The bye week is over…now the real work towards the 100th Grey Cup begins.
The Montreal Alouettes break their football fast tomorrow versus the Edmonton Eskimos, a team that everyone left for dead but is now competing with the B.C. Lions for CFL Western supremacy. Despite their record of 3-3, the Alouettes are actually tied for first in the East and a win versus the Eskimos will continue the momentum from Winnipeg 14 days previous.
There’s been a lot of positive and negative in this young CFL season for the Alouettes. Anthony Calvillo is still putting up the numbers despite being sacked numerous times. Brandon London is stepping up his game and getting Als fans all “wavy”. Shea Emry has become the leader that he was groomed to be on defense. And Patrick Lavoie is having a rookie season like no other Alouette has had before.
On the flip side, the injury bug in Montreal is on a biting spree. The disabled list looks more like an all-star lineup, with notable names like Brandon Whitaker, John Bowman and Jamel Richardson all spending some time on the sidelines. The new 3-4 defense led by Jeff Reinebold has taken some time to gel and until recently, the Alouettes were giving up a lot of yardage and points. And offensively, the all-Canadian Alouettes o-line was letting their legendary QB get attacked and as a result, the offense was leaving a lot of points on the field.
So where does the team go from here? This is what I am expecting for the team going forward:
1. Bo Bowling,
kick returner wide receiver.
After biding his time on the practice roster, injuries have paved the way for Bowling to get some playing time as a kick returner. However, he is not a kick returner. His talent lies in his Ben Cahoon-esque play style at WR. The one benefit to Richardson being on the sidelines is that Bowling will now get a chance to play as WR.
The one thing sorely lacking in the Alouettes offense is that sure-handed receiver who can make those 2nd & short catches like #86 used to do. Everyone dubbed Bowling the next Cahoon after that one preseason game last season. I say if that’s the case, then let him be that player starting this Friday.
2. Let the Birds fly
Kyries Hebert a.k.a. the Angry Bird has established himself as a force on defense & special teams. Dwight Anderson & Jerald Brown have both put the D in Dirty Birds and I expect these three to take the defense to even bigger heights. Joining them will be Ventrell Jenkins, who has flourished in his first go-around in the CFL.
3. Keep it tight, keep it Whyte
Further proof that good things do come in small packages, Sean Whyte has been nearly perfect this season. After some initial concerns over his punting, Whyte has been consistently good when called upon. Whether is finding his form or the challenge of Brody McKnight joining the Alouettes, the man they once called Legatron is in his groove and looking to keep his scoring on pace.
From this point going forward, I’d say the initial nerves and learning curve for this new-look Alouettes team is over. The time to prove they are serious has come and I expect this team to really stand out. Injuries are going to hit every team, so that is no longer an acceptable excuse. There is a ton of talent on this team and when called upon, everyone needs to stand up and stand out.
On the fan side of things, things are looking great. The team just had an event in downtown Montreal for fans to meet & greet the players and the fan club is planning events as well. I am still hoping that one day, the team designates a restaurant or bar as the official “home away from home” for Alouettes fans to congregate and watch road games at. Doing that and having the team get behind such an task would help the team stand out.
With NHL hockey possibly looming towards another work stoppage, the Alouettes can be handed a potential gift as people will want to fill the void. Establishing this team further in their minds will go a long way.
That’s all for now. Enjoy the game tomorrow as it promises to be a spirited affair. And shout out to the Montreal fans in Edmonton who will be representing for Alouettes Nation at Commonwealth Stadium. Wish I could be there again.
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.