Alouettes GM Kavis Reed Reed expects to hire head coach by mid-December

Bill Beacon, Canadian Press

There wasn’t much that is positive to take from the Montreal Alouettes season.

The team that was a perennial East Division power only a few years ago went 3-15, including 0-9 on the road. They set a team record by ending the campaign with 11 straight losses, including a first shutout loss in 20 years in the season finale. They missed the playoffs for a third year in a row for the first time since 1967-69.

Coach Jacques Chapdelaine and defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe were sacked on September 13 and the team went 0-7 down the stretch with general manager Kavis Reed running the bench.

Off-season acquisitions like quarterback Darian Durant and receiver Ernest Jackson were busts.

But as the players cleared out their lockers Saturday at Olympic Stadium, Reed said the squad does not need to be rebuilt from the ground up, only tinkered with to shore up weak spots.

And he feels the Alouettes can be back competing for the Grey Cup within three years.

“I understand I didn’t do everything perfect,” said Reed, who was promoted from special teams co-ordinator to his first GM job when Jim Popp left last winter. “If I did, we wouldn’t be 3-15.

“But I’m extremely positive that, with the partnership I have with the president and ownership, we’re going to do things right to make certain that we build a sustainably successful franchise.”

There is a lot of work to do.

First up is hiring a new head coach, which Reed expects to do by mid-December.

The new coach will decide which co-ordinators and assistants keep their jobs.

He will also decide the fate of a handful of veterans who, despite advanced years for football players, were some of the bright spots in a dark campaign. Among them was 37-year-old linebacker Kyries Hebert, who posted his first 100-tackle season. The team’s all-time sacks leader John Bowman, slotback Nik Lewis and kick returner Stefan Logan may have played their last games, but none has said definitively he wants to retire.

Lewis is even willing to return as a coach.

“Of course I’d come back as a coach,” the 35-year-old said. “I never thought I’d be a professional athlete.

“I’ve always wanted to be a coach. So therefore, that’s my dream job, if you think about it. You have to work a lot more, but that’s part of it. We’ve got a lot of great guys in this room and hopefully I can be a part of it and turn this thing around.”

But the main question is who will play behind centre.

Durant, acquired from Saskatchewan in a bid to end the carousel of quarterbacks who have come and gone in the last three seasons, had a decent start, but by mid-season was struggling just to complete a pass. Then he missed two games with an injury and sat out the season finale so Reed could get a look at rookies Matt Shiltz and Antonio Pipkin, who Reed sees as starters of the future.

Reed expects to keep Durant, who has a three-year contract, but in what seemed like a punch in the gut to the 12-year veteran and two-time Grey Cup champion, did not confirm his status as the starter.

“Darian will tell you he’s not happy with his performance,” said Reed. “We expected more.

“But we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. We probably had a historical number of drops. We probably had an injury situation that there was pressure when the offensive line wasn’t there. There were some systematic things we can do that will allow him to use his talent. Holistically, we may decide that Darian is part of the future, maybe competing for the starting job, maybe as a backup. But we are not going to dismiss Darian Durant at this time.”

Reed said most of the changes are needed on defence, particularly the backfield. Going with two Canadian interior defensive linemen didn’t work and they hope strengthen that position.

But he was mostly happy with the offence, which scored a league-low 314 points.

“We feel we have a top-tier running back (Tyrell Sutton), we have a top-tier offensive line when healthy, we feel strongly that we have pieces in the receiving corps that will allow us to be successful,” he said. “The quarterback situation obviously we’ll have to address.”

Reed was active on the free agent market last off-season, hoping to find stars like Jackson who could get Montreal back to the playoffs. It didn’t work, and he said the market would be used only to fill gaps from now on.

But while making changes, some popular veterans were cast off, which Lewis said eroded the players’ trust in management. It seemed that week after week, ex-Alouettes like S. J. Green, Duron Carter or Bear Woods were making plays to help other clubs win.

“Certain coaches didn’t want certain guys here.” said Lewis. “We lost our competitive edge.

“You see guys go to other teams and they’re playing key roles and they’re winning. Sometimes as a coach you don’t understand the value in the locker room some of these guys have. You look at guys like Ryan Phillips and Jovon Johnson. They’re great for the young guys because they’re going to pass knowledge and do things that help things flow. In those tough situations, they’re going to make big plays.”

There were reports that Chapdelaine, the first Francophone Quebecer to coach the team, never hit it off with Reed. The Alouettes had a decent start and were first in the weak East Division in August before some close setbacks allowed Toronto and Ottawa to pass. Then Chapdelaine was fired and the Alouettes suffered blowout after blowout loss.

