The offseason is officially upon and pre-Christmas the big push is to fill coaching vacancies. Montreal and Ottawa are working on Head Coaches, the Riders, of course are looking for an OC.
"I miss him. I care for him. I love him a lot. I try to talk to him only once a week. There's days where I think about him. I want to call and then I tell myself, 'No, I just talked to him yesterday. Just don't bother him."
I think I just digressed from my digression. Back to the Rider’s OC.
I’ll go through the potential candidates in a second but first I need to remind you just how undesirable our OC job is right now. We have no QB, no O-line and our Head Coach is in the final year of his contract and may not see Labour Day with a slow start to 2023. So we probably won’t want to offer more than a 1 year contract. All goes to say we might not be picking from the cream of the crop if our candidates have other, less crappy job options. LaPo already wisely decided to sit on his couch getting paid by Ottawa rather then come work for us.
Khari Jones – The most experienced. Good offensive mind. Players love him. In 2021 as Head Coach of the Als, they were second in the league in points. Downside is a proven guy like him will want $$ and multi-year contract. Also, as good of a guy as Dickenson is, I really can’t see him hiring a guy who has the credentials to step in and replace him given his less than certain job security.
Marc Muller – The potential of the grandson of Ron Lancaster (and a decorated U of R alum) coming to coach for the Riders has some people salivating. Mueller is unproven as an OC but is viewed as a high potential up and comer who has been steadily climbing the coaching ranks. I like that he at least isn’t just recycling the same old coaches. But I honestly can’t see him leaving the stability and success of the Stamps for us right now. The day may come but I don’t see it now. I’m not leaving the Stamps without a 2 year deal and our Dickenson can’t offer that.
Pete Costanza – Well respected veteran offensive assistant (with a killer last name to boot). Spent a decade in Calgary under Hufnagel and was on the staff of both of the last Grey Cup champs. He’s never been a CFL OC but has a resume worthy of the chance. He’s probably a good balance between a fully qualified guy like Khari and newbie like Mueller.
Marty Costello – 7 years in Winnipeg. 5 as their OL coach under O’Shea. Also, while I have done no research I assume he is a descendant of Lou Costello so that should make him hilarious. Costello is another guy not proven as an OC but respected enough that his chance is coming. I will just point out that while I think OL coaching is very important and a competent OL coach should have gotten something more out of our OL, assuming Costello will instantly make our OL as good as Winnipeg is laughable. Somewhat easier to coach the best OL in the league when you a roster loaded with all-stars and arguably the best tackle in the last decade. Let’s see you do it with literal garbage at your disposal. I don’t think Costello is high on our list and I don’t think he leaves Winnipeg either.
Kelly Jeffrey – Based on how 2022 went, it should surprise no one that the least qualified candidate is current the odds on favourite. Not to disrespect Jeffrey (who does have a ton of college experience) but tough to sell Rider Nation on a guy with 2 years CFL experience as an RB coach as the guy to save our offense. Dickenson must see some crazy potential in him… that or we just like him because he’s already under contract so we don’t need to worry about offering him a 2 year deal. Hiring Kelly is swinging for the fences. If it works out, Dickenson looks like a genius. If it fails, then Jeffrey will have company in unemployment.
If I’m ranking my preference: Khari, Costanza, Mueller, Costello, Jeffrey
If I’m ranking my gut on who we actually hire: Jeffrey, Costanza, Khari, Mueller, Costello.