All that was missing as Randy Gillies and Joe Paopao spoke at Ottawa airport yesterday was Ben E. King's Stand By Me playing on the sound system in the background.
Gillies, the Renegades' majority owner and governor, gave a full vote of confidence to Paopao, the coach of his sinking CFL team.
And Paopao declared his support of rookie kicker Sandro Sciortino, who missed three easy and instrumental field goal attempts in what later became a a despicable 57-16 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.
After a 6-for-6 start, Sciortino has now connected on just six of his last 14.
"He's got talent, he's got ability, and he has proved he can kick when the game is on the line," Paopao said moments after the team's flight home landed. "People forget he's still a rookie. Matt Kellett struggled with B.C., too, and now he's the kicker for Montreal. You bring in a new guy, then how much time do you give him?
"I'm gonna stand behind our guys. I'm gonna hang in there and battle with them."
The Renegades are certainly a wounded lot right now, having lost six of their past seven games to land in the East Division basement. Their next two games are at home, but against Montreal and B.C., the top two teams in the league.
With the prospect of falling to 4-8 looming, the Renegades have to start cheering against Saskatchewan and Winnipeg in case they need to hope for the crossover playoff spot they'd earn by finishing ahead of three West Division teams.
And this for a team that won its first three games of the season.
"It's hard not to be disappointed," said Gillies, who happened to be arriving from Toronto at the same time the team was getting in. "It was so promising at the start, and then a whole bunch of things tumbled the way you wouldn't expect.
"But it's hard to be successful in a quarterback-driven league with four injured quarterbacks."
Gillies conceded the problems were greater than that, but then he deferred to Paopao.
"That's the guy there to ask about football issues," he said.
And he will continue to be the guy. Paopao's job is safe.
NO COACHING CHANGE
"Yes," said Gillies. "The reality is you can't make a change at mid-season, or make a number of changes, because it takes another three or four games before they start to gel and by then the season's almost over. There's no point. We'll try to do some fine tuning and hope the people we have get healthy."
Gillies said he wasn't concerned that back-to-back embarrassing losses or the current plight would keep fans away from the stadium Friday, when Montreal is fully expected to wallop the Renegades.
"I think we have a good fan base," said Gillies, "and I think they will come out and support the team. They know their support is required now more than ever."
And so the Renegades will have no time off -- unless you count the 5 a.m. wakeup call and 31/2-hour flight from Alberta as one yesterday -- as they return to the practice field this afternoon to prepare for the Als.
While they are expected to get promising CB Bo Rogers back from a nine-game injury, they could be without DB Anthony Malbrough (eye) as well as CB Jonathan Ordoway (orbital bone), DT Jerome Haywood (ankle) and LB Tony White (shoulder).
The injury bug hits a defence that should be still huffing from being on the field for an incredible 41:11 of Sunday's 60 minutes. Ah, but that's what happens when your team gets 14 first downs compared to the opponent's 40.
HELD EARLY LEAD
The Renegades still led the game (15-12) five minutes into the second quarter, but then Jason Maas showed the form that saw him break Paopao's CFL record for most consecutive completions earlier this season.
Maas went on a 14-for-14 run through the rest of Quarter 2 and into the third, and when he finally missed again Edmonton was up 36-16.
Turnovers killed the Renegades, too. Each of the five they surrendered (four Kerry Joseph interceptions and once on downs) the Eskimos capitalized on, to the tune of 31 points.
Ottawa had two turnovers and a couple of Tim Fleiszer fumble recoveries, but didn't get anything out of them.
Fleiszer said he should have scored on his second, with Ottawa down by 10. But he was ruled down by officials that gave Edmonton only two penalties all day.
"That was inexplicable to me," Fleiszer said of the call on the fumble recovery. "I was already up and running when the whistle went.
"If I would have scored a touchdown at that point, it would have obviously been big for us."
Two of Joseph's interceptions could have been avoided. On one, the ball hit Yo Murphy's pad and went straight up in the air for what may have been Murphy's only miscue of the season. On the other, Joseph's plant foot slipped as he released.
"But however you say it, it still goes down as an interception," said Joseph. "I hate for it to happen.
"I take a lot of the blame for our offence not being on the field very much (Sunday). I take a lot of the blame for us not being in the game."
But as Paopao points out, there's no time for them to dwell.
"We're going to find a way to improve," he said. "And we have to draw a line in the sand, fast."