Chris Jones said it himself, it’s a young man’s game.
The Riders leader of all things football met with the media on Sunday to discuss the moves that were made official earlier that morning, including a number of moves that were reported by 3DownNation’s Justin Dunk on Saturday.
Across the league, the Riders probably had the biggest surprises on cut down day. Among the names no longer in green and white are veterans Rob Bagg, Chad Owens, Bakari Grant and Travis Bond. That’s a lot of CFL experience out the door.
Here’s the thing, overall, while it’s difficult to see long-time players and fan favourites like Bagg and other good players leave the organization, they’re moves that Jones had to make. It’s not the first time Jones has made such decisions either. John Chick, Weston Dressler, Chris Getzlaf, Darian Durant, among others have all left the team under Jones’ watch.
For the most part, those decisions turned out to be the right ones as well.
Time will tell if Jones made the right decisions again but the theory behind the moves is strong. At some point, you need to start turning over some players on your roster for younger (and cheaper) options. That’s just how the world of football operates.
These are the types of decisions that this franchise didn’t make in the past and it eventually caught up with them.
These moves, while sound, do come with some risk. Two names, in particular, raise questions in Bagg and Bond.
As it stands right now, the Riders have a pretty good group of starting seven Canadians. After that, well, yeah.
Bagg at receiver was one Canadian spot on the field where you could say, yeah, they have a couple of good backups there if something happened to Bagg. Now? There’s just a couple of players who now have to prove they can do what’s asked of them. Can they match Bagg’s numbers last season? I think so.
But, Stephen McAdoo’s offence often uses the “Z” receiver to block. If Devon Bailey and/or Josh Stanford are able and willing to do the little things and get dirty, then it’s a good decision. If not? Well, this won’t send the season down the tubes, but it’s not ideal.
Speaking of blocking, the release of Bond leads to even more questions along the offensive line. After the pre-season, there’s no question that keeping the quarterback clean is the single biggest question mark for this team heading into the regular season. Bond was supposed to be a big part of the offensive line and now he’s gone. Based on Jones’ comments it sounds like Bond was simply beat by someone else.
Generally, that’s a good problem to have. But, when it comes at your weakest position? It’s hard to say if the guy who won was actually good or just better than someone who underperformed. Simply put, this issue needs to be sorted out. Does clearing Bond’s (and the others) salary help them bring in someone else? Perhaps.
As it stands right now, the Riders got younger and cheaper. That’s a good thing. Some of the fans feelings right now are understandable, but in the end, Jones did what he had to do.