Alouettes holiday wishlist – a gosh darn QB!

A.C. isn’t making a comeback. The Als desperately need a new QB.

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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Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, MLB.com and AskMen.com. He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.
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Matthew Ross
About Matthew Ross (27 Articles)
Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, MLB.com and AskMen.com. He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.

32 Comments on Alouettes holiday wishlist – a gosh darn QB!

  1. Eddiefelson // December 24, 2017 at 9:45 am //

    You can have masoli

  2. ivan Diablo // December 24, 2017 at 10:00 am //

    i still surmise that any CFL team with a QB that runs well qand can throw will win – look at how more effective ricky ray became with a modicum of movement – his 2nd 2 pt convert is a great eg. – argos would do well to get brandon brdge – he is a big man, can run very well and just needs some seasoning for his throwing arm

    • Sorry Ivan Brandon Bridge loves playing for the Riders. He’s said it many times. Sure a QB is suppose to say they like were they are. However they certainly do not have to say as much as Brandon does.
      He’s already resigned a 1 year deal with SK. As stated until there is a new CBA in place. No player is going to sign more than a 1 year deal right now. Brandon Bridge knows his chances of becoming a franchise QB and the face of the team is best where he is right now. As Bridge has stated… it was Chris Jones and the Riders that took him in to a well run orginization and away from lunacy in Montreal. SK showed him he was wanted and he could become an important part of the franchise. Toronto has a horrible track record of ending young careers before they even get started. Eventually once Brandon has matured to where he settles his young unsettled happy feet. He has to let the play transpire; allowing receivers to run their routes and make good solid reads. Once Brandin can run the play book. Then and only then will he become a starter. He knows it and so does any educated football fan that has watched him slowly mature.

      • I don’t understand where you are coming from with your statement that Toronto has a track record of ending young careers before they even get started. The careers of Trevor Harris and Collaros started in Toronto. Harris will probably be in the league for a long time yet and Collaros has already had some success in the CFL and likely will again in spite of last season. Toronto has actually had several players go on to have successful careers in both the CFL and the NFL after being in Toronto, such as Flutie. The Riders, on the other hand, not so much. Mitchell Gayle looked promising when he came from Toronto. Came to the Riders and never progressed here. Has been a third and fourth stringer elsewhere but will probably never be heard from again. Drew Willy looked good but has never been successful after leaving here. Drew Tate even started here, a perennial backup. Does anyone remember Brett Smith? Kevin Glenn started here. Successful? If you consider stats and longevity, yes. If you take into account winning the big games, not successful at all. Then are players like Nealon Green, Michael Bishop and Rocky Butler. Looked talented, came to the Riders, never developed into much here and disappeared into obscurity shortly after leaving the Riders. I would say the Riders have killed more careers than Toronto has.

  3. Sources Say // December 24, 2017 at 10:04 am //

    I’m glad you mentioned Ernest Jackson because Darian Durant would have been a bit better quarterback if Jackson had been a bit better receiver. I don’t think I can recall a receiver consistently dropping so many passes at critical times.

    • Yet Ernest Jackson caught everything that thrown at him from Burris – two seasons of over 1200 yards and so many clutch TD catches especially the OT catch in last years Grey Cup.
      I just don’t think Jackson felt comfortable in Montreal, most of the time Durant couldn’t get the ball to him.

      • greenenvy? // December 24, 2017 at 4:12 pm //

        Plus Jackson was playing out of position. There’s a big difference between boundary & field, slot & wideout. One of the biggest changes Reed, yes Kavis Reed, made in Edmonton with Bowman was moving him inside. The ball comes quicker & you don’t have time to overthink things. Before the Esks, Bowman was dropped by Sask & Wpg who gave up on him.

        • Exactly, EJ was placed in a position he wasn’t comfortable with by JC. I can’t wait to see Sherman place players at their “position of strength” like he talked about in the presser.

  4. What they really need are new uniforms enough with the clownlike attempt at bleu,blanc,rouge. Pro ball here, not high school, get a fresh clean look for goodness sakes !!

