Since the season ended, the biggest topic of conversation in Riderville has centered on our Offensive Coordinator and his future. It’s second only to “how’s the weather?” in terms of prairie conversation starters. I was going to wait until my usual Monday Sentimonies to opine on this topic but the way my luck goes it will all be sorted out by then and the post would be irrelevant. Chances are just as good that I’m wasting my only material for Monday too early. Not sure I can win… I’m a lot like the RedBlacks that way.
Look, I get the desire for a change at OC. We just missed the Grey Cup because we couldn’t score a solitary TD despite multiple trips to the redzone. This after a 2018 season where we almost set a record for futility in offensive scoring… and this is a franchise with a storied history of futility so that’s saying something. Over his 4 year tenure in with the Riders I have been among the most vocal of McAdoo's critics (he won the award for Most Insulted Sports Figure in 2017). So you would expect me to be leading the charge on this crusade and have the shiniest and pointiest pitchfork in hand.
Not so fast…
Is McAdoo the best OC out there? Lord no! But he’s also not the worst. One look at BC, Toronto and Ottawa this year tells you the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. So if you accept my premise that McAdoo is a mid-tier OC then it stands to reason that the only reason you look to make a change is if you think you can upgrade. For all his failings (and there are many) its apparent that when McAdoo has a QB he trusts (Glenn, Fajardo) the offense opens up and when he doesn’t (Collaros, Bridge, Watford, Harker) he reverts to flipping a coin – heads we run up the middle, tails it’s a hitch screen. He reminds me a lot of George Cortez in that regards. Runs a top tier offense with Durant. Appears to pretty much pack it in when forced to try and win with bottom feeding QBs.
So if it’s an upgrade at OC we want. Who is out there? For me there are just 4 names that come to mind: LaPolice, Condell, Maas and Elizondo. And we can already whittle that list down as Condell isn’t leaving Hamilton and Elizondo keeps ending up with employers who don’t allow him to talk to anyone. So we are down to LaPo and Maas.
LaPo is in the mix for a couple Head Coaching searches and I don’t see him leaving Winnipeg unless its for a promo. It’s no secret that O’Day is a big supporter of LaPo so there is certainly a chance we could pry him away but I would say unlikely as it requires 2 teams passing on him as a Head Coach and LaPo deciding he wants to move. As for Maas, he’s a free agent and BC has already been chatting with him. Ottawa would be stupid not to but then Ottawa isn’t exactly the shining example of intelligence lately. We don’t have the connections to him that BC has so I would say odds aren’t great he winds up here either. Also the irony of want to can a guy for failing to produce a TD only to want to replace him with the League’s biggest FG enthusiast is not lost on me. Maas is a good OC but there’s still some irony there.
The other thing to consider is the impact on the team, both to the coaches and the players. The core of this coaching group has been together since Edmonton and some go back to when Chris Jones was in Toronto. They have been a loyal unit and canning one of the core members may have a ripple effect. That’s not a reason not to make a change but something you certainly need to consider when doing so. Also, continuity is underrated. This season was supposed to be the first one since 2014 where we had the same OC and starting QB as the previous year… that lasted 3 plays. We have a chance again for this year. We just found our new start QB and forcing him into a new offensive system has its drawbacks.
So if we can somehow land a LaPo or Maas then by all means go for it. But given the odds of that panning out I think we choose continuity over change for change sake.
Never thought I’d be reduced to writing in defense of McAdoo.