Mr. Tillman; what went wrong with Brian Jones?

Perhaps "happy to be green" cannot answer this question because it is too personal (or just none of my business) or maybe a fan who knows the situation can in his stead but I spent most of last season up till tonight wondering what went wrong with that young O' Lineman out of Windsor Brian Jones?

I understood Mr. Tillman saying at the time of the trade with Montreal to get him that he was very high on him and saw him as a potential future replacement for Jeremy O'Day and yet last year he fails the physical and is released prior to training camp after spending the previous year on the practice roster?

What happened? Was he injured beyond repair, develop some kind of medical condition that would prevent him from playing or did he fail to keep himself in top physical condition?

I was hoping this young guy would have a future with the 'riders, but it went for naught?

Given the hour, I will be brief...

On draft day (2007), our assistant head coach, Mike Gibson, was jumping up and down to take Brian Jones in the second round. We, of course, took David McKoy, who played very well for us in the first few weeks of 2007, before sustaining a serious knee injury. When the third round came around, Gibby was jumping even higher for us to take Brian, but the consenus was to take Yannick Carter, who has been a reserve linebacker for us the past two seasons...and a very solid special teams performer. Montreal selected Brian a couple of picks later, and Gibby was reallllllllllllllllly disappointed. I promised him we would try to find a "reasonable" way to get the lineman he coveted.

Right before training camp, we agreed to trade our first pick in the 2008 draft to Montreal for Brian Jones, Henri Childs (who Gibby also loved from his year in Winnipeg) and the Als fourth round pick in 2008.

As things have turned out so far, the deal was somewhere between questionable to brutal...based on how Jean-Francois Morin Roberge, who we selected with that Montreal pick, turns out. JF's a huge kid, and we liked his potential enough to keep him all season. In fact, we believe he has a chance to be a very good sixth lineman, if not a starter at offensive tackle.

The other two guys in the trade, of course, both succumbed to injuries. Brian, after a respectful first season on our practice roster, hurt his back in the off-season (lifting weights) and failed our physical. Henri, a terrific young man, who kind of got lost after we acquired Wes Cates in a very good deal with the Stamps, was diagnosed with a bulging disk late in 2008...which ended his season, too. Neither, of course, came close to our hopes or expectations.

Soooooo, clearly, for us, the key to the trade is Jean Francois Morin Roberge. If he develops, which he should, then his career will be judged accordingly. Heck, if he becomes a starting tackle, in a backasswards way, the deal will have turned out fine. Until then, though, people will justifiably criticize me for what appears to be a bad trade. Yesssssss, I did it to appease a coach who loved Brian Jones, but it's my responsibility. No one forced me to sign the trade document, so the buck stops at my desk!!!

And, if any Hamilton fans are reading this, Gibby is a good coach, a good person and a very solid hire as your new OC. Even the best of coaches will make mistakes in player evaluations. Mike was right a lot more often than he was wrong in his two years with us!!!

Thank you Mr. Tillman for responding to my question at such a late hour. I was hoping for a response eventually but for you to do so soon after I posted it and so late in the evening (early in morning) is what I would call service well beyond the call of duty. The only reason I am up so late is that there is an infant visiting our household and I am sure you know all about that.

I do not believe a crystal ball comes with your job, so how can one predict who gets a bulging disc or who hurts their back lifting weights, or who blows out a knee? Henri Childs was compared to the great running back Mike Saunders by more than one CFL scout if my memory is serving me properly, which is very high praise. With Brian Jones, the reports on him were harder for me to find and although I trusted your assessment, I felt that he may have been a little undersized for an offensive lineman, but there again, so were great players like Roger Aldag and Pierre Vercheval.

Although I understand that you have the final say on who gets drafted, I can also understand the pressure put on you to go after certain athletes by others in management whose opinions you must consider. In situations like that, I would imagine that instincts and gut feelings are perhaps one’s best guide in the end.

I remember seeing J.F. Morin-Roberge and another ‘rider horsing around at a shopping mall parking lot (it was all in good fun and nothing to be concerned about, just two young guys on a testosterone buzz). What made my jaw drop was seeing J.F. Morin-Roberge RUN! For such a huge young man, he is surprisingly light on his feet. He has to be very strong to move that much weight so quickly.

