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The ALSternative

Posted By Clifford Pine On Sep 17 2013 @ 6:10 pm In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

13 years and counting…..There are three things you can count on in life;

- Paying taxes

- Dying

- The Montreal Alouettes losing their annual game at BC Place

Once again, the Montreal Alouettes went out west to face the BC Lions on their turf and once again, they limped out with another loss. This injury-depleted squad just couldn’t get it going, falling to the Lions by a score of 36-14.  Whereas the last time these two teams met was a thrilling classic, this game was a sound thumping that required little to no effort from the home team.

The defense played it’s usual incredible self, all things considered. They even managed to knock Lions QB Travis Lulay out of the match with a shoulder injury. But they spent too much time on the field because the Montreal offense just could not get anything going in the first half.

If the Lions were unprepared for Tanner Marsh last time, they certainly did their homework for this game, stymieing the young gunslinger and even chasing him from the game. Head Coach Jim Popp opted to play musical quarterbacks, letting Marsh, Troy Smith and Josh Neiswander all take snaps at one point.

It was clear Popp wanted to shake things up. But I think all it did was muddy the quarterbacking waters further and impede the progress of this team’s heir apparent. Earlier this year, the Edmonton Eskimos did the exact same thing in a game versus the Alouettes and it proved to be disastrous. Was Popp doing this meant to teach the young starting QB a lesson?

In watching Marsh this past Sunday, it was clear the coaching staff wanted to protect him from failure, as he was taking major risks in his previous starts that did lead to turnovers. But what we saw on Sunday was a complete neutering of this rising star and what he can do.

Yes, he did make some costly errors in his three previous starts. But many times when he took those risks, it often led to some spectacular plays. By taking the venom out of this cobra, Tanner looked awkward and out of place instead of the calm, steady quarterback that won games in exciting fashion.

You simply cannot put a governor on someone like this and expect success. It’s only natural that a 23 year old rookie will make mistakes. But when you start putting doubt in his mind and messing with his mental state, there’s almost no coming back from that.

I can sense the frustration of these losses from Jim Popp. I’m sure he feels this season from hell is slipping away quickly. Maybe he just wants it over with so he can find his new head coach and focus on rebuilding this team for the future.  But I don’t think he needs to fool around with the quarterback position at this point.

Let Tanner Marsh play his way, make mistakes if need be and learn how to run this team. Lord knows Anthony Calvillo wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire when he was with Las Vegas and Hamilton. Those teams lost patience with him and us Alouettes fans benefited from it as a result. Don’t make the same mistake with this guy.

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Quick story that I forgot to mention from last week: I’ve met the owner of this Alouettes franchise a number of times before and having a few minutes to talk shop with Robert Wetenhall is always a treat. I don’t know of any other professional sports teams where you can have a few minutes to bend the ear of its owner. I doubt Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft will sit and have a chat with random fans after a football game.

After the last home game, I bumped into Mr. Wetenhall and he immediately hit me with, “Your support is greatly appreciated, we WILL turn this around!” I assured him he had nothing to worry about when it came to my unwavering support of this team.

We talked about the Dan Hawkins fiasco among other potential concerns and we parted ways with me feeling more and more assured that not only is the commitment to win still there with this ownership, it never left.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but mistakes definitely were made this season and we fans were dealt a bad hand. It’s how one responds in correcting those mistakes that sets apart the winners from the losers. And as long as Mr. Wetenhall is still stroking the cheques, this team will be a winner for years to come.

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This coming weekend is one of the highlights of the 2013 season; Eastern Canada gets another taste of the Canadian Football League! And this time, the good people of Moncton get to see the Birds of Prey!

While this is technically a home game for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, I am expecting to see a lot of support for the Alouettes. Montreal is the closest team geographically to Moncton and New Brunswick does have strong French roots among its people, so it’s quite possible to see this game turn into a sort of home field advantage for the Alouettes.

It certainly won’t be easy for the Als, as the Tiger-Cats have overcome its earlier defensive issues and has quietly become a dangerous team to play against. Henry Burris has flourished in Hamilton, setting career milestones and playing some great football. But he is also susceptible to making mistakes against a dangerous defense and Montreal will certainly bring that to the East Coast.

I am also looking forward to the events taking place in Moncton as well. Past Touchdown Atlantic games have been described by attendees as a “mini Grey Cup” and those are always a true celebration of this game, so I am relishing the opportunity to see many old friends made watching this game and making new ones along the way.

And yes, I will be covering as much of this as possible. Be sure to follow along on Twitter [1] and watch for a full-out blog post of this great event.

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Enjoy the game this Saturday, whether you are in Moncton or watching it on TV. I’ll do my best not to make a spectacle of myself. Or if I do, I will strive to be as entertaining as possible. :)

GO ALS GO!!!

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