Realty One

Thursday, February 14, 2019

O'DAY, COLLAROS MEET WITH THE MEDIA

Saskatchewan Roughriders GM Jeremy O'Day and QB Zach Collaros met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the club's activities in free agency.

Here are some quotes from the gathering:

JEREMY O'DAY

HOW DID THE DEAL WITH COLLAROS COME ABOUT?

JO: Just like we do with the entire roster, we evaluated the whole roster and looked at who our free agents are and made a list, and an apporach of how we'd attack free agency. We were clear with Zach on how we were going to do that. We had our QBs ranked, who we wanted to get, in order, and once the time was right we reached out to Zach and got a deal done.

HOW MUCH OF A CONCERN ARE HIS CONCUSSIONS?

JO: Anytime a player has concussions, it's a concern for you. It's not something we'd say isn't a concern but we feel good about his recovery and where he is right now. We feel some of those hits he took last year would've been concussions for whoever would've taken those shots.

ARE YOU TALKING WITH KEVIN GLENN?

JO: We're in discussions with a couple veteran QBs currently. It's somethng we understand. With any team, you want a back-up you can win with. Those discussions are ongoing. Zach is our #1 QB. He'll come to camp as our #1. We're not going to start throwing out names of who we're talking to.

WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED NOT TO GET BO LEVI, REILLY OR HARRIS?

JO: That's free agency. You create a wishlist and there are a lot of positions you look at. This one was heavily-publicized so everyone knew what was happening. You have a plan in place, but you'll never get 100% of the guys you want. There has to be a mutual agreement; you have to want the player, they have to want to be there, and it has to fit financially.

HAVE YOU TALKED WITH NAAMAN ROOSEVELT?

JO: Discussions with Naaman are ongoing.

WHY NAME COLLAROS #1 RIGHT NOW?

JO: For the team in general, it's important knowing who's going to be the guy going into camp. I won't speak for Zach but that would weigh on your mind; not knowing where you fit in or what your role will be. It's one of the questions he asked when we were negotiating. It was ultimately Craig Dickenson's decision and I agreed with him. We're excited to move forwrd.

WERE YOU IN ON BO LEVI MITCHELL?

JO: We made an offer. A significant offer, just like I mentioned earlier. It has to be a mutual thing. The offer has to fit if they're going to leave a team. I won't speak for anyone else but we made a significant offer and he decided to stay in Calgary.

When you’re trying to get a free agent of that magnitude you have to have different plans that you’re ready to execute. So, naturally, the concern there is the timing, if you’re holding on to a salary of that significance then the timing may cost you to lose players.

WHAT WAS TUESDAY LIKE FOR YOU?

JO: Pretty unique. I've been in the room before but when you're the one making the decisions, it's a different environment. This is a free agency we won't see again for quite some time. There were a whole bunch of differnt scenarios going on but it was exciting. There were ups and downs and it was an action-packed, long day.

WHAT ABOUT LOSING WILLIE JEFFERSON?

JO: We were talking with Willie the whole time. I won't speak to why he didn't come back but we made him a fair offer. He decided he was going to free agency and we asked him to keep us in the loop. He decided to go elsewhere. We didn't think 'We won't get Willie back so we'll get Micah'. Micah is a guy we targeted and had very high on our board. He's the type of player I want, a guy who plays physically.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR FREE AGENT ACTIVITY?

I think it's important, and you guys can watch free agency, people talk about who's winning or not winning. I can promise you the Grey Cup is not won in February. If you look at our whole roster, we didn't have a lot of holes we needed to fill. We don't have a ton of offers still out there, but there are some. The offers have been presented and the players have to see if it's the right fit for them. We'll keep working away on them and hopefully it'll work out.

DO YOU NEED TO DEFEND THE ZACH SIGNING?

JO: I don't know if I need to act like a salesman. His play will speak for itself. There's things offensively we can be better at but we've had great meetings wtih our staff. There's things we can do better with our practices, which Coach Dickie has spoken about, and I think we have a very capable QB.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR RECEIVERS?

JO: We had a young receiving corps last year. When you lose Jordan Williams-Lambert, that's not going to help you out at all. We understand that's a young crew but this time last year no one knew who Jordan, Shaq Evans or those guys were. We have the ability to find good players. Free agency isn't 100% relied upon for success. We'd like to develop a system where we scout players, get them into our system, and develop them.

WAS YOUR FREE AGENCY PLAN SUCCESSFUL?

JO: I'd have to tell you everything that was in the plan! But we got together as a staff two weeks ago and we talked about every position, as we always do. We talked about positions with guys going to free agency and we talk about who may make it into free agency (from other teams). I would say that the plan that we put in place - knowing it won't always be 100% - we targeted guys that are now Roughriders. We feel good about it, we have a few pieces to add, but we feel good about it.

