November 2016 – Sweet Sorrow

Whether it’s after a long playoff run, or you’re one of the 3 pathetic teams missing the CFL post season, the last game of the year is the SADDEST game, for players especially. After clawing their way onto a professional football team’s roster, only the players themselves know how much they’ve struggled and sacrificed to get here. Some will simply NOT be returning for another year.

On a losing team like the 2016 Alouettes, one can expect a lot of changes.

With Vernon Adams pulling down MORE than $100,000 per season, is there room on this team for Rakeem Cato? One might expect BIG changes to this offensive squad, particularly along the offensive line and at receiver. But GM Jim Popp has been underwhelming for some time. Who knows where this squad will be by next spring? To misquote Zeke misquoting me on TSN690:

“If I’m an agent I’m telling my players ‘under NO condition sign with the Montreal Alouettes. I don’t care HOW much they offer you. A couple months into the season Jim Popp will just ask you to “reschedule”: your contract.'”

With statistics comparable to those of the Calgary Stampeders, our defensive unit is UNQUESTIONABLY the best in the CFL. Anyone who’s watched them evolve over the course of the season…with little to NO support from the offence won’t have any difficulty with THAT assessment. Often EXHAUSTED and overwhelmed by time of possession stats that left them on the field FAR TOO LONG, this defence FLOURISHED under conditions that would have BROKEN any other unit.

If the Alouettes can keep them intact under a returning Noel Thorpe, we are arguably one mediocre offensive unit away from taking the East in 2017.

No doubt Jim Popp will find a way to acquire YET ANOTHER veteran quarterback to “mentor our young quarterbacks” while crippling our cap compliance and forcing veterans to accept salary “readjustments”. I have to concede that the potential of TWO dynamic, creative and talented quarterbacks like Adams and Cato is COMPLETELY lost on pretty much EVERYONE in Alouettes Nation. I can only conclude that I’ve simply NOT been up to the task of convincing folks of what to me is PATENTLY OBVIOUS. Zeke again:

“Of course we can ALWAYS spend $400,000 or so and sign a veteran QB. But that’ll just set BACK the process of developing the next starter for this team, and then comes the cap trouble…”

Without Cato I fear Adams will be lost, like so many other potential Calvillo replacements. And Burris/Ray/Tate will simply drag this team FURTHER into the morass of mediocrity which has become it’s natural state.

I hate to end the season on such a sour note, but NOTHING I’ve seen from Jim Popp EVER, would lead me to assume he has the sense to do ANYTHING that might lead this team to a Championship. Let alone KEEP Cato, one of the best quarterbacks this team has ever had. Separating Cato’s performance from factors that have hobbled this ENTIRE offence requires honesty and a healthy dose of self awareness and analysis. Good luck getting that from Jim Popp.

So goodbye Rakeem Cato. And MUCH thanks for helping to set this team back on the right path. I MAY be the ONLY person on the planet to give you the credit you deserve, for weathering one of the WORST shitstorms a young quarterback has EVER had to endure, and showing us ALL what leadership means…EVEN if nobody saw your actions for what they truly were. Pearls before swine, my dude.

Along with an ARMY of disgruntled Als fans, I may have played a tiny role in turning this team around. I only wish I could have done MORE to help you find success on MY team. Believe me I tried. Hopefully I’ve AT LEAST done enough to help you land a spot on another CFL squad. Sorry I couldn’t do more. If you find yourself beating the Alouettes, leading some other team to another Grey Cup, maybe you’ll find a second to think of Alouettes fans and what might have been.

So sad.

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