Source: Chris Young/CP
The news of Marc Trestman being fired this past weekend surprised a lot of people including myself. It just came out of nowhere. It was so unexpected. But the reality of it being a coach in professional sports isn’t about what you did for me yesterday, but what your doing for me now. The Chicago Blackhawks put that statement on the table firing Joel Quenneville after 10 seasons. He won 3 Stanley Cups but missed the playoffs last year, and they are currently 6th place in the seven-team Central division. The Hawks felt like it was time to wipe the slate clean, and much like that firing, it’s disappointing to see that Trestman got canned.
A year ago, Marc Trestman helped anchored the Argos winning their 16th grey cup in the team's history. The most in the CFL. A rematch of the 100th grey cup game between the Argos and the Stampeders. The Argos stunned the heavily favoured Stampeders in the snowy conditions at TD Place in Ottawa. The Argos were on top of the CFL world, but now Marc Trestmam is the scapegoat in a disastrous season that upper management should get the blame for. What’s more surprising in this ordeal is that Jim Popp and Marc Trestman had so much success together years past. From the days with the Montreal Alouettes organization winning back to back grey cups while helping resurrect the career of CFL Hall of Famer Anthony Calvillo, the franchise's quarterback for 16 seasons. There's too much history between Popp and Trestman, and they just won their third championship together, it's just hard to fathom the breakup.
This move made the Argos look bad, it makes them look like a Mickey Mouse organization. The Argos management thought it was a smart idea trading away CFL all-star Shawn Lemon to the Lions the first month into the season. Didn’t they realize that Lemon was the leader on the defense and was vital to the team's success during their championship run last season? Lemon had 3 sacks in the Argos East Final against the Rough Riders. Trading away their premier push rusher didn’t do Marc Trestman any favours. The Argos gave up the most points this season and had the fewest QB sacks. The defence was none existent with the loss of Shawn Lemon.
Ricky Ray getting injured early in the was a huge loss for the Argos. The offence couldn’t get into a rhythm without Ray in the lineup. His backups. James Franklin and Mcleod Bethel-Thompson didn’t quite light the world on fire, combining for 35 touchdowns this season. The issue in this situation was how come the Argos didn’t get a quarterback that could take the Reigns off of Ricky Ray? Ray is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the league but nearing the age of 40 and missing more than a handful game the last few seasons due to injuries, it's hard to believe they didn't have a viable backup plan. Argos management became delusional thinking they could still compete without Ricky Ray. With Franklin at the helm they couldn’t compete, McLeod Bethel-Thompson might be a tad better but he’s still not good enough to win games. All upper management seemed to do was let the ship sink while they sit on their hands watching it happen. Ray injuring his neck has put his football future in jeopardy and his return to the field is in doubt, and that puts the Argos quarterback situation under a microscope going into next season.
James Wilder Jr. was outstanding in his rookie season. He averaged over 7 yards per carry, while taking the number one running back spot later in the season. Wilder had 4 games of 100 yards or more last year running the ball, but just one 100 yard rushing game this season. His season would end in week 16 with a leg injury and the standout running back just couldn’t get over the dreaded sophomore slump. To make matters worse, the Argos were at the bottom, or near the bottom in every offensive category. The magic was lost but again this shouldn’t have resulted in Trestman getting the pink slip. Don’t forget Wilder was one the highest paid running backs at $100,000 this year, and it's safe to say he didn't live up to it.
While it wasn’t a good year for Trestman on the field, off the field was worse. Marc Trestman lost his father in early September at the age of 88 and now his mother is being treated for cancer. With Trestman being away from the team a few times to deal with personal matters the Argos brass might have felt Trestman couldn’t continue. It would make sense Trestman might need a break from football from a personal standpoint, but if it was for football-related matters, Trestman didn’t deserve to be the scapegoat. No way should Trestman should have lost his job. With the Argos now searching for their 3rd coach in 4 years, it seems like this team is going back to the drawing board. The question is; who wants to coach a team in such disarray? The skies in Argo land looks murkier than ever. To Marc Trestman however, thank you for bringing back to the Grey Cup to the great city of Toronto. You deserved better from Argos management.