September 2016 – Hold the Line Part I

Bruno Heppell (RDS reporter and ex-Alouettes fullback) expressed it as well as I ever could,

“J’espère par contre qu’on n’envoie pas le jeune Rakeem Cato à l’abattoir. Je m’explique : peu importe qui sera le quart des Alouettes, s’il n’est pas bien protégé, il n’aura aucune chance de connaître du succès.”

I hope we’re not sending young Rakeem Cato to the slaughterhouse. Permit me to explain: regardless of who’s quarterback for the Alouettes, if he’s not well protected, he’ll have no chance of success.

A lot of folks have spent a lot of time maligning Rakeem Cato. The young man who broke the BC Place Curse (which AC never did),  and won in Hamilton (which Calvillo ALMOST never did) would seem to have NOT done enough to win a place in Alouettes’ fans hearts.

I’ve spent the ENTIRETY of Cato’s Alouettes career pointing out the flaws in the strategies and gameplans employed first by Turk Schonert, then Anthony Calvillo. Basically EVERYONE outside of Montreal has, to various degrees, questioned the Alouettes STUBBORN refusal to employ Cato in ANY way other than as a pocket passer. Even Hamilton’s defensive-coordinator expressed DOUBT the Alouettes would force Cato to sit in the pocket and read defences.

But after decades of Calvillo as quarterback, and NOW as offensive-coordinator, the Alouettes have proven themselves INCAPABLE of adapting their attack to the evolution of the game, and to the skillsets of their young quarterbacks.

Acquiring lifetime pocket passer Kevin Glenn was meant to address the situation by starting a quarterback MORE in the mould of Calvillo himself…but somewhere along the way a crucial element of that self-same offensive philosophy was apparently forgotten: if your quarterback is going to sit in the pocket and distribute the ball…HE BETTER DAMNED WELL HAVE THE TIME TO DO IT.

Which leads to the question: where was EVERYONE’S head when this was all put together?

So…while Calvillo has admitted publicly that his playcalling will HAVE to reflect the difference between Cato  and Glenn’s skillsets (already a HUGE step in the right direction)…it remains to be seen whether Calvillo has the required knowledge and coaching acumen to do so.

If he doesn’t, and this offensive line, which remains MYSTIFYINGLY unchanged despite going into tonight’s game LAST in the CFL in sacks allowed, Heppel’s fears of sending Cato into the merciless jaws of death may WELL come to pass.

No athlete would baulk at such circumstance. After all…getting a shot at being a starting quarterback  on a professional football team is ALL Cato’s dreamed about…for as long as he can remember. But if Rakeem Cato is injured, through the incompetence of those leading this team, NO AMOUNT OF BANNING WILL STOP ME FROM SCREAMING IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS.

And by the same token, if an impenetrably dull and predictable Calvillo offence continues to sink this team’s fortunes, and Popp, Calvillo and Co. attempt to place the blame on Rakeem Cato…I WILL MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT, AND SEE THAT THOSE RESPONSIBLE ARE BROUGHT INTO THE LIGHT OF DAY.

You have my solemn pledge on that.


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