December 03, 2011
With the Toronto Argonauts' hiring of Montreal Alouettes' offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich made official Thursday, there was wide speculation that Alouettes' receivers coach Marcus Brady would soon be following as Milanovich's new offensive coordinator. Per TSN, Brady was in fact offered that job but declined in favour of taking over Milanovich's old role as offensive coordinator in Montreal. It's going to be interesting to see how he does in Milanovich's stead, and it's also going to be notable to see who Milanovich brings in as the Argonauts' offensive coordinator now his top choice is gone.
The impacts of various figures in the Montreal offence are hard to quantify, but the sum total has produced a unit that's consistently been one of the CFL's best across the board. This year, the Alouettes scored a league-best 515 points (28.6 per game) even with a dismal 43-1 loss on the season's final day. They had the league's top passer (Anthony Calvillo), rusher (Brandon Whitaker) and receiver (Jamel Richardson) by yardage, and all excelled on the efficiency front as well. The offence was hardly to blame for their playoff loss, either, as it put up 44 points in a doomed effort against Hamilton. All of that's been pretty consistent ever since Marc Trestman took over as head coach in 2008. You can come to your own conclusions about how much of the Montreal offence is about Calvillo and the other stars, how much is about offensive guru Trestman and how much is about the titular coordinator, but Brady would certainly seem to be an excellent candidate to maintain the status quo of offensive dominance.
Brady's promotion also adds to another ongoing CFL trend; hiring former CFL quarterbacks as offensive coordinators. Across the league, four of the current five offensive coordinators (yes, Toronto, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan all have no offensive coordinator at the moment) are former CFL quarterbacks: Dave Dickenson in Calgary, Marcus Crandell in Edmonton, Khari Jones in Hamilton and Brady in Montreal (he's seen at right above with Calvillo following a win in the 2008 East Final). The lone exception is the B.C. Lions' Jacques Chapdelaine, whose playing career came as a slotback and who went on to be a CIS head coach with Laval before becoming a CFL OC. Brady didn't have as prominent of a CFL playing career as those other guys, as he only started 11 games, but he still spent seven years in the league with Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal from 2002-2008, so he has plenty of experience running CFL offences. Many former CFL quarterbacks have gone on to be great offensive coordinators; we'll see if Brady can continue that pattern.
With Brady off the board, it's going to be very interesting to see who Milanovich brings in. He's obviously an offensive-minded coach himself and served as the Alouettes' offensive coordinator from 2008-10, so you'd think that he'll have a large role in deciding how the Argonauts' offensive system winds up looking. With a hire like Brady, that probably wouldn't have been much of an issue; the two worked together for years in Montreal and likely are pretty close to on the same page.
There's no one else on the Alouettes' staff who really seems like a good fit, though (the only other offensive assistant they have listed is offensive line coach Jonathan Himebach, who has never coached anything other than OL). Hiring an offensive coordinator from a different system could lead to conflict between him and Milanovich over who handles what (see how the Jamie Barresi situation played out in Winnipeg). There are still plenty of qualified, capable coaches out there for Toronto, but the most logical fit is now off the board.