Some of you will remember…at the beginning of the season, TSN announcers were ribbing Wally Buono for being “old school”. WHY? Old Wally insisted on running the ball. Silly Wally. Well, it turns out you CAN’T win in the CFL without a legitimate running game. And by the same token, you CAN’T have a solid defence WITHOUT having enough beef to stop the run.
The Alouettes learned THAT lesson after Popp cut Vaughn Martin, essentially forcing Noel Thorpe into an EXCLUSIVELY 3-4 defence. Week 12, Wally Buono’s BC Lions’ Johnson and Rainey combined for 221 yards on 21 carries. Week 16, the Edmonton Eskimos tailback John White TORCHED that SAME 3-4 defence for 145 yards on 19 carries.
Enough was enough!
The Alouettes signed Ray Drew, defensive tackle, ex-Dolphin, ex-Panther. Next game the Alouettes faced the Calgary Stampeders and CFL leading rusher Jerome Messam. Messam was held to 48 yards on 9 carries. It WASN’T that the Stamps were deliberately throwing on every down either. They just COULDN’T run the ball! Thorpe was once again free to play a 4-3 front on 1st downs, alternating with a 3-4 on obvious passing downs. The result was instantaneous and brilliant! The BEST offence in the league was held to a meagre 22 points. A week later, Saskatchewan’s newest “star” running back Joe McKnight was held to 62 yards on 16 carries. Oh…and we won. A close game.
As requested, the GAPING hole in the Alouettes defence had been mended. HUZZAH!
So in Popp’s name, can someone PLEASE explain THIS, from today’s Roster on the Alouettes official site:
OK. The Alouettes site is a bit of a mess. It’s often WEEKS before things are updated. Sportsnet takes a casual swipe at the roster, making NO distinction between active and inactive players. Wikipedia’s Alouettes roster is just WRONG…so who knows?
If Popp is nuts enough to force Thorpe into returning to the 3-4 defence…OR to “lighten up” and make do with Cash and Joseph…with Calgary and Jerome Messam next, well I don’t know WHAT to think. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Without Drew clogging up the middle, Adams Jr. can plain FORGET about winning.
Maybe THAT’S the point. An EXCUSE for Adams’ 1st career loss. Put it ALL on the defence. OR who knows? Maybe it has something to do with THIS:
Is Chapdelaine blindly enforcing a policy of “responsibility for one’s actions”? The mistake cost a defensive touchdown. There is blame there. But to ignore the night and day effect Drew’s had on this defence, to execute a reflexive policy WITHOUT considering the BIGGER picture…well that doesn’t suit a pensive disciplinarian like Chapdelaine.
Did Jim Popp bust a blood vessel that a defensive touchdown was taken off the board, tarnishing the GLORY of his *Golden Boy’s inaugural triumph?
YUP sounds about right.
*Don’t get me wrong. I very much liked what I saw from Adams, save some indecision throwing the ball downfield. It’s natural of course. But Adams’ creativity and elusiveness were everything I’ve ever wanted in a quarterback, as I suffered through the dreary era of Calvillo-in-the-Pocket.
I have this THING about injustice, is all. I continue to feel Cato’s been treated poorly: hampered by CRAPPY offensive coordinators, few legitimate targets last season and a morass of toxic ones THIS season…and an O-line that should SERIOUSLY consider refunding the team’s (and the fan’s) money. I do hope Cato FINALLY gets a chance to flourish with all the advantages that have been bestowed upon Prince Vernon.
I look forward to seeing Adams against the Stamps. He’d do well to not fall behind, because if they DO keep Drew out of the lineup, Messam may well run all over this team. Assuming they play him at all.
I plan to make 2 videos. One featuring ALL the missed O-line blocks and the “consequences” to Glenn, Cato and Adams…and the other an homage to Adams’ first start and WIN. Original background music in both…natch.