By cutting vets, Riders will motivate the players that remain

Even a Grey Cup-winning football team needs to overhaul its roster, so when the non-championship-winning Saskatchewan Roughriders unceremoniously dumped veteran receivers Rob Bagg, Chad Owens and Bakari Grant, it’s just a part of the process.

The motivation process.

Nothing motivates professional athletes more than seeing proven, veteran players getting cut. It’s a way for coaches to ensure that complacency doesn’t settle into the locker room. How many veterans or rookies on the Roughriders now feel secure about their jobs? Not very many because fear — fear of being released and not playing, not earning a paycheque, not competing for a championship, not winning — is an athlete’s greatest motivator.

Bagg was a 10-year veteran who overcame two major knee injuries and won a Grey Cup with the Roughriders in 2013, but his speed and contributions were diminishing. Owens played for three teams in eight seasons and has been injured most of the time since joining the Roughriders in 2017. Grant, after six CFL seasons with Hamilton and Calgary, joined Saskatchewan last year and gradually became a non-factor, to the point where he dropped a wide-open, in-his-hands pass Friday during a 39-12 preseason loss to the visiting Calgary Stampeders.

For less money the Roughriders will replace the expensive contracts of Bagg, Owens and Grant, an important consideration for a team in a salary-cap league that is paying roughly 13 per cent of its players’ payroll to quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Brandon Bridge. The replacements won’t be as knowledgeable, but they will certainly be working their tails off to help improve a team that has won one playoff game since its Grey Cup victory in 2013.

Turnover of CFL rosters is imperative when teams are operating under a $5.2-million cap on players’ salaries. Don Matthews and Eric Tillman, two long-standing and successful CFL adversaries who worked together once and didn’t get along very well, still respected the process and shared similar philosophies as they built their teams.

Matthews followed the doctrine that every team had to turn over at least 25 per cent of its roster season to season — even Grey Cup teams, and Matthews was a part of 10 championship squads. Tillman, who always describes football as a “great sport but a crappy business,’’ believes a personnel manager who dispatches a player when the fans realize he’s no longer valuable, has waited too long. Matthews and Tillman certainly made some errors during their careers, but their philosophy is sound.

And Chris Jones, who oversees Saskatchewan’s roster as head coach, general manager and vice-president of football operations, obviously believes in that strategy. He was, after all, brought into the CFL and mentored by Matthews.

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis

Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.
Darrell Davis
Darrell Davis
About Darrell Davis (124 Articles)
Darrell Davis has reported on the Riders for more than 20 years and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2006.

74 Comments on By cutting vets, Riders will motivate the players that remain

  1. What a ridiculous article.

    Chris Jones has been constantly churning the roster for the past three years. At some point there has to be some consistency.

    • Greenland // June 11, 2018 at 3:01 pm //

      Your right. He should of kept all the players he had when he first took over.

    • Man, you’ve gotta find out who keeps pi*sing in your cereal every morning. Need to get that constant bad taste out of your mouth.

    • TruBlu58 // June 11, 2018 at 3:25 pm //

      Agreed – Area51. More spin out of Priderville. Churn that roster all you like, with that O-Line they are destined for the west division basement. And, to suggest the approach of Jones emulates Tillman and the great Don Matthews. One cup Jones with a team he didn’t build – nice try.

    • Execute The Traitor Now! // June 11, 2018 at 3:47 pm //

      “a team that has won one playoff game since its Grey Cup victory in 2013.”

      Of course you could have said…
      ” a team that took eventual Grey Cup Champions Toronto to overtime in the East Final in Toronto.”

      Which is more than you can say for Calgary, who lost the next week on a neutral field in regulation to Toronto.

      • Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 4:07 pm //

        give it up.

        Fact check: You didn’t take Toronto to Overtime either

    • Coaches release players for a variety of reasons; motivating those who remain is probably the very least of these…

    • Jeff Garcia's Agent // June 11, 2018 at 5:18 pm //

      Roosevelt, Carter, LaBatte, Clark, Coleman, Moore, Holley, Jefferson, Butler, Gainey, Johnson, Edem, Steele, Moncrief, Eguavoen all returning from last season, all starters at some point during 2017. That’s 15 regulars back. When you add Collaros/Bridge, Messam, Hurl, Hughes and Evans, they have experienced players at 20 of 24 spots. In year three of what was a complete tear down, that is consistency.

