With most football teams, there's a crucial triad of key coaching positions: head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator. The CFL's veered away from that mould at times, though, and the Toronto Argonauts plan to make one of the boldest departures from convention yet, announcing this weekend that they've filled out their coaching staff with the hires of Cory Stone as defensive line coach and Kez McCorvey as receivers coach and the shift of Jason Maas to quarterbacks coach. However, that's a full coaching staff that doesn't include an offensive coordinator, and at first glance, that could be quite problematic. Upon further examination, though, while it still has drawbacks, it just might work in this situation.
It's worth pointing out that the Argonauts still very much will have someone in charge of their offence. New Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich used to hold the offensive coordinator's job in Montreal, did very well there, and is apparently all set to handle the same responsibilities with the Argonauts in addition to his role as head coach. While that sounds like a lot for one man's plate, it's worth pointing out that Milanovich doesn't have to deal with some elements other head coaches do; he's not a head coach/general manager (his predecessor in Toronto, Jim Barker, still holds the GM job), unlike Calgary's John Hufnagel (and until recently, B.C.'s Wally Buono), and he can probably delegate more than many on the defensive side of the ball thanks to the hiring of experienced defensive coordinator Chris Jones. While handling the jobs of both the head coach and offensive coordinator isn't going to be an easy task for Milanovich, he isn't exactly flying solo either, as he'll have experienced offensive assistants like Steve McAdoo, Maas and McCorvey to call upon when needed.
However, this doesn't appear to be the ideal scenario for the Argonauts. Milanovich reportedly tried to lure an old comrade, Alouettes' receivers coach Marcus Brady, as his new offensive coordinator back in December, but Brady elected to stay in Montreal and take Milanovich's old OC job. Milanovich then brought in another Alouettes' alumnus, offensive line coach Jonathan Himebauch, to take the offensive coordinator position, but Himebauch quickly left (in a move Milanovich reportedly okayed) for a job at Wake Forest. Thus, Milanovich's first choice and second choice for offensive coordinator turned him down, and this was his fallback position. It's not necessarily a bad one, and it could turn out very well, but it's probably less ideal than having a capable offensive coordinator Milanovich felt comfortable delegating to.
Still, plenty of head coaches in the CFL have also called offensive plays, so this isn't unprecedented. The other advantage of not naming an offensive coordinator is that there's no discussion over how much independence any offensive coordinator would have had. See Winnipeg's firing of offensive coordinator Jamie Barresi, a man who didn't have playcalling authority, this offseason. An issue there was that Barresi had the title, but didn't have many of the powers traditionally associated with the role. Milanovich has made it clear he's not giving up those powers, so perhaps it's for the best that he isn't sticking anyone with an impotent title.
With this move, Milanovich is making it very clear who's calling the shots on offence. That has its advantages and disadvantages. If he can rekindle the offensive magic he produced in Montreal, no one will be complaining about the lack of a titular OC. If not, Toronto fans will know exactly who to blame for offensive struggles.