Chris Jones nearly pulled off the impossible. For that, the Saskatachewan Roughriders’ boss deserved to be named the CFL’s coach-of-the-year.
Without a great quarterback and with one of the CFL’s weakest collections of Canadian players, the Saskatchewan Roughriders posted a 12-6 record. It was second only to the Calgary Stampeders’ 13-5 mark, better than the Ottawa Redblacks’ 11-7 performance.
Calgary and Ottawa are meeting Sunday in the Grey Cup. Saskatchewan was a leading contender to qualify for the championship game, until stumbling in the West semifinal and succumbing to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Roughriders had a game-changing defence and tremendous special teams. Players such as Sam Eguavoen, Willie Jefferson, Mike Edem, Derrick Moncrief and Bret t Lauther had amazing seasons. That’s often a tribute to great coaching.
Jones inspired his players. And he nearly proved everyone wrong, those people who say a CFL team needs great quarterbacking and great Canadians to win a Grey Cup. Nearly proved them wrong.