Realty One

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Jason Maas says friends and family have asked him if he's nervous going from a coach of an expansion team to head coach of the defending Grey Cup champions.

"Talking to several people in my close-knit circle, that was the one question that came up,'' Maas said Wednesday on a conference call.

Maas was the offensive co-ordinator of the Ottawa Redblacks last season in the CFL.

The Edmonton Eskimos, who beat the Redblacks to win the 2015 Grey Cup, gave Maas his first head-coaching gig in December when Chris Jones departed for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

"I knew it was the right job for me,'' Maas said. "When you take over the defending Grey Cup champion, that means you have some quality people here. I look forward to that challenge and building on that culture that they've established here and continuing winning.

"I know what kind of organization we are here. I just want to be a part of that. There's pressure every year in Edmonton to win. I know everyone's goal is that, but it is true here.''

The former quarterback has closed a football circle as he was an Eskimo for a combined nine seasons and a member of Edmonton's Grey Cup teams in 2003 and 2005.

"In my grand scheme of thinking, it was always to get back to Edmonton at some point,'' Maas said. "Obviously this was a dream job for me.''

CFL main camps open May 28. The Eskimos kick off defence of the Grey Cup at home against the Redblacks on June 25.

Maas says he's already drawing on the vast experience of defensive co-ordinator and assistant coach Mike Benevides. The B.C. Lions were 33-21 and made the playoffs the three seasons Benevides was head coach from 2012 to 2014.

"We talk daily. Sometimes a couple times a day,'' Maas said. "He's a world full of knowledge.

"He's got a bunch of it being in the league for as long as he has and coaching as long as he has. He's done everything - special teams, defensive co-ordinator, position coach to head coach. He's been successful at every step. I definitely rely on him.''

The 40-year-old from Beaver Dam, Wisc., heads into 2016 with continuity where it counts at quarterback. The Eskimos re-signed pivot Mike Reilly to a two-year contract earlier this month.

After missing two months of 2015 with a knee injury suffered in the season-opener, Reilly went 10-0 upon his return as a starter to conclude the regular season. He was named the Grey Cup MVP completing 21-of-35 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns.

"We're athletic, we're a big team,'' Maas said. "We've got the continuity back for the most part. They're winners, they finish.''

The Redblacks wanted compensation for Maas's departure, but the CFL announced earlier this month there would not be any. Maas said it wasn't a distraction.

"I was never really concerned something drastic would happen about it,'' Maas said. "I felt I was always going to continue to stay head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos.

"I certainly was hip to the fact and listening and hoping that we weren't going to have to give up any compensation because it would ultimately hurt our club. That was the only reason I kept paying attention to it.''

(Canadian Press)


Anonymous said...

How did he coach the Blackreds for 3 years when they've only been around for 2 years?

Anonymous said...

I remember when Wally stepped aside and allowed Defensive coordinator Mike Benivedies to take over the Grey Cup champions in BC. Mike already knew the culture as he wasn't an outsider like Jason Maas is in Edmonton. Plus Beniviedies had all of the remaining coaches From the previous year. Not only did they not repeat. Mike never got them past the 1st round of the playoffs 3 years in a row.
So the Chances of Jason Maas with all new coaches except one is going to be hard pressed to get the EE back to the Grey Cup once again. In fact I feel they will have to face adversity several times in season 2016 and that's when Rookie Head Coaches make mistakes. I'm with Rod in that I feel the Eskimos will struggle this season. They will win some games but I feel that they will not be better than any of the other Western Teams. Time will tell.

Reginald of Regina

Anonymous said...

It says no where that Maas was with the redblacks for three years, maybe your confused with it stating Benevides record with B.C for three years...maybe you should go have a coffee and wake up first lol.

Anonymous said...

I think this dream job will be a nightmare within 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Mostly.

However, Edmonton did keep a lot of their core players. They were not totally gutted, though they did lose some important players.

The west will be a three team race between Calgary, Saskatchewan and Edmonton and the first place team wins 12 games maximum.

The wheels will come off in Winnipeg by Labour Day.

BC is the wildcard. If Jennings lights it up, they will take a step forward. If he goes into a sophomore slump, they will falter.

I can't f@&£ing wait for the season to start :-)

A guy in Lower Canada