2017 Discussion

OK, folks. Let's think about the year ahead instead of the travesty of a year in progress. What do you think is going to happen in the offseason? What should happen?

I still feel that as much as Popp should go, they will retain him as GM, hire Chapdelaine as the permanent HC, and try to maintain status quo as much as possible. I hope I'm wrong.

Likely. But as accepting of the status quo (failure?) as that would be, Having Popp fulltime as GM and nowhere on the coaching staff it would be a better coaching situation than last training camp

After 4 seasons of really, really, crappy football, the last thing the Alouettes can sell to their fans in 2017 is the status quo.

If the organization commits to a thoughtful, top-to-bottom rebuild, curiosity alone will bring me back in 2017 - win or lose. But if all they can muster is a window-dressing shuffle, I won't be the only one heading for the exits.

A Quarterback...Cato doesn't have it.
An Oline
A DC
A HC...not sold on Chap
An OC

And and and....a GM!!!

Agreed, but the question, for me, is: do the Wetenhalls see this? Do they understand that their hold on fan loyalty in Montreal is balanced on the edge of a knife? Or are they just going to do what they've been doing for years now -- slapping band-aids on hemorrhaging wounds and seizing on whatever false indicators let them continue to believe that everything is basically fine?

The litmus test will be what they do with Popp. If they fire him from the org in all capacities, I will be convinced that they have turned a corner. If, however, they rationalize bringing him back as GM, it feels like it will just be more of the same. At which point, as I said above, I'll have no choice but to hope that Popp has had some sense kicked into him.

I mean, if they brought him back but demanded that he move back to Montreal full-time and clean out his scouting ranks, I might be convinced, but I have a bad feeling that Popp is going to be here again next year.

I would like to see a true competition at the qb spot.

Even on TSN last night they were utterly confused as to why Adams wasn't getting a chance to play.

I mean, did Popp not trade a first for him? If he was utter crap then why trade what looks likely to be a really high pick for him?

I like Cato, I think he has talent, but I'm not sold he has what it takes between the ears. Him running to the sidelines and sulking away from the team isn't exactly inspiring.

Adams had a training camp and 3/4 of a season with the team. Johnny isn't expecting him to walk onto the field and play at a high level. But, it is very discouraging that he seems to be not ready to play a few snaps.

Adams is in his first year as a pro. There is no way he should be taking snaps as the starter barring injury. That’s not how you develop anyone. Give Cato the rest of the season and give AC EXPLICIT instructions to keep him calm and cool during games. Someone else can be in the spotter’s booth.

If the Wettenhals are not clued in to what's happening, they must have their heads buried in the sand.

Here's a quick and easy way to see how the fan base is feeling right about now. How many Season Tickets for 2017 have been sold? Is it up over the number sold at this point last year?
I am guessing no but again it's a guess.

If it's me, this is a complete rebuild starting with a new GM and a full fledge search for a HC. Said it before, Chaps is not my HC for this team next year. After watching last nights dismal performance by the Offense, his reluctance to make any change at the QB to try and get something going.

If the Wettenhals stay status quo, it will be tough to come back and watch next year.

Agreed. Fans are impatient but development of players often requires patience.

If we strip away the sentimental, emotional, and human relationship aspects of being a CFL owner, the Wetenhalls are simply investors. Investors seek to maximize ROI (return on investment). And like all investors, they are limited to 3 generic strategies:

b HOLD[/b] - This essentially is the status quo option, where key management (especially GM) and most coaches are retained, perhaps some job descriptions are redefined.

b INVEST[/b] - A thorough rebuild of the organization - GM, scouting staff, coaching, and some fan favorite (but aging) players. A modest investment in money, but a significant investment of time and effort. A larger investment would include improving the team's practice facilities, and ending the demoralizing and time-wasting bus rides around the city. And the largest investment includes establishing stadium conditions that make Grey Cup games viable in Montreal.

b DIVEST [/b]- Find a new owner and cash out.

Given what we have all witnessed for the past 4 seasons on the field, can anyone explain how Option 1 (HOLD) yields the highest ROI for the Wetenhalls?

It doesn't, but investors can be stupid / make mistakes / have egregious lapses in judgment just like everyone else.

Forgive me, but this is not the NFL. How much money will an owner make with a CFL team?
At best the Wettenhals were coming away breaking even or slightly ahead when they were having playoff games at the Big O.

