Trestman leads Argos remarkable resurgence

“In Trestman We Trust.”

That was the turn of phrase floating around the Toronto Argonauts locker room earlier this season as players adjusted to life under new head coach Marc Trestman. The early returns weren’t great – they were 4-7 on Labour Day – but won five of their last seven, including an emphatic 40-13 road win against the B.C. Lions on Saturday night, to finish first in the CFL’s East Division.

Not bad for a coach who, along with general manager Jim Popp, wasn’t hired until late February – weeks after most CFL staffs were filled. They took over a team that finished 5-13 in 2016 and missed the playoffs two of the previous three seasons.

“He’s a guy that’s in charge and leading us and he’s done a great job with the team,” said veteran quarterback Ricky Ray, who finished second in the CFL with more than 5,500 passing yards. “You could see us really improving throughout the year. Coach does a great job of not letting things get kind of brushed under the rug.”

The win over the Lions, who will be absent from the post-season for the first time since 1996, means the Argos have secured a first-round bye and will host the Eastern Final at BMO Field on Nov. 19. It’s the team’s first division title since 2013.

“I think the bye is important to anybody going into the playoffs. All the obvious things, it gives us home field with one less game to play and allows our guys to get some rest,” Trestman said. “They really spent themselves this past week and in this game. I think it will be good for our team.”

It will be a work week, however. While the two in-season bye weeks are free from team activities, allowing American players to return home, the Argonauts will practice three times this week as they prepare for the winner of the Eastern Semi-Final between the Ottawa Redblacks and the Saskatchewan Roughriders to be held next Sunday in the nation’s capital.

But the extra time will also give the Argonauts the opportunity to market and sell the first playoff game at BMO Field featuring the home side – it was the site of last year’s Grey Cup but Toronto didn’t make it – an important consideration given the team has averaged less than 14,000 fans this season.

“I think it’s becoming an advantage for us. The fans have been a factor. We haven’t had the size of crowds but we’ve had a loud crowd and a passionate crowd and our players have bought into that vibe,” Trestman said. “We’re looking forward to a full house.”

What he isn’t looking forward to is more questions about his integral part in the team’s remarkable turnaround. He was asked about whether he felt any satisfaction in what he’d accomplished after the win in B.C. and, predictably, used the question to praise others.

“I work really hard to do my part just like everybody does their job. I clearly recognize the inner connection we all have as players, as coaches, as front office, as owners and general managers,” he said. “When you win on a night like this everybody is keenly connected to the team’s success.”

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1521 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

39 Comments on Trestman leads Argos remarkable resurgence

  1. Trestman’s a winner. I’m not at all surprised by his success. He’s done it with a lot of good young players, sprinkled with veterans &, most importantly, a healthy Ray.

    • Let’s not get carried away, they are 9 – 9 slightly better than last year.
      You have to say thanks to the Ticats and Als for making the Argos look not bad

  2. Hats off to coach. A proven winner. Support your Argos Toronto.

    • “A proven winner” ???
      He was fired in Chicago after 2 terrible seasons and then fired as the Offensive coach in Baltimore.
      He has coached the team to a 9 -9 record, let’s not carried away with the “winner” label……….

    • Argos were 9-9 in 2012 and beat quite handily a Calgary Stampeder team who was 12-6. Wins/Losses don’t really matter in the playoffs or in the grey cup.

  3. A no comment , comment.
    Alouettes Supporter

  4. Feeling Blue // November 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm //

    Respect is a word that comes to mind when I think of Marc. He knows how to treat people and players will go through the brick wall for him. He has a genuine interest in peoples lives. Go Argos Go

  5. Humble, Smart, Respectful and knows how to build a team, players want to play for him. As a season tickets holder it would be great to see 20,000 plus at BMO. Torontonians need to support the team and the working class CFL. Go Argooos.

    • Thumbs up to Perry for supporting the Argos.

    • Seriously?
      He was fired after 2 season in Chicago, fired after 2 seasons in Baltimore.
      His 9 wins in Toronto can be attributed to the play of Ricky Ray

  6. Keep up the good work, Marc The CFL needs more like you.

    from a CFL /Ticat fan

  7. solara2000 // November 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm //

    Congrats to Argos from a TiCats fan; (think my Dad would be turning in his grave.) Recallwriting on this site that the team i was most concerned with before the season began was the Argos. Why? The hiring of Popp, Trestman and quality coaches was a sign the organization was getting it together and putting together a proven, CFL-esperienced team.
    And who says lightening doesn’t strike twice in the same place – the QB-whisperer (Trestman) and a quality QB (Ray).

