• By: Ron Guillet

Chiu, Maas Tasked with Improving Redblacks

Jason Maas fields questions at a press conference.

Photo credit: Lucy Scholey/Metro

The Ottawa Redblacks will assign the arduous task of improving their offence on the respective shoulders of Bryan Chiu and Jason Maas.

Chiu, who was hired as the team’s new offensive line coach on Dec. 23, held the same position with the Toronto Argonauts last season. The Argos ranked third in total offence with 371.4 yards-per-game and 450 points for. With fresh and less experienced personnel, Chiu will undertake a new challenge in hopes of developing a new team with plenty of room to grow.

Jason Maas, meanwhile, was named the team’s offensive coordinator on Dec. 3. He spent many years on the field as a quarterback, playing for the Edmonton Eskimos for 10 years. He was named the most outstanding player for the Eskimos in 2001 and 2004 and was a member of Grey Cup championship teams in 2003 and 2005. He spent the last few seasons as a coach for the Argonauts, winning a Grey Cup championship in 2012.

Bryan Chiu looks on while coaching the Toronto Argonauts. Photo credit: Defendther.com
Bryan Chiu looks on while coaching the Toronto Argonauts. Photo credit: Defendther.com

Improving the Redblacks’ offence will be a tall order for the duo, as the team ranked eighth with 324 YPG last season. They also ranked last in the league with 27 total touchdowns, a 2.4 touchdown percentage. Ottawa ranked last with 278 points for and 15.4 points-per-game as well. If the Redblacks hope to climb up the standings, the defence will also need to improve to alleviate pressure from the offensive side of the ball as the team ranked second-last with 465 points against.

While relieving Mike Gibson as the offensive coordinator was a logical and unfortunate business decision, some will argue that such changes may be lateral moves or minor improvements at best until they import more talented personnel. On a basic level, those people are correct. The Redblacks could certainly use some help on the field in the form of more experienced and talented players. The issue, however, is that such an argument operates under the assumption that acquiring these players is a simple task not requiring time.

It is imperative the Redblacks exercise patience and endure a few tough years, no matter how much they’d like to field a competitive team immediately. Granted, two wins in their inaugural campaign is certainly not good enough, but historically expansion teams have not fared well out of the gate. The last thing Ottawa wants to do is target veteran talent and attempt to fast-track the process. The 2015 CFL Draft is a start, where the Redblacks will import a top prospect of their choosing who could play the following season.

If they maintain that strategy for a few years, Chiu and Maas may have a legitimate foundation to develop and work with.