CFL Pass

Riders sign quarterback Phillip Sims

All reports out of Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp leading up to Saturday’s mock game were positive. Every new player was fitting in nicely, practice was fast and intense, and franchise quarterback Darian Durant looked like he was in the best shape of his life.

Then the mock game happened. And Chris Jones was *not* happy.

Of course, the mock game was only on Day 6 of training camp and it comes after a complete off-season rebuild with endless new names on the roster in Saskatchewan.

Could that poor performance be a reminder to temper expectations heading into the season?

I don’t care if you’re Chris Jones, Wally Buono or Kent Austin, it’s not easy to rebuild a 3-15 team in six months. The Riders haven’t even played a pre-season game but it’s possible the sloppy performance could speak to the depth Saskatchewan has. No one’s denying the talent of the starters Jones brought in, but who’s there if and when injuries happen?

Chris Jones is a man that wants to compete and his expectations are incredibly high as evidenced by Monday’s roster moves. He’s already seen enough of four players and has brought in three more ahead of the first roster cut down day on June 14th.

Phillip Sims is the second former Alabama quarterback to be with the Roughriders in the past year. Curiously, he’s also the second quarterback named “Sims”. Hopefully he fares better than Blake.

During Monday’s media availability Chris Jones told 2 and Out Podcast co-host John Fraser that Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians gave Sims a glowing reference.

Sims started in Alabama then transferred to Virginia before some academic issues caused him to be declared ineligible in 2013. He then transferred to Division II team Winston-Salem State and threw for 1,560 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2014. Sims signed with the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie last season and completed 28 of 51 passes for 261 yards, three touchdowns and no picks before being beat out by Logan Thomas.

Chris Jones maintains that every quarterback position behind Darian Durant is an open competition so Phillip Sims may have a legitimate shot at making the Riders for 2016.

– written by Travis Currah