  8. Smart leaders establish and sustain a shared vision and effectively delegate, all the while leading and evaluating/correcting performance. Trestman values his vocation as teacher first and foremost. Little doubt, his players have learned something about life beyond the gridiron.

  9. Trestman and the CFL are made for each other. His many years as a OC/QB coach in the NFL and NCAA had him ready for success in the CFL with the help of Jim Popp, experienced CFL coaches and players. A perfect match and blend for success. Hope he finishes out his career in the CFL.

    • He was a loser in the NFL, couldn’t make it in the major league.
      Comes back to the CFL and leads the Argos to an average 9 -9, that’s not a winning season

      • The irony is remarkable. You go out of your way to describe the CFL as minor league. That is EXACTLY how the NFL views Toronto as a potential city for a franchise. Toronto hasn’t supported any level of football in decades. The irony, oh the irony. Oh wait, what was that, London just sold out another game?

  10. 3rd and 1 // November 8, 2017 at 7:15 am //

    1 thing and 1 thing only that saved Trestmans ass this year and it’s the fluke funding of that beast of a RB Wiley Jr. if he hadn’t popped up out of the woodwork. Trestman and Chamblin would barely be at respectability. Chamblin has had a RB bail him out before. If it wasn’t for Corey Sheets in 2013. No way Riders win the Grey Cup. When Printers was out with injury in 2013. The Riders couldn’t win. I bet the same would happen to Toronto if Wiley Jr. was out. He is the X factor

    • yes you are correct, a healthy Ricky Ray and Wilder made him look average. It’s not like he turned around the Argos, they were 7 – 11 last year and 9 – 9 this year, hardly a remarkable season

    • solara2000 // November 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm //

      Another ‘iffer’. If world wasn’t round, it would be flat. If I hadn’t quit school, I would be successful. If I had been more generous in my appreciation of others, people would respect me. If…..

  11. 3rd and 1 // November 8, 2017 at 7:16 am //

    If Sheets was out. Not Printers. TYPO

  12. YellowStrip // November 8, 2017 at 7:53 am //

    I wouldn’t call going from 5-13 to 9-9 a “remarkable resurgence”. This to me just sounds like hype to try and sell tickets to a game nobody in Toronto wants or cares about. And that is too bad! No slight on Trestman, but a healthy RR for the season was more of a factor then a savour coach who has been fired a few times down south. Maybe he is better suited for the CFL and stays this time.
    Not that I am a Rider or Chris Jones fan, but didn’t he take a 3-15 team to 10-8 this year?

    • You can’t compare what Trestman did this year with what Chris Jones did. Jones was in his second year after treating the first year like a season long training camp. After that, Jones had the entire off season to run countless mini camps and dip into free agency. Trestman was not hired until shortly before the season started, had no time for mini camps and was yet Toronto’s coach when free agency started. It would have been a fair comparison if Jones had accomplished that record last year. But he didn’t. Give credit where credit is due. Everyone had Toronto pegged for last place in the east this year because of the extremely late hire. He also lost some free agents because the team was coachless. He brought in some good players and turned it around in one year, without trying to sign anyone that the league blocked because of their background, without countless fines and without any excuses about the team gelling.

      • You’re right that they’re different, but one big thing you’re missing is that the Argos played in the East this year and 6 of their 9 wins came against eastern teams. Trestman did a great job, but he also benefited from the collapse of the rest of the east this year.

    • ” a game nobody in Toronto wants or cares about”. I’m going, I care, I’m a season ticket holder.

    • “Remarkable resurgence” would be the 2 – 16 REDBLACKS in 2014 and then going 12 – 6 a year later and a Grey Cup appearance.
      I didn’t hear many people praising Rick Campbell, he is totally ignored in the CFL.
      Tressman is an “overrated” coach

  13. Sea of Dead // November 8, 2017 at 8:27 am //

    Both Trestman and Popp deserve congratulations this year. Both came to the club very late but were able to field a talented team that bought into the system and finished first.

