Saskatchewan

Chris Jones not wasting time as Roughriders cut 19 players

A major housecleaning in Riderville is under way with 19 players being cut on Tuesday.

Veterans Anthony Allen, Macho Harris, Taj Smith released by Riders

Tyron Brackenridge was one of 19 players released by the Riders on Tuesday. (Peter Mills/CBC)

A major housecleaning in Riderville is under way with 19 players being cut on Tuesday.

Those cut include veterans Tyron Brackenridge, Anthony Allen, Macho Harris, Terrell Maze and Taj Smith.

Here's the full list of those being released:

  • Anthony Allen (running back) 
  • Tyron Brackenridge (safety) 
  • Weldon Brown (defensive back) 
  • Marshay Green (defensive back) 
  • Macho Harris (defensive back)
  • Nathan Kanya (linebacker) 
  • Hugo Lopez (defensive back) 
  • Terrell Maze (defensive back)
  • Scott McHenry (fullback) 
  • Junior Mertile (defensive back) 
  • Kyle Norris (linebacker) 
  • Jamel Richardson (receiver) 
  • Cameron Sheffield (defensive lineman) 
  • Blake Sims (quarterback) 
  • Taj Smith (receiver) 
  • Chad Spann (running back)
  • Alex Suber (defensive back) 
  • Derek Walker (defensive lineman)
  • Ryan Wellman (linebacker)
Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach and general manager Chris Jones speaks to reporters on Dec. 15. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

Recently hired general manager and head coach Chris Jones said all the players released were pending free agents.

"This gives them every opportunity to get out there and look for a new team," Jones said.

The head coach didn't close the door on potentially signing some of the released players in the future. But for now, they didn't fit the direction his team is heading.

"I know exactly what I'm looking for. I know what these people, what their abilities are, I've watched them very closely over the course of the last couple of years."

During Tuesday's media scrum, Jones emphasized that the Riders defence will play more man-to-man coverage in the upcoming season.

"I know we played a lot of zone this year, but you gotta be able to four-man rush and play man-to-man," Jones said. "If you look at the Grey Cup, we played more man (coverage) than we played the previous four weeks combined and we were able to match up a Pat Watkins on their tall guy. So that's kind of what we're looking to do."

While the timing may have seemed very sudden for some fans, Jones said the preparation for the 2016 season starts now and not in a few months.

"As soon as Christmas is over, we'll be going to Florida to start our workouts," he said. "We've already got a few guys identified that are free agents out on the street — some that have played for me in the past and (we'll) see what they still have left."

Earlier in the day, Jones announced his front office assistants — John Murphy and Jeremy O'Day.

The team is expected to announce the rest of its coaching staff on Wednesday. Jones, who has already said he will serve as the defensive coordinator, said he will not be hiring an assistant defensive coordinator.

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