Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Next DC

It is looking more and more like Hamilton will have a fourth different defensive coordinator in as many seasons. If the rumours are to be believed it is a fait accompli that defensive coordinator Casey Creehan will head back to Winnipeg to take up the same position on Tim Burke's staff. With the Bombers firing de facto defensive coordinator Chip Garber, it looks more and more likely that Creehan will head west sooner rather than later. That goes against what I said when Burke was retained as Winnipeg's head coach – and in my defense, I was looking at it from Hamilton's perspective, not Winnipeg's – which means it is highly likely that the Ti-Cats will be in the market for a new defensive coordinator once again.

So we might as well start speculating now on who that could be.

There are a number of qualified candidates and one popular among the Tiger-Cat faithful is former defensive coordinator Greg Marshall. Many wanted Marshall to take over for Creehan at the midway point of the season. It was a ridiculous notion at the time – Marshall is still getting paid handsomely to not coach the Roughriders – so him jumping into the fray at midseason never made sense to me. But that changes now, not only with the off-season here – which means Marshall would have all the time he would need to find the right players for his defense – but also because Marshall has expressed a desire to return to coaching. Marshall is probably at the top of the wish list for many, but whether he would want to return to Hamilton, however, is another matter entirely. But Marshall is hardly the only qualified candidate.

What about Gary Etcheverry? He flamed out as the head coach at the Univeristy of Ottawa, but the guy is still one heckuva defensive coordinator and was the man in charge of the Rider defense that went to two consecutive Grey Cups. Etcheverry is a bit unorthodox, but that might be just what this team needs.

Some other possible candidates are Mike O'Shea and Orlondo Steinauer, both currently coaching with the Toronto Argonauts. O'Shea is still public enemy No. 1 in Hamilton, but he has grown in his three years as special teams coordinator in Toronto and could be in line for promotion. Steinauer was defensive coordinator with the Argos for the last half of the 2011 season when the team fired Chip Garber and went back to being the team's defensive back coach when the Argos hired Chris Jones from Calgary.

And perhaps Garber himself could find his way to Hamilton to replace the man that many believe will be replacing him.

One thing I think is near certain is that Hamilton will hire an experienced coordinator for 2013. The days of experimenting with unproven talent is over (I don't consider O'Shea or Steinauer unproven talent seeing as they have both been coordinators); there will be no hot shot young coordinator coming in. I think the team will want a relatively old hand, one that is capable of getting the most out of the players on the roster. Believe it or not, there is talent on the defense, it just has to be harnessed correctly. That will be job No. 1 for whoever the team hires should, as believed, Creehan bolts back to Winnipeg.

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