Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Round-Up: Coaching Carousel

Just a quick reminder before we get started, the Rider Prophet Awards will be handed out on Monday so you only have a few more hours to get your vote in for the Fan’s Choice Douche Bag of the Year.

After a week where everything not related to the Grey Cup was kept quiet, the news came flowing fast a furious this week. The bulk of the news centered around coaching and the Riders are at the centre of a lot of it. Here’s what we know:

By all accounts outside of WR Coach Jason Tucker and OL Coach Doug Malone, all other assistant coaches are not expected to return next year (though we are still awaiting official word from the Riders). That includes OC George Cortez (who has been confirmed now), DC Richie Hall and ST/C Bob Dyce. I’m surprised at this move to clean house, I’m under no illusion that our coaches were without issue but we just won a Grey Cup and were 9-2 before our franchise QB went down. Seems to me, more of our issues relate to scouting deficiencies at QB, WR and MLB (something that even Taman admitted to) but that is a topic for another day.

Obviously I’m choked about the Cortez move. Had anyone seen my face 2 years ago when I found out we landed him it would have rivaled that of a kid on Christmas morning. I had an overt man crush on him. Clearly he had a litany of issues this season but when you look at his track record it’s tough to let someone of that calibre go. I get the sense Cortez ain’t always the easiest guy to work with (find me an old man that is) but this definitely a loss for the team. I’m not confident we will be able to replace him with anyone close to his calibre. Remember that his predecessor was Bob freakin’ Dyce. The rumoured list of potential replacements includes Paul LaPolice (who I’m not confident we land), Jacques Chapdelaine (who I’m not confident we want) and Khari Jones (who would be great as a QB coach but did little to impress in his first year as OC in BC).

The Richie Hall move doesn’t surprise me overall. But the timing is puzzling. I expected Chamblin to axe Richie when he first took charge. They have very different defensive philosophies and I expected Chamblin to opt for a DC who was more in line with his world view. But they have now co-existed for 3 years and our defense over that span has been a real strong point for the team. Not sure why make the move now? The "we are looking to see if we can find someone better" approach we are taking is one of the oddest things I've ever seen. Apparently Devone Claybrooks is at the top of Chamblin’s wish list as a replacement.

The Bob Dyce move is the one I care least about. He was a sub-par receivers coach, a sub-par OC, looked good as ST/C last year but terrible this year (though to be fair the bulk of his Canadian starters on specials teams got hurt which had to be a factor). Word is Dyce is being considered for the Head Coach of the U of R Rams.

In other coaching news:
-          The candidate list for the vacant BC Head Coach position is said to include LaPolice, Charlie Taffe, Jeff Garcia and Orlando Steinhauer. Reports also suggests Buono’s preference would be for an offensive minded coach.  

-          Jason Maas has been named the OC of the RedBlacks 

-          John Hufnagel will remain HC for next season and Dave Dickenson will take over as HC in 2016. Also word is Marc Mueller while remain on the coaching staff but move to the offensive coaching side.

NFL Watch
Shawn Lemon – Has workouts scheduled with Seattle, Washington, Denver and at least 9 other teams.
Brett Jones – At least 9 teams have expressed interest in the League’s Top Lineman
Duron Carter – Has a workout with the Cleveland Browns and interest from a number of other teams. Simply put if your hall of fame dad can’t get you a shot down south after his performance up here, you should just give up on the NFL dream forever.
Delvin Breaux – Reportedly garnering a ton of NFL interest

CFL Ins and Outs

Out: DB Dante Marsh, DL Khalif Mitchell, P Ricky Schmitt, LB Jamal Johnson (option year not exercised by team)
Also, Buono announced that they will not be making an offer to pending FA Kevin Glenn… which is a bold strategy given Lulay’s bum shoulder and the total lack of experience in Beck and Partridge. My only hope is that Glenn lands in either Edmonton or Montreal so the dream of him hitting for the CFL cycle stays alive.

In: OL Pat Neufeld (contract extension)
If this is part of Winnipeg’s plan to fix the dreadful O-line then Drew Willy better start stocking up on pain killers now.

In: DB Eric Black, OL Jas Dhillon (contract extension)

In: LB Chip Cox (contract extension)

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