Roughriders pin hopes on ‘fresh legs’ as they cut veterans

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The Roughriders are making some tough decisions with its last announced cuts, and adding fresh young blood, said general manager and head coach Chris Jones.

On Saturday the  Riders announced veteran receivers Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant and Chad Owens were cut from the team.

“That was a tough one,” Jones said of the decision to cut fan favourite Rob Bagg. “Rob Bagg’s been a good player here for a long time, certainly he’s been a loyal player during our tenure here. It’s one of those things where . . . it’s a young man’s game unfortunately.”

Over the course of the training camp, the team saw a few young guys consistently performing well, said Jones, precipitating some decision-making and leading to the cuts of older veteran players, including Bagg, who had played a role in the 2013 Grey Cup victory.  

As a general manager, Jones noted he had to weigh player salaries and talent, making decisions for the longer-term good of the team.

He acknowledged there is some worry in losing veterans with long-time game experience and knowledge.

“But at the same time, the quarterbacks aren’t always going to throw perfect ball. So you got to make sure that you got young fresh legs that can go get an errant throw.”

Injuries hurting depth

Incumbent kicker Tyler Crapigna is also out for the season, with a leg injury that will require surgery and time to heal.

“He kind of put the team in front of his own good,” said Jones of Crapigna’s continued play, noting, however, the coaching staff had been watching him closely. “You could tell it was nagging him.”  

Brett Lauther will be filling in, and seems to bring a relaxed attitude and a kick with “lots of pop” to the field, said Jones, who noted injuries had definitely hurt the depth of the team.

Zach Collaros could start as quarterback against Toronto this Friday at home, but Chris Jones, general manager and head coach, has made no announcements to confirm what will happen with the position. (The Canadian Press)

Yet another question that remains on people’s mind will have to wait for an answer, as Jones refused to say who would play at starting quarterback on Friday night’s home game against Toronto, whether it would be Zach Collaros, Brandon Bridge, or David Watford.  

But he acknowledged a lot is riding on that person’s shoulders, saying, “That’s what hinges on the success of our program, is our quarterbacks.”

While people may have strong feelings about player picks and the cutting of a player like Bagg, Jones said those opinions can’t affect his decision-making.

“I think when you start letting things like that — like media, or someone else’s opinion on the decision you’ve made —  affect you, you end up being weak.”



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