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Dirty Bird Blog: This n’ That

Posted By Clifford Pine On Aug 1 2012 @ 9:56 am In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

Since I don’t feel like re-hashing the Alouettes’ heart-breaking loss to Toronto this past Friday, I’d rather hit on a few other points.

- Remember last year when the New York Giants were calling the Alouettes regarding the chances of obtaining Seth Williams? It gave us fans hope that Jim Popp had found yet another diamond in the rough. But based on his play this year, the particular diamond is more like cubic zirconia.

Between his penalties and blown assignments, he’s looked more like a deer in the headlights. Replacing a Mark Estelle is never easy and while everyone is adjusting to the new 3-4 defensive schemes,  Williams just looks outmatched against his opponents.

-What’s happened to our great all-Canadian offensive line? All that beef up front used to give AC plenty of time to make dazzling throw after throw. But now, opponents are able to glide right in and get to #13. It’s become very unsettling, to say the least.

- The irony of one of the Alouettes winning Special Teams Player of the Week has not been lost on me. I’m quite pleased for Daryl Townsend, who bided his time on the practice roster and is now getting a chance to prove himself. Much like the 2 Brandons on offense, sometimes you have to be patient and when your number is called, you step it up to the next level.

- I’m very proud that I’ve seen every Alouettes game this year and had not had to hear Rod Black call any of those games. The fact that he’s currently on assignment in London for the Summer Olympics fills my heart with joy and gives my ears a much-needed break. If the Brits wish to keep him there, they have my blessing.

There’s a lot of negative for certain this season, as the Alouettes find themselves in the unfamiliar territory of a negative record. I liken our team to Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3; perhaps success had gotten to this Alouettes team. Maybe it needed a Clubber Lang to come along and expose their weaknesses, bring them back down to earth.

Win or lose after Friday’s game versus Winnipeg, this team will have to take a good long look at itself. The fire is still there, the potential to be a force is still there. Can they overcome all these injuries, mistakes and slight downturn? Can Marc Trestman maintain control of his wards after seemingly letting them off their leashes? Can the injuries stop piling up?

For the past decade, people have been standing by with dirt-filled shovels, waiting to bury this always successful team. And time after time, they’ve been disappointed because these Dirty Birds always find a way to win. And I suspect that this year won’t be any different.

You can bag on “old man” Calvillo all you want, but take a look at his numbers this season and he’s right on target for yet another banner year. Jamel Richardson is a career slow starter and only needs just one breakout game to get his superstar stats back on track. Even this much ballyhooed defense is starting to slowly gel; guys like Shea Emry, Billy Parker and Kyries Hebert are beginning to mold it and tighten things up.

Apropos of nothing, but does anyone remember the last time the Alouettes were 2-3 to start the season ? I do; it was 2008. There was  a new coaching staff in place and the Alouettes were coming off a season being beaten in the Eastern Semi-Final.

A lot of new pieces were in place and it took some time for the team to gel. No wins in the pre-season and the vultures were sure to be circling. Sound familiar?

What happened that season? Not very much….just an 11-7 record, good enough to win the Eastern division and go to the Grey Cup. No, they didn’t win it but it set the stage for a great 2 year run as the beasts of the CFL.

So I’ll let everyone else panic and predict the doom & gloom….personally, the more legroom I have on the bandwagon the better.


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