“The only thing you can say is we were scoring more points at that time and maybe not giving up as many points, but it’s hard to say,” Sutton said of the change. “We just have to get continuity.

“We’ve had how many coaches in the last five years? I don’t think it’s necessarily a new coach that’s needed, it’s having a coach in play for more than five games.”

The team’s 15 losses was another record.

“It hurts your pride,” said Hebert. “It’s embarrassing.

“You go out in the city and you don’t want to talk about football. But it’s a motivation to go out in the off-season and work harder. Next year I don’t plan on declining. I want to get better and better. At some point it’s going to come to an end, but for now I have too much motivation. We want to win and I want to be part of it.”


30 Comments on Alouettes GM Kavis Reed Reed expects to hire head coach by mid-December

  1. He says “the team doesn’t have to be re-built, only tinkered with” ?????
    They will need a complete overhaul and re-build. Key players are too old and likely retiring in the off-season.
    I doubt Durant will be back.
    If it’s a “tweaking” then they will end up in last place again next year.

  2. Lancaster/Reed // November 5, 2017 at 10:47 am //

    That was basically his stance for 2017 as well. No rebuild , just add a few veterans like durant and the salad days of calvillo and company will return. Genius.

    • BleedGreen // November 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm //

      Hardly, you still blame him for the 13th man. Always toss the guy under the bus. I think he was pretty clear, not much worked and it was his fault as much as anyone’s. He’s going to tinker with the Oline, keep Sutton. Game on everywhere else…the word rebuild scares players. Bowman and Hebert should be back if they are contract friendly.

      • Lancaster/Reed // November 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm //

        Rarely think about the 13th man. Whats done is done. Im not going to waste energy hating kavis about it. There were a half a dozen other little things that led to that loss. One more offensive first down , missed tackles etc. It was still a team loss.
        I just think Kavis is a little delusional about what needs to change for montreal to become successful again.

  3. I would bring back Hebert, Sutton, and Logan. At the right price I would bring Durant back too but it would have to be in the $200-$225 grand range

    • BleedGreen // November 5, 2017 at 1:18 pm //

      DD in s back up role shouldn’t make more than 100 base. If he plays he gets paid, can’t see that happening. They will get a starter, Schiltz, has been a bright spot in this, reminds me of Nichols, will be legit 2.

  4. If Kavis is in charge your doomed. Doesnt mater who the coach or players are

  5. Most likely around 25% of the roster needs replaced any way you look at it. Age salary production all come into play. A lot of good football players out there not playing mostly south of the border. Reed has gotta find em and sign em. Simple as that. Same goes for coaches on both sides of the border.

    • Habs4Life // November 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

      Agree maybe more. Need to get younger and more athletic.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 5, 2017 at 3:55 pm //

      Win or lose , Don Matthews always changed about 25% of the roster year to year. In my opinion, montreal needs a larger ovehaul than that.

  6. Many of Montreal’s key players are at or nearing retirement but Reed thinks the lineup only needs minor changes to contend?
    Totally bizarre that Alouettes ownership seem oblivious to the fact that Reed is clueless!
    What top notch Head Coaching prospect would even look at this job right now?

    • Marc Lebut // November 6, 2017 at 3:41 pm //

      Meddling incompetent owner hiring GM and HC, and calling to fire people midseason. Who with a minimum of knowledge will work for that?

      Alouettes are rotten from top to bottom.

  7. RalphInTheCreek // November 5, 2017 at 2:23 pm //

    The battle cry of the CFL next season is Beware or Reed and Austin running the team next year.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 5, 2017 at 6:59 pm //

      To be fair, austin won a grey cup as a head coach with the riders, and took hamilton to 2 grey cups

  8. Teleology // November 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm //

    The Toronto Argos and fans say thank-you to Kavis Reed for the gift called SJ Green. Second in yardage, receptions and TDs. And Bear Woods was decent stocking stuffer.

  9. The good ship Allouette with captain Kavis in command and first mate Andrew Wettenhall as navigator are floundering in stormy seas and heading for a nasty barrier reef. Will they survive??? Stay tuned.

