Alouettes mess is much, much bigger than Manziel

A paltry 16.7 per cent.

Someone on Twitter posted Kavis Reed’s winning percentage as Montreal Alouettes general manager. To say that it’s an incompetent number would be more than accurate.

Towards the end of last season, Reed was a guest on TSN 690 Radio in Montreal with Mitch Melnick. He tried to put a bow on what then was only a small pile of garbage, saying that the losses would pay off in the future because they were installing a new culture. The only problem? This year has been worse. Much, much worse. In fact, I can’t even name one untouchable player on this roster, much less a core to build around. There is no plan. There is no hope on the way for this season, or even beyond. When the coach tells the media after the game that a) it’s difficult to get better players in at this point in the season and b) he has no idea why the team wasn’t prepared for Friday night’s 50-11 drubbing at home versus Hamilton, you know that things aren’t getting better any time soon

But even if Reed and head coach Mike Sherman were fired tomorrow, does anyone believe that the team would hire the right person to turn things around? See, the issue isn’t with the answer-less GM. Rather, it’s with the man who hired him in the first place. You might recall that at one time Reed was the special teams coach under Coach Jacques Chapdelaine. Then in an instant, he was GM and became Chapdelaine’s boss. Only in the CFL.

No, the issue appears to be with the lack of head of football operations for this team. As owner Robert Wetenhall, who was present Friday night for the debacle, now appears to be involved in name only, Andrew Wetenhall continues to sink the club into a very worrying and dangerous abyss. Attendance is dwindling and apathy has set in. I didn’t hear many boos last night. Nor did I see any angry signs about the current state of affairs. That tells me that the passion is waning. Meanwhile, former GM Jim Popp won a Grey Cup last year. You might recall that Chapdelaine was hired as coach without then-GM Popp’s blessing. Sensing a pattern here? No, ego and rationale have to prevail at some point with ownership. I don’t tell my dentist how to do his job. So why is Andrew Wetenhall hiring GMs and head coaches?

So until a Wally Buono-like figure is brought in to lead ALL of the football-making decisions, the Alouettes will continue to be competitively irrelevant – whether Johnny Manziel improves or not. And it’s breaking the hearts of football fans everywhere in La Belle Province.

Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross

Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, MLB.com and AskMen.com. He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.
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Matthew Ross
About Matthew Ross (21 Articles)
Matthew Ross is a radio host on TSN 690 Montreal and has contributed to the Montreal Gazette, MLB.com and AskMen.com. He's a native Montrealer and misses watching Anthony Calvillo just like everyone else.

57 Comments on Alouettes mess is much, much bigger than Manziel

  1. Bestcflfan // August 4, 2018 at 11:06 am //

    Well the word Manziel was still in the headline but you(the press) is finally getting the story right. Next get JM completely out of the headline and lead with the real story which you mostly got right.

    AW was interviewed earlier in the year and said the team was competitive. When the owner has a complete disconnect from reality, thinking there is nothing needs fixing, there is not any hope.

  2. Solara2000 // August 4, 2018 at 11:08 am //

    Yep as the saying goes “the buck stops at the top”. Its been obvious since BW transitioned the team to his son’ s stewardship that the decision-making has lacked any coherence strategy compounded by incomprehensible personnel decisions.
    Unfortunately the team, it’s history, it’s current players, it’s fans and the CFL itself are all collateral damage.

  3. BC Bomber // August 4, 2018 at 11:17 am //

    Sadly, I cannot disagree with this article. For the sake of the CFL, I’d like to see (9 or 10) strong franchises. Mtl lacks a strong fan base and has been been scuppered by poor ownership before. I fear history is repeating itself.

  4. Completely agree that the problem is the owner. He and his son think they know the game, and constantly interfere. The leaky boat would still float as long as Popp, Trestman and Calvillo were there, but as soon as that ended, the problems showed up. There is no plan, because they keep changing it. The dyke has too many holes to plug with just fingers and a dick. (Kavis Who?)

    Contrast that crap-show with how Caretaker Bob behaves; Young is a cheerleader who leaves all management decisions to the guys he hired. A plan is developed and they stick to it; things like getting two starters and two 1st round picks for a guy who hasn’t played a down of regular season CFL football. The Als got their pockets picked.

    I heard once that you shouldn’t mess with what you don’t know – and don’t get into a battle of wits when you’re unarmed!

    • “The leaky boat would still float as long as Popp, Trestman and Calvillo were there, but as soon as that ended, the problems showed up.”

