December 2016 – Yet Another 3Down Nation Post

As I lick my wounds over being CENSORED yet again…this time at RDS.ASSHATS, I wrote a comment on a rare Alouettes piece at 3Down Nation. Oh they’ll BLOG gleefully about the Alouettes, when the team’s tearing itself apart and DYSFUNCTIONAL is the word of the day. I guess the hiring of a new GM is news they CAN’T ignore. In any event, here’s my comment:

Abrams, Popp’s assistant GM was indeed interviewed for the job.

Zeke’s feud with Popp is WELL known. Herb was once barred from even talking to players and has been walking a tightrope, strung between HIS natural curmudgeon-ness and Popp’s tyranny ever since.

There’s NO point in delving into WHY Popp was such a despicable character. Hopefully Zeke will one day write a book. I’m sure there are DOZENS of juicy stories, liberally sprinkled with the GREAT characters that have graced this team over the years.

I’d LOVE to hear…say…Adrian McPherson, or Avon Cobourne or Mitchell White or Chad Owens let their hair down…and simply clear the air about this guy. It could ONLY benefit the team, the fans and relations between us ALL, as we examine how NOT to build a football franchise and relate it to the public.

In reading Maciocia’s “master plan” for the Alouettes at RDSdotCom, THAT at least is made clear from the start. There ARE wounds that need healing…a regime STEEPED in secrecy and dirty dealings that needs to be exposed, vented and CLOSED. All THIS before the Alouettes can be seen to be back on the right track.

While I appreciate Maciocia’s take on this issue, I share others’ misgivings about his track record. On the positive side, Maciocia seems willing to work once again with Chapdelaine. On the NEGATIVE, their previous collaboration was less than inspiring. Still…the dynamic would be VERY different this time, as Maciocia was Head Coach in Edmonton when Chappy was OC. If Maciocia can refrain from strangling the team with rampant, unbridled ambition, as did Mr. Popp…THAT distinction might be enough to make things fit, and be successful going forward.

NOT a ringing endorsement, I know. My problem with Maciocia is the “thinness” of his contacts south of the border, at LEAST in comparison with the only other solid contender for the job: Brock Sunderland.

My other concern is Maciocia’s statement that “In the CFL, to build a solid team, you need 3 things: a good quarterback, a solid offensive-line and a good contribution from Canadian players”. While I agree with all three, in principle, he seems to be suggesting that in Cato and Adams Jr. the first criterion is NOT met. If so,THIS is where we part ways.

Saddling the team with yet another “cap hogging” Kevin Glenn, behind whom our young quarterbacks will languish yet again…waiting for their turn to come, is NOT the model I envision for this team’s success. The Alouettes are in an unique position, and have the opportunity to do something “traditionally CFL”, but which hasn’t been seen for a while: the quarterback platoon. Our own Sonny Wade was platooned with various quarterbacks over his Alouettes career, Jimmy Jones and Joe Barnes most significantly. Warren Moon and Tom Wilkinson wrested the Cup from the Alouettes’ (and Marv Levy’s) grasp, to win 5 Grey Cups in a row. Tom Clements and Conredge Holloway platooned in 1976…the LAST time Ottawa won the Cup.

And while the restrictive modern cap makes THIS type of approach less practical, with two young quarterbacks at relatively the same level of development, the Alouettes could conceivably run a QB platoon for several seasons.

The alternative is signing Ricky Ray OR Darian Durant, dumping Rakeem Cato* and sitting Adams until the veteran REALLY sputters or is injured. And while one can see the value of NOT putting the entire team on the shoulders of a young quarterback…that is arguably LESS likely to happen with 2 young QB’s having each others’ backs, than with an old QB with a history of injury troubles suddenly going down , and exposing a rookie with NO safety net whatsoever.

The other issue is determining WHAT “brand” of offence this team is going to offer it’s “point-starved” public. A dynamic offence, behind two exciting, creative, young quarterbacks is argument ENOUGH IMO. But a cash-rich GM, un-fettered by a bloated, veteran-qb’s salary, could find the SPECTACULAR talent this team needs to field not only a winner…BUT AN EXCITING WINNER.

Whatever candidate the Wetenhalls finally decide upon, I hope he shares the sagacity of this vision.

* the final evaluation of Rakeem Cato, regardless of what ANYONE thinks they know of the young QB, needs to be made in less hostile conditions that unfortunately plagued the young talent’s career up to the point where Chapdelaine took over the team, Carter and Stafford were jettisoned, and the O-line was patched to a level of (at least, FINALLY) adequacy. Losing Cato would be bad enough, in my view. Having him resurface with a rival squad, the Argos for instance, leaves us open to the embarrassment that was Popp’s “Chad Owens debacle” OR the release of Chris Rainey. I could say, “trust me, Rakeem Cato is a good, and may someday be a GREAT quarterback”. But really…what good would that do?

☮ & ♥


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