The Toronto Argonauts relieved general manager Jim Popp of his duties after three seasons with the team.
Popp has won five Grey Cup’s in his managerial career, including the 2017 Grey Cup in his first year with the Argonauts. Unfortunately, in the two seasons that followed that early success, the Argos have slipped from championship contenders to the league’s doormat, finishing 4-14 in 2018.
The 54-year-old clearly tried to turn his version of the Argo’s into a second coming of his Alouettes –many of the original hires and personnel he brought over had been a part of those championship teams.
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His first hire at coach was two-time Grey Cup champion Marc Trestman, a relationship that had ended amicably in Montreal when Trestman asked to be allowed to pursue a job in the NFL. Unfortunately. the pressure and disappointment from the 4-14 season caused friction between the two, and Trestman was relieved of his job at the end of last year.
Former quarterback Anthony Calvillo and current offensive coordinator Jacques Chapdelaine are just some of the other hires Popp made who stemmed from his Alouette days. Despite the early success, the attempt to make Toronto a second Montreal failed miserably.
In Montreal, the Alouettes were the league standard for 19 years, making the Grey Cup eight times. Their consistent success helped alleviate some of Popp’s more eccentric qualities.
Popp tended to be more hands on than most, and chose to coach the team himself on four separate occasions instead of hiring an interim coach. Whatever good will Popp earned in his Grey Cup victory with the Argos has withered quickly.
Even the most die-hard Argo fan would agree that this team is lacking a certain punch, something that has been frustratingly referred to all season long by management. With Popp’s contract expiring at the end of the year, management decided to get ahead on the difficult task of building for next year.
In their official release, the Argo’s cited that “this team is lacking the identity and culture that have brought a record number of Grey Cups to Toronto, and a change was necessary.”
With four games to go, and last place almost assured, the focus now turns to incumbent coach Corey Chamblin and his future with the team. All the way through Labour Day, Chamblin seemed to have a hold of his locker-room, despite the poor results.
That seemed to have changed in the last two games, with the Argos putting in two poor performances that are among their worst of the season. It’s a well-known fact that general manager’s want to bring in their own coach, but the league’s absurd management cap might keep Chamblin safe for the remainder of his two-year deal.
Still, a move like this should put everyone in the organization on notice. How much lee-way do you get after a Grey Cup victory? When you only win six games in the next two years– not much.
Do you agree with the move to let Popp go? Should the Argos have made the move sooner rather than later? Let us know in the comments below.