The announcement of Corey Chamblin as the 44th coach in the history of the Toronto Argonauts is just over 24 hours old. It’s allowed for many Argo fans to think about the hire and form a rational opinion over the decision to bring back the 2017 defensive coordinator. Based on the reaction from current Argonauts and die-hard Argo fans on social media, the hire appears to be a good one and one that makes sense for the 2019 Toronto Argonauts.
One thing that has come out about the way Corey Chamblin plans on handling the coaching staff in 2019 is that he will be the defensive coordinator, resuming his old duties from 2017. This should excite Argo fans.
Chamblin’s defence was quite good for the Argonauts in 2017. The front four of the Argonauts led the CFL in sacks and was in the top third, if not the top defence in the CFL against the run. The secondary was also quite effective, ranking in the top half of the league in many categories.
The 2017 defence has had a lot of turnover, however, Victor Butler and Shawn Lemon are gone from the front seven. Rico Murray and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are gone from the 2017 secondary. Johnny Sears Jr. has barely played the last two years ever since his gaffe at the Saskatchewan Roughriders in July of 2017.
There is some talent in the Argo defence that’s slated to come back in 2019. Alden Darby looks like he’s turning into a really good corner in the CFL but is a free agent. Darby was present at Chamblin’s conference yesterday, so that is a good prospect for 2019. Ronnie Yell had a quietly good season. Justin Tuggle with an additional edge rusher could be one of the more disruptive defensive ends in the CFL. If the Argonauts can keep Jeff Knox Jr. around for 2019, the defence has some pieces for Chamblin to work with. If the Argonaut defence improves to be middle of the pack, they’ll automatically win more games than 2018.
Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback
Corey Chamblin will be looking to work with a new offensive staff from a season ago. The Argos do have some in-house candidates to stick around with the likes to Tommy Condell and Anthony Calvillo. Given the front office salary cap rules, it’s very likely most of the offensive coaching staff from 2018 will return. Condell has long been considered a Head Coach in waiting and would likely get scooped up somewhere if let go.
Chamblin also and rightfully so, declined to name a starting quarterback. That was much different than the Marc Trestman’s press conference in 2017 where he instantly named Ricky Ray his starter. Chamblin won’t rush to make the decision and that’s smart.
Both James Franklin and McLeod Bethel-Thompson are under contract for 2019. Both were extremely inconsistent in 2018 but both had some bright spots. Franklin definitely has the higher ceiling of the two but showed he was still quite raw. Bethel-Thompson would have had a better record with a better defence. Labour Day, September 22nd vs. Saskatchewan, and Thanksgiving weekend at the B.C. Lions all could’ve been wins for Bethel-Thompson if the defence was stronger. Chamblin should help that.
If Chamblin and his offensive coaching staff want to go for the high upside, high-risk quarterback, Franklin is the guy. But if Chamblin wants to go conservative, Bethel-Thompson would be the guy. Regardless, Chamblin hasn’t tipped his hand and nor shouldn’t he when it comes to the 2019 offensive coaching staff and quarterback position.
The Players Love Him
The reaction to the hire of Corey Chamblin on social media doesn’t go unnoticed. There was plenty of reaction from current and even former Argonauts about the hire of Chamblin. Johnny Sears Jr., Matt Black, and former Argo Shawn Lemon all shared positive reactions to the Chamblin hire.
Corey Chamblin is well regarded around the CFL as a players coach and someone who players love to play for. That should help Jim Popp lure some free agents over this off-season to play under Chamblin and his defence.
The Last Word
There are definitely other reasons behind the scenes such as the front office salary cap that led to Corey Chamblin returning to the Argonauts. Despite that, the move makes sense and should get Argonauts fans excited. Chamblin should improve the defence, players do love playing for him, and with the help of what will be his offensive coaching staff, the right quarterback will be chosen to start in 2019. Welcome back to the Argonauts and the CFL, Corey Chamblin!
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