A new era in Toronto Argonauts football is set to begin. As the Argos prepare to announce the hiring of General Manager Jim Popp and Head Coach Marc Trestman the future can’t come quickly enough for other members of the Argonauts organization and for their fans.
Why? So we can start talking football.
There was much debate about the timing related to the firing of Jim Barker. I myself penned a piece stating that giving the date on the calendar it made sense to go into 2017 with the current regime that consisted of GM Jim Barker and Coach Scott Milanovich. A few days later both men were gone. Barker dismissed of his duties and Milanovich released to pursue a job with the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars.
The days and weeks that followed were filled with criticism over the course the Argos had set sail on. Most of the backlash fell upon President Michael Copeland who was seen as someone without a vision for the franchise he was brought on to build. How can Toronto lure free agents without a GM or Coach? Why weren’t these moves made at seasons end?
The truth is that doesn’t matter now. Fine the process wasn’t perfect. But the end result no matter what the calendar says can’t be disputed. In bringing former Montreal GM Jim Popp and Head Coach Marc Trestman to take over football operations of the Double Blue the end without doubt justifies the means.
The CFL pedigree possessed by both Popp and Trestman is as solid as any combination in the CFL. The Montreal Alouettes made the playoffs for 20 consecutive seasons under Jim Popp. During that span the team won 3 Grey Cups.
Trestman coached the Alouettes for 5 seasons. During that time he amassed a .656 winning percentage 3 Grey Cup appearances and 2 Championships. He’ll return to the sidelines with a clear voice and demand his players buy in or move along.
Teams can have a quick turn around from year to year. Trestman will be pushed for time in terms of building a coaching staff and Jim Popp will undoubtedly look to make a splash from a player personnel stand point. Sure in terms of free agents many are off the board but Jim Popp is not only a GM but a Scout at heart. If there is a nugget to be found he’ll be as motivated as ever to go find it.
The biggest question is that of the starting quarterback. My guess is that Ray is kept on for 1 more year since he is more of a sure bet if he can remain healthy.
President Michael Copeland spoke about putting together an organization that would win not only in the short term but compete year after year as other model organizations do. There’s work to be done on that front for sure. But the hiring of Popp and Trestman is a great step forward in that direction.
I’m willing to bet one of the first questions at the teams’ press conference will be why this process took so long. In the end we won’t really ever know. But given the end product I’m content with the answer: who cares, I’m just glad we got it done.
Follow Anthony @comicanthony