Picking up the pieces after the Alouettes’ horrific loss in Calgary

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.

The Good

-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.

The Bad

-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.


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.

17 Comments on Picking up the pieces after the Alouettes’ horrific loss in Calgary

  1. Dundas dude // September 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm //

    It’s odd how fast circumstances change. Montreal started with such promise and Cats 0-8. I thought maybe the Als could take some positives from the second half of the Argo game, but last night was not much of game (except for those of us with back up running back Williams on our fantasy football team!)

  2. Sorry to say it but you are fooling yourself if you don’t think this is a bad football team. It’s a young man’s game and the Als have too many old guys who, while many have had great careers, can’t get it done anymore. Unfortunately for the Als, Kavis ditched guys like Bear Weods and SJ Green, while keeping Cox, Hebert, Bowman, etc. And your QBs may have been GC champions in 2013, but 4 years later neither guy is the answer

  3. BigRedMachine // September 30, 2017 at 3:09 pm //

    Unfortunately Reed doesn’t have a history of coaching and/or GM excellence so it is tough to give him more time to turn things around. Chris Jones has a history of excellence which made it much easier to give him more time in Regina even after last year’s disappointing season.

  4. Redly Superior // September 30, 2017 at 3:14 pm //

    Reed should stick with being a coordinator

    • Stephen Fisher // September 30, 2017 at 3:25 pm //

      Right. Under Reed Als had the best Sp Teams play ever. Peters Principle. Als now have lousy GM, lousy HC and underperforming STs.

      ( and don’t get me started about taking away an international from the defence in order to improve the offense, resulting in gutting a heretofore excellent defense and creating the worst offense in the league )

  5. All the negative things have been said – now it is time to move on as well as can be done. A lot of great players on that team. Hopefully Shiltz offers some hope for the future.

  6. I’d never hire Reed to be a coordinator a my team. The guy has been awful everywhere he has gone. I have no idea how he was hired as GM, and as soon as that happened, I knew the Als were in for more misery. I worry about the franchise as Montreal does not support losing, and it looks like losing is what they’ll be doing for the next year or two – even if they hire an excellent GM. They have too many old players at the end of their careers that need replacing and not enough up and comers.

  7. I sure hope Als find away to reboot soon, would hate to see them fold again. CFL needs To expand to 10 teams not lose a team. Also BC needs natural rivalry to engage the fans out west. If that happens Bombers would be stuck as an eastern team again (sad). Maybe go to 12 team add two in the east

    • Blue Rules, their currently isn’t a 24k+ seat stadium anywhere in Canada that could house a 10th CFL team, so quit fantasizing about 12 teams.

      • Ya- a long shot I know, what about an upgrades to a university stadium, seams to work for Montreal, check that maybe not so good in Montreal.

  8. Get rid of TJ Graham. No more 2nd and 3rd chances

  9. Red&White Forever // September 30, 2017 at 4:36 pm //

    Quebec City is the largest municipal centre in Canada without a CFL team. They’re a top ten city in population, and with the success of USports and grassroots football in Quebec, I’m surprised we don’t have two teams in the province. The other Eastern team would be somewhere in the maritimes, Halifax or Moncton, but neither would have huge drawing numbers, and would have to have the support of the communities and province, like the Riders do. As for the West, the only possible location I could see would be in the Kelowna valley, but even then the drawing numbers from the area wouldn’t hit 250,000. So, one team is realistic, 3 is pushing it.

  10. Saskatoon // October 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm //

    Obviously Chris Jones comments about Durant are correct. He was no more than moderately successful for Saskatchewan. Why would he be any better in Montreal. With the best QB coach for any team Durant is still in successful

  11. as being a die hard als fan. its really hard watching a terrible football team.for that being said, i grew up in montreal watching the likes of sam etcheverry, and hal patterson, then in the 60.s, they were reallly bad, then in 1970 the als won the grey cup with an 6-11 record. they weren,t bad after that until the mid 70,s, but the 80,s forget about it. and now to the present day, this is a very bad bunch. my opinion, they have to blow this team up, and start over. all we need is qb that can throw the ball more than 10 yards. good luck to the als for the rest of the year. go als go.

  12. Ron Bates // October 1, 2017 at 3:21 pm //

    Wow, we all like the Alouettes, we all distress at the problems caused the ownership family, we all hate empty seats but are not concerned about the boos in Molson Stadium. Alive fans they are not dead from the neck up. So sort out this problem, the Burger regime with a road trip to Regina and the owner referring to his team as a hoard on a cold blustery afternoon. Changes began and smart people were hired. Kavis are you smart?

  13. Picking up the pieces? That implies there is something worth picking up. Montreal is at a point where they have to consider whether or not the best solution is to leave everything at the curb and hope someone else takes them away.

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