What a week….and it’s not even over yet!
The Montreal Alouettes, desperate to salvage this season, have been making moves on and off the field these past few weeks in order to bolster their anemic offense. This week, the Alouettes announced that both Chad Johnson and Troy Smith will not be playing versus Saskatchewan due to injury.
This past Monday ended up being a very busy day for the Alouettes; With the exception of Don Matthews, all of the people brought in to be consultants were given official coaching titles. And now with Smith reportedly unhappy about the Alouettes putting him on the six game injured list, many are speculating that the former Heisman winner may have played his last game in Montreal. Smith’s injuries were not disclosed after last Friday’s game, which makes the move all the more suspicious.
Facing the RoughRiders in lieu of Smith will be Alex Brink and possibly, in a two-QB system, Jonathan Crompton. Quarterbacks Coach Jeff Garcia may yet make a miracle happen with this QB corps, but one can be forgiven if the odds don’t look too favourable right away.
Not going to lie, based on past performances I personally am not feeling terribly confident in either of these Montreal QBs. Brink did throw for Montreal’s lone TD during the pre-season versus Hamilton, so there is a sliver of hope. Crompton was underwhelming in Edmonton last season, but nearly everyone there was so maybe he should be given the benefit of the doubt.
The lack of Tanner Marsh getting any significant playing time is a bit of a concern, but it’s quite possible that Garcia wants to see all of these QBs in a specific manner. He’s seen what Smith has been able to do and now the time has come to see what Brink/Crompton can offer, if anything. It’s easy to forget that Marsh is still a young man and has a lot of football left in him. It was only around this time last year that Marsh came in and stunned everyone with his reckless yet successful playmaking abilities. If Brink and/or Crompton don’t at least keep the Alouettes competitive, I fully expect next week that the Winnipeg fans will experience “Marsh Madness”.
Regina is often a tough place to play even when the Alouettes are on point. But remarkably, their record at Mosaic Stadium since 2009 has been quite favourable. Despite losing Anthony Calvillo and several other players during last year’s trip to Rider Nation, the Alouettes nearly pulled off the win. There’s something about the Montreal Alouettes that always seems to get the better of Darian Durant.
This 2014 Riders team is far from perfect as well, having been blown out by Toronto and even humbled by BC at Mosaic Stadium. Week-to-week, you never know which RoughRiders team will actually show up. So while the pundits are predicting a double digits blowout for the Riders, let’s not completely write off the Als if they can manage to get their act together.
The team will be staying out West after the game, so hopefully there will be a lot of team bonding activities and chances to improve away from Montreal. This trip could very well be just what is needed to get away from these past few weeks of chaos and disorganization. Like it or not, the people who are on this coaching staff are here to stay. And sooner or later, the continental divide between the Western and Eastern teams of the CFL will get narrower and narrower.
Heck, even Toronto managed a convincing win versus Winnipeg this week and they have had their share of woes this season, both on and off the field. And with how Edmonton played last night versus Ottawa, it’s clear that had Montreal been better organized defensively and made some actual offense happen early on, they could have won that game as well.
So let’s hope that Montreal’s whirlwind week ends on a positive note and that the Birds of Prey can make the Sea of Green turn a deeper blue!
That’s all for now. Don’t forget that Station Des Sports in downtown Montreal is hosting another viewing party, complete with cheerleaders and former Alouettes there to share the game experience with you. And the folks at Budweiser Canada will be on hand with giveaways and chances to win all sorts of prizes. They may even provide you with adult beverages if your team spirit is through the roof!
For more details, click here. And if you think of it, maybe donate a few bucks to the Tony Proudfoot Fund for ALS. I promise you that donating is less painful than being doused with a bucket of ice water. Enjoy the game, regardless of where you watch it.
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.