NFL teams vetting Riders’ Chris Jones for coaching jobs

By Arielle Zerr / 980 CJME
January 4, 2019 - 3:55pm

Riderville has been buzzing ever since NFL insider Jason La Canfora sent out one little tweet about Roughriders head coach Chris Jones.

“In a year were teams may go to lengths and look in unique directions for a head coach, keep an eye on Chris Jones the coach / GM of Saskatchewan in the CFL,” La Canfora’s tweet read in part.

There are currently eight NFL head coaching vacancies right now, and La Canfora told 980 CJME's Jamie Nye that those openings are causing all teams to look outside the box.

“There’s a situation in the NFL where supply isn’t meeting demand in terms of traditional NFL candidates – that’s why you’re seeing more teams dip more into the college game and also into the CFL,” he said.

According to La Canfora’s sources there are at least two teams that are looking into Jones, the CFL’s 2018 Coach of the Year and four-time Grey Cup Champion.

Typically, teams will put together a list of roughly 25 candidates and begin to make calls about them, slowly whittling down the list until it gets to a reasonable number to interview, La Canfora said.

“(Jones) is certainly somebody that teams have made calls on to people he’s worked with throughout the CFL and throughout his coaching career just to sort of gain a little more insight — what makes him tick, how does he do in these situations, how does he handle pressure, what are his strengths and weaknesses,” he explained.

What La Canfora can’t be sure about is if the initial interest will turn into an actual interview for Jones, though if one doesn’t happen this year the reporter expects that there would be interest in him again next year as he predicts another similar glut of head coaching positions at the end of next year too.

As for Jones, he’s signed with the Roughriders as the Vice President of Football Operations, General Manager and Head Coach through the 2019 season. It’s unclear if he has a clause in his contract that would allow him to pursue an NFL opportunity or if the team would release him to pursue it.

Losing all three positions would be a large hole for the organization to fill with free agency looming on Feb. 12.

Jones would not be the first CFL head coach to transition from the CFL to the NFL in recent years. Marc Trestman coached the Chicago Bears in 2013-2014 and spent significant time in the league as a coordinator and quarterbacks coach throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s before settling in the CFL with the Alouettes.

Former Argonauts head coach and long time Alouettes coordinator Scott Milanovich is currently the interim offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars.


With files from 980 CJME’s Jamie Nye.

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