EDMONTON — After Edmonton defeated Ottawa 26-20 in the 2015 Grey Cup, game MVP Mike Reilly said the Eskimos were built to win multiple championships.
That was before Chris Jones and the entire coaching staff left, leaving former quarterback Jason Maas in charge as a rookie head coach.
But after his first meeting this week with the Eskimos’ new coaching staff, the star quarterback promptly declared he’s even more confident that last season’s Grey Cup title will not be the last.
“I feel just as, if not stronger, that we’re build to win multiple Grey Cups,” he said Wednesday.
“We have the core group of players we need. Losing your entire staff is not a good situation but the staff we have replaced them with I’m extremely excited about.”
Reilly, who missed the first half of last season after tearing up his left knee in the season-opener, said the best part of the new staff is that they weren’t part of last season’s Grey Cup team.
“Because they weren’t part of that winning team, they bring probably more fire. I guarantee our staff is not going to let us get complacent. They didn’t get to taste that Grey Cup championship last year and they want that so they’re going to push us hard.”
After spending time with his family back in Seattle, Reilly is spending four days in Edmonton to meet with the new staff to “talk through what we’re going to do offensively and get to know the personalities and make sure when we get to training camp we hit the ground running, and we’re not wasting time trying to knock the rust off or getting familiar with each other.”
He’s excited to work with Maas, a former quarterback with three Grey Cup rings — two as a player with Edmonton and one as a coach with Toronto — who brings as much passion and fire to the game as Reilly. That he and Maas have similar personalities isn’t going to be an issue, he said.
“I’m a grown man who can take criticism,” Reilly said. “I prefer a coach to tell me what I’m doing wrong and to try to correct it so I can be a better player. He’s not going to be shy to tell me what I’m screwing up, but that’s during practice. Once game day hits that type of stuff is not helpful and we all understand that.
“From what I’ve seen with him on the sidelines during his career he’s a great quarterback coach to have, he’s a great offensive co-ordinator and I know he’s going to be a great head coach.”