OK…as the shock slowly subsides…let me say THIS to you. I’ve never hated AC. His flaws as a quarterback lost us 5 of 8 Grey Cups. While others will protest MITIGATING circumstances, I’ve ALWAYS maintained that it’s the quarterback’s JOB to overcome adversity, and do EXACTLY enough to win. Show me a GREAT quarterback…and I’ll show THAT exact quality…time after time.
But as coach I was willing to cut AC some slack. Besides. He’ll be starting at the BOTTOM. How much harm can he do as a receiver’s coach? Well…I guess I NOW know what a dumb question THAT was.
So…going into THIS season we ALL knew Anthony Calvillo was designing a playbook, and would direct the offence that hits the field in 2016. We knew it. Calvillo knew it. Jim Popp knew it.
And it was REASONABLE enough to assume that Calvillo’s offence would bear resemblance to, if not be STRICTLY LIMITED TO, the offensive plays and strategies which he executed over the course of his playing career.
Now we can discuss the relative “insanity” of presenting opposing defensive-coordinators with an opponent who’s CFL “world view” is likely to be available in it’s entirety in HIS career game-film…but let’s set that aside for a second, and discuss how Popp and Calvillo MIGHT have made this work.
Starting this spring, the Alouettes lost left tackle Josh Bourke to free agency and center Luc-Brodeur-Jourdain to injury. It’s fair to say the team had been losing pieces from it’s offensive line going back to All Star Center Brian Chiu. I think we all remember Paul Lambert’s painful, failed attempt at the position.
Be that as it may…the very FOUNDATION of what success Calvillo and the Alouettes had was predicated on a DOMINANT offensive line. As a pocket passer, Calvillo HAD to have protection. And Jim Popp’s commitment to populating HIS offensive line with talented “HOGS” is what made Anthony Calvillo the legend he is today. It’s worth remembering that “protecting the quarterback” was Marc Trestman’s PRIORITY #1 coming into Montreal.
As I grit my teeth and forcibly restrain myself from typing the word “overrated” and the VOLUMES of helper words that might follow, I WILL say THIS to you: if Jim Popp had made the SAME commitment to an absolutely secure, dominant and “pass-protecty” offensive line, THIS season as he had done in the Calvillo era, the Montreal Alouettes would now be in 1st place in the Eastern Division of the CFL…GUARANTEED.
At this point that’s NOT saying much. To be honest, 1st place in the East wasn’t saying all that much for the BULK of AC’s career. But if the Alouettes of today were endowed with a MEDIOCRE offensive squad, putting up a league average points per game, RATHER than the PATHETIC efforts we’ve seen every week…and WITH Noel Thorpe’s truly MAGNIFICENT defence yep, we’d be right up there with 6, maybe 7 wins…absolutely DOMINATING this Division.
Right, now don’t get any ideas. Calvillo’s offence is still predictable and relatively easily defended. EVEN armed with a TRULY DOMINANT offensive line these Alouettes could NEVER hope to keep pace with a well-coached, high octane team like the Calgary Stampeders. THIS could NEVER be a Cup team…Oublie Ca.
But I put it to you that after 16 seasons of watching Kevin Glenn operate at a perfect .500 clip, given more comfort in the pocket and PRECIOUS time to read defences and distribute the ball, this offence MIGHT just make it to MEDIOCRE and at this point THAT would be PLENTY good enough to save EVERYONE’S job.
So while I’ve been riding “coach” Calvillo’s ass for over a season now…the truth is, his VISION just might be sort of “not all that bad”, if Jim Popp had added enough beef to protect his quarterbacks.
In my ardent desire to see this team move forward, create a dynamic and thrilling offence to match our defence and increasingly more “special” teams…well I MAY have overstated the matter….just a smidge.
But you CAN’T blame Alouettes fans for losing patience. Franchises should (hopefully) ALWAYS be building towards a Championship team. I believe it’s an assumption EVERY fan deserves to make. And if the perception turns sour, if it becomes apparent that NO SUCH process is underway, fans have EVERY right to express their dismay in any way they see fit. EVEN (unfortunately) in refusing to show up…until things get back on track…which is what I’m reading MORE AND MORE from Alouettes supporters.
In one of my next posts, I will be hired by the Alouettes as an IDEA MAN. I will be given UNLIMITED and binding powers to change this team as I see fit, and a limited window (say two seasons) to make my vision a success.
THIS should be fun.