      I suppose I could say this until I’m blue in the mouth, even though I started saying it YEARS before Calvillo retired: Popp, Trestman and Calvillo conspired to NEVER allow any backup on the field. And THAT DESTROYED the succession at quarterback for this team. WE ARE STILL LIVING THE FALLOUT.

      Popp foolishly gave Trestman the final say on who started at QB (a concession Trestman INSISTED upon before taking the job). Trestman played Calvillo EVERY down he could get away with, whether up or down by 50 points.

      Trestman’s motivation was clear enough: he wanted that BIG NFL HC job. Being the “quarterback whisperer” of football’s alltime passer “got ‘er done” for Trestman, and he took off thed he got the offer to coach the Bears (then karma struck). He milked Calvillo for every yard he could.

      And Calvillo’s motivation was clear enough: the last thing he EVER wanted was to be upstaged by far more athletic and exciting quarterbacks: he protected his job like a junkyard dog.

      I get the perspective of these folks as some kind of “glory days” heroes of the Alouettes. And to be fair, they may have screwed the future (today’s present) of the Alouettes, but they DID after all win 2 Cups.

      But the damage they did in the process may well end up tanking this franchise, yet again. May that be a lesson to the ENTIRE league: WHENEVER POSSIBLE…make time for your backup quarterbacks. Because if your #1 goes down and you haven’t, you could spend YEARS making up for “lost time”. If you ever manage to make it up at all.

      And in the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to keep setting the record straight.

  5. Red&White Forever // August 4, 2018 at 11:32 am //

    It’s not a good thing that this is starting to remind me of the Renegades and the Gliebermans, or the Stamps and the F-Troop.

    • Knucklehead // August 4, 2018 at 1:04 pm //

      George.no not really..Hamilton still in a crap show.By bad decisions by the know it alls.
      Just a week ago.

  6. BigRedMachine // August 4, 2018 at 11:38 am //

    Only in the CFL is a little exaggeration. Garth Snow anyone? But really, promoting your ST coordinator straight to GM had not chance of working from the get go.

  7. Evil Empire // August 4, 2018 at 11:44 am //

    No shite Sherlock.

    That team is not good. You don’t fall that hard overnight. And, you can’t rebound overnight, either. I hope I’m wrong. But, I don’t think Mtl can make it into the playoffs this year. It’s early but as usual it looks like the West will have a cross over.

    I just hope the ppl of Mtl won’t allow the team to fold yet again.

    • Bestcflfan // August 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm //

      Aren’t Als mathematically eliminated they 2022?

    • Blue rules // August 4, 2018 at 1:30 pm //

      And I repeat…..”So sad all that attention for a Meh….. possible starting QB, haven’t done anything yet”.
      ” Do something for an extended period, then gush over him! Until then he’s just the next QB for Montreal”

      *Now who’s obtuse*

  8. How the mighty have fallen. Montreal was once annoyingly dominant year in and out.

    • Now that title belongs to the Calgary Stampeders.

      • Shepeeders // August 4, 2018 at 6:09 pm //

        How is choking “dominant”? Calgary has won 2 of the past 15 Grey Cups – the same number as the Riders and Lions, and one less than the Als, Argos and Eskimos. In fact only Ottawa, Hamilton and Winnipeg have less championships in that time. Some domination! Are Shampeeder fans all as klueless as Kavis?

  9. Kent Austin is available. He turned the TiCats around in 2013.

    • … and won a cup with sask in 2007.
      the wetenhalls should just write the cheques.
      and bring in austin to be president of football ops, general manager and head coach. he could install his offence and get someone else to be nominal offensive coordinator.
      it’s a smaller sample size, but looking at austin’s history, there is an argument to be made that he’s the billy martin of the cfl:
      you bring him in, he crafts a winner, installs a culture, begins to wear on folks and then moves on.
      he could save montreal. right now it’s a gong show.

      • Pussycats // August 4, 2018 at 4:03 pm //

        And he could be the final nail in their coffin too! But he’s too smart to enter that zoo. Then again perhaps not, if the Wetenhall’s send a Brink’s truck loaded with cash up his driveway anything is possible.

  10. Just read the arcticles from Winnipeg blue Bombers the last year with Joe Mack as GM and you will see a similar pattern. You build a team from the O line out and it takes 5 years from when the process starts. Reset the clock, hire good Canadian scouts, improve Cdn content and a solid O line , take 2 aspirins and check back in 4 or 5 years. Theres only two teams in the CFL that don’t rebuild, they reload, and thats the Esks and Stamps. Everyone else has to go through this painful process. One good thing for the Als is they have a QB already now. Check.

