Esks in no hurry

Edmonton Eskimos' president Rick LaLacheur relieved GM and director of football operations Danny...

Edmonton Eskimos' president Rick LaLacheur relieved GM and director of football operations Danny Maciocia of his duties on Saturday. (Amber Bracken, Edmonton Sun)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:36 PM ET

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Eskimos will almost certainly go without a general manager for the rest of the season.

“At this time of year there are definitely not as many good candidates available,” is how president and CEO Rick LeLacheur phrased it Sunday.

With Ed Hervey, Paul Jones and Dan McKinnon running the team by committee, answering to LeLacheur while scouting NFL camps, the president and CEO says he’s in no rush for a quick fix.

“All the work has been done with identifying potential NFL cuts. Now we’re out there scouting them.

“When it comes to making football decisions, the same discussions will take place as take place in all of them except without Danny involved,” he said.

Hugh won’t return

The Eskimos, says LeLacheur, will not ask Hugh Campbell to return to the team as interim general manager until they hire a replacement for Maciocia, either.

“No,” said Campbell’s successor as president and who no longer has Campbell on the payroll as an adviser and consultant as he did for a couple of years after his retirement. “I think he likes his retirement. I had breakfast with him just the other day.”

I’m not sure if quietly, without focus and without pressure, they’re not giving Hervey a chance to see if he’s ready to step up and take over.

“Someday he’s going to be a GM in this league,” LeLacheur said last year of the former Eskimos’ star receiver. I think he was projecting that a few years down the road, but ...

More immediate is the coaching staff.

As long as head coach Richie Hall doesn’t lose the dressing room, and the way the players showed their love for their head coach Friday, I believe that statement was made loud and clear.

I don’t think Hall, realistically, regardless of how LeLacheur positions it, can now be considered to be coaching from the edge of the cliff.

The Eskimos are now in a position to have to keep some sense of stability within the team. The concern, however, is not if Hall will lose the dressing room but how this will all work when it comes to the coaches room.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” said LeLacheur. “They all realize the realities of the business.”

Half the coaches on Hall’s assistant coaching staff are Maciocia’s men.

There are a lot of people Maciocia put in place or kept around or brought in who aren’t Richie Hall hires.

What do you do, first of all, about Noel Thorpe?

He’s got three jobs!

And Hall didn’t give him any of them.

Maciocia had Thorpe there to replace Hall just in case. Some believe Thorpe was the guy Maciocia wanted as head coach but settled for having him as associate coach.

Hall, to my understanding, had to agree to having Thorpe there as his associate coach as a condition to getting the job.

Thorpe is also the special teams coach.

And he’s the defensive backs coach.

What about offensive co-ordinator Kevin Strasser?

Rick Worman insists he was fired from that position by Maciocia after the Labour Day game last year, not by head coach Hall.

Worman was 5-4 when he was canned.

Blame game

Strasser is 5-11 since then. He’s the guy to blame for the Eskimos everybody-knows-what-they’re-going-to-do-next red zone problem, etc., not quarterback Ricky Ray. Maciocia wasn’t admitting to making that mistake.

And what about Dan Kepley? He came with the furniture. They’ve changed the furniture.

And how about offensive line coach Jeff Bleamer?

He coached with Charlie Taafe at Citadel. Taffe and Maciocia are tight.

It’s believed Bleamer was a Maciocia hire, too. The Eskimos offensive line hasn’t exactly looked like a well-coached group so far.

Has Richie Hall any hope at all of getting from week to week with this now potentially if not currently dysfunctional group and no real job security to go with it?

How do the players always phrase it?

It’s a great game but a brutal business.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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