Inside the CFL: Marshall Law never had a chance
Ted Michaels, CFL Editor
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) -
The silence said more than any words could.
Saturday afternoon, Greg Marshall faced the media, one day after he was dismissed as the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
On Thursday, the Riders lost 24-18 in Toronto, which dropped them to a league worst 1-7 record.
When they arrived back in Regina, Marshall was summoned to GM Brendan Taman's office, where he was given the news.
Ken Miller, who coached the Riders for the previous three seasons before relinquishing that role to become the vice president of football operations, is once again the head coach.
The Riders, who started off with three straight losses, beat the Alouettes in Montreal in Week 4 to get their first win, then dropped four in a row.
Also dismissed was offensive coordinator Doug Berry.
Marshall told the assembled media, "It was a pleasure to be back here, even if it was too brief. I would like to thank those in the organization who showed the confidence in me to give me this opportunity. However, to the same people, I express my disappointment in how easily you chose to give up on me before I had an opportunity to complete the task you hired me to do. "
Marshall, an Oregon State grad, had a nine-year CFL career, then spent 17 years as an assistant coach before finally getting a chance to be a head coach, then fired some salvos at the Roughrider brass.
"I understand that in this business the powers that be have the right to make any decision they choose, even if it means taking the easy way out and not the right way," he said.
Marshall vowed the experience would make him stronger.
"I will be a better person and a better coach for this experience" he said. "My hope is I will get a chance to lead a team again. To those of you who scoff at that, may I remind you of what the so-called experts said about Terry Francona, when he managed the Phillies, or when Bill Belichick was the coach of the Browns, or even the gentleman whose picture adorns this stadium (former Rider QB and head coach, Ron Lancaster). None of them let anybody take away their dream, and I won't allow anybody take away my dream. You have not heard the last of me."
Marshall said he thought he should have been given more time to turn the team's fortunes around.
"Eight games isn't enough," he said. "My job as a coach is to coach the people that are here to the best of my ability, and that's what I tried to do."
Marshall added, "red flags" that told him his dismissal was imminent.
A reporter followed up that statement by asking what he meant by "red flags."
"Now's not the time or the place to discuss it," answered Marshall.
When asked how tough it was to coach the team, with Miller still involved, Marshall, paused for a full 10 seconds, before saying "I think maybe the events of the last day may explain your question."
Two weeks ago, in this space, we wondered about the optics of Miller, standing on the Rider sideline, just behind Marshall.
At that time, we also mused if Miller was seeing for himself why the team was so bad, or was he preparing to get his old job back?
It appears Marshall's silence spoke volumes.
- While Miller appears to have his hands all over the firings, Taman had a lot to do with the move as well.
Rumours persist that Marshall wasn't Taman's first choice for head coach, instead it was Hamilton's defensive coordinator Corey Chamblin, who Taman coveted.
The Riders brass continue to insist the playoffs are still on their radar.
Fans of the Green and White hope Taman and Miller are right.
If not, the two of them may find the Saskatchewan winter a lot colder than they're used to.
- The Roughriders' next game is on Sunday, September 4th. They host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the 49th Labour Day Classic.
Saskatchewan has won the first game of the home and home series, called the Banjo Bowl, six years in a row.
Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter, on AM 900 CHML.
Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Ted Michaels at firstname.lastname@example.org.