  11. This is bad, but they need KENT AUSTIN. I was hoping he’d come to the Lions next year as head coach, but Montreal needs him bad. He could totally build this team into a contender!

    Manziel and Adams are legit… as bad a Manziel played last night.

  12. but face facts johnny football jock supporters, he is the main reasonwhy the als lost big last night , 4 interceptions hes gonna be a loser for the rest of his career, then again hes never been anything special.

    • Bestcflfan // August 4, 2018 at 1:26 pm //

      So according to you JM was responsible when TCS marched down the field in just a few plays for its opening possession TD too?

      • it was off his interception no doubt so yes hes just not good enough to lead a professional team….what is his pro record in football anyway….1-25?

  13. Usually when an organization is in a mess it starts at the top. The Alouettes are no exception. Kavis Reed must have a wonderful gift of gab as he is was only so so during his tenure in Hamilton as a coordinator, similarly in Montreal and now is really stinking out in his role as GM. The younger Wettenhall blew smoke up everyone’s butt last year about how the team would be improved in 2018 but he has no clue, evident in his hiring of Reed. Another loser for Montreal.

  14. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why this team is SO bad? They have some experienced coordinators and some decent players. Why aren’t they at the very least competitive? Why are they not ready to play? When is it time to start over again, again?

  15. Ari Katz // August 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm //

    They need someone who knows how to evaluate talent and realizes the value of draft picks and in doing this , they have to stop trading draft picks away especially first round picks. Agree with Brian above and agree with this article. Problem is nobody competent might be interested in coming into this mess but I really think that Kent Austin is the right guy and perhaps the Als would have been smart to target and put that right guy in place before pulling the trigger on the Manziel deal. Sherman needs someone to share his ideas with even if Austin is only brought in as a consultant at first but I really think that they have to get rid of Kathari Jones and install Kent Austin as at least their offensive coordinator. Bring him in , let him get his feet wet and then put him in charge of football operations .

  16. Kent Austin or Jim Barker could help this team

    • Austin or Barker? Really?? The Ti-Cats & Argos only got better once these guys got replaced. Austin was replaced by Jones & they started winning. Barker, wasn’t his last major move to hand off to Winnipeg Heath some high draft choices for the money pit that is Drew Willy thinking he was the Argos’ heir the throne. He’s fired right after, Popp is hired & Toronto wins the Grey Cup. No, these guys aren’t the answer for Montreal’s woes.

  17. kavis reed is the worst gm in cfl, bergevin worst in nhl.

    • I don’t watch soccer games much but when will this disease of hiring horrible GMs start effecting the Montreal Impact so we can have a trifecta of terribly run franchises in the Montreal area & turn off us all off on sports fandom in general.

  18. I’m feeling very apathetic from a fans perspective. How does the organization deal with that – unless another change is coming. My expectation was to see this team improve as the season progressed but they are clearly in a free fall. Habs fans are pissed – Football fans just don’t care – which is far worse.

  19. quiconque utilise des mots comme criminalistique pour décrire une pratique ne peut pas construire une équipe de football

    Kavis Reed is nothing more than a yes man for the Wetenhall’s. Who then tries to sound intelligent by using ridiculous words spoken in the tone of someone who is practising to correct his Glossophobia

  20. How can anyone be surprised that Montreal is such an unmitigated disaster?

    As I explained numerous times in the pre season, this is the absolute WORST collection of coaches ever assembled in CFL history.

    Mike Sherman is so terrible that he was unemployable in the NCAA and NFL. The guy was coaching a dinkified little high school team in the middle of nowhere – – and he couldn’t even win there!

    Rich Stubler has been a comically bad DCfor several years. His “bend-and-hope-it-doesn’t-break” scheme is outdated by a couple of decades. Doesn’t wear a head set. Doesn’t even give the players a defensive playbook.

    Mick Donevan is hopelessly out of his depth at the pro level. His ceiling is the CIS. Similar to how inept Stef Ptaszek was at trying to be a coordinator in Hamilton. These are CUS level “coaches” – – NOT pro level.

    Are we going to blame the owner for hiring all of these bumbling morons?

  21. i just saw all of johnny mazeils tds as a qb, very short video in fact he had 7 tds and 7 int in 14 games, had a record of 2-6 as a starter, threw 12 tds against garbage nfl teams that never made the playoffs, got 1 td when they were behind 28-3 to the steelers so they slacked off defending obviously and got one td against the seahawks to start a game which the hawks came back and won…nothing special stands out about johnny football and never will.