As a supplemental, how is David McKoy’s knee progressing? It would be sad to see a young man’s future end like that, especially when he played so well at university.

Before I get going on this, a little side note. Has anyone besides me had trouble loading the CFL draft tracker? Very annoying!!

Anyway, onto Brian Jones. First, let's see ifwe can figure out who traded whom for what. The trade, according to both Wikipedia and the Leader=Post was, to Sask: Brian Jones, Henri Childs and Montreal's 3rd round pick. To Montreal: Karhut, our 1st and 4th round picks, and a neg list player.

To reacquire Childs, Tillman paid a decent price. He shipped offensive lineman Ryan Karhut, Saskatchewan's first- and fourth-round draft choices in 2008 and a negotiation-list player to Montreal for Childs, offensive lineman Brian Jones and the Alouettes' third-round pick in 2008.
I believe the neg list player was Adrian McPherson, though I stand to be corrected if that is not the case. So Francois-Roberge is not directly the result of this deal. Montreal chose Gurminder Thind with that 4th round pick We did however trade the 3rd round pick we obtained to BC, and Roberge was the result of a pick we aquired from BC, so perhaps we got something else in exchange. I was wondering if the deal to obtain Stadnyk fits in here somewhere? If that is the case, I am missing a piece of the puzzle. Also, according to Wikipedia, Jones was chosen immediately before Yannick Cater, not after. So if ET can confirm any of these facts, that would be great.

But what we may or may not have gotten in a second trade is irrelevant in deciding if the first trade was a good one. As is whether the players we obtained were later injured. You can't control injuries, and player get hurt. Fact of life. And of course hindsight is 20/20, so if a player one team received pans out better than the other in HINDSIGHT, that also remains unfair to a very large extent. Now one can claim to have known that a player was better than the draft position, etc. Though the reverse isn't really effective"we didn't really think that kid was any good but we drafted him anyway". So if Gibson was high on Jones, that's terrific. But when you look at the price, we paid a lot for that kid. We needed runningbacks, so picking up Childs for a look see was fair enough. I'd be willing to say that a neg player for Childs is a wash. Can't see paying more than that. So I see the deal as Childs for McPherson. That leaves Jones and a 3rd round pick for Karhut, a 4th rounder and a 1st rounder. The known quantities are Karhut and Jones. Karhut was only a 5th rounder, but as we took him, I hope we saw something good in him. Breaking it down further, I could see Karhut and a 4th round pick being worth a 3rd rounder to Montreal. If you consider that in the end meant they had 2 o-line prospects, rather than one, it seems fair. That means in essence, we traded a 1st round pick for a 3rd round pick, albeit a known quantity. Now all draft picks are a crap shoot. But it seems to me that a 1st round pick is a lot more valuable than what we got in exchange. I might argue that had we gotten Childs Jones AND a 3rd rounder just for the 1st rounder that would have been a good deal.

Arius, given your passion to challenge everything, I will assume you are correct. My time, frankly, is too valuable (in terms of it needing to be focused on the team) to debate ever specific detail of every single post with you. I was typing after midnight, and your specifics may be better than mine. We swapped a couple of picks after that trade, so which picks are which become relative (to most people, thst is).

If something acquired in one trade is then a part of a subsequent deal, then, it does, in fact, connect, in my view. Regardless, I think most will appreciate the details of how the trade happened, and an acknowledgement (by me) that it was viewed as a trade which was anything but a good this time. Perhaps, it's awful now. That's for others to judge.

When I try to answer questions from our fans, it's an effort to provide them with insight into our thought processes...the why's of our decisions, not just the what's (the WHAT they can read anywhere, right?). I didn't come on here, however, to debate every single post I make to the finest of details, Arius. A fourth round pick, versus a third round pick, when that was back in May of 2007 isn't an attempt to be wrong. It was trying to answer question honestly, to the best of my recall. But, hey, I said May, right? What if it was reallllllllllly April? I'm sure you'll research it and let us know if it was April or June, NOT MAY, and that detail is wrong, too.

