a row going into their game against Saskatoon tonight. That being said, John Paddock has to be credited for what I think was a tremendous job in restocking the draft cupboard. I do not know if the Pats will have the horses to be a playoff team next year, but they will certainly be on the rise which is refreshing considering how long it took to become competitive again after the last Memorial Cup appearance.
- Talk that Michael Ferland could be an Edmonton Oiler intrigues me. The guy is a grit guy who can score and get under your skin. Edmonton needs that. What will it cost them though! I wonder if they could pry Nolan Patrick from Philly for Jesse Puljujarvi as some have recently suggested. It would probably cost Edmonton a little more, but I would take that deal.
- Jarome Iginla will get his jersey retired by the Calgary Flames before the season is over which is more than deserving. The same should be done with Theoren Fleury. Those two are without a doubt the best two players in the history of that franchise with an argument that could be made saying Fleury is better. Hopefully 14 follows 12 in short fashion.
- The "Birdbox Challenge" is just dumb. 2019 is known for that and 2018 was known for having to say don't eat dishwasher pods. What a society we have ladies and gentlemen!
- That's all I got. Enjoy the weekend and Championship Sunday.
(Follow Mitchell Blair on Twitter at @scruffyregina)