Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson wasn’t surprised when he heard the news that Chris Jones was returning to the CFL as member of Toronto’s coaching staff.
“He’s a fun guy to have in the league, he’s a good football coach and brings a lot of energy,” said Dickenson.
“I’m not surprised to see him back. I didn’t think we’d see him for a little while — he’s back a little sooner than I expected — but it’s good to have him back and I look forward to seeing him if not this weekend, maybe some other weekend when we play Toronto.”
The veteran coaches are very familiar with one another, having served on the same staffs in Montreal (2003), Calgary (2008-09), Edmonton (2014-15), and Saskatchewan (2016-18). Dickenson was promoted to the role of head coach with the Riders in January 2019 when Jones chose to depart for the Cleveland Browns.
Dickenson believes Jones will make a strong impact on Toronto’s defence, though he doesn’t think his former colleague will have time to implement any new schemes before the Riders host the Argos on Friday night.
“I don’t think he’s going to have time this weekend, to be honest about that. I do think he’s going to be heavily involved in the game plan starting next week, but based on what I hear in terms COVID protocols I don’t think he’s even going to be able to be around them until Friday or Saturday,” said Dickenson.
Jones was reportedly hired by the Argos on Monday after defensive coordinator Glen Young and defensive backs coach Josh Bell were placed on leave. He is required to complete a four-day quarantine and pass two PCR tests before joining the team in practice, meaning he will not be on the field with Toronto before Friday’s game.
Rich Stubler has taken over play-calling duties for the Argos this week, providing over 25 years of experience as a defensive coordinator. With that said, Dickenson wouldn’t rule out Toronto tweaking their defence to including some hallmarks of Jones-led defences.
“I don’t expect to see a whole lot of Chris Jones-style defence from them, but who knows? Never say never in this business.”
The Riders are set to host the Argos on Friday at 9:45 p.m. ET. Mosaic Stadium will have a new vaccine requirement implemented for the game, the details of which can be found here.