Monday, 5 October 2015

Mailbag Monday!

Welcome to another edition of Mailbag Monday ladies and gentlemen!  For those of you who are still a bit shell shocked after this weekend’s loss to the hands of the BC Lions, all I can say is “Join the Club.”

Unfortunately in this business, there is never a lot of time to lick one’s wounds and feel sorry for each other, the team now must focus on the Zach Collaros-less Hamilton Tiger Cats on the road, in one of the toughest places to get a win in the CFL.

The hangover from Saturdays drubbing still hurts a lot of people, and unfortunately, there were more “comments” than Questions for our Mailbag this week, HOWEVER, those we did get were fantastic, and we can jump into them right away.

As always, you can hit the comment section of this blog, or Twitter (via @lucmull95) to get involved in the discussion.  See you soon…

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Good D, Bad Execution, or Bad Game Planning (Regarding SSKs loss in BC)


There’s an expression that good coaches and players adhere to from time to time, and it goes like this, “Those guys get paid too!”

One can look at Sunday’s loss from any angle they would like however what the game came down to was the fact that the BC Lions played better than the Saskatchewan Roughriders did on Offense and Defense.  It’s as simple as that…Oh, and don’t forget about play of rookie QB Jonathon Jennings.  

Jennings was great on Sunday.  The most impressive aspect of his game was the fact that he was able to elude an aggressive pass rush but ALWAYS kept his eyes downfield to make plays.  Escaping the pocket and extending drives with ones legs are something every young QB in this league has the ability to do...What made Jennings' day special were his intentions once out of the pocket; he didn’t settle for running for the sticks, he wanted to throw the ball, and it shredded the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  

The best example of this can be taken from the BC Lions’ first TD of the game.  Jennings eluded Macho Harris and had TONS of running room to get the 1st down, instead he remained patient, let the coverage break down, and threw a dart to Shawn Gore for 6.  

Now as basic as that seems, it shows poise in the youngster and an understanding of the Canadian Game and the way the rules don’t allow for coverages to be maintained for lengthy periods of time, ESPECIALLY when a QB leaves the pocket, essentially adjusting the launch point of where the ball is thrown.

It’s always tough to scheme for a QB that doesn’t have a tremendous body of work on tape.  As a player you can get the basics down, for example: “He’s an athletic QB that has a great arm” but football IQ is tough to nail down without a few games on film.

Jennings showed some really good potential in his coming out party, unfortunately it was against the Green and White who couldn’t maintain their back-end coverage for lengthy periods of time

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So who is to blame for (Sunday)?  They fired the problem (referring to Chamblin) before Labour Day didn’t they?  Are the players going to take responsibility yet?

I don’t feel like there’s been a point to where the players HAVEN’T taken responsibility for the overall performance this season.  There’s plenty of quotes and soundbites from the guys in the locker room that take ownership for 2015.  Regardless of the relationship between Coach and player, there’s not a guy in the building that will shirk the responsibility for any of the teams short comings.

At this point of the year it’s not about parading ALL of the problems that contribute to the Saskatchewan Roughriders shortcomings; it’s more about finding the solutions.  Placing blame is pointless now.  The Green and White aren’t a good football team.  We all see that.  But what would Ridernation rather do…Get better or Throw people under the bus?  I’d want to focus on getting better. 

There is going to be substantial change to this franchise in the very near future and it would be terrible if the fan base takes those changes as “finger pointing”.  Even the firing of Coach Chamblin and Brenden Taman signaled a new direction MORE THAN a direct accusation.

Things are never personal in this business, and one needs to harness that fact in all cases.  Quit it with the witch hunt folk, instead get ready to be inspired by change.

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If Jeremy O’Day does remain our GM, what are some of the things that he’ll do differently than Brendan Taman?

I don’t know!  And that may be the best part about Jeremy O’Day and his possible tenure as the General Manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  The guys a vault, and he’s going to operate on a need-to-know basis, which is exactly how it should be.  It’s become clear, from his interviews, that O’Day has a number of things on his mind when it comes to the direction of the team under his watch, and it’s also abundantly obvious that he’s not going to be a GM that shows his hand or speculates about any of it.  

Much has been made of the way that this Franchise has “groomed” JO for some type of role in the front office and through his experiences (since retiring) people are slowly starting to come around to Jeremy O’Day the exec, versus Jeremy O’Daythe perennial All-World Centre.  

JO’s transition doesn’t require him to bring a “nasty edge” in the board room, or be super-aggressive in his dealing with teams and other players.  The trait that should remain with him from his playing days, and has, is his ability to ignore the “white noise” that comes with the highs and lows of the Saskatchewan media and Fan Base.  O’Day may end up frustrating media types that will constantly be digging for headline news, and he may not come across as the baby-kissing rock-star that fans like to approach for pictures and small-talk session, but believe me, Jeremy O’Day is going to be direct, firm and fair in the way he deals with his vision and the people he deals with.  We’ll see the results, for better or for worse, but what we won’t see as much of is the process, and that is better for everyone in the organization AND outside of it.






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