In the second teleconference of the CFL’s Season Preview series, Edmonton’s President and CEO; Len Rhodes, GM and VP of Football Operations; Ed Hervey, and Head Coach; Chris Jones, were on hand to answer various questions. Here are the hard-hitting facts that came from that call:
Following on a very successful season in 2014, the team’s ownership has 3 main strategic priorities:
- Football Operations: Ed Hervey has received a promotion to add VP of Football Operations to his title.
- Game Day Experience: 2014 set game-day attendance records in Edmonton. Currently, season ticket renewals are ahead last year’s rates.
- Community engagement: 2014 set a record of 855 community appearances. The team will look to continue their community efforts.
Regarding the CFL Draft, Hervey mentioned that they have had great success, even in late rounds. 2 examples that currently sit on Edmonton’s roster are Ryan King, and Corbin Sharun.
- Hervey went on to say that there is no exact science in evaluating draft picks, but ultimately when the player shows up, you hope they can take it to the next level.
- “Until you win the championship, there are always pressing needs.”
- Hervey also noted that Edmonton is not looking to fill any one specific position through the draft.
When asked how the pass-interference rule changes have changed the team-building process, Hervey and Jones affirmed the following:
- The Eskimos will continue targeting big DB’s. “Outside of 5-yards, it becomes a basketball play.”
- Edmonton’s recruiting philosophies will not change as a result of the rule changes. Edmonton will still look for big, strong, and aggressive players.
Ed Hervey mentioned that should Canadian QB Brandon Bridge show interest in playing football in Canada, all 9 teams will show interest as he shows a lot of ability.
This year’s mini-camp was the best Chris Jones has ever been around.
- No specific names just yet as the new guys have not proven themselves against vets.
- Jones noted that there was a lot of good quality, and a lot of tough cuts. “That’s when you know you’re heading in the right direction.”
When asked about the viability of community-owned teams in other CFL markets, Len Rhodes noted:
- The CFL boasts 3 community-owned teams which makes the league extremely unique.
- The richness of the CFL comes from the diversity of ownership structures.
- Edmonton is there people’s team.
Len Rhodes will meet with Jeffrey Orridge later in the month, and plans to discuss the following:
- The need to develop a younger demographic of CFL fans.
- Addressing poor playoff game attendance as a result of inclement weather.
- Len closed with the notion that it seems that the league is not where they were 10 years ago. “[The league] is passed putting out fires, and is now looking at new opportunities” which is very exciting.
Tomorrow, the Calgary Stampeders will have their opportunity to answer questions heading into the 2015 CFL season.