  2. Sir Gallahan of the Prairies // June 11, 2018 at 3:05 pm //

    All teams have a nuculeous. Every team makes changes every year. Ironically BC, Hamilton and Montreal have had as much or more turn over. Yet here we are with the good old Green team.
    Every team that turns over their Vets. Calgary does it more than anybody. However their theme is next man up and it obviously has worked very well.
    All people here see is a name and a past record. They didn’t see camp and how young players coming in did as well or better than the Vets in camp and preseason play.
    Rob Bag is a perfect example. Rob always gave his all. Ron played with his heart in his sleeve. When Rob Bag scored a TD. He wasn’t shouting out words of glee. He was telling everyone who doubted him where to stick it. I think that’s great. But Robs 334 yards a season with a couple touchdowns just isn’t worth the money that costs more than the 2 Canadians that have replaced him.
    I don’t see much turnover this year in SK. The few Vets cut where at the end of their careers and Bakari Grant was replaced with a younger Vet. So where is the big turn around? Owens? Played 2 games?

  3. ELEVEN (11) new starters in Regina this year – – but Rider Fan “doesn’t see much turnover”.

    • Jeff Garcia's Agent // June 11, 2018 at 5:25 pm //

      Where do you get 11 from? LaBatte, Clark, Coleman, Roosevelt, Carter, Moore and Holley on offense. Jefferson, Steele, Eguavoen, Moncrief, Butler, Gainey, Johnson and Edem on defense. By my count that’s 15. And it’s not like the other 9 are all raw rookies given it’s Collaros/Bridge, Hughes, Evans and Hurl. They have just one rookie starting on defense.

      • yeap sadly area 51 is kina right , I just counted, 2 olinemen, Holly (B GRANT Started), Bailey, Collaross, Messam on offence: Hughes, Evans, Hurl/Judge, Marshall on D. So 10 not 11 , new starters. But most of those starting are UPGRADES on the guys starting last year. Vaughn might be better then Campbell, Mason is better then Cam Marshall, Holly is better then Grant. Marshall is better then Rodgers, Evans is a BEAST, Judge in his role will be as good as Enoc was, Hughes is ton better then the guy that went to Ottawa, the others are saw offs at worst, Zac as bad as he is has more potential then GLEN, Williams-Lambert is as good as grant was and will get better as he is a rookie, I think actually Stanford will eventually be the guy taking Baggs place and he right now is Way faster then Bagg and will learn, Again the question comes down to offensive line ???? just how good will it be ???

  4. Sec. 39 // June 11, 2018 at 3:28 pm //

    @37% turnover with current roster vs. 2017 ESF.

    @61% turnover with current roster vs. roster at the end of 2017 TC.

    IIRC (I could do the numbers as I keep all the data) the 2013 Grey Cup team turned over @27% vs. 2012.

    There is an argument for player churn and the need to establish a core.

    • Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm //

      Comparing 2012/2013 to the first 2 examples is apples to oranges. The riders essentially cheated in putting that 2013 roster together. If ever a championship was bought and an organization duped players, that was it

      • Sec. 39 // June 11, 2018 at 3:40 pm //

        LOL. Get lost. “Cheated!” Talk football with some knowledge and class you clown.

      • Get serious!!! Bought a Grey Cup victory??? Really??? How did Saskatchewan buy a Grey Cup??? I’m sorry, but that’s a comment only a loser would make.

        • Red&White Forever // June 11, 2018 at 10:06 pm //

          Technically, yes: the Riders broke the salary cap the year they won the cup, but they broke it by $17,975. That’s what, a third of a player? So, who really gives a rats ass about less than $20K over?

  5. Blue rules // June 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm //

    Jones is a diddler. Generally don’t you wait until you start to lose before you cut big names to inflict fear, instead of before the season starts. Oh well enjoy your team in Jonestown. I’m starting to think the Rider’s will end up in 10th place.

    • I thought you had more class than that. A person from Loserpeg commenting like that. Yeah, really!!!

    • WinnipegSucks // June 11, 2018 at 8:53 pm //

      Only those who accuse someone of being a diddler is one themselves, not surprising coming from someone in Winnipeg, that city leads in sexual assaults year after year.

    • Stewart Gerrard // June 11, 2018 at 11:32 pm //

      Coming from a Bomber fan. Your Head Coach has been there since 2013.

  6. Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 3:32 pm //

    The fact is, the riders can sign all the Charleston Hughes, Derek Dennised and Chad Owens they want. Until Jones is willing to do the nitty gritty work of building a solid core of Canadian players and Oline the riders will not that next step

    • Agree 100% – – the only way to build a championship team in the CFL is to get a good QB and the most NI talent you can possibly find.

      Look at how loaded with NI talent the 2013 Riders were compared to the collection of rubbish that’s there now.

      This is what happens when a team has five or six years of terrible drafting as Regina has done since 2013.

    • The fact is, can’t post a single Rider thread without you dragging your sorry ass on and running on like a broken toilet.

      Every fan is going to throw a little shade at other teams, but your entire focus is, Saskatchewan Roughriders 100% of the time.

      But – I guess if that’s what your mission is, and you have the blessing of 3dowm – hate on many handles, hate on !!

