Last season, the Montreal Alouettes thought veteran Kevin Glenn would stop the carousel of quarterbacks that passed through after legend Anthony Calvillo retired in 2013.
When that didn’t work, they brought in Darian Durant from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
But 10 games into the season, the Alouettes have the same 3-7 record they had a year ago, while the Roughriders are on fire with Glenn at quarterback.
“It’s two totally different situations,” Durant said Wednesday. “When Kevin was here, everyone felt that he was done.
“He got traded. He was in a situation where things weren’t going well and now he’s in a more stable situation. They stabilized the offensive line, they’ve got great receivers and he’s playing well. So, I don’t look at him with any jealousy. He’s the same guy that was here last year. He’s just in a better situation, I guess.”
Glenn was traded to Winnipeg last September after losing the starting job to Rakeem Cato, who subsequently lost it to Vernon Adams. Now Adams is backing up Glenn in Regina, where the Roughriders (5-4) have gone on a three-game winning streak and are starting to look like they may be Grey Cup contenders under coach Chris Jones.
Durant spent his first 11 seasons with Saskatchewan and led them to a Grey Cup win in Regina in 2013, but Jones did not seem overly interested in keeping him around, saying he had been only “moderately successful” as a quarterback. He was then dealt to the Alouettes for a pair of draft picks.
In Montreal, Durant is under the gun. He was inked to a three-year deal at top dollar (reportedly about $400,000 per season) to get the offence moving again, but the 35-year-old has struggled. The Alouettes have been held without an offensive touchdown in two of their last three games, all losses. If it wasn’t for woeful Hamilton (1-8), they’d be last in the CFL in most key offensive statistics.
“First and foremost, I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself,” said Durant, who, after a 32-4 loss at home last week to Ottawa, has a 61-61-1 career record. “I know that, at the quarterback position, I can’t do everything.
“You have to have the right supporting cast. I’ve had my share of mistakes for sure and I take full responsibility for them but at the same time, if mistakes keep compounding we’re all going to look bad. So I think it’s a total group effort and we have to make sure we’re all on the same page for our offence to be successful.”
When Durant joined Montreal, the main concern was his health after some major injuries in recent seasons, but he has been fit through 10 starts this seasons. Now there are questions on how long coach Jacques Chapdelaine will stick with him.
Backup Drew Willy took over in the third quarter against Ottawa and has been taking some first-team snaps in practice of late.
Chapdelaine said it wasn’t just Durant’s performance that caused the change, but a number of problems on offence.
He said several changes to personnel on attack, coupled with a few injuries, have prevented the offence from finding the cohesion it needs. He is confident it will come and he hopes the offence will take a step forward when it plays the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Friday night.
“We had some changes this year so it’s not like we’re deep-rooted in how we do things,” said Chapdelaine. “That has effected some things.
“At the same time, what’s been really good this week is we’ve been able to practice with the same players we’ll go into the game with and that is meaningful. Last week, when you have so many new faces up front, you didn’t want to be as aggressive as you want to be and then we lost the opportunity to sustain drives.”