Apparently, you have to go back to 1986 to find a precedent for what the Riders did last Monday when they parted ways with GM Brendan Taman and coach Corey Chamblin — although even then the dual firing of a GM (Bill Quinter) and coach (Jack Gotta) that year didn’t occur until after the season was over. So the move is more like a combination of the sacking of Greg Marshall as coach in 2011 and Roy Shivers as GM in 2006. Both were mid-season moves that, as it happens, also occurred in August.
To find out what Earl Camembert, Ron Mexico, John’s Chick and Cal Corduroy thought about all the drama in Riderville this week check out Rider Fan Forum which ran in our Sept. 3 issue.
The consensus seems to be that Chamblin’s ego had got the best of him and he was making a lot of ill-considered and capricious decisions both on and off the field that, while not the sole cause of the team’s woeful record (0W-9L this year, and 2W-16L since Darian Durant’s elbow injury in the 2014 Banjo Bowl), were a major contributing factor.
As for Taman, he seems to have been caught in the cross-fire a bit. Also the consensus of our panel is that the Riders Canadian depth is weak and that the team hasn’t done a great job lately of drafting young Canadian talent.
Heading into the Labour Day Classic, which goes at Mosaic Stadium today at 2 p.m., Winnipeg hasn’t exactly been playing well either. Starting QB Drew Willy is out with an injury, and earlier this week the team traded for former Edmonton starter Matt Nichols. He’s likely available to play, but the Bombers will started Brian Brohm at QB.
After a dire weather forecast earlier this week, it seems that conditions won’t be that bad (sunny, with a chance of a shower, high of 14, although the wind is projected at 40 kph out of the southwest). The game is sold out, and I would expect the crowd to be pretty supportive of Rider QB Brett Smith. It was Chamblin’s benching of Smith in last Sunday’s Ottawa game that was the final straw that led to him being fired.
Even in seasons where the Riders were outmatched by Winnipeg, they have a history of coming up big against the Bombers in the Labour Day game. This year, while the Blue & Gold have a better record than the Green & White, they’re hardly a dominant team, so this might well be the game where the Riders notch their first victory of 2015. If they do, it won’t turn their season around, but it will be something positive to build on heading into the second half of the year.
You can find out more about today’s game on the Riderville website.