- I was doing selfless charity work for orphans.
- I am a Vikings fan and that sad excuse for a game literally put me to sleep so early in the day that I did not have time to write a post.
- I got caught up tracking private plane flight plans across north America hoping it would give a clue to the Riders’ free agency plans and lost track of time.
- I have a medical condition that legally I don’t have to disclose to you but totally explains all my tardiness.
- I was celebrating the Feast of Maximum Occupancy.
Now that that’s been settled, onto the sentimonies…
The coaching staff of the Riders is starting to take shape. We already knew Mace would be his own DC. It was one of the worst kept secrets that Marc Mueller would be the OC. And Kent Maugeri was retained as the Special Teams Coordinator.
Let’s start with Mueller. He’s at an interest spot in life. At 34 he’s still very young by coaching standards but he already brings 10 years of CFL coaching experience all with Calgary. He’s been a defensive assistant, RB coach, and QB Coach. He also called plays for a portion of last year. I’m going to skip talking about who he is. Obviously he’s the grandson of one of the 2 greatest Roughriders ever (just so we are clear, not George Reed… the other one). Also he had a pretty notable university career here at the University of Regina. Those all make for a nice story but they aren’t (at least I hope) why he got the job or what will make him a good OC.
The pros he brings is that he is a young coach (not a retread) who brings new ideas. He also spent a decade working under one of the most respected offensive minds in the CFL in Dave Dickenson. The cons is that he is relatively unproven as a playcaller. Dickeson finally let go of the offense enough to let Mueller call plays last season and you might recall that Calgary was almost as awful as us and Dickenson took back play calling late in the season. Now, in fairness to Mueller. There was a lot more wrong in Calgary than his play calling. Something just didn’t seem right across the whole team and quite frankly they did not have enough talent last season (particularly at QB). There’s a saying that you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken crap. Also, if you actually think that was Mueller’s offense and not just him actioning Dickenson’s plans then your impeccable judgment may qualify you to run CFL discipline. Also, regardless of any perceived knocks against Mueller I think we can all agree he’s more qualified than his predecessor. This will be Mueller’s offense and I’m excited to see what he can bring to the table. I don’t think Mace would have hired him if he didn’t have full faith in his abilities.
Maugeri enters his third year as STC… but really that was in name only. For the past 2 season, he was the Assistant HTC to Craig Dickenson. I will be interesting to see how much changes now that he’s fully in charge. I think Maugeri earned an extension as some good things have been happening on special teams. We turned a rookie punter into an allstar calibre player (and sadly one of the few highlights of most Rider games). Good things happened pretty consistently on returns and for the most part coverage was pretty solid. What I will be most interested to see is whether Dickenson (my theory) or Maugeri were to blame for the annual special teams slump. Consistently every season there is a period where specials teams go to absolute hell, for seemingly no reason. Then inevitably they right the ship and get back to playing pretty solid. I’m hoping with Mace now in charge there will be enough accountability to prevent that trend from continuing.
While this is a young coaching core and most new to their current role, it’s a well experience group overall. It will be interesting to see what names make up the assistants to round out the staff. I am keeping an eye on names like Nik Lewis, and Drew Tate offensively as well as Joshua Bell, Juwan Simpson and maybe even Charleston Hughes defensively