Five things we’ve learned about the Alouettes through six games

The Montreal Alouettes have had their share of ups and downs this season. Despite all the craziness that has gone on in 2017, they still find themselves just one game out of first place in the East Division.

The Als made a number of big changes in the offseason, and some have worked out and some haven’t.

They head into tonight’s game against the Argos with a 2-4 record, but there’s reason for optimism if you’re a fan of this football team.

Here are five things we’ve learned about the Alouettes through the first third of the season:

–Darian Durant can still perform at a high level

Coming into this season, there were plenty of people (including Chris Jones) that wondered whether or not Durant could still be a franchise quarterback. It took him some time to adjust to this offence and his new teammates, but he’s looked pretty good over the last few games. After throwing for 233, 166 and 245 yards in his first three games of the year, he’s managed to toss for 296, 452 and 348 yards in his last three outings. If Montreal is going to make a serious run at the East Division crown, his decision making will need to get better.

–They can run the ball effectively

Tyrell Sutton has played four games and Brandon Rutley has played twice, but they’ve both been able to be effective in 2017. Sutton continues to run smart and hard. He’s averaged 5.8 yards per carry this season. If the Alouettes can keep him healthy, it looks like they’ll have a dynamic rushing attack. Even without him in the lineup in their last game against Winnipeg, Rutley and Stefan Logan were able to move the ball on the ground. When the Als have slow nights passing the ball, at least they’ll be able to run it effectively enough. Also, I’ll tip my hat to the offensive line. They’ve shown that they can run-block at a high level.

–The rookies on D have done a nice job

Releasing Bear Woods on the second day of training camp was an unpopular move. Although a guy like Woods can’t be replaced, the Als have found a solid middle linebacker in Dominique Tovell. He currently ranks seventh in total tackles in the league. It’s still early in his career, but it definitely looks like he has a high ceiling.

Another rookie that’s impressed is Brandon Dozier. With all the injuries they’ve had in the secondary, the youngster was forced to start at strong-side linebacker while Chip Cox was at defensive back. Dozier has made plays all over the field, including scooping up and scoring a crucial touchdown against the Calgary Stampedes earlier this season. For the first time in a long time, it looks like Montreal has a solid option behind Cox.

Dondre Wright has been a pleasant surprise in the secondary. The 2017 third-round pick has been relied upon on defence more than most people expected in his first year. With the season-ending injury to Chris Ackie, Wright’s snap count will only increase down the stretch.

–The secondary has been stellar

The Alouettes have been relatively healthy through six games, but they’ve had to overcome a lot adversity in the secondary. Ramon Taylor was supposed to be the boundary corner coming into the season, but he hasn’t played because of a mysterious illness. Instead, Jonathon Mincy stepped in and did a remarkable job on that side of the field.

While Mincy was out, they used Donald Unamba at boundary corner and he did a nice job (not nice enough to keep his spot on the roster, but he was quickly scooped up by the Ticats). Travis Hawkins was another player who filled in once injuries hit, and he’s been out with an injury he suffered in the first game of the year.

DB Greg Henderson broke his hand earlier this season, which forced Montreal to move Cox into the secondary. Henderson practiced all week and he’s scheduled to come off the six-game injured list in time for next week’s game in Toronto.

All-in-all, Mincy, Ackie, Wright, Cox, Tyree Hollins, Brandon Stewart and company have done a really nice job.

–Their 2-4 record is a little harsh

Don’t get me wrong, the Alouettes make their share of silly mistakes. Turnovers, penalties and not staying in bounds to keep the clock running have all come back to haunt them this season. Sure, they won their season opener against Saskatchewan because kicker Tyler Crapigna missed a field goal, but they’ve also had some horrible calls go against them in winnable games against Ottawa and Winnipeg. A 3-3 record at this point of the season would probably be “fair” but life and football ain’t fair.

Joey Alfieri

Joey Alfieri

A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.
Joey Alfieri
Joey Alfieri
About Joey Alfieri (38 Articles)
A reporter and host for TSN690 radio in Montreal, writer at Rotoworld Hockey and Pro Hockey Talk.

21 Comments on Five things we’ve learned about the Alouettes through six games

  1. “(B)ut they’ve also had some horrible calls go against them in winnable games against Ottawa and Winnipeg”. That’s like saying that the Ticats would have finished in first place and hosted the EDF in 2016 (and possibly 2015 too) if not for the bad (and potentially game changing) calls that went against them and for which the league APOLOGIZED and admitted their errors on at three occasions (2016) if my memory is correct!
    No doubt Montreal is better than they were last season but I don’t think they’re any better than their current record would suggest.

  2. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm //

    Well really 2-4 is fair. The game against Calgary should never have gone the way it did. It was the most bizarre games in CFL history and that made the winner a coin toss. You play that game 1000 times over those circumstances will never happen again.

    • White Horse // August 11, 2017 at 5:39 pm //

      HORSIE..I believe the Alouettes simply out played the Stamps on defence for sure. I think BLM was mystified as to his inability on offence to generate more yardage. Durant played very well also. Bowman was a beast. Stamps have a stigma they have to overcome in that stadium. Memories of Cato in 2016.

  3. Contemplating what is fair or what is not, or whether they should have won, does not help the standings much. Hopefully, however, the CFL is aware of all the games that calls from officials or the command centre have won or lost.

  4. grumblingaboutgreen // August 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm //

    one thing thats STILL a matter of DEBATE is who came out ahead in the GLENN for DURANT switcheroo! MONTREAL has seen a slight IMPROVEMENT in play at this position from LAST year when they FLOUNDERED between glenn cato and vernon ADAMS throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what STICKS. but on the OTHER hand the riders can at LEAST hope that glenn stays HEALTHIER instead of having to play their BENCHWARMERS like mitchell gale and seth doege. my PREDICTION is that DURANT ends up showing why jones was WRONG to doubt him since hes now playing behind a COMPETENT oline in montreal. the PROBLEM wasnt a poor QUARTERBACK but rather the personnel assigned to PROTECT him but its no SURPRISE the powers that be in riderhole couldnt figure that OUT!

  5. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 11, 2017 at 7:06 pm //

    GAWD I hate bye weeks!
    Is anyone else frustrated with not getting to watch BLM the Stampeders this week?

    • White Horse // August 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm //

      HORSE..í gotcha but, our team needs the break cause we have a lot of healing to do. Injuries to Jorden, Durant, Mayo, Lavertu, Jr Turner, Whiteside, Josh Bell, etc. 14 on 6 game IL. Eskimos and Ticats not only with bad luck. Get ready for BC, TORONTO, EDMONTON.

  6. Nope. Not missing BLM. Looking forward to seeing Riders/BC. No matter what happens in that game, following week Stamps & BC duke it out for 2nd in West. LOL. Stamps get lucky as BC plays 5 days later while Stamps have 2 weeks rest. Schedule makers give Horsie’s team big break.

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm //

      oh I know
      The old stamps just always get lucky every week don’t they? Every game they have a schedule advantage or some mysterious force overcomes their opponents causing “brain farts” and unexplained gaffs that would have otherwise been a certain win for Calgary’s opponents..15-2-1 last year, 5-1-1 so far this year.. man oh man how god damn lucky can one team get……I think we should all go pout in the corner over it!

    • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm //

      That’s so disrespectful EW
      You are saying no matter how big Calgary might win it’s only because BC had a short week.

  7. Five things – good or bad, it’s the Riders fault.

  8. Montreal got lucky with Ray’s injury taking him out for this back to back series. It would nice to pick up the season tie-breaker with Toronto early. I hope Durant & the boys don’t blow this opportunity.

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