  10. I’m not so sure about bringing back Hebert & Logan. Yes they had very good seasons but at a certain age the drop off becomes pronounced. Hebert’s 37. How many LB’s have there been that came back & played great at 38? Look at the drop off this year with Chick from 14 sacks last year to 5 this year & turning 35 this month. Just one example. Lewis is great if you can wait for him to get 8 yards downfield but way too slow. I look at Calgary & they seem to get rid of players a year or two before the decline. Look at Jones in Regina & after all the wailing, he might have lost one good year from Chick but that was a development year for a younger DE. Turns out he was right about Durant, Getzlaf & Dressler. Yes, Dressler had a great 2016 but injuries have started to take their toll & I see him being replaced by a larger body in Wpg. He’s not the go to guy anymore. The problem in Mtl is that you have too many older slower bodies getting old at the same time. Trying to squeeze another year out of them, even at lower salaries, well – bin there, done dat. Move on.

  11. I know Cavillo is God like in Mtl but he has to go also.

  12. Paul Garner // November 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm //

    Kavis, Kavis my friend. Only needs tweaking, you say. All due respect to some great Alouettes but such as Bowman, Hebert, Logan, Cox, Lewis, Durant et al, but they’re done. It’s over. This team needs an overhaul and it needs a much younger team. Hey, you just lost 9 in a row including two lopsided losses to the team right above you in the standings. You needed to part ways with the aforementioned bunch start looking for a CFL type QB (See Zac Collaros) and a new Coach who understands the league. That’s not tweaking. That’s a rebuild. If you think you can reach the Grey Cup in three years with some tweaking, Hebert will be 41 and the others will be pushing 40. Maybe in baseball but not in the football. You’re scaring me Kavis

  13. MR. Green // November 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm //

    If Montreal is smart they will go after Franklin. He will be a Rider or Allouette. Reed needs to surround himself with good CFL people. My Riders stole Murphy as a scout from Calgary. Blows my mind he is not a GM yet. He finds talent like nobody. If I owned Montreal I would get him. But I hope not stay with Sask Murph. Tell the recruits they dont wanna use our visitors dressing room. Apparently its 10 square feet

    • EE backup QB Franklin will have several teams looking his way. BC, SK, TOR just to name a few. Jason is looking to better his career not end it. There is no way in hell that Jason Franklin goes anywhere near Montreal with the condition they are in as well as Kavis Reed is the GM.
      The EE owe the BC Lions a huge pay back in the QB position. I still have never understood why Wally traded an up and coming QB to a Western rival. The Eskimos are excellent at pilfering Hamilton’s stock late in the year. That goes all the way back to the Jesse Lumsden days. Maybe EE try and trade Jason just before free agency starts. All trades like that hinge on whether the free agent signs a contract on the team they were just traded too. Therefore I don’t see a trade with Montreal happening. The Durant situation worked out because Dariannwas given big money. Plus he had hopes of the team being on an upswing. Well both he and Kavis were wrong. Durant still wins getting his $200K signing bonus and another $200K for that season.

  14. Mr. Reed
    If your reading the comments from your ‘ clients ‘ recognize we are anxious for results. When you do hire the best coach available do the right thing and stay in the Als private box during games. Don’t be Jim Popp.

    Good luck in rebuilding our team…

  15. A few teams are rumoured to be interested in Franklin. If that’s the case, I can’t see why he would sign with Montreal. That’s a career killer IMO.

    • Lancaster/Reed // November 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm //

      Normally i would say a player should go with the bigger paycheck, which i think a desperate kavis will offer franklin, but in this case the smart move is to avoid montreal like the plague while kavis is running the show.

  16. Marc Lebut // November 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm //

    Little tweaking, right?

    Tweak #1: new GM.
    Tweak #2: new scouting director
    Tweak #3: new HC
    Tweak #4: new coaches (Bolduc and Parker can stay)
    Tweak #5: new QB
    Tweak #6: an O line that can be called an O line (Olafyoye, Gagnon and Blake are OK, balance is expendable)
    Tweak #7: 3 good receivers
    Tweak #8: improve Canadian depth at all positions
    Tweak #9: new D line that can be called a D line
    Tweak #10: new LBs that can make plays. Hebert can’t do alone and won’t be on every play in 2018. Cox is done.
    Tweak #11: GOOD backup for Sutton
    Tweak #12: new KR to compete with Logan AND KEEP HIM, for Chr… sake!

    If you believe one minute you turn around a 3-15 team with a “little tweaking” and go back to the Grey cup in 3 years, you have no clue as a GM and should resign. Chris Jones changed more than 35 players coming in his 1st season as the Riders GM and he needed 2 seasons to bring this team bck to minimal decency. And Reed believes in “little tweaking” and a Grey Cup appearance in 3 seasons? Alouettes will fold again before that.

Comments are closed.