November 2016 – SHOOT the Messenger

Jim Popp wants to get rid of Rakeem Cato. Zeke’s been telling us this since last preseason. Considering the events of this season, well documented in these “pages”, it’s OBVIOUS Herb is right.

Why? is another question.

I think it might have something to do with Popp’s vision of his own LEGACY. Regardless, it was NEVER the plan to have an “inarticulate street thug” as the face of this franchise. It’s the impression Cato leaves with some, it must be admitted. I don’t have to tell YOU, dear reader, that it is an altogether FALSE one.

When Rakeem Cato had this team hoisted onto his shoulders, after Popp traded Kevin Glenn for a handful of beans…and a buttfull of cap relief, the FIRST thing I said was, “NOW we’ll see some leadership on this team”. In point of fact, with Popp as Head Coach, and Calvillo as offensive coordinator going into the season, several CFL buds and I AGREED that the lack of leadership on this team would be it’s undoing. We were not wrong.

NONE of us imagined that Duron Carter and his cousin Kenny Stafford would be the caustic force that arose from the aforementioned “leadership vacuum”. Once Cato went from “learning the QB profession behind an established veteran presence in Kevin Glenn” to “this is YOUR team, kid”, one can WELL imagine his thought process.

“I don’t think any quarterback would have done well in this situation we’ve been put in … with the things that have been going on in the locker room,” Cato said following Tuesday’s abbreviated practice at Stade Hébert. “No quarterback in history — Tom Brady, Joe Montana … the biggest quarterbacks you can name — nobody would have functioned right in this system. You can’t function like that.

“You’re either fighting with somebody or you have to be quiet and be a sucker. That’s not the way to play the game, being a sucker and being a yes-man,” Cato continued. “I’ve never played the game like that before.”

Calvillo was an ongoing DISASTER…his “vision” and “playbook” in equal tattered heaps on the field of battle. Jacob Ruby and the offensive line were leading the league…in failing SPECTACULARLY at their most important job: protecting the quarterback. AND the Alouettes were saddled with receivers who’d rather goof around, and disrespect the ENTIRE experience of pro football in this league than actually help this team win. It was a hot mess.

Cato had ALREADY lost his shit with Calvillo last season, which must be something like trying to attack a windstorm with a stick…and NOW the lack of leadership and structure on this team was bearing it’s inevitable sickly fruit: the Alouettes kept losing, week after week.

I think Cato is a remarkable talent. His pass to Underwood, followed by that 73yd run on a read-option play should be enough to convince ANYONE of that fact. What comes to mind, when the TSN announcer was prattling, “I knew Cato could scramble a bit. I just never realized he could flat out RUN.”…the question becomes, “why was this like the 3rd read-option play where Cato has run the ball…IN HIS CAREER?” The previous two were under Chapdelaine as well. For the ENTIRETY of Calvillo’s tenure as OC, he NEVER gave Cato the ball on an option run play…NEVER.

As Calvillo’s conservative, unimaginative playcalling led to loss after loss for this team, under Glenn AND Cato, the latter can’t be blamed for frustration and impatience, as circumstances conspired to ruin his career. After all…a team’s failure is the quarterback’s failure, fair or no. With all that promise, and talent to burn, it must be strange to watch your career slowly slip through your fingers…

And as you desperately grab at the tattered threads of what was once your promising future…how infuriating that the majority of those threads are in the hands of incompetents and fools.

“In football, you have to depend on the next player,” Cato said. “You never know what those guys are going to do. Are they going to work hard, run hard, run their right route, know the right route, know the right play, know the snap count? All these things play a factor. “

The AUDACITY…say you. How DARE a sophomore pivot question football’s GREATEST quarterback? And yet Calvillo was summarily demoted…in disgrace. Where does Cato get off “attacking” his receivers…he should learn to control his emotions. And yet Carter and Stafford were RELEASED…shocking the whole league, apparently. Cato DROPS to the ground avoiding contact…ESSENTIALLY protesting the pathetic state of his offensive line. It’s CLEAR that Cato can’t BELLOW at his O-line like Mike Reilly did earlier this year. Still…the offensive line was changed less than a half of football later.

And that’s CLEARLY the point, isn’t it?

Without Cato to draw attention to Schonert and Calvillo’s incompetence as OC…without Cato calling out Carter and Stafford…without Cato dropping as if from a sniper shot from section 5A…without Cato VOCIFEROUSLY protesting our OBVIOUS leadership VACUUM; can ANYONE guarantee the recent changes to this team would have EVER happened?

It’s just possible we all owe Rakeem Cato an ENORMOUS vote of thanks.

Jim Popp wants to get rid of Rakeem Cato. But it’s Cato who helped us get rid of Jim Popp as HC, saved us from two incompetent OC’s, rid us of the toxic influence of Carter and Stafford, and called our attention to perhaps the WORST O-line in recent memory. This team is now built in the image of Rakeem’s anger, or rather the opposite of what’s pissed the young pivot off…for so long.

If Popp gets his way, NO CFL franchise will take a chance on a Rakeem Cato who can’t control his emotions. Character assassination is preferable to Cato landing with another team…leading them to the Cup we’ll NEVER have. If Popp gets his way…we ALL conspire to:

SHOOT the MESSENGER.

 

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