  22. Reason Montreal has those incompetent coaches is no wanted coach is dumb enough to commit career suicide by going to that organization. After this year, none of those guys there now will be able to replicate their position on another CFL team.

    Why nobody wants to go to Montreal is due to their front office. Andrew Wetentall was the one who hired the GM. Andrew’s influence on the team has gradually increased these last 5 years to the point where he is making the major decisions. Not coincidentally, Montreal appears to be getting worse every year. He needs to admit that he knows nothing about the game and should stay out of everything other than writing checks.

    While you can’t blame Kavis Reed for Andrew’s stupidity for hiring him as the GM, Reed should have hired people who could overcome his deficiencies. Instead, he hired Joe Mack who failed miserably in Winnipeg as his assistant. After that decision, what did you guys expect was going to be the result?

  23. I’m always amazed at the ridiculously low standards for being a GM in this league.

    If you’ve got a friend or family member in management and if you can spell CFL, you’re hired.

    It’s incomprehensible that it’d take half a decade to rebuild even the worst dumpster fire of a franchise.

    The formula for building a championship level team in the CFL is remarkably simple – – get a good QB and the most NI talent that you possibly can.

    Import receivers and RBs are a dime a dozen – – there’s literally HUNDREDS coming out of the NCAA every single year, starving for an opportunity to play at the pro level.

    Paying a mediocre hack like Ernie Jackson $120k defies logic.

  24. Leonard Cohen // August 4, 2018 at 3:24 pm //

    You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.”
    — Paul Brown
    As long as the loss does not destroy you. Johnny seemed upbeat so he will learn a book.

    • If that’s the case, John Manziel must have a full library based on his atrocious losing record as a starting QB.

    • Are you going to post this same quote to every 3dn article? Enough already…

  25. Just saying // August 4, 2018 at 3:30 pm //

    It tough for a player to give a s&!t when the only reason they signed there was for the kavis wheelbarrow of endless cash. You have to want to play, believe you can win to be good. They just don’t care.

  26. Quebec is a hot bed of football in Canada. Als need to be diligent in bringing in local CIS products from laval and Montreal. The city of Montreal is very expensive for most CFL salaries and I believe the facilities are still sub-par for a pro team. These two factors work against the franchise. Facility upgrades needs to be priority. Not sure about KR as a GM. Head of football Operations should be hired. Perhaps this could be a Wally B in 2019 since he will be done in Vancouver. And I really don’t like to criticize coaching as every coach in the league knows a ton about football and nearly all have a resume loaded with success but watching the Als, I can’t help but think that they are at a disadvantage in the coaching game plan and preparedness. Their D looked better to start the season. They have two excellent starting Nationals at LB and a HOF DE who is in the twilight of his career. Chip Cox has been great for years but I am surprised to still see him starting in the secondary. Dozier and campbell are legit. I don’t think the personnel is as far behind as the TSN commentators like to say. I think coaching and management are the bigger issues. QB play is a given but that falls under both coaching and management at this stage.

    • Montreal’s problems start with their horrifically bad NIs. By far the worst in the league.

      George Johnson and Bo Banner have absolutely ZERO business starting at the professional level.

      Same thing with Landon Rice – – he’s a blocking TE and emergency back up OLineman. Definitely NOT a starting calibre G.

      Chris Ackie is a rotational type LB, and again NOT someone who should be starting. On a championship calibre team, Ackie would be around 8th or 9th on the NI depth chart of starters.

      So right there you’ve got FOUR (4) liabilities who are not starting calibre professionals. If they get hurt, their back ups are even worse.

  27. Area51- good points. I would contend that there are some CIS coaches who have had success or likely would find success at the pro level. The Montreal staff demonstrates inability to coach successfully in the modern Canadian game. For several years I have nor agreed with Coach Stubler’s defensive philosphies. Too many teams have dynamic offenses where a bend but don’t break D simple doesn’t cut it. These offenses will take what the D gives…and his D is giving up a lot of yards and too many points in most games this season. This season more than ever, I notice that blitz and pressure packages seem to be very effective. I don’t have numbers and stats to verify that but from watching, it seems that nearly all CFL offenses are having issues. Esks certainly struggled with Riders this week as an example. I haven’t noticed many exotic pressure packages out of the Als. Guys like Dozier, Cox, Bowman, Ackie, etc could bring some havoc if moved around.

  28. John Bowman and Chipper Cox are also a big part of the problem in Montreal.

    It’s absurd to have washed up has-beens like that starting.

    At this point those two are just cashing a paycheque.

  29. Ideally you’d get pressure from the front four alone and be able to drop the eight guys into coverage.

    That’s when the turnovers will start happening.

