Bob Dyce is a man who can say he has been there and done that when it comes to nearly every possible scenario as a CFL coach. One scenario he had not experienced up until now? Being hired as the head coach of an organization without the interim title in front of it. Redblacks fans should be thrilled that Dyce will be allowed to lead this team as the full-time head coach.
Not His First Rodeo as an Interim Coach
Before joining Ottawa in 2016, Dyce had been named the interim head coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Dyce had spent three seasons on the offensive side of the ball and was in his third on special teams before he was named interim head coach. However, he was not retained, in any capacity by the Rough Riders.
This led to him joining the Redblacks as the special teams coordinator where he has been since. Just before the 2020 season, Ottawa hired a new coach Paul LaPolice who decided to retain Dyce as his special teams coordinator. After the 2020 season was canceled Ottawa gave LaPolice just a season and a half to return To their winning ways.
Rebranded as the Redblacks
Since rebranding Ottawa has suffered through missing the playoffs just four times. Three of those came since 2019. Before 2019, Ottawa had four straight playoff appearances, including three trips to the Grey Cup. This amazing run started back in 2015. The year Dyce was hired in 2016, they won the Grey Cup in dramatic fashion 39-33.
It would appear the Redblacks have faith that Dyce is the right man to lead the resurrection in 2023 and beyond. If I were Coach Dyce, I’d expect my leash to be extremely short if the winning isn’t immediate.
Excuses Few and Far Between
This job for Coach Dyce is one of those boom or bust positions where there will be no Grey area if there aren’t Grey Cup visits soon. The roster at his disposal leaves little in the way of excuses. Built top to bottom with quality talent it was never a talent issue with Ottawa. The big test in 2023 will be something that is entirely outside Dyce’s control, can his premier players stay healthy?
From Jeremiah Masoli to virtually every running back on the team, to Patrick Levels, and Kwaku Boateng on defense. It seemed like every time a player returned from injury another was lost. This was the biggest factor in the losses piling up in 2022. Arguments can be made that coaching left many points on the table as well, but ultimately it’s extremely hard to win with a roster full of second-string players.
If there is one position this team needs to solidify its backup quarterback. Masoli isn’t getting any younger and coming off a major injury. Arbuckle and Evans are both impending free agents. I like Tyrie Adams and Dustin Crum but with a championship-caliber roster does Ottawa want to hand the keys to either young guy? Perhaps Evans or Arbuckle come back but that seems unlikely given their performances. If Dyce can find a solution to this problem the Redblacks could be the team to reckon with in 2023, in a weak East Division.
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