Our QB is back. We have to find a quality back-up, whether he's on our roster now or we add a guy. We added one of the most dynamic RBs in our league (William Powell), that's very successful. He does a lot of things very well. On the defensive line, those are two pretty good players. You guys can debate whether it's Micah or Willie. I won't get into that. I think that we're a better team than when we began free agency, and we'll continue to try to grow on that.

HOW HAS NEW ASS'T GM PAUL JONES HELPED?

JO: Paul is fantastic. We talk on the phone on a regular basis. He's been around for so long. He was dead-on. We talked at length about free agency, and how we should approach it. If you're trying to be too patient, you'll lose some good players. We wanted to be aggressive, let everyone know that we are serious, and I feel like we did that.

ZACH COLLAROS

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEW DEAL?

ZC: I feel great. I'm excited to be back here today, back in this province and this facility. It's good to be back in town and excited to get back to work.

DID THE CONTRACT OFFER SURPRISE YOU?

ZC: I'm not surprised. I talked to coach Dickenson several times after he got the job and he mentioned how he felt about me. This is a place I really enjoyed playing in last year and regardless of the outcome of some things, I'm excited to be back.

ARE THERE THINGS YOU CAN DO BETTER?

ZC: Yeah of course. You want to improve every season. TD-to-INT ratio. I'm not going to stand up here and defend myself on things and I'll have to watch film and improve on things. But all that matters is wins.

WHAT'S YOUR CONCUSSION STATUS?

ZC: It's understandable that there'd be some worry about that. I took a bad hit in the preseason. A situation I shouldn't have been in in the first place. I took a bad hit in Week 20. There was a lot of time between those games. Retirement crossed my mind in the off-season, but not very much. I love this game and I'm a competitive person. I just want to get out there and play.

I love Coach Dickenson and have a great relationship with him. J.O. as well. The opportunity, when it presented itself, was just too good to pass up.

DID YOU HAVE OTHER OPPORTUNITIES?

ZC: There were a couple other teams calling after everyting sorted itself out yesterday. But the people here, the people here in the building, and the chance to build some continuity. Just the plan J.O. and Coach Dickenson laid out, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK ON OFFENSE LAST YEAR?

ZC: I don't want to really get into discussing all those things. Trying to keep that in-house. It would be a better question for Coach McAdoo. I just can control what I do and how I play. I just need to go out and manage and win games for this team.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT CRAIG DICKENSON?

ZC: I really enjoyed the 3 or 4 minutes of meetings that I could sit in with him on special teams. The little tidbits and nuggets you learn go a long way in leading men. He always had command of the room. Guys love him, want to play for him, and thats the first thing you need as a head coach.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE TEAM DO IN FREE AGENCY?

ZC: I don't know what else is out there right now. Again, I sound like a broken record, but talking to Coach Dickenson and J.O., they have a great plan and that gives you confidence going into a season, to win games.

DID ANYONE SAY YOU SHOULD RETIRE?

ZC: Not really. Just moreso outside people that don't really know me very well. My friends and family know me and know I wouldn't put myself in harm's way. They know that if I felt it was time, I'd say it's time. But I feel I have a lot of good years left in me.

RP
@rodpedersen

21 comments:

Football Fan said...

I don't even know what hit did it to him in pre-season, and the late onset part of this was also very strange. Here's hoping he can figure it out and stay healthy this year.

This is an important part of this interview as well, regarding Dickenson:
"I really enjoyed the 3 or 4 minutes of meetings that I could sit in with him on special teams. The little tidbits and nuggets you learn go a long way in leading men. He always had command of the room. Guys love him, want to play for him, and thats the first thing you need as a head coach."
Dickenson has HUGE shoes to fill and especially as a rookie HC the question is going to be, can he do it? Can he step up and become a top tier HC? This is certainly a vote in his favour.

Anonymous said...

Was that kind of a shot at CJ when he said he shouldn’t of been put in that position?

william weppler said...

Get'er done Zach!

Anonymous said...

Definite shot at CJ. If you remember Zach got smoked with an all rookie offensive line late in a preseason game. WHY?

No doubt Reilly and Mitchell are tops but after that it is a crapshoot. Harris is likely the better of a bunch of qb's that on any given day can win or lose. Harris is definitely a long way from elite status and the Eskimos paid high end dollar for him.

Count me as one that thinks Edmonton won in February and will be hurting come August. (Remember how many years the Riders won free agency?)

Football Fan said...

@ Anon 1
No, for sure not a shot at CJ. Collaros is not that kind of guy, and I can't think of anything controversial that CJ could have done in any event. More likely a comment about something he did himself to needlessly put himself in harms way. Without knowing what hit did it to him it's hard to say exactly what that might have been, however.

