The Montreal Alouettes have had many people in their backfield to hand the ball to. From the legendary Mike Pringle to Lawrence Phillips to Autry Denson to Avon Cobourne, there’s been plenty of guys looking to knife through the defense with a combination of speed and power. And the latest to do just that for the Alouettes is a speedy youngster named Brandon Whitaker.
Last Friday’s home opener re-established why the man some call 2-Way could have been a serious contender for the Eastern division’s Most Outstanding Player along with his teammates Anthony Calvillo & Jamel Richardson. In fact, if I were given a vote I would have cast it for Whitaker, despite AC breaking QB records left & right and J-Rich setting the bar ridiculously high for WRs in the CFL.
For a player to come into his first full season as a starter and to lead the league in rushing is simply incredible, especially once you consider the Alouettes’ pass-friendly offence. Brandon had major shoes to fill with Avon Cobourne’s departure and not only stepped out of Avon’s shadow, but sprinted right through it. Whitaker’s 3 touchdown performance last Friday was yet another benchmark set and proof positive that his success last year wasn’t a fluke.
Calvillo didn’t find his usual targets for TDs last Friday, but he knew that if #2 was given the ball that magic was gonna happen. And the Montreal faithful were rewarded with a 41-30 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
But there’s no rest for the weary as the Dirty Birds are back at it against their Week 1 opponents, the Calgary Stampeders. Both teams are playing their 3rd game in 12 days and both are now experiencing QB woes, as both Drew Tate & AC are a question mark for Thursday’s game with shoulder issues.
So far Calvillo only has a brusied shoulder (pending an MRI) whereas Tate’s is dislocated. While it’s possible both will play, look out for a battle of the backups. And CFL wags desperate for a Canadian QB to get playing time could be rewarded as Ottawa U’s Brad Sinopoli was re-added to the lineup in the wake of Tate’s injury.
Typically, Montreal seems to play poorly in Calgary while bouncing back when they play the Stamps at Molson Stadium. To achieve that feat, the defense will have to continue with the kind of play they had against Winnipeg. Rod Davis has established himself as a serious threat to pick off QBs while Marc-Olivier Brouillette will hopefully have another big game like he did last year versus the Stamps at home (fooling Calgary’s special teams with a rushing TD on a fake punt attempt).
And while I don’t find Shea Emry to be a dirty player at all, I sincerely think that he can dial it down just enough to still be aggressive & give the offence some majors fits.
So I had said earlier this year in light of the re-engineered jerseys debuting that I probably wasn’t going to bother buying one since it looked initially like they just slapped the word ALOUETTES on the front of their old jersey. But who are we kidding? The Alouettes are my team and I’ve gotta look somewhat stylish at the games. (Hint: Slap an Als logo on any product and if I don’t already own it, I will probably buy it. Le sigh.)
What’s great is that now you can get the jersey customized on the spot at the Red Zone boutique located on the stadium’s south side. They will have some players’ jerseys all ready to go but if you prefer a more custom look or if there’s a player whose jersey is not there, the great staff there will lovingly craft a jersey with the name & number of your choosing.
Naturally, mine has the #50 with CLIFFY D on the back. But the best one I had seen was that of Shea Emry’s girlfriend. Along with his #41, she had placed MY MANNNNN on the back. I find jerseys like these (along with the RUM AND COKE jersey I saw in Winnipeg) to be a reason why the CFL fans truly stand out in a class all their own.
Be sure to talk to Cameron at the jersey booth as he will make your dreams come true. Well, the jersey-related ones anyways.
That’ll do it for now. Hopefully Anthony Calvillo’s MRI results will turn out to be good news and we’ll see the legend behind centre like he should be. But if not, what a great opportunity for Adrian McPherson to come in and shine in front of his fans at home. Much like Calvillo stepped in for Tracy Ham, this is the time for AD to step in for AC.
GO ALS GO!!!
About the Author
Written by Clifford Pine
Montreal born & bred, lover of sports. Passionate about the Montreal Alouettes. Also a great cook & not too bad a dancer.