Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. I’m sure that had some scientific implications when he first coined that phrase, but it appears to apply to every facet in life, including football.
So that being said, this Montreal Alouettes offensive unit is completely insane.
In front of 21,000+ spectators at Percival Molson Stadium, some of them actually wearing white as requested, the Alouettes blew yet another lead and posted their 3rd straight loss. It literally took all 60 minutes of the game clock, but the Edmonton Eskimos came back and beat Montreal 15-12. In an incredible display of déjà vu, the Alouettes led 12-7 at halftime like they did last week versus Ottawa and they still managed to lose the game…. like they did last week versus Ottawa.
How awful was the offense last night? The lone Alouettes touchdown came as a result of a fumble by the Eskimos’ Wallace Miles being brought back to the house by defensive stud Kyler Elsworth. The rest came from the talented foot of Boris Bede. An offence that is led by Rakeem Cato and featuring elite receivers like S.J. Green, Nik Lewis and Fred Stamps couldn’t find the end zone last night. Let that sink in. And even when they could move the ball downfield, they still did nothing!
Even worse, Edmonton barely showed up to play as well. Truthfully though, any team in the CFL can take the first three quarters off against this punchless offense and then turn it on in the fourth quarter, almost guaranteeing a win every single time. It’s beyond embarrassing for this Alouettes fan base to be asked to accept such a pedantic, high-school football-like attack.
A lot of people are calling for the head of OC Turk Schonert…and with just cause. For reasons I can’t even begin to understand, the run game has been abandoned in lieu for Cato to toss incomplete passes to nobody. Instead of handing off to Tyrell Sutton or Brandon Rutley, the call was to overthrow your receivers and/or get picked off. There’s no fear, there’s no attack….there’s absolutely nothing that would make opponents fear coming into this stadium to face this team.
Even since Scott Milanovich left to coach the Toronto Argonauts, this team has struggled mightily to fill his shoes. It seems every offensive coordinator hired is clueless and has no idea how to best use the talent in front of him or draw up an attack. This Alouettes team found a gem in defensive wizard Noel Thorpe and the defense has been among the league’s elite. Kavis Reed has calmed the special teams down and there’s been some steady improvement there after years of ineptitude.
Yet since 2013, this team cannot seem to find someone who can design a consistent attack and make use of all of this team’s weapons. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Not keeping Jeff Garcia on this coaching staff was a tremendous mistake. Sure, he had designs on being more than just a QB guru. But would he really have been any worse than what Schonert has been? QB whisperer or not, I’m sure he would have at least developed a freaking ground game!
And really, all the Alouettes had to do in the final three minutes of last night’s match was play keep-away from the Eskimos and burn the clock to go into overtime. Edmonton could have put up a lot more points but they also blew some major opportunities, including turning the ball over on numerous occasions and kicker Grant Shaw missing multiple field goal attempts. Yet they still managed to find a way to win!
But as brutal as the play-calling was, it paled in comparison to the play of the Alouettes’ O-Line who left their QB hung out to dry. The last time I saw the #12 dropped that many times was on February 1st, 2015! Rakeem Cato’s lithe frame was planted on the ground a whopping EIGHT times. I’m sure the folks at Purolator Tackle Hunger are elated to donate 1496 pounds of food to a local food bank as a result, but it really speaks volumes to this team’s efforts.
As tremendous as the defence has been in 2015, it really came to light yesterday, believe it or not. Not only did they score Montreal’s lone touchdown and force a number of turnovers, but they did really well in pressuring Matt Nichols to the point where he was benched for James Franklin, who will be a quarterbacking force in this league with some more experience. As tough as it was earlier in 2015 for Eskimos fans to watch Mike Reilly get hurt yet again (another Buck Pierce?), it gave an opportunity for guys like Nichols and Franklin to get some playing time.
When a defense can hold their opponent to a mere fifteen points, that’s normally quite the achievement. But it only works when your offense can put more points on the board and Montreal failed to do that. And now the Alouettes have to prepare for their annual trip to Vancouver to
lose to face the BC Lions.
There’s blood in the water now and the sharks are starting to swim. It doesn’t help when you bench John Bowman, the captain of your defense for reasons still to be explained. Rumours and innuendo are circling the team again with speculation that Michael Sam has truly become a distraction for this team. I had hoped that the next time that I wrote about this enigmatic pass-rusher would be in a positive light but that’s looking less likely than ever, much to the delight of the media that he constantly thumbs his nose at.
But if I can offer one piece of advice for fans and even players that are allegedly upset at this supposed distraction, it’s this: Take care of your own business. Michael Sam didn’t lose this game last night or any of the games that the Alouettes have played in 2015. There are a slew of players who have come and gone through this organization and at the end of it all, you see where the talent is.
Perhaps Sam should be dismissed. He’s been given a lot of leeway and hasn’t come close to justifying any of it. But he’s not taking any extra money or playing time away from any players. And making him a scapegoat might make you feel better, but it still doesn’t fix this offensive impotence that has befallen the Birds of Prey.
Unless that’s the master plan of this organization, to let us be focused on this supposed prima donna as they figure out their next move. It’s always amusing that this team manages to misbehave when General Manager Jim Popp is away on his scouting missions at NFL training camps. Much like many of us probably did when our parents would go away on vacation in the summertime and left us home alone.
The Alouettes will be back to practice this week, I encourage you all to check it out. With any luck, the offensive coaches will incorporate a few more running plays into the attack and stop forcing this rookie quarterback to be Superman on every play. Even if S.J. Green can make what will no doubt be the catch of the year!
As always, keep the faith Alouettes Nation. There’s too much talent on this team and they will find ways to win. And a crossover to the West is not as crazy as it sounds!
GO ALS GO!!!