March 7, 2017

Same position, new chapter for fast-emerging Brady

For a time, Marcus Brady didn’t know where he’d be in 2017. Or what he’d be doing.

Would he still be an offensive coordinator? Maybe a quarterbacks coach?

Hours after the Argos announced Brady would indeed remain their offensive coordinator – the same post he’s held since 2013 in Toronto – the California native recalled some of his thoughts during an uncertain and, at times, uncomfortable off-season.

“To be honest, it was tough,” Brady conceded. “It was a different kind of off-season for me, a new experience. But it gave me an opportunity to grow as a coach.”

» Argos name Chamblin, Brady to coaching staff
» Landry: Ray the right choice at QB
» Sanchez: Expect success with Popp, Trestman

Johany Jutras/

Corey Chamblin took his first coaching job since 2015, signing up as the Argos’ next defensive coordinator (Johany Jutras/

What about head coach? That thought occurred as well.

When the season ended, Brady knew he and the rest of the Argos’ coaching staff could be on shaky ground following a five-win season. But time passed and all of a sudden it was January and no changes had been made.

“After they let Barker go and they were gonna keep Scott, that’s when I kind of felt like I’d be back and we’d get another opportunity, another crack at this,” said Brady. “And then Scott obviously took the job down in Jacksonville . . . doubts come back in.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” he remembers thinking, “it’s late in the process – pretty much all of the CFL jobs have been filled.

“They were tough times.”

Brady spent time preparing for his next job interview, whatever it would be, but one job he could see himself filling was that previously held by Milanovich. Hiring a 37-year-old isn’t unheard of these days, while Brady has followed a similar path Milanovich once did under Trestman.

“It did cross my mind, I prepared myself,” said Brady. “I didn’t know exactly which direction it was going to go in. I just made sure that I was prepared so if they wanted to go in that direction, I was ready for that opportunity.

“The entire process helped me grow.”

“I demand more. More of a presence in the room and on the field, handling walk-throughs, practices. Scripting, putting the game plan together.”

Marcus Brady on how he’s grown as a coach

It’s been five years since the last time Brady and Trestman coached together (

The opportunity never arrived but Brady is just as content. In reuniting with Marc Trestman, Brady is allowed to remain a sponge, soaking up an infinite supply of knowledge.

He’ll also work daily with Corey Chamblin, who the Argos hired as their defensive coordinator on Tuesday. Chamblin became a head coach at age 34, leading the Riders to their iconic Grey Cup Championship in 2013.

The two can bounce ideas off each other strategically. They can teach each other professionally.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to learn more from each other and compete against each other at practice,” said Brady. “Make each other better, talk X’s and O’s and you kind of grow from there.”

You get the feeling Chamblin and Brady, both under 40, will be CFL coaches before too long. For now, though, their function with the Argos is an important one.

Both provide the energy and dedication that Trestman demands from his assistants. And unlike the time Brady first joined the Als’ coaching staff in 2009, both are experienced and well-established coordinators.

While Chamblin looks to jump-start a defence that allowed a league-high 31.6 points per game last season, Brady must invigorate an offence that’s slowly faded ever since the Argos last won the East in 2013.

Argos’ 2016 offensive rankings

Points (AVG) 21.3 7th
Net Yards (AVG) 331.4 7th
Passing Yards (AVG) 260.9 8th
Rushing Yards (AVG) 87.2 6th
Sacks Allowed 47 6th
Turnovers 50 9th


The key to that will be bridging the gap between Trestman and 37-year-old quarterback Ricky Ray. The Argos’ incoming head coach hasn’t coached Ray before, nor has he seen him play in five years. But a week ago, Trestman named Ray, the CFL’s fourth all-time leading passer, his starting quarterback.

Brady has worked with Ray for four years and the same with Trestman.

“Because we have a lot of concepts, you want to run the ones your quarterback is more comfortable with,” said Brady. “Ricky’s more comfortable with different concepts than [Anthony Calvillo] was when we were back in Montreal. Just that communication alone to tell Marc, ‘this is what Ricky likes, he’s very good at this, maybe not so much with this type of concept’ and then just kind of going from there and building the offence around what’s he’s comfortable with.”

That, of course, has been part of the debate in Argoland this off-season: Can Ricky Ray still play at a high level?

A couple of tough breaks kept Ray out of the lineup but when he played, his 75 per cent efficiency led the league, while his 15 touchdowns against just six interceptions were equally impressive.


Ricky Ray will play a pivotal role in the Argos’ success in 2017 (The Canadian Press)

Brady didn’t hesitate when asked about Ray’s performance last season.

“Before he got hurt, we were 4-2,” said Brady. “And the way he got hurt, it was after the play when he wasn’t even in the pocket, so that was just kind of unfortunate.

“Then he came back and he played well in that game and he got hurt again against Hamilton – he was playing well in that game.

“He showed that he still has it. We just have to keep him healthy.”

What’s next for Brady is finalizing the coaching staff and getting the playbook ready for mini-camp in April. With the waiting game behind him, there’s no longer the time to think about being a head coach.

Brady says Trestman taught him a lot before his departure in 2013, but he’s learned a lot since, too. He’s positive that Trestman will see a different coach.

“I demand more,” said Brady. “More of a presence in the room and on the field, handling walk-throughs, practices. Scripting, putting the game plan together.

“I’ve now installed protections, run game, pass game,” he continued. “Calling plays – in Montreal I never called plays, Marc called plays. Scott and I split the duties in Toronto.

“It was just a continuous process of growing as a coach and now I have more experience to help him as we move along.”

Brady, 37, is emerging as one of the CFL’s top up-and-coming future head coaches (

The next step for Brady will surely come, but for now it can wait. Most will agree it’s for the best. For Brady. For Trestman. For the Argos.

“It’s definitely not gonna hurt,” Brady said of the path he’s taken. “It’s gonna help me continue to grow. I learn something new every year and having Marc come back and working with him over the last week or so, I’m already continuing to grow and learning more.

“I’m just really excited to get back after it again,” he continued. “To be part of the change that’s happened in Toronto. I feel like the organization is going in the right direction and I’m excited to be a part of it.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for one day down the line when my opportunity does come.”