I’ll be the first to admit that only a week ago I was deeply troubled about the upcoming Argonauts season. Tremendously so. The team had no general manager, no coach … and no hope.
I listened patiently as my old man, a life-long football fan who bleeds Double Blue, bemoaned the state of the Argos while sounding Armageddon-like alarm bells. “Can you say oh and eighteen?” he would ask me, not so sarcastically.
My, how quickly things have changed since then.
Jim Popp is the new general manager. Marc Trestman is his choice as coach.
The aura of confidence that has so far radiated from this dynamic duo is a refreshing change from the normally modest and dearly departed Scott Milanovich. “I don’t ever go into a situation or a season thinking we can’t win a championship," Popp told Sportsnet in an interview. It’s a bold statement for a brand-new hire, but it’s exactly what disgruntled Argo fans need to hear after all the turmoil.
Words aside, Popp has already gone to work. The Argos made two international signings Thursday, locking down 5-foot-7 200-pound Kendall Hunter at running back, and adding Anthony Morris, a 6-foot-7 300-pound behemoth to the offensive line.
Additionally, fans were assured that the organization did not stumble much by missing out on lucrative free agents. “I don’t believe in building a team through free agency… I believe in building from within,” Popp said during his first press conference as GM. “Now obviously, there have been some guys that have departed here that became free agents that the club would have liked to have kept …
“But we are going to take what we have, and we’re going to get the best out of these guys.”
One of Popp’s greatest assets is his connections in the football world. He has been in the sport for more than 30 years and knows talent. If there’s anyone who can quickly cobble a respectable – scratch that – build a championship-calibre team by June, it’s Popp.
Image: Kendall Hunter rushing for the San Francisco 49ers
Image Source: 49ers.com