Saturday, 7 July 2018

Ex-NFL duo of Jones and Glanville a perfect Tiger-Cats fit

June Jones, second from left, gives instructions to Hamilton’s quarterbacks.
    REGINA – You were waiting for someone to yell, “Hey Glanville, Elvis has left the building.”
    It is uncertain how many of the 30,594 spectators in attendance for Thursday’s CFL contest at Mosaic Stadium were aware of the history Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville have with the sport of football. 
    For those that follow football in Canada and the United States, it seemed strange to see both men, who have lengthy ties with the NFL, manning the sideline of the CFL’s Tiger-Cats, who fell 18-13 to the host Saskatchewan Roughriders.
    Both squads sat with identical 2-2 regular season records after that result.
    Jones joined the Tiger-Cats last season and brought Glanville on board before the start of this season.
    Jones is 65 years of age, while Glanville is 76-years-old and will celebrate his 77th birthday on Oct. 14. Both have made their money coaching football and can be long retired.
    Jones had some experience in the CFL working as a co-offensive coordinator with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1986. Glanville had never been to a CFL game in person until this year.
You almost want to ask, “Why are you both here?”
    The site of the veteran sideline bosses appeared almost as head scratching as the appearance of former troubled Cleveland Browns NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel on the Tigers-Cats roster as a backup signal caller.
    Even if Manziel wasn’t with Tiger-Cats, you would still end up taking lots of looks at the Hamilton bench area due to the presence of Jones and Glanville. Visibly, they both look like they still enjoy the game.
Jerry Glanville sports his classic all black look with sunglasses and headset.
    With how well prepared the Tiger-Cats have been through their first four contests, you can tell Jones and Glanville are treating this job seriously and are legitimately invested in what they are doing. They have shown that they can adjust and learn.
    There have been a number of times where successful lifelong professional coaches from the United States end up failing in the CFL, because they don’t adjust to the Canadian game.
    As a duo, Jones and Glanville gained their notoriety during two NFL stints. The first game with the Houston Oilers, where Glanville was the defensive coordinator from 1984 to 85 and then the head coach from 1986 to 1989. Jones worked under Glanville on the Oilers staff as a quarterbacks coach in 1987 and 1988.
    The second stint came with the Atlanta Falcons. Glanville served as the Falcons head coach from 1990 to 1993. Jones joined the Falcons staff as an offensive coordinator in 1991 and took over as head coach in 1994 and stayed on until 1996.
    Glanville  displayed a colourful personality giving tonnes of off the wall quotes, and he often left tickets for the late Elvis Presley at his team’s games.
    The clubs Jones and Glanville coached were known for being aggressive, exciting and having swagger. The two men were known as players’ coaches, but their teams were often viewed as villains by their opponents.
    With the Oilers, the two men built a squad that played a hard-hitting and blitzing style of defence. The Oilers home stadium, the Astrodome, became known as “The House of Pain.”
    Besides hitting opponents hard, Oilers defensive players were often involved in fights on the field, especially if they were playing their AFC Central Division rivals in the Browns, Cincinnati Bengals or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    Offensively, the Oilers could burn out the lights on the scoreboard with a high-powered passing attack led by quarterback Warren Moon.
June Jones looks at his play chart to call a play.
    With the Falcons, the blitzing style of defence used in Houston successfully transferred to Atlanta, which also included the fighting aspect. Atlanta’s defence also possessed great swagger from the play of cornerback Deion Sanders, who was one of the best to ever play the game.
    The Falcons offence shot out the lights in the 1991 season, and Atlanta posted a 10-6 regular season record and won one playoff game.
    The Falcons had celebrities like rapper M.C. Hammer and heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield hanging with them on the sidelines. Hammer’s song “Too Legit To Quit” became the theme track for the team.
    Atlanta only enjoyed a one-year wonder status as injuries because to derail the career of starting quarterback Chris Miller in 1992. Miller looked like he would be an NFL star for the long haul after a breakout 1991 campaign, and as a result, the Falcons traded then sophomore backup quarterback Brett Favre to the Green Bay Packers before the 1992 regular season began.
    Of course, history will note the Packers became great beneficiaries due to the fact they added Favre to their roster.
    These days, Jones and Glanville are still players’ coaches. While watching the Tiger-Cats sidelines on Thursday, Glanville was constantly teaching and encouraging. When the defence was on the bench, he would often be found sitting beside various defensive players helping them out with adjustments.
    Jones had to be more involved with overseeing the overall game due to holding the head coach role. He still did his share of encouraging and helping players make adjustments on the offensive side.
    Both Jones and Glanville appeared to be father figures or even wise grandfather figures to their players.
    While the Tiger-Cats were held to 13 points, they put up 429 yards of offence and looked like they could be really explosive on that side of the ball.
Jerry Glanville bends down to survey a defensive situation.
    Glanville looks to have adjusted his defence to football’s current time, where the rules crack down more on violent hits and allow receivers a lot more freedom to run routes down the field compared to the 1980s and 1990s.
    The Tiger-Cats defence looked to get pressure on the opposing quarterback with a four-man rush from the defensive line, while the secondary played a variety of different coverages. They limited the Roughriders to 298 yards of total offence.
    Hamilton wasn’t able to intercept any passes and only recovered one fumble. Glanville’s defences in the NFL were known to go all out trying to score a touchdown after a turnover making a number of laterals, but the Tiger-Cats didn’t have any opportunities to show if they had that up their sleeve.
    They might get that chance in their next game, when they host the Roughriders on July 19.
    In the early going of the 2018 regular season, it appears Jones and Glanville are a good fit for the Tiger-Cats and the CFL. They are a surprising feel good story for the Canadian game.

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