Anonymous said...

No. He put himself in that position, he gets paid to play. Heads up!

Mike Humble said...

For sure it was a shot at CJ.

Anonymous said...

So Rider gm Jeremy ODay trying to spin the Mitchell story like the Roughriders actually had a chance of signing Bo, not so. Riders put in their offer, it was rejected. Toronto Argonauts gm Jim Popp offered the highest dollar bid, half million more than what Mitchell eventually settled on in Calgary, it was rejected. Bo knows football. End of story.

SWC said...

For sure a shot at the dear departed Chris Jones. I remember the play, your starting quarterback and a whole fleet of rookies, late in a game that meant nothing.

Steve said...

Jones given that power to be Gm / DC & Hc was a mistake.
He stocked up his Defense. He focused on his American finds on defense.
Leaving the offense & Canadian content out to dry.
No balance. & Zac paid the price with less than on the Oline. Hense the concussion issues.

Tim said...

I agree with Steve and SWC. Time to move on and I'm ok to move away from CJ.

Anonymous said...

If it was a forgone conclusion that Bo was staying in Calgary why spend $700,000 and lose your entire defensive line as a result?

Sure, he was probably always looking to stay in Calgary but Sask pushed it to the brink and forced Calgary to pay top dollar and upset their cap balance.

O'Day did better than people think. The offense is more balanced. The defense really only lost Eguavoen (that's a big one). They need to find a receiver no doubt!

Don't forget, Mike Reilly missed the playoffs last year!

Anonymous said...

Jones is gone boys, let it go. The blame game is kinda immature.

Anonymous said...

The few "know-nothings" are trying to read all sorts of things into comments. Probably because we were unable to sign a quality QB and now have to settle for the Tier2 types. Collaros wasn't too good in the pre-season and the coach wanted to see what he could do and what his O-line could do. Collaros hardly used his feet all year and was the victim of his own ineptness. Most of the horrible INTS he threw through the season had nothing to do with concussion or young O-line. he if anything was trying to deflect his own personal poor performances for the peanut gallery. Chris Jones who has three Grey Cup rings on his hand didn't throw Collaros under the bus ever, and he has zero Grey Cup rings. A proven winner and a guy who has yet to win anything.
Collaros has been placed in a tough spot and not entirely of his making. The fans wanted an elite QB and didn't get it. If recent past performance is any indication of future performance, the fans are in for more misery. They will undoubtedly target all that anger at Collaros. Yet some people are more concerned about who's taking a shot at who…so amateur…sheesh !

Helix said...

I also agree with SWC, Steve and Tim. CJ helped improve the Riders to contenders. But he was moderately successful and made plenty of mistakes along the way. That is the reality.

Anonymous said...

So amateur,

He didn't have a young o-line during the season. He was put in a preseason game with a rookie line. Can't wait to see BC put Reilly in late in a preseason game with no starters!

You are just guilty. You hear only what you want to.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, the pre-season was the first for Collaros as a Rider under a new system. CJ needed to let him play to gain some experience before the season started, did he not? Sh*t happens in football. Players get hurt in pre-season and it’s CJ’s fault? Give your head a shake. I think IF Collaros can stay healthy we have a good QB to help a previously pathetic offence. If Powell can take the pressure off Collaros the OC can be more aggressive in his play calling. Let’s wait for the season to begin before slamming everything including JO and McAdoo.

Football Fan said...

Wow, we sure have some lame trolls here.

Steve said...

It is what it is now. A healthy Calloros has been a top rate QB not so long ago in Hamilton.
There just needs to be more balance on both sides of the ball.
CJ had great success in Montreal with an Offensnsive HC in Trestman. & Jones took care of the D.
In Toronto When Scott Millanovich was the HC & OC.
The first thing he did was hire Chris Jones as DC & Asst HC.
So there was the balance.
Thats all im saying

Football Fan said...

It's about winning Steve. That's what the game is about, and we were 12-6 last year and second place in the league, and we were 10-3 in games where Collaros played more than half the game. The decisions we made last year worked, at least when Collaros was in. The reason our stats were down in the passing game - and remember that our running game was great, second most rushing yards in the league - were because we were being conservative with Collaros in order to protect him, and in the end we saw quite clearly why that was important to do. If we pushed the passing game more then maybe Collaros gets injured sooner and we win fewer games. And again, this may be news to you but winning is the name of the game, not "balance".

Steve said...

I dont disagree wit u at all.
But Jones is gone.
So the philoshy will change.
Jones had an oppuritunity in the NFL.
If he could have returned for another year. His philosophy & process culd have led to a Cup.
But that ship has sailed to the Clevaland Browns