Insider Talk: head coach/GM candidates, Arbuckle’s extension, Montreal ‘playing with fire’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Insider Talk is a weekly feature on 3DownNation that features anonymous quotes from people around the CFL — players, coaches, personnel people, executives, and agents — regarding the latest news around the league. It’s a combination of insight, analysis, rumours, and friendly gossip.

This week’s Insider Talk is full of discussion regarding some potential head coaching candidates, Nick Arbuckle’s extension with Edmonton, Toronto potentially signing a “name” quarterback, a potential GM candidate in Ottawa, and why Montreal is “playing with fire.”

Enjoy this week’s quotes and come back next Wednesday for another edition of Insider Talk.

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If Edmonton fires (head coach Jaime) Elizondo their two top candidates are probably (Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ defensive coordinator) Mark Washington and (Calgary Stampeders’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator) Mark Kilam. Optimally you’d get an offensive guy, but they just fired (Saskatchewan Roughriders’ offensive coordinator) Jason Maas, so they won’t consider him. Maybe (Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ offensive coordinator) Buck Pierce is a candidate, but he’s still a pretty young coach.

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I don’t think you can say (Elks’ general manager) Brock (Sunderland) overpaid (quarterback Nick) Arbuckle on his extension because there’s no guaranteed money in 2022. It’s all just salary — no roster bonus or report-and-pass bonus. Brock could restructure Arbuckle’s contract right before or at the end of training camp next year and pay him less. He’ll have all the leverage.

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Here’s a name to keep in mind for Ottawa’s GM vacancy: Jim Barker. He wants back into personnel and he’d be viewed as a safe hire.

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Montreal is playing with fire if they start Trevor Harris the rest of the way. He’s got a $300,000 roster bonus due on February 1. If he blows an Achilles or tears an ACL, they can’t cut him. They’ll have to eat that money in 2022.

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I think the Argos trading away Nick Arbuckle had a lot more to do with them being down on him than high on McLeod Bethel-Thompson. I bet they’ll sign a “name” quarterback in free agency.

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I think Vernon Adams Jr. takes a lot of pressure off Montreal’s offensive line because he moves so well, which forces the defence to stay in their rush lanes. (Matthew) Shiltz does, too. It’ll be different if Trevor Harris is back there for the rest of the way. He doesn’t move as well and that’ll allow the defence to pin their ears back and lay it on. We already saw a little bit of that late in the Saskatchewan game (from Week 13).

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If I was Jake Maier, I’d be trying hard to get down to the NFL in 2022. He’s still young and it’s not like he’s been to three or four camps down there. He’s put some good things on film and he’s not come close to reaching his full potential.

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I think Nick Arbuckle is trying to be Bo Levi Mitchell more than he’s trying to be Nick Arbuckle. He just doesn’t have the same arm. He could be really effective if he plays in himself a little bit more and picks his spots a little better.