"Well, the sun came up the day after Hiroshima, right?"
That was Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed on Wednesday, a day after his boss, general manager Ed Hervey addressed the media to discuss his football team as the CFL season for 2013 reached the midway point.
Hervey dropped a bomb on his club, calling out everything from the defence not being aggressive enough to not being satisfied with the offensive play calling. Hervey called out his offensive line and singled out one player in particular, his right guard Simeon Rottier.
“The majority of my frustration has been with Simeon,” he said. “It wouldn’t bother me if he did not play another down this year.”
It doesn’t look like Rottier will play on Friday against the Calgary Stampeders in the Labour Day Rematch. Import Miles Mason has moved to right guard, Matt O’Donnell shifts from right tackle to left guard, and import Cliff Louis goes back to right tackle after missing the last five games with an upper body injury.
The tactic by Hervey to dress down Rottier has been questioned by many around the CFL. Rottier showed his true professionalism on Wednesday by not hiding from the media; he faced the music and was pointing the finger squarely at himself.
“It sucks for me to be talking about this now because I should be playing better,” Rottier said. “I have more expectations for myself and I want more for this team and we’re going to do it, we’re going to turn it around. I believe in every player we have here and I believe in myself and I know a lot of people believe in me. It hasn’t always been easy year necessarily believing in myself for coming off of the way thing went last year. I know I can do it, when they call on me I’ll be there.”
It sounds like despite the harsh criticism from Ed Hervey, there will be a chance for Rottier to play his way back on to the starting lineup.
Hervey also said head coach Kavis Reed is staying put for the rest of the season. Reed like the entire coaching staff and roster will be evaluated at the end of the season.
Firing Reed in the middle of a football season would have been the wrong move. That tactic never works in the football business. In the NFL, there is a reason why they call the first Monday after the regular season “Black Monday.”
Historically, a coaching change in the middle of a football season has no effect or it can make matters worse. You can make an argument that the season might be lost but the players fight for their head coach. The Eskimos did not play well on Labour Day even though they lost 37-34. For close to 52 minutes, the Eskimos were soundly beaten by the Calgary Stampeders. The Eskimos scored 27 points in the remaining eight minutes and almost pulled out a miracle. The Eskimos didn’t get the win on Monday but they showed that they care for their head coach. Firing Reed would have meant the locker room would be lost for good.
Hervey criticized the offensive play-calling during his press conference.
“I’ve been very disappointed in some of the play-calling at critical times, especially on the offensive side,” Hervey said. “I assure you we will see a different offence and how the game is called in critical times especially on third-and-one. We will be very simple in how we do things.”
The play-caller will not change; it will remain in the hands of offensive coordinator Doug Sams.
Reed will have much closer role in calling the “critical” plays in the football game. Only a subtle change, but important enough hopefully in Hervey’s eyes to have a better impact in the football game.
The GM has put everyone on his football team on notice, players and the coaching staff which of course included the head coach. Nine games left in the season to make an impression.
How the team reacts will be very interesting in the remaining games of a campaign.
Hervey called this season a “rebuild” back in Week 2 when he extended the contract of Reed. Although not happy with the record, perhaps Hervey saw this season as a challenging exercise in the early stages of building what he calls “sustainable success.”
Notes: Slotback Adarius Bowman will play his first CFL game since Week 2 of the 2012 season when he tore ligaments in knee in a game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium. Running back Hugh Charles (hamstring), defensive end Odell Willis (shoulder), middle linebacker J.C. Sherritt (thumb) and safety Donovan Alexander are all expected to remain out of the lineup.
Dave Campbell has been on the Eskimos beat since 2004. He’s entering his seventh season as the Eskimo colour analyst for 630 CHED broadcasts. He also hosts The Points After Show, an openline post-game show. Follow Dave on Twitter @Dave_CHED.