Handle with careCoach Dunigan careful not to add bruised ego to starting QB's injuries
By DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun
Tommy Jones is nursing a wounded knee but his ego is being handled with care.
Calgary Stampeders GM-head coach Matt Dunigan was cautious yesterday not to bruise the rookie quarterback's psyche as the team begins preparations to face the powerful B.C. Lions Saturday at McMahon Stadium.
Jones missed most of the Stampeders practice to undergo an MRI on his sore left knee that revealed a first-degree MCL strain suffered in the 46-16 loss to Saskatchewan, although he's expected to start against the 5-3 Leos.
Dunigan refused to be critical of his starting quarterback's 13-of-32 (40%) performance for 195 yards in Regina, including three interceptions.
Jones, on the other hand, acknowledged his rash of poor throws and missed opportunities during his worst outing since winning the starting job three games ago.
"There were a bunch of receivers getting open and I just have to hit them and give them a chance to catch the ball and make plays on their own," said Jones.
"I was making it too difficult on them to catch of the ball, so I have to make it easier for them to make plays.
"We saw (open receivers) and they were there. I was throwing it to them, I was just making bad throws. The reads and who was open and how to get it to them was fine. I read it out and saw the defence well, I was just making bad throws."
Dunigan said he and Jones watched film of the humiliating loss, discussed the young pivot's play and have "moved on" to this week's task -- staring down the Lions defence.
All signs are pointing to Jones starting Saturday but Dunigan said former No. 1 Marcus Crandell will be ready for the call if needed.
"He's experienced, he's looked good and took some reps (yesterday)," said Dunigan.
Although Crandell has been made available for a trade, Dunigan said that hasn't affected the former starting pivot's mindset.
"Marcus is real, he's a grown man and he's not getting his feelings involved," Dunigan said.
"I think he certainly understands that that's part of this business. He's been asked to come out here and perform and he's doing just that.
"Marcus has a great frame of mind and has been nothing but professional the last three weeks since Tommy's taken over."
Head therapist Pat Clayton said the MRI revealed no damage to the meniscus in Jones' knee.
"I definitely feel I can play," Jones said.
"I'll be all right. I'm walking but it's all the running and planting and turning that will be the big indicator."
Jones scrambled six times for 68 yards against Saskatchewan but absorbed some punishing hits, including the one that knocked him out of the contest late in the game.
Jones said he needs to be more prudent when pulling down the ball and taking off.
"Yeah, I guess ... but you have to make plays when they're there, so I tried to do that," Jones said.
"I still have to make those plays."