First off I want to apologize to Nik Lewis, SJ Green, Fred Stamps and Sam Giguere. Football is a team sport. Everyone contributes what they can and hopefully to the best of their abilities. A supporting role becomes a leading one…out of neglect. If players are expected to do MORE than is reasonable, or are NOT surrounded by the talent the team needs to succeed, IT’S HARDLY THEIR FAULT.
At the start of training camp the Alouettes had Brandon London, Cody Hoffman, Eric Deslauriers, Mardy Gilyard, James Rogers and others filling the ranks of the receiver corp. London retired. Hoffman was injured in the 1st game of the season and the rest have spent the season on various IR’s. GOD only knows what their TRUE status is…week to week. And by GOD of course I mean the OMNIPOTENT and ever present Jim Popp. Players on CFL rosters are frequently “musical chaired” from Injury Reserve Lists to Practice Rosters, depending how they are perceived to be progressing and whether they are in OR out of favour. In short…players on the Injury Reserve Lists are not necessarily injured. AND those on the Practice Roster don’t necessarily get to practice. So it goes.
Speaking of FAULT : here’s a video clip for those of you who are despondent…who believe that ONE MAN simply can’t make a difference. In ONE play Dropson Collins managed to lose a game, turn a season to ostrich dung AND reverse the fortunes of one of the BEST rookie quarterbacks this league has EVER seen. Why Jim Popp signed Dropson Collins we’ll NEVER know:
Since that time however the group of receivers our HOST of quarterbacks have had available has dwindled from an arguably varied and impressive bunch to an old, slow and/or enfeebled group that’s barely 3rd LAST in reception percentage in the CFL. What’s more…SJ Green, the team’s most targeted receiver continues to suffer from consistency issues, with a reception percentage hovering around 50%. For the mathematically challenged that’s one DROP for every TWO passes targeted his way. If you watched last game’s performance you’ll no doubt agree what a DRIVE KILLER that can be.
So I invite you to imagine what this season MIGHT have been. IF Brandon London hadn’t retired and Cody Hoffman hadn’t been injured. Hoffman, like London stands at 6’4″ 210lbs. With SJ Green at 6’3″ 216lbs the Alouettes would have spent this season with the rough equivalent of the Argos often hailed “Big Three”. NOW you add Lewis, Stamps and Giguere in supporting roles and you REALLY have something. It’ll certainly end up sounding annoying, but when THIS plan blew up in GM Jim Popp’s face WHY OH WHY was nothing done to repair the damage and get things back on scheme?
My guess is IF the Alouettes and Rakeem Cato had been HUGELY successful with all those great targets at their disposal, Higgins NEVER would have been fired and Jim Popp could NEVER have grabbed that Head Coaching job he ALWAYS seems to covet. Clever Jim Popp!
I don’t have to tell anyone. There are THOUSANDS of talented receivers sitting on the couch at home, dreaming of a career in professional football after tearing up whatever college league they were in…DESPERATELY waiting for someone like the Alouettes GM to give them a call. All that’s left is to GO OUT AND GET THEM. AND the will to do it.
I have to admit…after watching TWO rookies in Jeff Matthews and Luke Tasker RIP through the Alouettes defence for 107 yards last week…it got me wondering if there wasn’t a Poppian twinge of regret at keeping Rakeem Cato’s lifelong receiver buddy Tommy Shuler on the Practice Roster all these weeks. Matthews and Tasker played under Hamilton’s Head Coach Kent Austin at Cornell University. The chemistry between the two youngsters brought a tear to the eye…wondering what might have been if we’d had the WISDOM to do something similar.
Every great quarterback needs that ONE receiver he can rely on. That ONE guy he knows SO WELL they communicate almost by telepathy AND can find each other ANYWHERE on the field, regardless of the situation.