Brand new team, brand new admin…..same results as the past two years.
The Montreal Alouettes look to have returned to their old ways, offering up some very uninspired football and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Falling apart in the fourth quarter for the second time in as many games, the Alouettes posted a 23-16 loss in front of a record-low crowd at Percival Molson Stadium this past Thursday.
Not even the temptation of $2 hot dogs was enough to draw folks in, as a mere 18,728 people turned out to see this match. Those who did were treated to a pair of teams that could only register 9 points apiece for the first three quarters. And it wasn’t because this was a tight, defensive battle between two powerful teams; it was just bland, uninspired football.
When this game finally got going, it became a back and forth affair as BC marched down the field and took advantage of the non-existent discipline. Montreal also benefitted from the orange laundry and scored a TD. But there was no stopping Lions QB Jonathon Jennings and the Lions at that point. They scored another TD and even though time remained on the clock, all Montreal could do was implode at the worst possible time.
Darian Durant threw a back-breaking interception that iced this game for the Alouettes. The more things change for the Birds of Prey, the more they stay the same.
Once again, I find the offensive play-calling of the Alouettes coaching staff to be just that; offensive. I fail to see any major improvement over what past OCs for this team had brought to the table. When he was in Saskatchewan, Jacques Chapdelaine was the OC for a team that went 3-15. But it certainly wasn’t for a lack of offense! That Riders team was posting 30+ points with Kevin Glenn as quarterback in many of those tight losses. The Riders simply had no defense.
But now as field boss for Montreal, we’re seeing absolutely nothing from Chapdelaine’s playbook that inspires the confidence that makes fans want to plunk down their hard-earned money to see this Alouettes team in action. It’s unfortunate, because the pieces are there.
Last night was proof positive that Tyrell Sutton is one of the premier backs of this league. He only had nine carries, but he made every one of them count. Averaging 6 yards per carry and rumbling in for a touchdown, Sutton was extremely hard to handle for the Lions. Which is why it’s so hard to understand why Chapdelaine didn’t rely more on Sutton’s ground game early on.
I nearly fell out of my seat when I actually saw J.C. Beaulieu included in the offense! He made the most of his two efforts, but the gross misuse of this dual threat never fails to baffle me. With his physical gifts, Beaulieu should be a viable option for Darian Durant to use. Instead, Beaulieu just throw blocks while Durant fires pass after pass to the side, ensuring plenty of second and longs.
What it comes down to more than anything else is the refusal to make ANY halftime adjustments. In three games so far, I have yet to see any sort of adjustment to the opposing team after the first half. Instead, it’s a lot of prevent and hoping that the other team is still planning to play some boring football.
The penalties certainly don’t help and that too is the fault of this coaching staff. A lot of people accused former general manager Jim Popp of providing a “country club” atmosphere, where players were left to their devices and no one would be held accountable. Does this mindset still permeate within this organization?
Or does the league simply have it out for this team and are only too happy to dole out penalties in order to break their spirit? I’m always of the opinion that when you point a finger, you have three of them pointing back at you. If the league did have it out for this team, then that would be all the more reason for this team not to act out accordingly.
The season is a mere three games old. It’s still way too early to hit the panic button. But people can smell BS a mile away and perhaps that’s why only 18K bothered to tolerate the stench at the stadium on a Thursday night. Summer time in Montreal certainly has a pulse and energy like no other. I’m sure a lot of the folks that should be filling the stands simply don’t want to waste 3 hours of their evening watching bland football.
Hiring Kavis Reed as general manager and Jacques Chapdelaine as head coach was supposed to be the right call to make. I still believe that time will decide whether that holds true on that. You can’t build a championship empire in one year. Fans will need to be patient and accept that mistakes are going to happen as part of the change. But this organization as a whole needs to take a good long look at the way they make some of their decisions and learn to make changes for the better.
This past Thursday, it really felt like Chapdelaine was overthinking with a lot of his play calls. When you chase two rabbits, you’ll catch neither one. I do believe that this staff will get it together and these players will stop chasing rabbits as well. Next Friday poses a huge test when the Calgary Stampeders roll into town.
I wish I could offer a better solution for this team’s current woes. But in speaking to the players after the game, there was one sentiment that rang true amongst them all and it’s a belief that I’ve had for several years now:
The only football team that can beat the Montreal Alouettes……is the Montreal Alouettes. This team knows what it has to do.
GO ALS GO!!!