MacKinnon: ‘Business as usual’ for Eskimos day after Hervey’s decree
Offensive, defensive co-ordinators still preparing team as they see fit
EDMONTON - Maybe there was a snag in the inter-office snail mail delivery or emails were inadvertently deleted, but the day after Edmonton Eskimos general manager Ed Hervey called out his 1-8 team, declaring that a series of specific changes would be made by Friday night, it was just another day in paradise lost at Commonwealth Stadium.
Just 24 hours after Hervey said the offensive co-ordinator would play “a limited role” in play-calling from now on, the holder of that office, veteran assistant Doug Sams, said it was “business as usual.”
“Let’s just say nothing’s changed ... I just come to work every day, prepare the offence, get the (play) call sheet ready and away we go,” he said.
Asked specifically who would be calling the plays on Friday night, Sams said: “Business as usual. You’ve been seeing who’s been sending them in, so nothing’s changed.”
Sams would not comment on what Hervey had said on Tuesday.
“I don’t read that stuff, so I don’t even really know what you’re talking about,” Sams said.
Asked how being singled out by the GM might affect his work, Sams said: “I don’t pay it (any) mind because I’ve been in this business 33 years.
“It’s like politics. Nobody is ever going to agree with you 100 per cent of the time. You just do the best job that you as a human being can do.”
Greg Marshall, co-ordinator of a defensive unit that Hervey said he would like to see be “turned loose” to go on the attack more, also seemed to be in “more-of-the-same” mode.
“People are allowed to their opinions, that’s all I’m going to say,” Marshall said. “I’m going to continue to do my job, coach these guys the best I can and in a way I think is in the best interests of the players and myself and the team.
“And people are entitled to say and believe what they want to believe. We’re not going to throw everything out the window, if that’s what you mean. We’re going to try to keep getting better, play better, coach better and see where this thing goes.”
When head coach Kavis Reed was asked who would be calling the offensive plays on Friday night in the Labour Day rematch, he said: “Right now, we’re still sorting through Calgary. We’re going to make certain that all the protocols are addressed. But being that it’s a short week, we want to make certain that we keep (changes) as close to the vest as possible.”
Reed also said he had not yet had time to sit down with his full staff and address the changes, it being still less than 48 hours after that 37-34 loss to the Stampeders in Calgary.
It was unclear whether that meant the changes in responsibilities and emphasis outlined by Hervey on Tuesday had not yet been implemented or would be delayed until next week, given the quick turnaround this week.
Was Reed now the de facto offensive co-ordinator, he was asked, following a practice in which he spent considerable time working with the offence, fine-tuning myriad details?
“No,” Reed said. “Apparently, I’m having a hard enough time doing the things I’m supposed to be doing right now, right?”
Reed, by the way, was also equivocal about the future role of Simeon Rottier, who on Tuesday was singled out for a scorching for poor performance by his GM, who said the offensive lineman wouldn’t start on Friday.
“It wouldn’t bother me if he didn’t play another down this year,” Hervey said.
Reed suggested Rottier could play his way back into the rotation if his performance improves over the nine remaining games this season. Reed acknowledged Rottier’s play has not been up to expectations.
The Eskimos head coach executed a delicate semantic tightrope act on Wednesday. He didn’t defy his GM, but he didn’t exactly endorse his scathing comments, either.
“Ed is very passionate about the Edmonton Eskimos football club,” Reed said. “With that passion, there are going to be a lot of things (said) in terms of accountability.
“I say that his words come from what his desire and passion is for this organization.”
Did he agree with the message and the way it was delivered, Reed was asked.
“It’s not necessarily whether I agree or not, it’s what his desire is for this football team,” Reed said. “We discuss everything. I know pretty much what he is thinking; he knows pretty much what my thoughts are.”
Pressed harder on whether the changes Hervey had decreed must be made would, in fact, be put in place, Reed said: “Here’s the thing about football, and here’s the thing about me: “I’m going to do what’s right for this franchise. I’m not ever going to buck the system. That’s not the Edmonton Eskimos way.”
Reed’s job is safe until the end of the season, but Hervey said Tuesday that “everyone is on notice” and that includes the head coach. Would Reed want to return next season, given all that has unfolded this disappointing season?
“My desire is what’s best for this franchise. Everything Kavis has done has been about this franchise. It’s not Kavis-centred. It’s about me doing what’s best for this franchise, the health of this franchise.
“I’m in a position of leadership and I take that very, very seriously. Leadership is about not being at the centre of attention, but doing what’s right for the collective.
“The truth is, I’m not going to be the head coach of this football team forever. But while I’m here, it’s my responsibility and I’m not going to be hypocritical about anything. I’m going to do what’s right for this football team, this franchise, plain and simply. Period.
“I’m not trying to be coy, I am not trying to be adversarial. That is who I am, that is where my heart has been.”
That’s the baffling thing about this Eskimos team. There’s plenty of heart and passion and pride, but so far, it all adds up to 1-8,
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