Lions’ Mark Washington leading candidate for Alouettes head coach job

After DeVone Claybrooks bowed out another current defensive coordinator has stepped to the forefront of Montreal’s coaching search.

Lions DC Mark  Washington has emerged as the leading candidate, according to Montreal Gazette beat man Herb Zurkowsky.

According to Zurkowsky, Washington interviewed with Montreal for the vacant bench boss role this past week.

“It was a positive interview,” Washington said. “I think we’re still trying to get a feel on what each wants to do. I can’t say it was terrible or a waste of time. But I’ve also learned not to put a lot of stock into this. You hold things loosely.”

Montreal lost 11 straight games to finish the 2017 season finished at 3-15, the worst record in the league. The Alouettes scored a league-low 314 points and were the only team to average less than 20 points per game (17.4).

“Every year’s a new year,” Washington said. “They were 3-15, but that was 2017. It has nothing to do with what it’s going to be like in the future. You know how the league is and how fast things can turn around. Toronto’s a perfect case in point. Things can change quickly. You just never know what a situation is.”

Washington played six years for Montreal at defensive back from 1997-2002. After playing five seasons in B.C. he became the Lions’ defensive backs coach in 2008 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2014. Legendary CFL coach and general manager Wally Buono believes Washington can be a head coach.

“The risk always is can they transform from being a co-ordinator?” Buono said. “When you become the head coach, you’re out there on top, by yourself. You’re no longer a friend. You can’t be. Even your coaches are no longer your friends. You’re their boss. You’re always their boss. You can’t be the boss for 23 hours and then BS for an hour. Does Mark have those qualities? I think he does. Can he separate? Yes.”

Back in 2012 Washinton interviewed for the Alouettes head coach role, but it ultimately went to Marc Trestman. Since Trestman left for the NFL in 2013, Montreal there have been five different head coaches in La Belle Province: Dan Hawkins, Jim Popp (twice), Tom Higgins, Jacques Chapdelaine and Kavis Reed. Over that span, the Alouettes have a 33-55 record and have missed the playoffs for a third consecutive season, tying a franchise-worst streak.

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