Ottawa's Rick Campbell, Edmonton's Chris Jones embody traits of the best football coaches

Ottawa's Rick Campbell, Edmonton's Chris Jones embody traits of the best football coaches

Tacticurn technicians tend not to be headline-friendly, either literally or figuratively, but they do cross the T's and dot the I's.

There is a conundrum with relating to understanding football that pertains to coaches such as the Ottawa Redblacks' Rick Campbell and Edmonton's Chris Jones. The Grey Cup head coaches seem forged from a similar tintype that proscribes the right-brain digressions that throw the rest of us for a loss. Edmonton media have played up Jones' brusqueness. Campbell's deadpan home-run answer to the pregame sex question was all the more funnier because of the premise that the 44-year-old head coach practised his response. It almost took on a life of its own in the replaying of the clip — Campbell work-shopping The Response with his closest confidants. doing a walkthrough on the wording, then bringing it up to half speed, then three-quarters and full speed before springingg it on an unsuspecting media like a new pass play,

Of course, there is no one way to be successful football coach, but the media would generally prefer colorful or idiosyncratic. It wants Michigan's Jim Harbaugh's obsessive-compulsiveness love of khaki pants and Washington State's Mike Leach telling his players to "swing their sword." Or a quip master such as the late, great USC coach John McKay, who while presiding over the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers once responded to a "what did you think of your team's execution?" by saying, "I'm all for it."

More often than not, though, a football coach is linear. The problem with the type who eschews revealing too much of himself publicly — an understandable precaution, given the volatility of the sports industry and the fact there are only nine head coach positions in the CFL — is they can become a proxy for fan and media discontent with a team's fortunes. For instance, Bill Belichick was called a "bland technocrat" when he was coaching mediocre Cleveland Browns team in the early 1990s; that same bland technocrat is the one who goes for it on fourth down than almost any other NFL head coach.

Campbell and Jones fall under that heading, to some extent. It's only when their teams and organizations that people get a grasp of how each is generally wired. A coach doesn't simply oversee a rise from oblivion, such as Ottawa "setting up to be the finest team story in modern CFL history," or Edmonton having a 14-4 campaign two seasons after it was 4-14, without having the acuity to stay on top of everything going on with the group of human beings that comprise a football team. Nor can he do it if the players and coaching staff don't have a buy-in where they believe the main headset-wearer knows what he's doing.

Point being, it's understandable why people might have reacted skeptically at the time of Edmonton and Ottawa handing the keys over to first-time head coaches when Jones and Campbell were hired nine days apart in late 2013. With each sitting on top of the three-down football world, it's easier to appreciate that charisma is about more than giving a good sound byte. People who have covered Edmonton's climb will attest that Jones cares about his players as more than football-playing men. Similarly, Redblacks frontline players such as shortside defensive end Shawn Lemon "go to bat" for Campbell because he's a "real people's person."

In the Belichick mould, each is a defensive guy who loves him some calculated risks. One presumes that's informed by the defensive background, knowing what gives coordinators fits and unloosing it on an opponent.  

That dynamic could make for a good Grey Cup matchup. Indirectly, it's also provided a lot of insight to football outsiders. On to Winnipeg .   

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @naitSAYger.