  5. The game is won at the line. The team has to protect the qb.

    • That’s why you see every team picking “O” linemen at the Canadian draft.
      The problem is we give QBs big contracts and we protect them with mostly Canadian linemen who really shouldn’t be playing pro-football.

      • WHAT???? Canadian O-lineman shouldn’t be playing pro football? Come on man that is a disturbing comment. Sure there are back ups that shouldn’t be around. But to make a blanket statement like that is ridiculous. There have been many an import Olineman come in and get beat out solidly by a Canadian. That is one of the dumbest blanket statements I’ve ever read on here. There have been many Canadian Olineman that not only start in the NFL but are top Calibur players in that league. Go look it up!!!
        Man my stomach is upset that you would post such an uniformed Birth Certificate racist statement.

  6. Matthew Ross, if you have a connection to the Als, recommend the 3rd string QB with the Argos, Dakota Prukop. He’s young, had a great record in college, high completion average, low pick percentage, can run and throw. He’ll need some seasoning for sure, but I expect him to be a starter within two years in the CFL. And he showed well in his pre season action last year. Go after him, he’s likely available now because the Argos have a bunch of QBs, including Cody Fajardo, Ricky Ray (of course), Jeff Matthews and have Franklin on exclusive negotiation list. My Christmas present to the Als, 2017.

    • Ain’t happening. Prukop was on the Al’s neg list when Jim Popp was the GM. When Kavis Reed took over, he removed names such as Prukop, James Wilder Jr., and Marquise Williams.

  7. Just blame all the quarterbacks. It has to be their fault. But what did they have in common? Ahh, the same crappy O line. Probably the worst O line in the league. Add to that their receivers like Ernest Jackson and Sam Giguere who couldn’t catch a cold last year. The only receiver they had last year that showed good hands was B. J. Cunningham. On top of that, although he was an awsum quarterback, Calvillo has not proven to be a good offensive coach and actually looks to be a bust on the other side. Oh Yes, I forgot Nick Lewis who, even being older, was one of the few receivers who could get open. It is always said that games are won and lost in the trenches. In Montreal’s case last year, nothing could be truer. Even Olafioya looked like a dog last year on the O line. As a sports reporter, I would think that you would know that but it is just easier to blame the pivot for everything. If they had put Calvillo behind center last year, or Bo Levi or Ricky Ray, the results would have been very similar.

  8. justforkicks // December 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm //

    “a cocky gunslinger who isn’t afraid to air it out” as per above pretty much describes what Durant was in his early years. Then he got into the “don’t throw interceptions and better ball protection”. What the heck happened after that? Age, lack of OL ? I would like to see him do well despite his history.

    • greenenvy? // December 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm //

      One reason the Riders got rid of him is he couldn’t throw a simple short out anymore. He had the same problem with the Als. I just don’t think Darian has it anymore. Willy went south really quick too & was afraid to throw the long ball. Both of them look like they have very little confidence any more.

    • Durant played well until 2015 when he had a terrible O line. In 2016, he again played behind a bad line and Jones and McAdoo happened. McAdoo pigeon holes every quarterback with the same schemes no matter what their strengths are. Jones, when he doesn’t like a player, plunges their confidence to all new lows. Durant didn’t get bad over night. He is a victim of bad O lines and dreadful coaching. As an example, take a look at Henry Burris’s last year in Hamilton where he looked tired and washed up, and then followed by his season in Ottawa and his MOP performance in the Grey Cup in 2016. Jonathon Jennings is another example last year. Terrible O line and Jennings lost his confidence and looked awful. Any combination of constant pressure from a porous O line, bad coaching, a losing attitude from the whole team and a blow to the confidence can make any quarterback look bad.

      • Man if I didn’t know better I’d say that the comments from slowdown is that of a CFL player. One that’s much closer to the action then any of us on here. Either that or a family member or best friend of ummmm, let’s say double D.
        I want to remind everyone that Doubles was a Rider for 3 seasons before he got his chance to start. Playing behind an effective group of QBs. Unless you are a Ricky Ray that has a calming mind control and the ability to read any defence right out of the gate. The best thing is to mentor for a few years. As is the case with Brandon Bridge in SK and James Franklin who did in Edmonton. Most feel Franklin is ready but Bridge needs another year or so.