  7. Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 4:21 pm //

    lol I love that picture of Grant of the front page. Throwing his arms up in the air, looking up… can tell he’s saying “I give up” as Collaros misses pass after pass

    • Thank you 3down for allowing this pathetic moron to continue poisoning your site.

      • Can someone just make this sorry sack of sh*t vanish already? It’s beyond the point of annoying.

      • dint see 51 call you any derogatory names just giving his usual colorful opinion,he has said $hit i dont like but damn its his right get used to it Yup and quit the name calling

  8. Doug Mc Clintock // June 11, 2018 at 4:29 pm //

    The past few years have seen a big rise in injuries to all teams, Why ?

    Was it as common as years ago ?
    Do they push their bodies too hard and tackle too aggressively. How can you identify with a team anymore with the turnovers that they have. Pity !

  9. Huff's Neighbor // June 11, 2018 at 4:32 pm //

    Well if it wasn’t for the Riders, all you small minded haters wouldn’t have a reason to get out of your mother’s bed. Seriously, been hearing the same sheit for 45 f’n years from the same loser fans of other teams who think their shat doesn’t stink. And then there are the Red types who are closet dwelling clinical misfits, or 3D employees looking to improve readership by being a-holes. There has to be 10 stories on the Riders, are not other teams in the league making changes, cutting veterans, signing unknowns, having turn over?????????? Remember this, the more you hate, the sweater it will be for us when the Riders win.

  10. Scottsask // June 11, 2018 at 4:35 pm //

    What kind of sweater? I’m partial to cable knit, in a Marino wool, breathable but warm.

    • Zing..

    • Huff's Neighbor // June 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm //

      Thanks for your support Mr Grammar Cop …

      • We are all Rider fans Huff. I was going to say, you don’t often get wound up. Clearly manyhandles has finally worn thin on you too.

        • Huff's Neighbor // June 11, 2018 at 5:35 pm //

          Many handles is only one. A very sad one, but only one. I honestly think they are on 3D’s payroll to keep the pages turning. Which if true, is sad. If not true, than Red is a pathetic little victim of his mother’s desires. Either way, it seems the Riders are the most talked about club in the land on a day to day basis, good or bad.

  11. WoundedinWinnipeg. // June 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm //

    Bueno in bc and huffy in calgary do the same thing. Nothing new in shaking things up. Why all the indignation?8

  12. White Horse // June 11, 2018 at 4:57 pm //

    How many more rider and Ticats articles are we going to have to endure? There just happens to be 9 teams in this league. Let’s hear about other teams please!!

    • As long as your jealousy constantly shows in your writings on Rider stories, the Riders will always be the top story. Are you that dim?

      • Red&White Forever // June 11, 2018 at 10:29 pm //

        It goes both ways. The first comment on the “Fastest Cow” article about the Stamps is a Rider fan baiting Manyhandles the Troll. Everybody needs to stop responding/baiting him and he goes away because it’s no fun anymore.

    • OH GOOD GOD , Dont ask the butt clown writing for this sight to actually get off their lazy a**es and do some real work putting a story together on another team and satisfy that teams fan base// and us as interested onlookers. what would abysmal loosers and haters like area 51 and red do with their time if they couldn’t keep up consistent rants on chris jones AND the riders, those two loosers would have to either get a life /a wife( no RED Porn and a blow up doll does not count as a wife as much as your mom tells you it does.) or a job. BUT thanks for the plea for some real other football news would love to know what’s going on in Edmonton for example . even Calgary would be a relief in getting to know some of their players , maybe he team would become a bit more likeable if they actually got some press.

  13. And the Riders are sitting on 32 – 40% (40 counting returning players as new) new players. Like to see another OL added while others heal but CJ has been preparing DLs to fill in.

  14. MR. Green // June 11, 2018 at 5:33 pm //

    Caleb Holley has overtaken Grant, and Jordan Williams-Labert is a younger clone of Bakari, but with way better hands. Owens and Bagg older and injuries hurt them with the young guys showing better.
    These guys above would have kept them all and cut Bailey, Holley, Kyran Moore, Lambert, and other young talent. 51 thinks turnover is bad. That is a very irrational comment. His Calgary buddy agrees yet they go younger and it a great move. 2 contradicting and very unknowledgeable people, not fans because fans know better. Most of the D is back and everyteam makes a change. O line is younger and the starting 5 are very physical.
    Soon to be defensive player of the year, Moncrief, will be a treat to watch. 2nd year guy who played sparingly. Thank goodness for turnover or text average league age would be 175 years old.

    • Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm //

      Who the hell is this Williams-Labert guy rider fans keep talking about? The next in a long list of hopeful to dreadful??

