CFL Pass

Pieces falling into place within CFL coaching ranks

Eight days removed from the 103rd Grey Cup, there has already been massive change in the coaching ranks all around the Canadian Football League. After the first few rounds of the sideline shuffle, the latest moves include:

The LaPolice and Bombers marriage, while a rocky ride, just won’t end. He was there as a coach in 2002 and 2003 before returning as their head coach in 2010. LaPo ended up getting fired in 2012 but stayed on the Bomber payroll while working at TSN.

Winnipeg must really love him.

But the news that *really* “broke the internet” was Chris Jones leaving the Edmonton Eskimos (with all his assistants) to join the Saskatchewan Roughriders as Defensive Co-ordinator, Head Coach, General Manager *and* Vice-President of Football Operations.

What title does he not have? Is he the new drummer in Rush, too?!

As a Roughriders fan, it was easy to get lost in the excitement of hiring the guy that will be leading Rider Nation into the future. I admit, it has been quite the rise for Mr. Jones: He won a Grey Cup in 2002 with Montreal as their defensive line coach, with Calgary as their DC in 2008, with Toronto as their DC in 2012 and with Edmonton as their head coach just last Sunday. Through two seasons as head coach with Edmonton, he owns a 26-10 regular season record, so his résumé is definitely impressive.

Mark me down as cautiously optimistic.

You can’t deny the success in Edmonton but that situation was a complete team effort. Ed Hervey deserves a *ton* of credit for bringing that team to where it is following the Eric Tillman debacle and for allowing Chris Jones to leave for a better opportunity.

It has been said that Jones can take a lot of credit for discovering guys like 2015 Most Outstanding Rookie Derel Walker and Shakir Bell, but Jones is putting the *entire* Roughriders organization on his shoulders. Being Defensive Co-Ordinator and Head Coach is one thing but adding General Manager, Vice-President of Football Operations and possible Prime Minister of Rider Nation to the fold? I worry that it’s too much for just one man.

Year 2015 has seen quite the swing for Jones’s reputation as well. Media in Edmonton were mad at him for “closing the locker room” and many others around the league hated him for ditching the post-game handshake. Winning masks a lot of those antics and Regina brings just as much, if not more, pressure than Edmonton. If he continues to shield his players from the media and disrespects other teams without on-field success, that fish bowl in Saskatchewan will be dumped down the toilet faster than Brendan Taman.

Say goodbye to grocery shopping in peace, Mr. Jones!

Jones had a great talent base when he arrived in the City of Champions in 2014, but the 2016 Saskatchewan Roughriders are a fresh piece of clay – heck, that clay may still be deep under water still waiting to be found. Jones has a lot of work to do in Regina but I’m “cautiously optimistic” that he’s just the guy to do it.

– written by Travis Currah