        • I am not a friend or family of Doubles. But I know football well enough to know that Doubles has not likely lost much of anything. What he has lost is a good tough O line, good blocking receivers and running backs, good receivers who run their routes well, find the open spots and catch well, a coach who believes in him and team mates with a winning attitudes who have bought into the program. That is what he has lost.

  9. Sources Say // December 24, 2017 at 11:02 pm //

    I love it, “McAdoo pigeon holes every quarterback with the same schemes no matter what their strengths are.” Truer words were never spoken. In Edmonton Reilly overcame the handicap with sheer guts and ability but Bridge doesn’t have a hope as long as McAdoo is in the picture.

  10. Hmmmm….yet coach Mike Sherman said they will win a Grey Cup maybe two or three. Good on you Mike!!!!

  11. i suspect Ambrosie is going to decide who getz Manziel based on fan reaction. The way Ticats fans went ballistic on Briles I dont think Randy will chance it. My best guess is Manziel gets handed over to his first college coach Sherman. Why? French culture more tolerant of womanizing party boys.

  12. Ambrose doesn’t own Manziel’s rights. Hamilton does. It is their decision to keep or trade him. Ambrose only decides whether he will be allowed into the league, not where in the league he goes. He can’t “hand him over” to anyone.

  13. Als had Adams and Bridge 2 young guys with very good potential if given playing time to develop and improve. If teams like the Als don’t have the mind set to do that they can only hope to get a good backup or former starter from another CFL team or a hot shot like Manziel and hope for the best. Of course if they don’t surround that QB with the right players and coaches it will be another long season in Montreal in 2018.

    • If we had kept Cato, Bridge and Adams Jr. (that was the plan wasn’t it?), continued to develop them. If we had “tweaked” the Oline, adding to what Chapdelaine started to conceive, the last few games of that first season, in 2015.

      If we had kept the best defensive squad in the CFL intact from that time. If we had therefore kept Noel Thorpe.

      If we hadn’t focused the entire plan for the entire future of this team on Anthony Calvillo’s coaching career, necessitating Popp be HC one season, then forcing the Alouettes to go “in house”, appointing Reed as GM then the disastrous move to decimate this team with Darian *^%#&^* Durant (yep, when I want to build a championship team, I start with the LOSER that was responsible for one of my championship wins and make him GM ((Hey Reed…too many men, Saskatchewan hahahahah)) so he can sign the loser QB responsible for for two of my Championships and build the future on his old, fragile, expensive *ss…genius!!!).

      All of this stream of consciousness meaning that with ownership’s insistence that Calvillo WAS the future of this team – no legitimate GM or Coach has been hired for the last God KNOWS how many seasons.

      Now that this nightmare seems to be over, and Mike Sherman seems to have the autonomy to hire whatever coaching staff he wills, maybe we hit the RESET button and everything goes back to building a championship team. Maybe I can finally take my hands from my ashamed eyes and actually watch the Montreal Alouettes again.

      Still, I have grave doubts about Reed’s ability to find ANY talent, let alone a dominant CFL quarterback…obviously our #1 priority. I have to think, from the noises he’s made, that Sherman’s “autonomy” extends to using his own contacts to find talent. I can only pray this is true.

      I’m hoping to remain open to the possibility of being optimistic. Of course, if Sherman turns around and names Calvillo offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators, we’ll know something is terribly, terribly wrong. And while I wrap my brain around that, I’m still pretty sure it’s light-years better than anything we’ve seen for a long time.

  14. So Durant is a mediocre QB a year ago everyone was so offended when Jones said that.

    • Time will tell // December 27, 2017 at 9:53 am //

      That was because Jones should have had more class and tact than to voice his opinion in public. Good leaders should sometimes take the high road and keep their opinion to themself, not get into a media battle with those under them.

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