Arius, you must live to argue. For what it's worth, my focus is on trying to help the Riders continue to build on their best back-to-back seasons since 1969-70!!! Or, is it 1970-71??? I'm sure you'll make sure everyone knows if I made a small mistake on that one, too, right??? :lol:

But, if this makes you feel better, if I was still in the media (in my broadcasting days), I would view the trade as a BAD ONE!!! And, the responsibility would lie with the man who signed it: Eric Tillman!!! Feel better now, Arius?

Arius, a word of advice my friend... the other one who nitpicked every detail with ET is no longer a part of this forum...

Have you or Mike kept in touch?

Will we see him in training camp this year, or will he show up in Hamilton at Gibson's request and turn into an all-star lineman for the Ti-Cats this year?


This just my recall is pretty darn good! Jeremy O'Day just walked out of my office after signing a two year extension (to be EXACT, Arius, that would he a one plus an option). Anyway, I told Jeremy that I had just responded to your questions about Brian Jones and he said, "Well, if he had been as good as you thought, you might not be signing me today." Touche!!!

One prospect for 2 players and a prospect always looks like a decent trade.

Three prospects and 1 player for 2 players and a prospect looks like a completely different deal.

Evaluating the deal – sorta means identifying the prospects involved. Not sure how that’s nitpicking. Regardless, Tillman’s account of the deal was somewhat misleading.

P.S. Great news on O’Day … hope negotiations with the rest of the line go as smoothly.

If you are telling me Mike was banned, I wouldn't be surprised. If you are telling me he was banned for "nitpicking" then that would surprise me. Mike is generally rude and insulting and most of the time wrong about things. But if this forum is now the "Happy to be Green Hour", and we are no longer entitled to offer our views and our opinions about things for fear they might offend ET, then why would anyone want to be part of that? If the only thing we are supposed to do when ET posts is swoon and awe then I don't see the point. We are assessing a trade and its merits. To do that, might it not be valuable, for both the fans and Eric if we were actually discussing the players involved in that trade? As opposed to players that were not? If that is "nitpicking" so be it.

For what it's worth, this is the greatest value to your being most of us, anyway.

From now on, let's all just call this the "ARIUS RULE": the facts you are relating are more or less, on or about, or to the best of your recollection, and are not meant to be absolutely accurate to the 4th decimal place in every infinitismal detail, set out in perfect chronological order, perfect grammar, and exactly verbatim to every other time this same set of information was communicated.

This way, rather than having to read (and reply to) scroller-length screeds analysing every post, we can simply state that the Arius Rule is in effect, and move along.....

Fair enough. But when the maker of the trade assesses it as bad to awful, whether or not Ryan coughWHO??cough Karhut is invloved, doesn't change that assessment, does it? If it was omitted, point it out and move on, don't try and over-analyze the reasons for the oversight.

It's not whether you want to critically examine the merits of the trade, or even that you want to disagree that's the problem. Whether you mean to or not, your "nitpicking" always carries with it an implication that there is some purposeful subterfuge going on - there is this "see, he's not telling you everything" tone, or that these discrepancies (if in fact they are) are somehow evidence of a greater, unspoken flaw. You never come out and say it, but it's always there.

No one said hard questions could not be asked, or differing opinions were no longer acceptable. But, really, even if you're bang on on these facts, so what?

How would you do if someone emailed you after midnight about something you did in the spring of '07 and you answered from memory?

Frankly, I think Zbest summed it up rather nicely. If it is insight you are providing, it is difficult to glean very much of that if the basic facts are wrong. To tell everyone you yourself think you made a bit of a stinker seems fair enough. Except if the trade went down as you stated, why would it be a bad deal? It is completely unfair to assess a deal based on a player getting injured. If you made a deal to bring Ricky Ray to town, but he got hit by a bus on his way to Taylor Field, I am thinking it was still likely a pretty good trade…
So it is great that you updated the status of Henri and Brian. But you also delved into the trade itself. Which required clarification on the facts. I completely agree that you are very busy and it apparently was late at night, so nobody expects you to do your own fact checking, or to never make a mistake. So I did it for you. And then I offered my opinion of why I actually agree with you–that trade wasn’t particularly good. I broke it down into its various parts and offered what I believe to be a fair analysis. If instead of being condescending and demeaning in your tone, things others get warned about, you had instead offered your opinion as to whether my analysis was sound, or out in left field, then the level of discourse goes up. There is always more insight to be gained into these things if they are thoroughly and reasonably discussed. If all we are supposed to do here is nod and wink, and thank you for your anecdotes, then I personally don’t think much will be learned by anyone.

