Buck stops here

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

To some, there's one itsy, bitsy, teensy, weensy little thing that looks wrong here.

A second year head coach, the first to miss the playoffs in 35 years, has just been promoted.

"There's more to criticize now and that's a scary thing,'' said Danny Maciocia.

The stupid thing is that this mostly makes sense. What the Eskimos did yesterday gives Maciocia a much better chance to be successful as head coach.

"If you want me to cook your dinner, let me pick the groceries,'' Maciocia said, borrowing an old line.

What's happened here is the Eskimos just made the football side of the organization significantly less dysfunctional.

The move to add the role of director of football operations and delete the role of offensive co-ordinator with Maciocia was first telegraphed back in this space halfway through the season. It's not news. It's just, finally, been done. And that's good news.

HUGH'S OUT

Hugh Campbell is officially out as CEO with Rick LeLacheur moving into the big office and taking over as the boss. And for the first time in several seasons everybody knows where all the bucks stop.

"We are clearly defining what the roles are. It's now clear for everyone involved. Danny is the football guy in charge of all personnel. He has full accountability and responsibility,'' said new CEO Rick LeLacheur.

"When you win a Grey Cup, there's the thought 'This is the way things should be done.' But sometimes it disguises some things,'' said Maciocia.

As coach, Maciocia effectively goes from playing checkers to playing chess.

It's almost impossible to be thinking several plays ahead of yourself when you have to call the next play for the quarterback.

"I won't be coaching Ricky Ray. I'll be overlooking everybody. I will now be able to concentrate on things beyond the next play,'' he said.

"I spent six or seven hours a day watching film and doing the job of offensive co-ordinator. I certainly won't watch as much film now. I can now step back and deal with the football team as a whole.''

Look at it this way. The Eskimos are not losing an offensive co-ordinator, they're gaining a head coach.

Maciocia says he's been hands on and it'll be tough backing off.

"Sure, it'll be tough. That's how I broke in. That's what I know to do.''

Maciocia, in the dysfunctional setup he's worked with for the past two years has, in effect, been forced to be the head of football operations without the title. It was Maciocia, not Campbell, who pulled off the Troy Davis trade with Hamilton which won last year's Grey Cup.

On the flip side of it, Maciocia was stuck with inferior imports provided by Paul Jones last year. Expecting the imports to beat out aging veterans, they didn't. If that happens again, Maciocia can no longer blame Jones. He'd have himself to blame.

Jones loses the title of general manager. Having a scout with the title of GM was intentional first impression dishonesty with future players.

IT'S DANNY'S TEAM

When Maciocia hires his assistants, the optics of one guy being there because he's Campbell's son, another because he's the son of Campbell's best friend and former quarterback or that one guy is there because he was an Eskimo, etc., etc.. is gone.

"The coaches will be picked by me and only by me,'' said Maciocia.

"I'm a firm believer in surrounding yourself with good people. We have some time.I want to do it right. The No. 1 thing is to hire an offensive co-ordinator.''

Will he try to find a Maciocia clone?

Or will the Eskimos dare to entertain again?

"I want to hire an offensive co-ordinator who is going to score,'' he said.

That would work.


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