The Montreal Alouettes’ losing streak has now hit seven games. Surprise, surprise, they weren’t able to beat the Stamps in Calgary, but they almost gave up 60 points in the loss, which is scary.
The Als went into Calgary and got annihilated 59-11 on Friday night, and it could have been even worse.
They’re still not mathematically eliminated from post-season contention, but I think it’s pretty clear that winning a game will be challenging enough between now and the end of the regular season.
Even the most optimistic of Als fans have to admit that this team is done. The 2017 CFL season is just about over for them.
I know a lot of people will disagree with what I’m about to say, but I really believe that general manager and interim head coach Kavis Reed deserves better.
Reed inherited a football team with no legitimate starting quarterback and a squad that hadn’t made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
People point to the fact that the acquisition of Darian Durant hasn’t worked out. Clearly, Durant was Reed’s guy, but the quarterback’s struggles aren’t just his fault. Jacques Chapdelaine’s refusal to put the ball in 2016 East Division Most Outstanding Player nominee Ernest Jackson’s hands was laughable. The conservative nature of the play calling was also problematic. Durant hasn’t been good, but there’s blame to go around for that.
Also, who else was Reed supposed to go get to play quarterback? Before you say James Franklin from Edmonton, last I checked, he’s still with the Eskimos, so they probably weren’t crazy about trading him early in the season or in the offseason. Who else was out there? No one.
Obviously, I haven’t agreed with all the moves this GM has made so far. But I simply can’t sit here and say he’s done a poor job of putting together this roster. Things look bleak right now because of the way they’re losing games, but this season got away from them before Chapdelaine was fired.
I don’t know how good this team should or can be, but I know they aren’t this bad.
Anyway, I just wanted to get people to start thinking critically instead of pointing the finger at the same people over and over again every week.
It’s time to look at the positives and negatives from Friday’s horrific loss to the Calgary Stampeders.
-Slotback Nik Lewis, who will probably hang up his cleats after this season, didn’t get to play against his former team, but it was nice to see the Als bring him on the road trip. Lewis got a great ovation from the Calgary crowd. He got emotional on the field and you couldn’t help but feel his emotions through the television screen.
-Rookie quarterback Matt Shiltz got his first regular season reps in the second half of Friday’s game. He finished the game 8/10 for 75 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions. Both of Shiltz’s incomplete passes were clear drops by T.J. Graham. Kavis Reed has already said that Darian Durant will start against Edmonton next week, but he also added that Shiltz could see some more playing time down the stretch. Yes, I know the Stampeders removed a lot of their starters when Shiltz came in, but the rookie looked good. He throws a gorgeous ball.
-It’s been a disappointing year for Ernest Jackson, but he competed really hard on Friday night. He finished the game with six receptions for 73 yards, and a lot of those were tough yards. As much as he hasn’t produced in 2017, I hope the Als give him another shot in 2018. He can still play.
-Reggie Northrup made his CFL debut and he led the team in tackles with six. He wasn’t always the most noticeable player on the field, but he’s earned another look.
-I can’t help but feel sorry for a lot of the veterans on this team that still obviously care about winning games. Guys like Kyries Hebert, John Bowman, Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, and a few others are still leaving everything out on the field. All of those guys are well into their 30’s, so they don’t have a lot of time left in the game. It’s disappointing to see them go through this.
-The Alouettes just had no answer for Calgary running back Terry Williams. I get it, it’s tough to switch defensive systems in the middle of the year, but it’s just so hard to watch right now. After giving up 141 yards on the ground to Toronto’s James Wilder jr. last week and 144 yards to Ottawa’s William Powell the week before that, they allowed Williams to accumulate 156 rushing yards on Friday.
-They didn’t shut down the passing game either, as Mitchell threw for 265 yards in three quarters of work. Backup quarterback Andrew Buckley also tossed for 43 yards in the final quarter. The Alouettes’ defensive front still isn’t sniffing the opposing quarterback. Mitchell was able to move the ball however and whenever he wanted to.
-I was happy to see Graham get an opportunity to dress for this game. He’s got wheels and usually solid hands, but he dropped too many balls on Friday night. The drops he had when Shiltz came into the game were inexcusable. He also caused a fumble, as he got in the way of a shotgun snap while running in motion. As bad as the performance was, I still like his upside. I’d give him another opportunity to prove himself.
-It’s getting hard to single out specific players because there aren’t many guys playing well. Little mistakes have killed the Als all year and they keep finding new ways to mess things up for themselves. I know the game was already over at this point, but here’s my example: In the third quarter, Mitchell threw a ball right to Alouettes DB Greg Henderson. There’s no way he shouldn’t come up with the interception on that play, but he dropped it. Calgary settled for a field goal. On Montreal’s next drive, Graham stepped in front of the snap, the Als lost possession and Calgary punches the ball in the end zone again. It’s a comedy of errors. 10 points allowed in the blink of an eye.
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