They’re coming home.
Let’s see if the Montreal Alouettes fare better in their new home uniforms and playing on the mountain.
Thursday marks the official home opener (And only Thursday night home game on the schedule!) for the Birds of Prey and for some, this is the official kickoff to summer. The Alouettes have had their woes both on and off the field, but nothing beats the feeling of live football. And perhaps playing in front of the Percival Molson faithful will be just what the doctor ordered.
They’ll be facing the same Hamilton Tiger-Cats team that dominated them just six days ago. Hopefully, the Alouettes learned what NOT to do and will have a better game plan when they take the field.
At least this time around when Vernon Adams Jr. takes the field in Montreal, he won’t have the looming shadow of a freshly-acquired Johnny Manziel hanging over him. Last season, Adams started one game at home versus the Edmonton Eskimos and despite playing hard, was unable to come up with the win.
Many “fans” were more interested in seeing Manziel play and spent more time hurling “WE WANT JOHNNY!!” chants towards the Alouettes bench rather than focusing on the QB that was actually on the field.
After a less than stellar outing last week, Adams will be looking to right a number of wrongs. His offensive line will have to step up and protect their QB in a major way. Vernon was sacked six times and if your quarterback spends more time looking up at the sky than downfield at his receivers, then you’re never going to win games.
Adams will also have to get his receivers more involved. Guys like Eugene Lewis and Devier Posey can’t be having games with 1-2 catches on the stats sheet. While Hamilton’s defense has been nothing short of amazing, these playmakers need to find a way to help their quarterback out. William Stanback had a solid game last week, racking up over 100 all-purpose yards. The Alouettes will need to get him as involved as possible in this attack.
On the defensive side of things, it has to be better. Period.
Even with the awesome goal-line stand by the Alouettes last week still fresh in everyone’s minds, this defense has to step up like never before. The feeble attempts at tackles were an embarrassment to those who support this team.
Hamilton will have Luke Tasker back in the lineup and Brandon Banks will want to continue his feast from last week. While I won’t advocate causing an injury to their speedster, the Alouettes do have to find some way to contain this offensive dynamo.
This defensive line is not creating any pressure and that also needs to change. The Alouettes are the only team that has yet to register a QB sack in 2019. It’s little wonder why the two quarterbacks they’ve faced thus far have been able to post 400+ passing yards on this defense.
If Montreal wants to have a chance of winning their first game at home, they have to find a way to disrupt Jeremiah Masoli. Easier said than done.
This could be the kind of game where one of Montreal’s rookies simply steps up and makes something happen if for no other reason than to get their name on everyone’s lips. At this point, the Alouettes have nothing to lose and may as well throw everything against the wall to see what sticks.
Doing that could ensure that Luc Brodeur-Jourdain‘s final game as an Alouette is a good one.
Oh, that’s the other big news this week. After being the last player drafted in 2008 and 167 games played, one of Montreal’s finest is calling it a career.
It will be bittersweet for Alouettes Nation to say goodbye to this gentle giant. Both he and John Bowman are the remaining pieces of those back to back Grey Cup championships in 2009-2010. LBJ started out slowly but within a year, he was tasked with a huge job: helping Anthony Calvillo at centre.
Luc flourished in this role and quickly became a leader on this offensive line. His love for the game is matched only by his love for his family. Luc even made a mad dash to the stadium shortly after his first child was born, not wanting to let his teammates down on a game day.
But this sport is hard on offensive lineman and LBJ has several battle scars to prove it. He has literally left it all out on the field so many times and despite the team’s dark times, his passion never wavered. Nor did he ever entertain the idea of leaving La Belle Province to play elsewhere.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Luc so many times (in both official languages!) and each time is always a treat. His knowledge of football is second to none and all he’s ever wanted to do was play this game as best as he could.
During training camp this spring, I asked Luc if this season was the farewell tour. He told me in his own way that it was. I figured that we’d get one more full season of this great man helping to groom his successor. But like Luc did back in 2010, someone on this team will have to man up and be the one who protects the star QB. I believe that someone will.
And I’m willing to bet that one day, we’ll see Luc at the stadium wearing that player’s jersey and cheering him on. If anyone has the right to walk away on his own terms, it’s the big man from Saint-Hyacinthe.
Merci Luc…. You gave this organization everything you had and then found a little bit more. Thank you isn’t saying nearly enough.
That’s all for now. If you’re going to the game, be sure to swing by the tailgate and get to know why it’s among the best that this league has to offer.
Les Gars Qui Vivent welcomes one and all (Even Ticats fans!) to join them to cook up some good food, have a few beverages and enjoy a great summer evening before settling in for some CFL action.
You’ll find them set up on the east side of the stadium. Just look for the silver trailer and blue tent.
As always, follow along on Twitter for all the thoughts and analysis before, during & after the game.
This may not be a great match, but it’s time for the 514 to enjoy a real game day live. Let’s hope LBJ can ride off into the sunset a winner. He deserves it.
Enjoy the game, regardless of where you watch it.