Jacques takes fall

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia (left) and President and CEO Rick LeLacheur speak Tuesday following...

Esks head coach Danny Maciocia (left) and President and CEO Rick LeLacheur speak Tuesday following the firing of offensive coordinator and associate head coach Jacques Chapdelaine. (SUN MEDIA/Darryl Dyck)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:11 AM ET

Danny Maciocia still has his hands on the steering wheel of the ailing Edmonton Eskimos' ship - but his former prize recruit has been thrown overboard.

Fresh from an ugly 5-12-1 last-place season, Maciocia will return as head coach and director of football operations for 2008.

But offensive co-ordinator and associate head coach Jacques Chapdelaine was fired yesterday, after just one season.

Offensive line coach Carl Brennan and special teams coach Scott Squires were also booted out the door.

However, Chapdelaine is the headline maker after being brought to the Esks from the defending Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions.

"Even though they are very good and qualified football coaches, we just felt that at the end of the day for us to be successful in 2008 we just had to go in a different direction," said Maciocia, who now has a 23-30-1 three-year record in Edmonton.

Missing the playoffs for the second straight season, it appears the Esks made Chapdelaine the main scapegoat this year. But the fiery assistant coach is refusing to take shots at the organization.

"I can stand here and certainly tell you that in 2007 I can be accountable for all the shortcomings we had on offence," said Chapdelaine.

"I don't think the responsibility should fall anywhere else but just right here."

After being the offensive co-ordinator for the high-flying B.C. Lions for 2005 and 2006, Chapdelaine's tactics in Edmonton sputtered and stalled through most of this season. The Esks managed just 371 offensive points, third-worst in the CFL.

While the club averaged 30:23 minutes in time of possession, the offence only produced 34 touchdowns (second-worst in the league) and averaged just 20.6 points (third-worst).

The short-yardage game also failed and the blocking schemes - requiring receivers to block blitzing linebackers - also seemed flawed.

On top of that, there were loud rumblings suggesting Chapdelaine rubbed some players the wrong way with his intense coaching style.

"I don't think you will please everybody," he countered. "It is unfortunate. Winning has a way of curing a lot of things."

While the media horde at Commonwealth Stadium tried several times to get Maciocia or Esks president/CEO Rick LeLacheur to reveal more on the firing, they refused.

"There are times when you are going to be hot and there are times when are you are going to be cold," said Maciocia. "He will be employed in this league (in the future) and he will win his share of games and there are times when he is going to struggle like the rest of us."

Added LeLacheur: "Some coaches and some players can move teams and it just changes them. (Chapdelaine) is a good football man and an exceptional hard worker.

"I don't know what makes a player or coach different when they go to a different team."

With his contract ripped up and the Eskimos owing him another year of salary, Chapdelaine believes he just didn't adapt quickly enough to the Eskimos "culture".

"The culture is different here," he said, clearly referring to the differences that exist between Edmonton and Wally Buono's B.C. Lions.

"I think I did a better job in the second half of the season, understanding this management and leadership style and the culture around this team."

He has no regrets.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," Chapdelaine quipped. "I still consider this a tremendous organization.

"In a way there are so many things I can take away from this experience and grow."


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