Alouettes Nation, whether we like it or not, the future is now.
It’s been a week of highs and lows for fans of this football club, as the Montreal Alouettes went into the home of the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts and handed them a 20-9 defeat. Tanner Marsh made his first official start and did not disappoint, playing a far more controlled game than the thriller versus B.C. nearly two weeks ago.
But off that high came the crashing low of legendary quarterback Anthony Calvillo being placed on the 9-game injured list as a result of his concussion symptoms. This does not automatically spell the end of his storied career, but one has to wonder if that’s the only logical path left to be taken.
Tuesday’s game was not a pretty one to start with but it ended quite favorably. It’s clear that Tanner Marsh is still getting acclimated to the idea of being the man under centre for the Alouettes. It’s one thing to be a phenom in college, which he was for Arkansas Tech. But it’s entirely different to lead a group of professional men to the promised land.
Once again Marsh looked poised and in control, going 18 of 27 for a total of 309 yards passing. His lone interception was surely one he’d like to have back and Marsh got an earful from Alouettes OC Doug Berry as he returned to the bench. To his credit again, Marsh owned up to his mistake and will not let his youthful exuberance justify making judgment calls like that.
And once again, he made great use of his receiving corps, with S.J. Green & Duron Carter making big plays as well as Arland Bruce III notching his first official TD as an Alouette. Bruce had said he long dreamed of catching TD passes from Calvillo. Well, hopefully Tanner Marsh can be a decent substitute for him.
It was good to see Brandon Whitaker back in the lineup, but sadly he did not finish, going down with a possible hamstring injury. Luckily Jerome Messam not only filled in for Whitaker but he ran roughshod over Toronto’s D, who had a hard time stopping this beast of a running back.
Defence was the big swing factor for the Alouettes in this game as they not only held Toronto to 9 points total, but they even put points on the board themselves! A terrific strip of the ball by Marc-Olivier Brouillette (who was named the Canadian Player of this past week and for the entire month of August) led to a Shea Emry fumble recovery for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Lately when Shea plays in the Rogers Centre, he always seems to turn it up a notch. Last October, he returned an interception for a touchdown in that very same building. And once again, Emry seems to kick it into overdrive at the best possible time. He’s been a force to be reckoned with for years and has made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks.
So now with his first professional start in the books, Tanner Marsh will be given every opportunity to grow and develop as a QB in a real-time environment. It may not be the way he had envisioned it but this young gunslinger from Texas has dove in feet first, ready to go.
I don’t think Tanner expected to ever replace Anthony Calvillo, at least not replace him the way it has come about. Calvillo has taken his fair share of abuse this season and normally has shrugged it off. But the hit he took from Saskatchewan’s Ricky Foley, innocent enough as it seemed, had just the right amount of hurt to put a Hall of Fame career on pause. And quite possibly, end it.
AC on the nine game injured list doesn’t automatically mean that his career or even his season is over. The Alouettes can take him off that list anytime they want. This was done strictly as a precautionary measure; if all goes well, he could be back in time for the playoffs.
As fans, we are concerned for him and his well-being. As badly as we want him playing and winning for the Als, it can’t and won’t come at the expense of his long-term health.
What does Anthony Calvillo have to prove to anyone? Nothing. I’ve been as big a supporter of AC’s as they come. He’s given so much to Alouettes fans and to the game of football. He’s been the ultimate professional and deserves every single accolade he’s been given. As I have said on numerous occasions, if anyone has earned the right to leave on his own terms, it’s AC.
In a perfect world, Calvillo comes back in time for the playoffs and successfully passes the torch to Tanner Marsh as the team wins it’s eighth Grey Cup this November. Then AC quietly rides off into the sunset as a champion, leaving secure in the knowledge that this team is in good hands with a strong young quarterback.
That to me is the dream scenario. But sadly with each passing day, it’s looking more and more like that hit from Foley was the last time we will see of AC as an active player. I remain optimistic that Calvillo will come back and have his last hurrah on HIS terms. If that is possible, he deserves no less.
After so many home games being played on a Thursday evening, the Alouettes can finally be the weekend warriors. This Sunday they host the Argonauts for the second part of a home and home series and now, first place in the East will be on the line.
If you haven’t been yet, be sure to check out the tailgate party outside Percival Molson Stadium. Still a great place to meet up with fellow fans and even make new friends with fans from other clubs. This Sunday will also feature a corn roast, so be sure to bring some treats to share and get yourself hyped up for the game!
For more details, check out LesGarsQuiVivient.com.
That’s all for now. If you see me at the game, be sure to say hello! I’m all about meeting great folks who love this game as much as I do. You can also follow me on Twitter for any last minute news and notes.
The second half of this 2013 CFL season starts…..now!
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.