RID­ERS’ CHRIS JONES LOVES A CHAL­LENGE

The Drumheller Mail - - CLASSIFIEDS - Bruce Penton

No one could ever ac­cuse Chris Jones of be­ing afraid of a chal­lenge. The Cana­dian Foot­ball League’s new sea­son is un­der way and the 2016 spot­light will shine brightly on Jones and Canada’s team, the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers. Jones left a com­fort­able and suc­cess­ful po­si­tion in Ed­mon­ton, where he led the Eskimos to the Grey Cup in 2015, and set up stakes in Regina, where he will guide the Rid­ers as gen­eral man­ager, head coach and vice-pres­i­dent of foot­ball op­er­a­tions. In other words, the foot­ball buck stops at Jones’ feet. When he was hired last De­cem­ber, about a week af­ter Ed­mon­ton’s 26-20 vic­tory over Ottawa Redblacks in the Grey Cup Game, Jones said he was ex­cited about the chal­lenge of be­ing in full con­trol over a foot­ball op­er­a­tion and start­ing from the ground up. Riderville was over the moon, nat­u­rally. Af­ter a 3-15 record in 2015 and the mid-sea­son fir­ing of head coach Corey Cham­blin and gen­eral man­ager Bren­dan Ta­man, the Rid­ers were ripe for a com­plete over­haul. They looked to the north­west, where Jones was in his sec­ond year as head coach of the Eskimos af­ter great coach­ing suc­cess in Canada — win­ning Grey Cups with Mon­treal, Toronto and Cal­gary as coach on the de­fen­sive side of the ball. Jones told CBC.ca the move to Regina was ex­cit­ing be­cause “It’s an op­por­tu­nity for me and the staff to put to­gether the pro­gram from the ground up. And that’s some­thing that is very at­trac­tive.” Jones guid­ing the Green and White won’t au­to­mat­i­cally make the Roughrid­ers a Grey Cup favourite, but it’s safe to say Jones will sta­bi­lize a situ- ation that has been a bit of a mess lately. With quar­ter­back Dar­ian Du­rant healthy to start the sea­son — the Rid­ers’ 2013 Grey Cup win­ning quar­ter­back suf­fered a sea­son-end­ing achilles ten­don rup­ture in Game 1 last year — Jones has the No. 1 thing a CFL coach needs: An es­tab­lished vet­eran QB. Mean­while, Eskimos fans an­noyed with their coach aban­don­ing their team will have ex­tra in­cen­tive to hope their team runs ragged over Saskatchewan this year. And they likely will, be­cause the Rid­ers re­build will take longer than one year. But if Jones’ coach­ing his­tory is any in­di­ca­tion, the Roughrid­ers won’t be door­mats for long. • Com­edy writer Alex Kase­berg: “Don­ald Trump asked Tom Brady to speak for him at the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion. This will be a real test for Brady. If he can de­flate Trump’s ego, he can de­flate any­thing.” • Greg Cote of the Mi­ami Her­ald: “Ichiro sur­passed Pete Rose’s ca­reer to­tal if you in­clude his Ja­pan hits, which no­body does. Es­pe­cially grumpy Pete.” • Cote again: “NHL is award­ing an ex­pan­sion team to Las Ve­gas. Like most who are new to Ve­gas, it fig­ures to lose big right away.” • Dwight Perry of the Seat­tle Times: “Don­ald Trump fired his cam­paign man­ager? Hey, don’t laugh. Just look what the Cava­liers and the Pen­guins — who won this year’s NBA and NHL ti­tles — did af­ter lop­ping their head coaches in mid­sea­son.” • Brad Dick­son of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Her­ald, on the 684-yard 12th hole at Oak­mont Coun­try Club: “North Korea has had long-range mis­sile tests that didn’t make it that far.” • Bob Moli­naro of pi­lo­ton­line. com: “At Euro ’16, I was hop- ing Hun­gary would get to play Turkey.” • An­other one from Dwight Perry: “A 4-year-old in Bothell flushed a valu­able ring down the toi­let, but san­i­ta­tion work­ers re­cov­ered it a mile away a month later. No such luck for the Golden State War­riors.” • Ian Hamil­ton of the Regina (Sask.) Leader-Post, on the No. 1 rea­son for pa­trons to join the new cannabis-friendly gym in San Fran­cisco: “To work on their pot bel­lies.” • TC from BC: “Cleve­land fans cel­e­brated their team’s NBA cham­pi­onship with the city’s first vic­tory pa­rade in 52 years. The last time Cleve­land won a ma­jor team sports award, the Great Lakes were merely ponds.” • Brad Rock of the De­seret News: “Rus­sia’s track team has been banned from the Olympics due to dop­ing is­sues. IOC of­fi­cials sus­pected testos­terone was in­volved when they learned ev­ery­one on the women’s team re­fused to ask for driv­ing di­rec­tions.” • RJ Cur­rie of sports­deke. com: “Golden State’s Steph Curry was ejected from a game for toss­ing his mouth guard into the crowd. NHL star Jaromir Jagr did the same thing once — ex­cept his teeth were in it.” • Late-night fun­ny­man Jimmy Fal­lon of NBC: “It’s be­ing re­ported that LeBron James’ 11-year-old son al­ready has bas­ket­ball schol­ar­ship of­fers from Duke and Ken­tucky. Af­ter hear­ing this, LeBron was like, “So I can stop sav­ing for his col­lege? Phew!” • Fal­lon again: “It’s the first NBA ti­tle and the first cham­pi­onship for Cleve­land in 52 years. And now a lot of sports writ­ers are say­ing that Cleve­land will no longer be syn­ony­mous with los­ing. Then the Cleve­land Browns said, ‘No, we’re still here.’” Care to com­ment? Email bru­ce­pen­ton2003@ya­hoo.ca

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