  15. Former Rider fan // June 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm //

    What a crock. Nobody is going to put out for a coach with Small Man Syndrome. The sooner he’s gone the better off the Riders will be.

    • Don’t let the door hit you on the way out former rider fan! What kind of pathetic fan are that you’re a former fan because of a coach/GM? LOL. Fair weathered I’d presume! Grow a sack when you pick your new team

    • Is your life that void of joys outside CFL football that you leave a fan base because you don’t like Jones? Haha. Man, life is gonna give you a wake up call sooner or later son!

    • MR. Green // June 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm //

      Rider Nation is better off without you. Unfortunately for you this has no effect. Your the type who brings a ball to a game with friends, gets embarrassed and takes the ball and goes home. Stay home and we are all happier.

    • MR. Green // June 11, 2018 at 7:27 pm //

      Rider Nation is better off without you. Unfortunately for you this has no effect. Your the type who brings a ball to a game with friends, gets embarrassed and takes the ball and goes home. Stay home and we are all happier.

  16. Sun always shines at McMahon // June 11, 2018 at 8:00 pm //

    I have a buddy who works for the Las Vegas betting council. He says the riders are soon to be removed from the Grey Cup betting docket after the events of this past week. The odds are so low, that if an average amount of people take the bet and the riders win. Vegas will be Detroit this time next year.

    • Sunny boy, I don’t believe a single word your saying (fake news, folks). If you’re going to provide a ridiculous comment like that, then at least provide some documentation.

    • Face it Sun Don’t Shine, you have no friends. “las Vegas Betting Council” exists about as much as the Stumps won the last two grey cups haha. Back to delusion city you go little man.

    • look weirdo , your attempts at humor are insulting and base! and crase for your information you must have minimal intelligence to be humorous on purpose , sadly IMO you severely intellectually challenged doffus , your not more then 2 steps removed from a Neanderthal with a reptilian fight or flight brain complex.

    • Red your eyes are brown …. right?
      Do you want to know how I know?
      Simple… it’s because you are so full of sh*t that your eyes couldn’t be any other color than brown.
      The Cleveland browns “WON” both of their preseason games last year. Spbecause of that were they put as a higher chance of winning the Super Bowl. Man you are a consummate make belief commenter

  17. Wideout // June 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm //

    I’m in Vegas now. Just put down 20 on Riders at 7-1 at New York New York.

  18. Former Rider fan // June 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm //

    Yuk, Yuk. We’ll see who eats crow.

  19. Rockie III // June 12, 2018 at 12:53 am //

    I saw my first Roughrider game in 1949. If we had all commented on every player that was cut since then it would take a piece of paper from Regina to Vancouver Island. The coaches are paid to recruit the players and make the cuts. They all have their own persuasions. When they are wrong they get cut too. Blackjack Smith had no Black players on his team. He didn’t last. It seems to me that the comments here should be much more respectful. If you cant express your opinion without human decency you are not entitled to consider yourself a sports fan. If your comments are not fair to all concerned then you should edit or delete them before they are submitted.

    • THANKS !!! rockie III, for bringing me to common sense , and reminding me that yes every year the RIDERS cut someone that we as a fan base felt a loyalty to , aka Bobby Jurasin , etc. Wow it would be a blast to sit and listen to your rider war stories, that would be something. As a kid I vaugly remember relatives telling stories about Bob Shaw? / Eagle Key’s ETC. Didn’t even know a guy like Blackjack Smith existed , but again seem to recall a few stories REED has told about being 1 of a few black players on the riders back in the day. Again ergo why Roy Shivers should be a plaza member , just based on how vile at one point rider culture was re race.

  20. Wow Rockie III …. 1949 was your first Rider game. Come on man. Maybe 1969? I’m in my late 50’s and my first game came when I saw Ronnie and George in 1973 at 12 years old. If I’m in my late 50’s. 1949 would Put you in your late 70’s or early 80’s. If you were born at the game that would make you almost 70. If your on here and your in your 70’s I’m astonished.

  21. Former Rider fan // June 12, 2018 at 1:02 pm //

    @ 3rd and 1

    Age has nothing to do with it. I’m 71 years old and looking forward to the day the Chris Jones era ends.

    • That might be a LONG wait sir . Name me 1 coach in Rider history with better football acumen then Jones. All our good ones to my knowledge were kind of crusty Jack a**es. Miller was good , but perhaps if he had a bit more BITE , we would have 6 cups rather then 4 , Miller let a couple slip through our fingers by soft management decisions IMO. Chris is coming around , and is a very dedicated coach !!! But to each their own.

  22. when are they gonna realize that its not the players its chris jones and his over inflated ego thats the problem.

  23. mr sun shines, williams lambert was a mac conference all star at ball state, so he has some great potential just like some of the recievers the stamps have found coming in from us colleges.

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