After Marc Trestman was fired by the Toronto Argonauts due to a disappointing 4-14 season, Corey Chamblin quickly became one of the leading candidates to fill the role. While general manager Jim Popp talked to a number of other candidates, here are five reasons why Chamblin was ultimately selected for the job.
1) Pre-existing relationship
Chamblin and general manager Jim Popp are familiar with one another from the worst-to-first turnaround Toronto accomplished during the storybook 2017 season – one that ended with a Grey Cup championship. Popp saw first-hand how Chamblin communicates with his players on defence and the entire unit responded to the coaching by playing high-level defensive football.
When Popp brought Chamblin to the Toronto Raptors game – sitting courtside – that was a strong sign the relationship remained intact even though the 41-year-old left for a job at the University of Arkansas prior to the 2018 season. Through talking to players, Popp found out how much they enjoyed playing for Chamblin.
2) Familiarity with current staff
Chamblin hired much of the defensive coaching group when he came to Toronto in 2017.
Kerry Locklin (defensive line), Mike Archer (linebackers), Tyron Brackenridge (assistant defensive backs) and Gavin Lake (quality control) were all on staff for the 2018 season as Archer took over the coordinating duties. Greg Quick was hired on as linebackers coach, another familiar face as Chamblin hired the 62-year-old as his defensive coordinator while he was the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
3) Operations cap
With the new non-player football cap being implemented, the fact Toronto can retain current coaches already under contract played a role. A new head coach wanting to bring in an entirely fresh group would have made it more difficult to stay under the $2.59 million allowance for 2019 and 2020. Trestman’s $675,000 salary will either have to be amortized over five years or renounced altogether – a move teams can make for one coach every five years.
Offensive coordinator Tommy Condell is not under contract past 2018. Chamblin’s first focus will be to fill that role and complete his staff.
The Argos defence was stout under Chamblin in 2017, but sank to the bottom of the league last season.
Toronto allowed the most points (560) – the only team to allow more than 30 per game – while giving up a league-high 35 touchdown passes, recording the lowest amount of sacks (24) and forcing the least amount of turnovers (26). Big plays were a major issue, but just one of many for the leaky ship that was the boatmen defence throughout 2018. Those holes will be fixed by Chamblin.
5) Grey Cup pedigree
Winning the Grey Cup is the goal for every team and Chamblin has one as a head coach on his resume.
There was an immense amount of pressure on Chamblin in 2013 when the Riders were hosting the CFL title game at Mosaic Stadium. Saskatchewan beat B.C. at home in the West semi, went into McMahon Stadium for a convincing 35-13 victory in the West Final before blowing out Hamilton to win the coveted silver trophy.
Expectations could not have been higher in Riderville during that season but Chamblin was able to get the most out of his group and hoist the cup.