Head coach Mike Sherman admits the seemingly never-ending carousel of quarterbacks in Montreal has hurt the Alouettes this season.
Drew Willy, Jeff Mathews, Vernon Adams Jr. and Antonio Pipkin have also started at quarterback this season.
Sherman says that lack of consistency can explain the team’s recent struggles – Montreal has lost two games in a row and looks destined to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
“A lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve had six or seven quarterback changes,” Sherman said. “It’s about getting used to certain people, the velocity of the ball coming out of your hands. We’re working hard in practice, working on catching the ball. We’re trying to make that better.
“We have to be able to secure the football.”
The Alouettes (3-10-0) are coming off a 31-14 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where a late interception thrown by Manziel squashed any hopes of a comeback.
The week before, the B.C. Lions intercepted two of Pipkin’s passes for touchdowns in the game’s final three minutes for the 32-14 come-from-behind victory.
“No matter what the score of the game is, football usually comes down to four or five plays to determine whether you win or lose the game,” said Sherman. “A lot of those times, you cause something that was self-inflicted and it puts you in a tough position.
“Just don’t beat ourselves. I hope that we could manage to do that the rest of the way.”
Fullback Patrick Lavoie, who returned to the Alouettes this season after four years in Ottawa, also blamed the lack of consistency and chemistry on offence for the losses to Winnipeg and B.C.
“We leave our defence out to dry, and at the end of the game, they just run out of energy because they’ve been out on the field for so long,” said Lavoie. “Our last two games, we’re still in the game after three quarters. We’re right there, and then our defence collapses. And it’s not the defence’s fault. It’s because on offence we’re not putting together lengthy drives.”
The Alouettes are last in the league for time of possession, averaging just over 27 minutes a game.
Montreal’s defence will likely have their hands full with the surging Roughriders (8-5-0). Saskatchewan has won five of its past six games to claim second place in the West Division.
Led by former Tiger-Cats quarterback Zach Collaros, the Riders are coming off a back-and-forth 30-29 victory over the Toronto Argonauts last week – a rematch of last year’s Eastern Final.
Collaros has thrown eight touchdowns in nine appearances this season. Montreal’s entire team has combined for a league-low six passing touchdowns.
“Zach’s definitely a different quarterback than the ones we’ve prepared for before,” said Sherman. “He’s having a very good year. We really have to have our A-game. They have a good receiving core and a good offensive line. We have to do a good job up front to apply pressure on him.”