What we learned: The June Jones conference call
Well, he's back. Step one in the right direction for the 2018 Ticats. June Jones took questions on a call this afternoon to discuss returning to Hamilton and here are some of the things we learned.
On the next step for Hamilton's offence:
"As Bill Walsh told me a long time ago if you’re not tweaking 15-20% every year teams are catching up to you. We have our staples but some things will change. I will say this, the CFL gives you a bigger field and greater chance for success with the things I like to do."
Reaction: A Bill Walsh quote right off the top. They got the right guy. I asked this one because I can't wait to see what creative looks Jones' and the Ticats can throw at teams with a full training camp. Now we wait for the show.
On contract length:
"I haven't put pen to paper but we've talked it through real good and its a three year deal"
Reaction: It's kind of sad that in the CFL a three year deal is viewed as a massive commitment, but it kind of us. Jones clearly earned the trust of decision makers in Hamilton and now he has a three year window with which to create something special instead of a single year to prove his worth again. Job security can be a negative if the team's record goes drastically sideways but also allows for a comfort level on both sides that says Jones is here to get a job done.
"We've spoken to their camp and its more in their hands than ours. It’s in the commissioners lap and he’s about ready or has signed off on him already. We’ve had a quite a few discussions so we’ll see."
Reaction: The commissioner line was an eye opener. The Ticats seem genuinely interested in this guy, good on them if he can find his way. I have my doubts but they're doing everything they can to attempt getting better and that should be applauded. If the football gods are listening all I want for my birthday in June is a full training camp of Manziel, Masoli and some young NCAA stud throwing darts for two weeks competing to make the team.
On Manziel and June Jones system:
**Chuckling** "I can plug him into our system very easily. I've worked him out twice and his arm strength is better than I thought it was. If he comes here for 3-4 years he’ll be able to write his own ticket back to the NFL it’s really a Warren Moon type of deal.
Reaction: 2013 Manziel? Yes.
Manziel we heard about from the Buffalo workout? No.
Manziel six months from now? Maybe?
On his staff in Hamilton:
Maybe a couple small changes on staff. Hoping to have everything finished in ten days to two weeks. I know what I want to do but we have to do whats best for the football team.
Reaction: I really don't know who Jones would want to replace but in Week 16 with the Ticats on the road at Winnipeg I looked at my twitter timeline and saw Hawaii offensive line coach Chris Neole resigned citing “philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters in the program.” By all accounts he appears available and we all know how Jones' Hawaii roots run deep. Worth mentioning.
On the one thing he needs to 2018 Ticats to be better at than the 2017 Ticats:
Winning close games. Calgary, Saskatchewan, the Argos game in week 15. You have to win your close games. That comes from confidence, belief, a team having something you can’t put your finger on like chemistry. We've got good kids here that have that chemistry. No way you can win six games after going 0-8 if you don’t have the right pieces already in house".
Reaction: Spot on. This team was so damn close to shocking the powerhouse Stampeders in the second half, they should have beaten the eventual Grey Cup champions if not for turnovers and the greatness of Ricky Ray and they could have easily beaten the crossover Riders. Of course onlys and buts are worth nothing more than candy and nuts. Jones knows that.
On if he almost took a job back in the NCAA:
There was one school that really interested me just because it was close to where I'm at in Portland. We had two or three discussions but it just didn't work out they went a different direction so I'm the lucky guy that gets to come back here and try to win a Grey Cup in Hamilton".
Reaction: What's up Oregon State.. Reckless speculation here but that's the type of job June Jones would slide into easily and a program in look of a new direction. They hired Johnathan Smith on November 29th, less than a week ago. Imagine June Jones versus Mike Leach in an Oregon State versus Washington State game... WILD.
On if there are free agents he simply can't afford to lose between now and February:
There are two or three. I don't know if it helps us right now to declare them but you can figure out who they are.
Reaction: Hello Jeremiah Masoli, Luke Tasker, Brandon Banks, Ted Laurent and Larry Dean.
All in all this was the move that needed to happen for Hamilton to start the offseason correctly and they should be applauded for getting the deal done and in a timely fashion that doesn't leave potential free agents twisting in the wind. More analysis on the radio tomorrow morning 6-9am on TSN 1150 Hamilton.