    I’m not a fan of “exotic” blitzing schemes. There’s two reasons teams run them – – number one, the DC is trying to show everyone how brilliant his schemes are or number two, the team lacks talent up front to get pressure.

    Win on talent instead of hoping to win on trickery.

  30. Agree that Wettenhall fils is the problem. With him there, it is impossible to hire a quality coach with CFL experience (Lapolice??). I actually don’t think Kavis Reed is the problem, although it is certainly fashionable on this site to blame him. With a stronger coaching staff, I’ll bet this team could win 3-4 more games by year-end and 8-10 next year; but even with Johnny I doubt they will do that with the current staff.

  31. Kavis Reed is the biggest train wreck possibly in CFL history.
    He cost Saskatchewan the 2009 Grey Cup. As the head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos he turned the team into a shambles.
    Now he is doing huge damage to a once proud franchise in Montreal.
    I feel sorry for the football fans in Quebec.

  32. Reed lost all credibility with his asinine theatrics during interviews when he was in Edmonton.

    His ridiculous speech about “consequences” and that pregame “what say you” nonsense – – it was such a horribly bad acting job by a guy preening for the cameras.

  33. Seriously, who here would go work for Andrew Wetenhall? An arrogant Jewish NY Bankster running a Pro Football team into the ground.

    Their season ticket base has dropped from 19 000 to 7500.

    They haven’t won a home game in over a year.

    They have no first round pick until 2022.

    Nobody in their right mind wants the job, that’s why Kavis Reed is the GM of the Montreal Alouettes.

    The survival of this franchise is in DANGER.

  34. April Whine // August 5, 2018 at 6:10 am //

    Senior.. Ok the anti Semitic remark is unnecessary. Btw Manziel is a Semite as well. His Great Grandfather cane from Lebanon (Arab Christian) and mother is Italian so Mediterranean also. What people are missing is if John can rebound from this bad start like he did at A&M (loss to #24 team) he can be the honey that attracts other good football worker bee s.

  35. Shatner Cohen // August 5, 2018 at 6:17 am //

    Senior.. Montreal has long been a Haven for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe. Leonard Cohen, William Shatner, and Edgar Bronthman are all Jewish Montreal ers. Your attitude is archaic.

  36. Men without hats // August 5, 2018 at 7:18 am //

    One poster noted Steveler did better than Manziel in his first CFL start and Mcleod BT did better than both. This plus a long list of quick QB successes starting with Frank Philchock should blow up the apprentice of years theory. Sitting for a long time has more to do with a dearth of starting slots (only 9) as opposed to a long learn curve. Also with Riders and BC sucking the East could grab the crossover.

  37. The Stills // August 5, 2018 at 7:46 am //

    Area 51 pointed out how many talented NCAA and ex pros of multiple leagues are dying to come up here and play for cheap. Just think how much higher the overall talent level in the CFL would be if the restraint of trade ratio was reduced or scrapped? This artificial scarcity of Cana players causes teams to overpay marginal starters and bench warmers. NHL has never had quotas or ratios for Americans despite the fact that 80% plus of teams are in the Usa with Seattle probably next. This free market approach has created more jobs fir everyone including Canadians, Euros as well as Americans. The archaic protection approach (and that means you too Trumpler) has resulted in barely scraping by with Fifa Football outdrawing Cana Football in Toronto with a GC winner.

    • Nobody in Canada cares about soccer, my friend.

      As evidenced by the pitiful television ratings – – infomercials get more viewers than the soccer games do.

  38. Bring back our Als // August 5, 2018 at 10:27 am //

    At home this year the average score is 45-15. Kavis Hail Mary Reed owns this team and his culture is a losing one.

  39. The Stills // August 5, 2018 at 11:10 am //

    Stadium visitors are primarily familys, and Millennial s. Thus a prediction of future support. Impact, TFC, and Whitecap games are all well attended. The MLS future is so bright you gotta wear shades. CFL fan base is dieing out. I am a frequent attendee of Fifa Football matches and everyone around me is in their 20s.

  40. Area51- of course you don’t blitz or use pressure packages when you can get pressure with 4- some coaches even try 3 man rush and drop off. …but not many teams can do that, even with ET stunts. That’s why they blitz and bring 5 or 6 man pressures, Chris Jones has had a lot of success with his cover 0 blitz schemes. My eyes aren’t deceiving me. This season, QBs are struggling against the blitz and are getting hit. Dropping off 8 in zone coverages with no pressure is a way to get picked apart by 6 out of 9 QBs in the league.

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