Argonauts unveil 2021 coaching staff

The Toronto Argonauts unveiled their coaching staff for the 2021 season on Friday. The group that will work under head coach Ryan Dinwiddie remains the same from what would have been the 2020 season with one change, as Joshua Bell will replace Ike Charlton as defensive backs coach.

Jarious Jackson will be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Glen Young remains the defensive coordinator and Mark Nelson will run special teams. Kevin Eiben is back as linebackers coach and special teams assistant, Stephen McAdoo will coach the offensive line, Markus Howell is the receivers coach, Fred Reid will look after the running backs, Mike Davis continues as defensive line coach, and Merritt Bowden assumes assistant defense and special teams coaching duties.

Dinwiddie, hired in December of 2019 is still waiting for his head coaching debut after a 2020 lost season. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Calgary Stampeders from 2016-2019 and was been instrumental in developing Bo-Levi Mitchell into a two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player under his tutelage.

The California native also helped current Argos QB Nick Arbuckle blossom into a future starting pivot after being pressed into service once Mitchell went down in 2019, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns in nine games.

With Dinwiddie guiding the signal-callers, the Stamps reached the Grey Cup three years in a row (2016-2018), hoisting the trophy 2018. Previous to his time in Calgary, Dinwiddie coached in Montreal for three years (2013-2015) in various capacities, including offensive co-coordinator, quarterbacks, offensive quality control and running backs coach.

The former quarterback played five seasons in the CFL, three with Winnipeg (2006-2008) and two with Saskatchewan (2010-2011).

Jackson joins the Argos staff after spending the two previous CFL seasons in B.C. as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Previous to his time with the Leos, the former pivot was the QB coach and passing game coordinator for Saskatchewan in 2016 and 2017; two titles he also held with Edmonton in 2014 and 2015.

The Mississippi native began his coaching career immediately following his eight-year CFL playing career with the Lions and Argos, taking over QB coach duties for the Lions in 2013.

Young spent the past four seasons coaching in Winnipeg, with the last two as linebackers and defensive line coach. The Scarborough native helped the Bombers defence lead the league in rush yards allowed (64.2/game) and guided defensive lineman Willie Jefferson to his first Most Outstanding Defensive Player award in 2019.

An original third-round draft pick of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1992, the linebacker began his pro career with the San Diego Chargers in 1995, playing 22 games over two seasons with the NFL team. The Syracuse alum then played three seasons with his hometown Boatmen (1998-2000) before a year in Montreal (2001) and finishing in Edmonton (2002-2005).

Nelson, a coaching veteran of nearly 30 years including 17 in the CFL, coached six seasons in the nation’s capital (2014-2019) as the Redblacks linebackers coach and was also the team’s defensive coordinator from 2014-2017, winning a Grey Cup with the team in 2016.

Previous to Ottawa, Nelson made coaching stops in Montreal (2013), Edmonton (2010-2012) and Winnipeg (2009) where he coached linebackers and was the defensive coordinator in ’09 and ’12. Nelson began his coaching career in the CFL in Edmonton where he coached special teams, linebackers and running backs from 1992-1994, winning two Grey Cups, before moving to the San Antonio Texans in 1995 and Toronto in 1996, where he would win another championship.

The former linebacker and fullback played seven years in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders after being drafted by the Stamps in the 1980 CFL Draft.

Eiben is back for his fifth coaching season on the Double Blue coaching staff and will once again coach linebackers and assist with special teams, something he is familiar with after serving as the Argos special teams coordinator from 2017-2018.

Eiben spent 11 seasons as a linebacker in Toronto and ranks second in CFL history for tackles by a Canadian player. A fourth-round draft selection by the Argos in 2001, Eiben would go on to be a three-time CFL All-Star and five-time East All-Star before finishing his career in Hamilton in 2012.

McAdoo coached his fourth season in Saskatchewan in 2019 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, helping Riders’ QB Cody Fajardo become the league’s passing yards leader. Before joining the Riders, the Tennessee native spent two years as offensive coordinator in Edmonton (2014-2015) guiding Mike Reilly and the Eskimos to a 2015 Grey Cup championship.

McAdoo returns to Toronto after a four-year stint as the Argos offensive line coach and run game coordinator from 2010-2013, helping the Boatmen lead the league in rushing in 2011 and winning the Grey Cup on home soil in 2012. McAdoo’s first foray into CFL coaching came with Montreal between 2003 and 2007 where he was offensive line and running backs coach as well as co-offensive coordinator.

Howell joins the Argos staff as receivers coach, coming over from B.C. where he spent the last two seasons in the same capacity. The Winnipeg native also coached pass catchers in Saskatchewan in 2016 and 2017 as well as Winnipeg from 2012 to 2015. The former receiver began his coaching career immediately following his playing career in 2011 by coaching linebackers and assisting with special teams for the Blue Bombers.

Howell is an 11-year CFL veteran with Winnipeg (2000-2004, 2010), Ottawa (2005) and Calgary (2006-2009), who earned a reputation as versatile receiver, punt returner, and occasionally defender.

Reid will lead the Double Blue backfield in 2021, a position the sixth all-time leading rusher in Bomber history is familiar with. In five seasons in blue and gold, Reid racked up 4,505 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns while being named an East All-Star three times (2008-2010) and a CFL All-Star in 2010.

Davis will be the team’s defensive line coach after four seasons in Saskatchewan. The Virginia native joined the ‘Riders in 2016 as Manager of Player Personnel until 2019 when he made the switch back to coaching.

Bell joins the Argos after coaching the defensive backs in Calgary for two seasons (2018-2019). Bell played for those same Stampeders from 2014-2017, where he was a West Division All-Star in 2015 and helped the Stamps win the Grey Cup in 2014.

Prior to joining Calgary, the former Baylor Bear played two seasons with the B.C. Lions. The Los Angeles native played 13 games over two NFL seasons (2008-2009) with the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers, winning a Super Bowl as part of the Packers in February of 2010.

Bowden will be the Argos Defensive and Special Teams Assistant this season after coaching in Saskatchewan from 2016-2018. The Alabama native coached the ‘Riders defensive line in 2018. Previously, Bowden coached Saskatchewan’s linebackers and was special teams assistant coach in 2017 as well as special teams assistant in 2016.

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