What a Grey Cup we were privy to on November 26. It had drama. It had lead changes. Best of all it had solid quarterback play. Let the 105th CFL championship game be a lesson to the entire Montreal Alouettes organization: you can’t win in this league without an elite passer.
You’d think a team with arguably the league’s best ever quarterback would understand how important the position is north of the border. This isn’t the NFL. You can’t get away with a game manager in the CFL. You need a leader, a cocky gunslinger who isn’t afraid to air it out, even in the final minute of the Grey Cup (sorry, Bo Levi).
Instead, Montreal football fans have seen sub par (well, sub par when you consider that they were used to watching Calvillo) QB performances game in and game out. Sure, there were flashes of excitement, including from from Jonathan Crompton, Tanner Marsh, Troy Smith, Rakeem Cato, Vernon Adams Jr. and Darian Durant. But it’s mostly been frustration and mundane pass attempts.
While the coordinators have changed over the years, the level of quarterback play hasn’t. And we can’t put this all on Kavis Reed. It does seem like Jim Popp was caught flat-footed when Calvillo suddenly had to retire, and he had no contingency plan in place. Popp is also the guy who shipped out Brandon Bridge, the rare Canadian quarterback that could have a future in this league.
This brings us to the holiday season and the Alouettes fan wishlist. You ready? Here it is: a freakin’ quarterback! That’s it, end of list. I don’t care if Kavis Reed has to spend his entire holiday season knocking on the doors of college coaches to inquire about a secret passer who no one’s seen. Hell, he can bring in Shane Falco for all I care (remember The Replacements?), he has to address this position and address it immediately.
Sure, some Quebec football fans will wonder who Montreal will select in the first round of the draft next spring. Others will wonder what prized CFL free agent the team will lure east. Finally, the next head coach Mike Sherman is also a current hot topic of conversation in La Belle Province. But even if the team handled all of these topics competently, it wouldn’t make a difference if the quarterback position wasn’t properly upgraded. Remember the signing of Ernest Jackson last season? How did that help the team on the field?
There is no winning in the CFL without a commanding, charismatic, exciting, elite quarterback. I don’t know who the Als will get prior to summer 2018. But I do know that he’s not on the current roster. I panned the Darian Durant trade when it happened and I hate it even more today. He was an injury-prone, aging quarterback with essentially a .500 record. Now he’s all of those things and under .500.
So Santa, if you’re a 3DownNation reader and seeing this, PLEASE bring the Wetenhall family a stoic figure with a rifle of an arm. Montreal fans don’t care if he’s made of flesh or wood or plastic at this point. They just want someone who can string a few wins together.
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