George Alexander sports column 

George A Portrait thumbnailLike a thief in the night, the Saskatchewan Roughriders quickly emerged with their prized possession. Yes, only eight days after winning the 2015 Grey Cup championship, the Riders had stolen the Edmonton Eskimos head coach, Chris Jones, away from the Alberta capital. The Eskies were certainly not amused. Edmonton’s GM Ed Hervey was even fined by the CFL over negative comments aired about the perceived back room deal.

So where does that leave our beloved Roughriders? I’d say, in a very good position. The Riders have absolutely hit rock bottom over the past two seasons in the nine team Canadian Football League. There is no way to go but up. Riders’ President and CEO Craig Reynolds was desperate to find the right man to lead the Green and White into the the 2016 campaign. Yes, this will be the last season played at the old Mosaic Stadium before moving across the street into their spiffy new abode.

GA col Dec 15 15 Riders Dressler vs Ticats July2615

Riders vs Ti-cats in 2015. Photo credit: George Alexander.

Chris Jones is the quintessential, Canadian football guy. Four Grey Cup rings earned with four different clubs in a 13-year career north of the border. Jones’ last two seasons with the Esks were nothing less than sensational. A 26-10 record, culminating with this season’s Grey Cup championship, Jones is a defensive guru. This will work wonders with the defence that was the league’s worst in 2015. Jones’ football experience and connections are immeasurable. He’s a winner and the Riders are desperate to win.

A Riders renaissance will come but not necessarily overnight. Saskatchewan is an old team that’s sorrily lacking talent and depth on both sides of the ball. Not to mention, the horrific special teams over the past few season led by Bob Dyce, who’s since moved on to Ottawa. Darian Durant, our star quarterback whose health is as fragile as a flower. Please don’t expect miracles fans. However, a rise to mediocrity would suffice. Sources say that Jones will be getting paid in the neighbourhood of $750,000 per season to be the head coach, GM and VP of football operations. That’s certainly a lot of dough but will be money well spent if the Riders can return to glory.

Follow George Alexander on Twitter @Big_G_09

 

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