Chris Jones didn’t get a warm welcome in his return to Edmonton.
“People act ugly and call you names and stuff as you walk on the field unfortunately but that’s part of it. It’s pro football,” admitted Jones after his team lost 25-11 to the Edmonton Eskimos.
The Riders head coach was making his first trip to Edmonton since he left the team following their Grey Cup Championship to take on the Vice President/General Manager and Head Coach job in Saskatchewan.
A former Riders, whom Chris Jones let leave in the off-season was the first to find pay dirt.
Chris Getzlaf scored the opening touchdown on the fourth play of the game, two plays after Derel Walker sprung free for a 59-yard reception.
“(Edmonton) played extremely fast,” said Riders Head Coach Chris Jones after the game.
“I thought they were very physical. I thought they were the more physical team and that’s very concerning to me.”
While Jones prides himself on defences built to rattle the opponent, it was his that was often playing catch up. With the game still in reach for Saskatchewan, running back Joe McKnight busted open for a 85-yard touchdown run and a 19-8 lead.
The Riders finish the preseason with an 0-2 record, but it’s not a concern for Jones.
“You’re not going to panic over a preseason ball game that you played 75 people.”
Those 75 people will quickly drop to 46 as the Riders are now under the gun to make their final cuts before the CFL deadline of 9:59am Sunday morning.
That means it’ll be a long night for Jones and company to make their final decisions.
“We got to do a tonne of evaluation. We’re going to be on the airplane, we’ll be meeting tonight and watching film. There are some very critical hard decisions to make.
The preseason loss was also the first time quarterback Darian Durant has seen the field since his ruptured Achilles from the regular season opener in 2015.
Durant threw two interceptions and wasn’t dodging any blame afterward.
“It’s all me. It had nothing to do with the scheme. My eyes were in the right places, it’s about executing and making the right throw and doing it under duress and doing it at game speed.”
Durant was happy to break off some of the rust that definitely built up over the last year, rehabbing his Achilles.
He also hopes it quiets any fears about re-injury.
“Hopefully it can put to rest all the worries. I feel good and I’m glad I got a chance to get out there and take some hits and run around a little bit.”
Overall, Durant completed 11 of 19 passes for 153 yards and threw two interceptions.
Twitter @jamienye, @homeofthefans
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