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The ALSternative

Posted By Clifford Pine On Jul 22 2014 @ 5:09 pm In Montreal Alouettes | 1 Comment

That….was painful.

Once again, the Montreal Alouettes failed to pack a winning game plan for their annual trip to Vancouver as they were thumped 41-5 by the BC Lions. At this point, you could probably put the defending Super Bowl champions in the Alouettes uniforms for this particular match in this particular building and they’d still lose.

One day, this dubious streak will come to an end. At this point, I just wonder now if it will be during my lifetime.

When the Alouettes lost by a single point to Winnipeg at home, I put the majority of the blame on the defense for their inability to stop the Bombers from converting on numerous 3rd downs. This game though, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of two people: Troy Smith and Ryan Dinwiddie.

Smith was absolutely dreadful, doing himself and his defense zero favours with his abysmal play. Everyone has a bad day at the office from time to time, I get that. But to regress the way he did is just mind-boggling. How do you go from throwing three touchdowns the week previous to this absolute debacle? At what point during the week did Smith’s talent all of a sudden disconnect?

The Alouettes’ defense was on point but by the 3rd quarter they were clearly out of gas, which is understandable when you barely have the time to catch your breath before you’re back out again to play! Had Smith been able to execute plays for longer than what he did, the defense may have kept the Alouettes’ hopes alive.

But instead, it was a series of several two and outs. Not even Kevin Glenn being injured stopped the Lions from scoring, as BC did what they claimed Montreal did to them two weeks ago; they ran up the score. The Lions were humiliated in Montreal and for them, revenge was a dish best served ice cold.

Troy Smith has to own this one, but he’s not the one designing the offensive attack. He can only go with what plays his coach gives him. That would be “offensive co-ordinator” Ryan Dinwiddie, who assumed that task (but not officially the position) when Rick Worman was let go during training camp this season.

While I am all for promoting from within, going from an Offensive Quality Control Coach position (considered to be a introductory way to becoming an actual coach in the CFL) to Quarterbacks Coach to now being responsible for drawing up / relaying plays in the span of less than a year may have been a bit too much responsibility for this man to bear.

As much as this team needs an experienced hand at drawing up the plays properly, the Alouettes are already paying a number of people to NOT coach this team so it looks like we are stuck with Dinwiddie and a pedantic, dumbed-down offense that is not going to excite anyone or strike fear into opponents.

So it’s either the Alouettes live and die by Smith’s seeming inability to read defenses & adjust or let Tanner Marsh try his luck at running Dinwiddie’s simplified plays. A lot of people would like to see the latter, as the young man from Carrollton, Texas wowed everyone last season with some flashes of brilliance before coming down to earth with a season-ending injury.

While I think Marsh is the long-term solution, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be any better than Smith at making these plays work. However, Marsh does know how to use his feet to move the ball quite effectively and that will serve him well.

Since I’m not at Alouettes practices, I can’t speak to what Smith and the coaching staff are doing to improve. But maybe a stay on the sidelines just may be what this Heisman trophy winner needs to get that mental block of his dealt with.

I’ve talked with Troy quite a bit this year and really do like him as a person, but clearly something’s not right. You don’t forget how to be a quarterback just like that. Hopefully this bye week will get everyone back on track.


I do love social media, it’s a great way to meet people and exchange ideas. But sometimes, I can only sit and shake my head at the ridiculousness of what some people use it for.

In light of last Saturday’s massacre, some football fans once again brought up the name of Tim Tebow as a solution to the Alouettes’ quarterback woes. I promised myself that I would never go into a rant as to why Tim Tebow will never play in the CFL. But now I feel more compelled than ever, so bear with me:

Tim Tebow is no more interested in playing in the CFL than I am to wear women’s clothing out in public. For whatever reason, he is still convinced that he can play quarterback in the NFL, even though he has done absolutely nothing to prove that he is capable of leading any team or even improve himself as a quarterback.

Sure, he works out a lot and probably looks much better shirtless than I could ever hope to, but what has HE done himself to improve as a quarterback? Absolutely nothing. We all know the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time.

So why hasn’t he hired coaches to make him a better QB? Why after being released from three different NFL teams, has he not caught on with any others? Surely if he was such a great quarterback and had such potential, someone somewhere would take a chance on him. But every single NFL team has pretty told him that he’s not that good by not even inviting him to try out.

And coming to the CFL, where passing is oh so crucial, would do nothing for Tebow. Troy Smith is certainly proving that being a Heisman trophy winner doesn’t translate into automatic success in this league. All that Tebow would bring to Montreal at this point is a circus replete with many, many clowns.

I wasn’t exactly sure at first what to make of Chad Johnson’s desire to play in the CFL; heck, I even suggested that it had to be an April Fool’s joke. But Chad came in and was willing to learn what it would take to be successful here and he actually WANTED to play in the CFL. He realized that this is truly his last shot at doing something that he loved.

And while a lot of fans are disappointed in his play so far, I find Johnson has actually been extremely effective in drawing attention away so that younger players can get opportunities. Both Brandon London and Kenny Stafford have done really well as of late and I’d say that with Chad’s help and experience, those two have taken major strides in their game in 2014. That alone is worth having “Ocho Cinco” in the line-up.

Could Tim Tebow have a positive effect like that? Maybe, but I just don’t see it. I’m sure Tebow’s a great guy and  if he were willing to come up like Johnson, be humble and work on being better, I’d welcome him with open arms. But I think that, ever the entertainer, Tebow knows that you always leave the crowd wanting more. The legend of Tim Tebow is greater than what he could ever hope to be.

And so it goes. So sorry to disappoint those misguided souls online, but there’s already a QB on the Alouettes wearing #15 [1]. And quite frankly, I’d have more faith in that guy to lead the Montreal Alouettes than with the former Florida Gator.

End rant.


With the bye week, the Alouettes will not be on the field. But The ALSternative takes no bye weeks!

I will be back later this week to tackle a non-Alouettes subject that has been on the minds of many CFL fans this season. I’ll offer up my two cents on what to do and look forward to furthering the discussion.

Keep the faith Alouettes Nation; a couple of bounces here & there and this team would be 2-2 and alone on top of the East! There’s lots of football to be played still.


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[1] a QB on the Alouettes wearing #15: http://www.Twitter.com/AlexBrink10

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