Alouettes extend Troy Smith and Marsh

There's no doubt in Troy Smith's mind he'll be the Montreal Alouettes starting quarterback when training camp opens in June.

"In my mind, that's the only way I will prepare," he said via telephone from Columbus, Ohio. "That's the only way I think I will do the team justice.

"When you think the way you're supposed to, that's when you help the team most. When you hold back, when you don't allow yourself to reach your full potential obviously you hinder the team. I want to do nothing but help the team and the only way I can is thinking as the starter."

Montreal agreed with Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State, and youngster Tanner Marsh on three-year contracts Friday. Both took significant snaps with the club in 2013 after incumbent Anthony Calvillo suffered a season-ending concussion.

Montreal continues to await official word from Calvillo, 41, regarding his CFL future. But in November, pro football's all-time passing leader admitted he's leaning towards retirement.

Jim Popp, Montreal's head coach and GM, said there was plenty to like about Smith's play last season.

"I'm very impressed with Troy's leadership, communication skills and ability to grab his teammates' attention," Popp said. "Last season, Troy quickly proved to us he can adapt to the CFL and showed great promise for the future."

Smith, 29, joined the Alouettes roughly midway through the season and took over as the starter Oct. 20, compiling a 2-1 record. Montreal finished third in the East Division with an 8-11 record and the six-foot, 225-pound Smith was under centre for the club's 19-16 overtime loss to Hamilton in the conference semifinal.

Late in the fourth quarter, game officials missed a pass interference call in the end zone on Montreal's Duron Carter. Instead of getting the ball at the Hamilton one-yard line with a chance for the go-ahead touchdown, the Alouettes had to settle for a field goal to force overtime.

"Losing on a fluke call does nothing but leave a bitter taste in my mouth," Smith said. "Playing last year makes me a little more hungry, a little more thirsty about having the chance and possibility to get to the Grey Cup.

"It's on."

Marsh began his rookie season third on Montreal's depth chart behind Calvillo and backup Josh Neiswander. On Aug. 22, the former Arkansas Tech star came off the bench to rally Montreal to a thrilling 39-38 home win over B.C., his 57-yard completion to Eric Deslauriers setting up the game-winning field goal.

The six-foot-four, 218-pound Marsh finished his rookie season completing 56-of-106 passes for 972 yards with three TDs and eight interceptions. He also ran for 125 yards and two TDs on 21 carries.

Heady stuff considering Marsh arrived in Montreal with low expectations.

"I was just hoping to make the practice squad," he said via telephone from Russellville, Ark. "The next thing you know, a year later I sign an extension, which is pretty darn awesome."

Popp said Marsh impressed with both his legs and arm.

"We're excited about Tanner," he said. "We're looking forward to seeing his athletic skills and his dual-threat ability as he continues to develop into what we feel will be a premier player.

"His performance versus B.C. made him an instant icon in Montreal. Marsh Madness continues."

But Marsh understands he'll return to Montreal in 2014 with no guarantees.

"I got an extension so obviously they have faith in me," he said. "It gives me a chance to come back next year and compete.

"It gives me a little confidence to come in and compete and know I have a chance to be the quarterback with the Montreal Alouettes for the next three years."

Marsh has no indication what Calvillo will ultimately decide but admitted he was stunned by Calvillo's football knowledge.

"The biggest thing I learned last year was I have a lot to learn," Marsh said. "I remember A.C. and I going over reads and every little thing.

"After that first meeting, I was like, 'Wow, there's a reason why he's the best.' I learned more from him than I could even describe."

A great signing for the Als.
Don't forget the salary cap will go up drastically for next year.

I guess this leaves Josh Neiswander out in the cold - he's a FA at the moment. Could be a good backup with potential.

Kevin Glenn's RedBlacks vs Troy Smith's Alouettes on Labour Day should be a good one!

