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Dirty Bird Blog: Clinched!

Posted By Clifford Pine On Oct 22 2012 @ 11:15 am In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

They just had to show up and not get hurt. Just go to Regina, enjoy another team’s folly and escape without ruffling any feathers. Yet somehow, that’s just not how this Marc Trestman team operates.

This past Friday the Montreal Alouettes, despite a myriad of injuries and less than stellar play in recent weeks, managed to clinch the Eastern division by virtue of Winnipeg beating Toronto (thus keeping their slim playoff hopes alive). Montreal could have been excused if they went into their match with Saskatchewan and played a conservative, safe game to prevent any injury. Instead, they played a dominant game in hostile territory.

The final score doesn’t really scream blowout victory, but with Montreal’s win they certainly proved that they didn’t need anyone’s help to secure another Eastern final at home.  Through all its trials and tribulations, the Alouettes have found ways to win and in theory, can now rest its starters and ensure that everyone is ready to go for November 18th at Olympic Stadium.

Once again, Anthony Calvillo manages to astound his fans and critics alike by scoring not one, but TWO rushing touchdowns! One would certainly understand with the Eastern division all sewn up if Coach Trestman opted to rest his prized QB and gave the ball to Adrian McPherson. But AC simply keeps on going and decided to use his legs to score in lieu of his gifted arm.

Special teams were still it’s usual self, allowing Weston Dressler to return a punt for a touchdown. After catching the Roughriders napping during their first drive with a fake punt attempt, it initially felt like they had Saskatchewan figured out on all sides of the football field. But this Riders team is playing with a purpose and can never be written off, especially playing against their Grey Cup rivals.

In an unfortunate event, Shea Emry managed to get himself thrown out of the game for sucker-punching Brendon Labatte in the nether regions. At the time, I had no idea what was going on and when I saw the replay, I still had a hard time believing Emry would go off like that, seemingly unprovoked.

After the game, he posted an apology [1] on Twitter to the fans of the CFL for his conduct. I can appreciate the fact that he owned up to his mistake and certainly don’t agree with the “goon” comment Labatte labelled him with. Unless Emry and Labatte have some long-standing beef that no one but them are aware of, I think we can just chalk this up to a mental miscue and call it a day.

I was glad to see Bo Bowling get his first CFL touchdown, even if he did little to erase the Ben Cahoon comparison with the way he caught Calvillo’s pass. I have long stated that Bowling is a much better receiver than punt returner and would serve well as AC’s short-yardage threat.

The Alouettes are thinner at WR with S.J. Green still on the sidelines & Brandon London out for the rest of the year but with Jamel Richardson finding his superstar form again, AC still has many capable hands to throw the ball to. I think a Richardson/Bratton/Bowling/Deslauriers receiver set will still present plenty of headaches for opposing defenses.

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With two games left and literally only pride left to play for, will Coach Trestman finally let Adrian McPherson drive the car? The man they call AD has been the definition of patience, content to bide his time until Calvillo calls it a career. But it just seems like there is no stop in AC, so what is McPherson to do? The limited action he has seen has been primarily mop-up duty, merely handing the ball off to the running back in order to kill the clock.

Based on pre-season play and the scant few starts he’s had since joining the Alouettes in 2008, we know that AD is talented enough. He hasn’t been perfect but when held up to AC’s standards, it’s completely unfair to compare the two. I had said earlier this year that this has to be the time to determine whether McPherson will be the quarterback of the future in Montreal or not.

I still stand by that. Put AD in Hamilton and they’d really be competition for the Alouettes. I bet Winnipeg would salivate at the prospect of having McPherson in lieu of Buck Pierce. Toronto made a big splash this off-season in acquiring Ricky Ray, but imagine if Scott Milanovich had his way and was able to design plays for McPherson like he used to as Montreal’s OC.

And being a renown QB guru, Marc Trestman could easily develop McPherson into a more well-rounded quarterback at any given moment. Perhaps that is the long-term plan. Maybe Trestman originally underestimated just how incredible Anthony Calvillo is and would rather keep AD as an ace in the hole, no matter what.

As a Alouettes fan with a vested interest in this team’s long-term success, I truly hope Coach Trestman allows Adrian to run this high-powered offense for the next 2 games. AC is our guy and this will forever be his playground, but one day he will retire. Yes, it may be when he is 50 years old and still outclassing people half his age on the field, but surely one day AC will have had his fill…..right?

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This coming Sunday is the last home game at Percival Molson Stadium. It will also be the Purolator Tackle Hunger game. Alouettes fans are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the game. Cash donations can also be made as well on the spot.

In exchange for that, you can have your picture taken with the Grey Cup! Perfect if you missed the Grey Cup train in Montreal this past weekend (and if you did, you missed a chance to see over 100 years of CFL history in train format!) So open your pantry and wallets to this great cause if you are going to the game on Sunday.

And be sure to check out the tailgate from Les Gars Qui Vivent [2] on the eastern side of the stadium. It has grown into a true social event and the party continues on even after the game! A few players have been known to stop by on their way home, so take advantage of this to connect with your fellow Alouettes fans and players alike.

The grill is always hot and everyone is welcome to hang out. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you’re sure to see a certain blogger there as well :)

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That’s all for now. Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live game-day tweets and get ready as the road to the 100th Grey Cup will have to roll through Montreal.

GO ALS GO!!!

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[1] posted an apology: https://twitter.com/sheaemry41/status/260044980033298432

[2] Les Gars Qui Vivent: http://www.LesGarsQuiVivent.com

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