The ravenous mob that Sunday’s game created in Rider Nation got the blood they were seeking as the Riders have fired both Corey Chamblin and Brendan Taman (and Tino Sunseri! Wooooooo!!!!). Though to be fair, many are probably still wondering when we are going to fire that Chamberlain fellow. It’s quite the rapid fall from grace from a duo that just 2 years ago engineered a Grey Cup Championship team on home turf (an iconic moment in franchise history).
Since I feel compelled to say something about such a huge occurrence with the team I follow... and since stats show a giant upswing in readership coinciding with bad occurrences in Riderville that I would love to capitalize on, I decided to discuss how each man managed to engineer his how demise.
I’ll start with Corey Chamblin… mainly because the reasons he’s current unemployed (very well paid but unemployed) are fairly obvious to even casual followers. While the story of his free fall really begin following the 2013 Grey Cup, there were aspects that were there all along. For one he always preferred playing vets to developing young players. That’s why 2013 suited him perfectly because he had a roster full of talented vets. As the core of that Cup team dwindled and got old, Corey’s aversion to young guys eventually started to bite him in the ass and led to us bringing in guys like Tisdale because he had failed to develop a competent alternative in house. He also went through assistant coaches like they were disposable plates. In his 3.5 years as coach, he changed offensive coordinator twice, defensive coordinator once and special teams coordinator once. Not one of these changes were because the coordinators left for better things… all were a Chamblin decision.
The steady decline of his coaching decisions starting 2014 was really what dug his grave (dig up stupid) . There was his refusal to employ a QB coach after Khari Jones; the “you fumble and you’re benched policy” for his running backs; the decision to take over as defensive coordinator (a move that highlighted the fact that he isn’t really a good DC and spread his focus too thin to be an effective HC); the poor clock management; the lack of preparedness; the lack of discipline; the benching of Anthony Allen again (Chamblin must really not like him); the inability to adapt or improve; most importantly the inability to win… 2 wins since last Labour Day just don’t cut it. The asinine handling of Brett Smith on Sunday was merely just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It made clear to the team that Chamblin was not going to turn things around… no matter how much time he was given. His ego will define his fall from most beloved man in the province to most hated.
As for Taman. Regular readers will know I never liked him from the beginning. In the press conference, Craig Reynolds alluded to a lack of leadership in the GM role as the main reason to fire Taman. Many are taking this to mean that Taman’s inability to reign in Chamblin and his opting to tacitly go along with his coach’s whims despite the downward trajectory of the team was why he was fired. This is certainly a major factor but it can’t be the only one. If it were purely because he couldn’t/wouldn’t control his coach then they would likely have just fired Chamblin and had Taman hire a new coach that he could actually control. Most GM’s do get at least a couple coaching decisions before they are turfed.
Clearly there was more than just coaching which led to Taman finally having an employment status that suits his looks (that’s a hobo joke people. It’s in poor taste but if you wanted good taste you wouldn’t be here). The issue is that Taman wasn’t managing the roster well. Our Canadian talent went from the envy of the league to barely being able to find enough to fill our roster. Our recruiting pipeline (particularly for receivers, linebackers and d ends) was far behind the top teams in the league (I will admit that Chamblin's aversion to young players had a role in this but still you can’t deny that other teams are recruiting more and better talent than we are). Taman does not have a forward thinking bone in his body. His strength is mortgaging the future to plug holes today. It worked perfectly in 2013 as he inherited a solid core roster and made some tweaks (mainly with veteran talent). But as the talent began to erode year over year and the pipeline was not there to replenish them what we are left with was a team whose best players are all over 30 and there is no shining stars ready to take their place.
He constantly traded away our draft picks, leaving us with one high pick and bunch of late round scraps. The result is a team with some solid special team players (Steinhauer, Moore, Regimbald, Webster) but very few starting calibre players. Making matters worse was our inability to retain the Canadian talent we had. In just 2 shorts years we lost Shologan, Evans, Butler, Newman, Heenan, Hurl, Pierzchalski (i.e. every top end Cdn player not named Watman or Ainsworth… neither of which are starters).
In all honesty we should have fired him immediately the second someone got wind that he made Chris Getzlaf the highest paid receiver in the league. That is gross incompetence at its finest. If you honestly believe that Getzlaf’s market value exceeds that of any receiver then not only should you not be in charge of player personnel for a pro franchise, you should also likely be committed to a mental institution.
I like many will be quick to acknowledge and thank both Taman and Chamblin for their role in bringing us the 2013 Cup. That said the only thing that makes me happier than seeing both of them leave the team at this point is Tino Sunseri being released. Woooooooooo!!!!!!!