Alouettes' offensive coordinator Marcus Brady is taking the same role in Toronto.When most CFL teams hire an offensive or defensive coordinator, the candidates come from one of three pools: those in less-prominent roles within the organization, those in less-prominent roles elsewhere in the league and those who aren't currently working in the CFL. It's rare to see a team grab an offensive or defensive coordinator from elsewhere in the league; that's typically seen as a lateral move, and most teams are reluctant to let their personnel move laterally. However, that doesn't appear to be the case with the Toronto Argonauts. Almost exactly a year after controversially bringing in defensive coordinator Chris Jones in what was essentially a lateral move from Calgary, they've added offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, who's making a lateral move from that position with Montreal. (There was one elsewhere last week too, with Winnipeg for some reason hiring Hamilton DC Casey Creehan, but that may have been him jumping before he was pushed.) Thus, the Argonauts appear to be involved in more laterals than Joe Kapp's Golden Bears during The Play. The key question's if the Brady hire is going to prove as controversial as the Jones one did, though.
When Toronto hired Jones last December, it stirred plenty of debate around the league thanks to how the timeline unfolded. Reports that Jones was headed to the Argonauts as defensive coordinator emerged before Scott Milanovich was even announced as Toronto's head coach, and the Stampeders said Jones was gone long before the Argonauts officially announced his hire. That led to Calgary filing a grievance with the CFL and Toronto eventually being fined $5,000 for tampering. (Whether the Jones move was purely a lateral one can be argued a bit, but only a bit; in Toronto, he carries the triple-barrelled title of "Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Assistant General Manager", while in Calgary, his title was "Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator & Assistant Director, Player Personnel"; that looks like essentially the same set of roles, but assistant general manager sounds a little fancier.)
Perhaps most remarkably, the Jones move turned into a a major Grey Cup storyline when the Argonauts met up with the Stampeders there, and it seemed apparent from Calgary head coach/general manager John Hufnagel's comments at a press conference there that there were still tensions over how that hire happened, with Hufnagel complaining about how late they had to grab Rick Campbell from Edmonton (a move that was a promotion, not a lateral one; Campbell was the Eskimos' special-teams coordinator) as a replacement and refusing to apologize for blasting the Argonauts' hiring process:
"That's yesterday's news," Hufnagel said. "What I said, I said. I'm not changing what I said."
What's also notable is at that same press conference, Argonauts' coach Scott Milanovich expressed regret over how the Jones hire caught Calgary by surprise, citing it as an unusual collection of circumstances and saying he'd go through the proper channels if he had the chance for a do-over. "I wish it had happened differently," he said. We'll see if this one did in fact go through Montreal head coach Marc Trestman, or if it's going to turn out to be another controversial Toronto coaching move.
It's interesting as well that this isn't the Argonauts' first attempt to grab Brady. He worked with Milanovich in Montreal (first as a quarterback, but most recently as the Alouettes' receivers coach while Milanovich was the offensive coordinator), and was reportedly Toronto's first choice as offensive coordinator last year, but opted to stay in Montreal and take Milanovich's old role there. (Toronto opted for another Montreal assistant as OC, former Alouettes' offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch, but he quickly left for the NCAA ranks, so Milanovich was both the head coach and offensive coordinator this year.) You wonder what's changed in a year.
The Argonauts may have been able to make Brady a better offer this time around, as he now has a year as an offensive coordinator on his resume. However, this also could be seen as him perhaps being unhappy in Montreal or leaving before he was pushed (as happened with former Alouettes' defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold), or perhaps he just wanted to join the reigning Grey Cup champions. Regardless, only days after bringing in Noel Thorpe to fill that vacancy, Montreal now has another coordinator position to fill. We'll see if the Alouettes are upset about that or not. If the Argonauts went by the book here and Trestman gave Brady permission to make a lateral move, no harm, no foul. If not, though, as happened with Jones, this might just be the start of the story...