    Our guy Austin in comparison, had the entire off-season to fix a team in decline after a pathetic 2016 campaign. He replaced one OT, appointed a DC who was in way over his head, brought in a bunch of DBs who had no idea who to cover, and continued the same ineffective ‘all-pass’ game plan that failed him the previous year. The result 0-8. But according to our owner, Austin may just be the best CFL coach in history and I wouldn’t be surprised if he, as VP, appoints himself HC again. First place in the East may be a long, long way off for the Tabbies.

  14. Feeling Blue // November 8, 2017 at 8:35 am //

    And great players. Check

  15. Trestman got zero respect in the NFL

  16. Pop/Trestman and Chris Jones are the models that the rest of the owners in the league should be learning from. Their work ethic and approach has lead to not only their successes, but also a level of professionalism that the fans can see, recognize, and appreciate.

    • I agree with you on Trestman. I would add Rick Campbell as a model coach. Both very professional, respectful and classy. Jones not so much. Most teams could not afford the endless mini camps and the ridiculous fines he accumulated last year. Also, I prefer to see a coach on the sidelines who always keeps his cool no matter what is happening on the field. Jones antics on the sidelines does not make him a model coach, does not look professional and are recognized as a good old fashioned temper tantrum.

  17. I think the fact that so many people are so envious of Jones and go to such lengths to try to besmirch his good name is evidence of how good he is. Ridiculous fines? Did we even have any fines last year? Any fines we’ve ever had have been trivial for trivial offences. You look at his success, both in Edmonton and Saskatchewan. You look at the fact that great players want to play for him. You look at the way he’s treated Carter, who was kicked to the curb in Montreal. Jones sees him as an individual and handles him in a manner that allows him to be very successful and a big part of our team. Campbell is ok, but his teams have lost many games this year by just a few points, which suggests that he hasn’t instilled in them competitive fire to at least come out 50/50 in those situation. Ottawa also hasn’t done a great job in bringing in good young players, particularly in the receiving corps. In a weak east this year Ottawa had a chance to really take charge, but instead they stumbled and staggered.

    • It is not a fact that so many are envious of Jones. No one has to besmirch his good name; Jones does that all by himself. I assume you mean that he didn’t have many fines this year because last year, his fines added up to 160,000 and they weren’t all for trivial matters. His yelling and language on the sidelines does not make anyone envy him. And not every great player wants to play for him. Shaun Lemon is an example of that. Jones’ team also lost several games by only a few points so I guess they stumbled as well and had to settle for fourth place in the west.
      As for Ottawa, Burris stated last week that the Redblacks have the youngest team in the league, as opposed to the Riders who are second oldest only to Montreal. A better chance of being sustainably successful, which is a term that Jones bandies about with his old roster. Ottawa has rookies playing in three of the five positions in the defensive backfield. Spencer and Stangby are young, much younger than most Rider receivers. They also have a number of second year players. If given the choice of Campbell or Jones for my team, I would take Campbell every day.

  18. I don’t really care what goes on in the NFL.I don’t follow it and always preferred 3 down to 4 down football. I do like American college football as many players end up in the CFL.Each to his own I guess. Considering the state of the Toronto franchise when Popp and Trestman came on board you have to give credit where credit is due. The whole franchise has turned this around and congratulations to the Argos. Now the city of Toronto should get off their backsides and support the Argos at BMO. We know they are watching it on TSN. Let’s hope for some classic CFL from this weekend to the Grey Cup. Go Argos !!!!

  19. Anyone who thinks Wilder has been a fluke finding is crazy! I saw him in preseason – tons of talent but didn’t know the game. His development has been a slow purposeful process… Trestman deserves credit for that.

  20. Funny how when Jones finds a talent, it is because he is such a great evaluator of talent. When any other coach finds a promising young player, it is a fluke. Go figure.

  21. I agree about the class of Trestman, his teams and and his style, but not about Jones or Campbell. What I don’t like about Campbell is his lack of sensitivity about not rubbing team’s noses in games they’re winning. I also hate the way he went down like a bulimic schoolgirl when he stepped on the field and goaded Duron Carter into bumping him. The league wisely fined him too! Classy!

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