The draft tracker link does not work for me either and has not for at least a couple of months now. It does vex me.

Jeremy O'Day is re-signed! Alright!

I hope Gene Makowsky and Mike Abou-Mechrek are both resigned as well. Both are a little long in the tooth I know, with Makowsky being a year older than O'Day and Abou-Mechrek being a year younger than O'Day. From his all star selection last year, Geno must have played extremely well (after being sifted all over the o'line because of injuries), and I think last year was probably Abou-Mechrek's best year as a pro. I heard that he is popular in the dressing room and as a fan, I find his rather eccentric comments very entertaining (but comments do not make one a good football player).

The lineman I would let go via free agency is Steve Morley. I think he has been somewhat of a disappointment as a starter with both Calgary and then Toronto after going first overall in the amateur draft the year he was drafted. I am not certain how much cash he is asking for either.

On my fanatsy roster, I would start two imports at the tackle positions with Wayne Smith at left guard, Jeremy O'Day at centre and Gene Makowsky at right guard with the primary backup being Mike Abou-Mechrek.

The other two o'line positions will be battles between Chris Best, J.F. Morin-Roberge, Jonathan St. Pierre (if Mr. Tillman can sign him), and Jocelyn Frenette. Jocelyn is probably the best long snapper in the game but his coverage on special teams is well... we all know how that is. He may be in tough against Kevin Scott who I hope is better at coverage than Jocelyn and hopefully he can be as error free at long snapping as Jocelyn is. That must some kind of programme there at Queen's. I would also like Mr. Tillman to see if can swing a deal with Hamilton and get Jordan Matechuk (if that is necessary) who was the best long snapper in junior ball when he played at that level (and he is another Saskatchewan kid).

I do not think the 'riders will be able to draft a new O'lineman in 2009 of any note. The best the 'riders can hope for is Steve Myddelton out of St. Francis Xavier whose allstar resume is much thinner than J.F. Morin-Roberge unless a trade deal can be worked out.

Arius, you're criticizing someone of condescending posts?

What I wish Arius would accept is I'm simply trying to communciate with the Rider fans (who pay our salaries), and answer questions/concerns to the best of my ability. How many of the other seven team threads offer this perspective??? But, then again, how many other teams have fans as passionate as ours? Honestly, I feel very fortunate to be in a province where people care so incredibly much!!!

Will there be occasions when I forget a detail, or a specific? Yesss, of course. Heck, I couldn't tell you what I ate for breakfast last Friday. But, clearly, in the trade which asked was about, the specific request was to know what happened with Brian...and what went wrong? If anything, I'm only foolish for trying to be more specific (than the question required) and giving fodder to those who wish to debate things such as...was it a third or fourth round draft pick!

I'm meeting with another player in five minutes, so I'll say adios!

Hopefully some more good news in ten minutes... :cowboy:

Sorry, Artie. I think you have me confused with someone else. There is almost always something else to be learned. And I do believe Eric does a pretty masterful job of spin. But I don't think it is subterfuge, or that there is any great conspiracy to pull the wool over anyone's eyes. I just think Eric would make a brilliant politician, or even better, the politician's friend, the spin doctor. And that means things he says and does need to be challenged. If no one challenges him on anything, frankly, none of you truly learn anything. ET says he is trying to answer the "why we do things". That's all I want to know myself. I already know pretty much the what, when, where and who of most of these things. 97% of what he has posted is available elsewhere if you look. Very little is new. And most of the new stuff, I believe, has actually come because of the agitators--Zbest, Mike and myself. And believe me when I say I rather dislike ever needing to defend Mike!! Mike got banned because he is an ass. Not because he was asking questions. If we left the forum to the lapdogs that have magically followed Eric to this forum, we wouldn't learn a bloody thing.

you don't think this is condescending:

But, hey, I said May, right? What if it was reallllllllllly April? I'm sure you'll research it and let us know if it was April or June, NOT MAY, and that detail is wrong, too.
And there are plenty of such examples if you care to look.