OK, let's go with that assumption - that this isn't the NFL, and that it's just "fun money" for the Wetenhalls.

How much fun are you having now, Mr. Wetenhall?

The Als present issues do not stem from lack of monetary investment from the Wetenhalls. They were caused by poor decision making - Head Coach hires of Hawkins, Higgins, and Popp, and the inability to find a franchise QB post AC.

The one financial mark against them is the lack of a proper practice facility, the one they had adjacent to the Big O snatched away by the Impact. But what is forgotten is that they invested $6 million in the upgrades to Molson Stadium, where unlike the Tiger-Cats or Blue Bombers they cannot produce concerts to bring in additional revenue. Or like Ottawa have adjacent revenue producing real estate.

And because of the Big O roof situation they have not been able to host a Grey Cup since 2008.

I`m sure the Wetenhalls are well off, but as Tony said certainly not in the same league as NFL owners, nor even the Saputos or Molsons here in Montreal.

Agreed.

In my original post, I stated that the "INVEST" option (execute a rebuild) was not one that required adding big money. Au contraire, it requires a large investment of time, thought, and energy to put together a new football operations group, instilled with a renewed mission and clearly defined goals. And based on the recent poor decisions you mentioned, it's an unknown if the Wetenhalls are up to the challenge of that kind of non-monetary investment.

Time will tell.

Again, the investor analogy assumes that the investor is rational, a good judge of the "market," and able to account for his own emotional biases when making business decisions. Nothing about how the Wetenhalls operate leads me to believe that they fit the above criteria. In particular, Wetenhall the elder strikes me as irrational, out of touch with the "market" (i.e. clinging on to what worked for the team 10 years ago when things have changed league-wide), and too emotionally enmeshed to see things clearly. From his relationship to Popp (treated like the "extra son" in the Wetenhall family) to his idiosyncratic hiring practices (hiring Higgins because he reminded W of Trestman, which may play into Chapdelaine being hired into the same position) to his inability to see past personal friendships (being OK with a completely inexperienced Anthony Calvillo running the offense without any proper supervision), Bob Wetenhall does not, in 2016, strike me as a savvy investor at all. Which is why I am terribly afraid that he will opt for safe/status quo even though we can all agree that doing so works against his financial interests.

I don't have any evidence to support what I'm about to say, but I'm convinced that Wetenhall hired Dan Hawkins based on two things: Hawkins's "good old Southern boy" persona that reminded him of Jim Popp, and Hawkins's brashness, which probably reminded Wetenhall of Don Matthews. The problem is that you can resemble anyone, even a great coach, without actually being great. Hawkins had the brashness but none of Matthews's football IQ. And so he was a disaster.

But what did Wetenhall do then? He hired a head coach (Higgins), without doing any due diligence, a guy with poor credentials, who'd been out of football for years but who reminded him of Marc Trestman. And again, it was a disaster.

Then he went back to his crutch, his extra son, Jim Popp, for the 2016 season. Instead of breaking out of the unhealthy cycle of resemblance and comfort, he essentially turned the team over to someone who was not a competent head coach, based on the blind and mistaken belief that Popp could keep the team running for a year or two until Anthony Calvillo, another old friend who lacked qualifications, could step into the role. And for a third time, it has been a disaster.

Now, with Chapdelaine, I get the bad feeling that Wetenhall is, once again, relying on gut and intuition to give priority to a candidate, without exploring his options, because that candidate reminds him of Marc Trestman.

If you keep looking for an ex-spouse in the person you're currently with, you will just delude yourself and the relationship won't end well. :wink:

You make a lot of interesting observations about the current owners, and a long track record of allowing haste and sentimentality to come ahead of sound logic. But here's your money line:

I agree that the track record gives us strong hints that status quo might be the Wetenhall's selected option. Y'know ... "ride out the storm" ....

Hopefully this choice doesn't severely damage the family's wealth, but it will ultimately wreck the Alouettes franchise.

Exactly. As many of us have noted, this franchise could easily go bankrupt again or leave the city of Montreal. It's happened before.

Quick gage. How is the renewal going for 2017? Up over this point in time last year? Down, flat?
My guess based on how this season has gone, would be hard to believe it is up.

And here is another point the team will have to contend with for their renewal aside from the overall team performance and operations.
The city is getting close to tearing down the Turcott interchange which will have a big impact on the flow of traffic over the next couple of years trying to get to the downtown core.
This no doubt will play a part in how willing people will be to go to the games giving this challenge.