December 2016 – Als New GM – A 2-Horse Race?

Herb Zurkowski, Alouettes beat writer for the Montreal Gazette reported on Brock Sunderland, Ottawa’s assistant GM being interviewed for the Alouettes open GM job. Zeke claims the ONLY other candidate for the job is Danny Maciocia, current Head Coach of the Montreal Carrabins. RDS reported today (Dec 1st) that Maciocia was interviewed for the job on Sunday. It would appear a decision is imminent. I put in my 20 cents worth in the Gazette’s comment section:

The population of Greater Montreal is a tad over 4 million people. Capacity at Molson Stadium sits somewhere around 25 thousand. While there MAY be some value in attempting to lure “sports dollars” away from the Impact, presumably by hiring a GM who speaks a language common to a core group of Impact supporters, the numbers would seem to suggest there are plenty of those bucks available in any case.

Far more credible is the idea of building the Alouettes into a Championship team, as soon as possible. Sunderland would seem to know a thing or two about THAT. The “brand” of football is another consideration, and some thought might be given to creating a dynamic, exciting offence, to complement the two dynamic quarterbacks already in place.

To that end, the next GM needs to IMMEDIATELY address 2 vital issues: what to do about Jacques Chapdelaine and what to do about our quarterback situation. I would hope that the Wetenhalls have been sufficiently impressed by what Chapdelaine accomplished at the end of last season that they are willing to let things play out long-term. However, while Chapdelaine seemingly worked wonders with both our young qb’s, he seems adamant on the subject of installing a veteran presence ahead of Cato and Adams Jr. In my view this could be a fatal mistake.

After DECADES of watching effective quarterback platoons historically in the CFL, I am convinced the Alouettes are presented here with an unique opportunity: to move forward with a quarterback platoon with two up-and-coming stars (with LESS than unforgiving salary cap hits). The traditional model of an established quarterback, mentoring young stars until their final maturation…or washout…has an ENORMOUS cap downside. A new GM may well be severely hampered in attempting to draw talent to this team, if a veteran quarterback like Darian Durant or Ricky Ray and their prohibitive salaries were to be signed by the Alouettes.

Furthermore…while it was sometimes clear that Cato was swamped and overwhelmed, having to juggle learning to qb at a professional level with trying to provide leadership on a team that was devoid of any whatsoever…Chapdelaine’s own presence…his dedication to structure, accountability and discipline AND his determination to remove toxic elements from his squad…all but eliminated those issues from the equation.

Cato and Adams…sufficiently “trained” to forgo selfish desires for playing time, and encouraged to have each others’ backs, would NOT ONLY provide a framework wherein EACH would have sufficient playing time to grow and learn the game, but the competition between two unique talents at relatively similar stages of development could be a PERFECT model for growing a team “organically” into a winner. I would hope the new GM would dedicate himself to that idea and to providing both with the targets they need to field a spectacular and exciting offensive product.

Maciocia and Chapdelaine worked together in Edmonton in 2007, with Maciocia as HC and Chapdelaine assistant HC and OC. They went 5-12-1. NOT EXACTLY INSPIRING. Maciocia as GM would most certainly have a ground-level view of the talent in the CIS. The Alouettes could DEFINITELY use some help building the Canadian content on the team, just about everywhere, but ESPECIALLY on BOTH lines, and at receiver.

It’s worth noting that Ottawa was the only team in the league with THREE Canadian defensive linemen on the roster. The ratio flexibility this afforded them certainly didn’t hurt their efforts in winning a Cup. If a GM like Sunderland can pull of a similar feat in Montreal, Zeke’s dream of starting 2 or 3 American O-linemen to protect our QB’s could become a reality. And with Sunderland’s contacts in the American game, one can only DROOL at the sheer VOLUME and QUALITY of NCAA talent we could field as a result of the cap space NO veteran QB AND the ratio space a decent crop of Canadian talent would allow for.

UPDATE (Dec 2nd): According to Gary Lawless of TSN, the Alouettes have interviewed Joey Abrams  for the vacant GM post.

@garylawless  Told @MTLAlouettes have interviewed internal candidate Joey Abrams for GM job. Brock Sunderland and Danny Maciocia have met with Als too.

Abrams has been the Alouettes assistant GM for the past 2 years. He’s been with the team in various capacities for 12 years.

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