Realty One

Titan Auto

Monday, August 3, 2015


REGINA -- By the time you read this, Corey Chamblin may have already been fired.

But I highly doubt it.  And the more I hear and think about it, he may not be dismissed at all.

Amidst the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ 0-6 start, which included a 30-5 loss at Edmonton on Friday, a report came out via TSN over the weekend that Rider GM Brendan Taman was set to recommend the firing of head coach Corey Chamblin to club President Craig Reynolds.

No one knows where TSN insider Gary Lawless got this information.

Oddly, this came less than a week after Lawless told the nation Taman would not be firing Chamblin, thus putting his own job in jeopardy.

Hence, the top sentence of this column.  Things are changing by the minute here in Riderville and I’ve been doing my best to stay in the shadows and try to report only the correct information, if any at all.

So as of today, Chamblin is employed by the Saskatchewan Roughriders as head coach.  In fact Saturday night, Chamblin told a reporter it’s “business as usual”.

However Chamblin’s paid to win football games and the club is 0-6.  The speculation is reasonable.

But let’s go back for a second and examine Friday’s game and the reason this club is off to its worst start since 1979.

After the game the players and the coach generally agreed they had one of their better games on defense all year, holding Edmonton to 23 or so points (7 were scored on a pick six thrown by rookie Rider quarterback Brett Smith).

The trouble here is the Roughriders won the coin toss but gave the Eskimos the ball and the wind to open the game.  The home team promptly marched the ball 76-yards down the field and opened the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown reception by Kenny Stafford for a 7-0 lead at the 5:40 mark.  That’s all the offense they’d need for the rest of the game.

So there’s that.

Saskatchewan quarterback Brett Smith was in a hole before he even took his first pro snap.  And then the penalties started.  The Rider players had said before the game they all needed to help out their rookie quarterback by cleaning up their game but they then proceeded to take 17 penalties for 127 yards.   Many of them took great plays, and first downs, by Smith and his receivers off the board.  Every offensive lineman was flagged on the night with the exception of Brendon Labatte.  The receivers took turns going offside.

The Riders averaged 13.6 penalties per game going into the Edmonton contest so they far exceeded that total Friday night.  And Chris Jones’ Eskimos kept their penalty total down to seven in this game.

The Riders are in no way a disciplined team, although we’ve been told otherwise.

And therefore, Chamblin is on the hotseat at 0-6.

No matter that the Riders’ top two quarterbacks are down and the club has been hit by a rash of adversity.

These are not your Dad’s Roughriders.  Losing will not be tolerated.

“Oh ya there’s no setback on that end,” Brendan Taman told me before Friday’s game.  “This is a ‘wins’ business.  Whoever’s playing at whatever position, we’re expected to go win the game.”

My follow-up question to that was if Taman’s getting an edict from the higher-ups of “make the playoffs or else!”?

“We’ve been in the business long enough to know they don’t have to say much for us to know we have to win,” Taman explained.  “Whatever comes from above, comes from above.  But all me and Corey can do is put the best guys out there and try to win games.  We’re working towards that and hopefully we can get that accomplished.”

The TSN report threw the franchise into chaos over the weekend.  President Craig Reynolds probably felt like he’s trying to navigate a monsoon in a dingy.  He and Taman huddled up on Sunday but the contents of their meeting aren't known.  At least not by me.

I was half expecting to hear Chamblin walked into the offices and demanded to be fired given the fact he was effectively pantsed on national television Saturday afternoon.  Could you blame him?

However from what I can gather, he hasn’t.

And a CFL powerbroker told me the possible replacements named by Lawless - Paul Lapolice and Mike Benevides – are hesitant to come here due to the toxic environment which has been created.

How could you tie a can to Chamblin with no one lined up to replace him?

Stay tuned.  This will only get more interesting from here on in.

Brendan Taman will be on 620 CKRM's SportsCage today (Holiday Monday) at 5:05 pm to discuss the latest.