I was reviewing the Alouettes’ Twitter page when I came across this:
The quotes aren’t the same; the player isn’t the same. One message in one language, one in another.
Somewhere in there is a metaphor for the way the Alouettes have approached the offseason.
They started off by hiring Mike Sherman as their new Head Coach. Sherman has an impressive NFL record as Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers, where he led the Packers to three consecutive division titles from 2002 to 2004. He also was the Head Coach at Texas A & M. For the last decade or so, he was the Head Coach at a high school in Massachusetts. You have to wonder why he decided to come back to professional football.
Every time a CFL team hires a new head coach with a big American football resume, I wonder if they’ll follow in the footsteps of Marc Trestman, whose CFL career has been nothing but golden, or go the way of Bart Andrus and Jeff Tedford, both of whom were washouts after only one year in the league.
Remember Bart Andrus?
I love it when I get to use that picture.
Anyway, Sherman has his work cut out for him. First of all, he’s been saddled with the inept Kavis Reed. Second, his quarterback options are either Drew Willy or Matt Schlitz. Both were backups to Darian Durant last year, and neither performed all that well in relief. Willy is already 31 years old; Schlitz is 25. Along with Darian, they led the Alouettes to the bottom of the league in most offensive categories.
The Alouettes had signed former NFL QB Josh Freeman, but he retired a week into training camp. Great recruiting, Kavis & Co.
Fun fact: Since Anthony Calvillo’s career ended in 2013, twelve (12) different quarterbacks have started games for the Alouettes. Twelve. That’s an average of two different quarterbacks per season.
The Alouettes will be relying a lot on running backs Tyrell Sutton and Stefan Logan to both help the offensive line with blocking and to help generate offence. Willy and Schlitz have decent receivers to work with: BJ Cunningham, Ernest Jackson, and Chris Williams, who is looking to re-energize his career after a disappointing stay in Vancouver. All three receivers can be great deep threats, but with an offensive line that will have one or two new starters and two QBs who’ll need all the support they can get, that potential may be fairly limited.
On defense, the Alouettes made a number of free agent signings, including former Rider Henoc Muamba, who will be the team’s middle linebacker. Apparently Chip Cox is returning, but he hasn’t shown up to training camp yet. Jabar Westerman left the Blue Bombers and will play at defensive tackle, while veteran rush end John Bowman returns to anchor the Alouette defensive line.
In the defensive backfield, Tommie Campbell joins the team after spending the past couple of seasons in Calgary. He will play alongside some other free agent signings such as Joe Burnett, Mitchell White, and Dominique Ellis. This does not bode well for a team that had a lot of trouble against the pass in 2017, although it couldn’t stop the run very much either.
One person the Alouettes will miss this year is former defensive coordinator Noel Thorpe. The long-suffering coach was fired in 2017 during the season and joined the REDBLACKS in the off-season. Last year was an anomaly, as Thorpe’s defences in Montreal were generally solid throughout his tenure. Even if the Als’ offence couldn’t score, teams had to beware of Montreal’s defence, which kept the team in more games than it probably should have.
Kahlil Carter was hired as Thorpe’s replacement in the off-season, but he stepped down from his defensive coordinator position a couple of weeks ago and has been replaced by Rich Stubler. There are some rumours about Carter and Tommie Campbell that suggest that the two might not have been the best of friends during both of their tenures in Calgary and that maybe that friction moved east with them.
Unless Rick Sherman can do for the Alouettes what June Jones did in Hamilton last year, look for the Alouettes to be in the East Division basement for another year – but with a better defense.