As a als fan its gonna be fun going to ottawa and causing some trouble!! Lol i hope we take over there stadium like we take over the sens building even though they have been laying the smacked down on our candy ass's the last cpl
Of yrs

I believe the Als were fortunate that Tanner Marsh was not selected in the Ottawa draft. Before his injury March stirred interest in Montreal. He came with excellent accolades from his coaching staff in the USA and, replaced Neiswander as second in command. In his one complete game Marsh demonstrated he has arm strength and, can throw both short and long. He is an excellent athlete with toughness required to run in this league. He also can throw interceptions but, I feel he oozes potential. Whether Popp (or whom ever might be coach in 2014) gives Marsh an opportunity to develop might be questionable. He is a work in progress and needs developmental opportunities but, we also had another rookie in past ( McPherson ) who just languished on the bench for several years. Before him, the Als brought in QB after QB over the years but, when provided with a playing opportunity they all showed ineptitude. Looking around the league, I believe other teams have demonstrated the wisdom of developing QB strength. However, Popp deserved accolades for bringing in Troy Smith, with whom he had contact with for several years. Many Alouette fans would like Popp to rekindle his player recruitment ability's which, before Troy Smith came on the scene, were outstanding. The greatest area of concern now, with the team, is the vacuum in the coaching staff at the HC and OC areas.

Signing Smith was a prudent move for the organization, although am wary of Marsh as a long term backup.

Tanner had one of the worst PE ratings in the league, including an abysmal 3/8 TD>INT ratio, however can be effective in Wildcat formations and short yardage 3rds

Neiswander is a capable backup but not much more IMO.

Either way, the Als got their main guy in Smith who could have a good 8+ productive years in this league. (health and Oline permitting of course)

and yes, I'm envious.

For years, I have been geared up to be an Ottawa fan as soon as they rejoined the league; mostly because I had never really settled on another team.

However, as an Ohio State grad, I am now going to have to root for Montréal.

The Als are the last team that I ever thought I would be rooting for, but here we are.

Why that ?

Marsh is a first year player, had to learn 2 different systems within a couple of months and is still very young, that shouldn’t be a concern right now. If he continues to throw picks within the next year or two (not learning from his mistakes), then yeah maybe your assessment will be correct.

WOW that will be a great one to watch!
What day will they be playing the game on.
Currently the Riders host the Bombers on Sunday
Toronto at Hamilton 1:oo start
EDM at CAL second half of the double header.
Those games have been pretty much locked in.

Will Ottawa host Montreal in the Friday night Football slot or could the switch be made for EDM at Calgary for Labor or dare I say a prime time start triple header as a special edition of friday night football and no game on that friday of LD.

Will be interested to see who gets the 3rd QB spot on the roster. Marsh Appears as though the Als are going to promote him to number 2. Neiswander who started last season as number 2 would probably not be back going backwards to number 3.

Would this be a nice fit for Alex Brink or someone new

don't be surprised if Kyle Quinlan decides to take another crack at pro ball this coming spring as it is difficult to diffuse the competitive spirit of a 24 year old with such lofty collegiate credentials.

A season away from the game may change his perspective and light a fire anew.

I would love to see that. I mean if a Qb from Arkansas Tech who transfered from WEST Texas A&M can get a shot with the same size and atheltisim why not a guy from MCMaster. That is just ridiculous.
I mean I get the NCAA DI guys at QB. I can see how BLM beat out Sinnopoli. hugwe difference in competition level but a late signed straight up DII rookie QB.

Oh and the back up to start the season was also a stright DII QB who they brought along slowly.

I dunno, I just never liked 'em.

I do now, though. :stuck_out_tongue:

Kyle Quinlan must be kicking himself in the head. Looking at what happened with the Als this year. If he shows up. Marsh is not even in Montreal and Quinlan would have started a bunch of games. He really threw away the opportunity of a lifetime.

Yes even if Quinlan did not feel wanted he most likley would have landed at least a PR spot to start and would have gotten a chance to be on the roster very quickly when AC went down. All that aside sometimes your play can overcome such things and his main competition was Tanner Marsh as I mentioned who really playing DII and would have a similar jump to the pro level as Quilnan coming out of the CIS but playing some tough competition as it gets in the CIS having to face Queens, Western, and up and coming Guelph during his final two seasons during the season and in the Hardy. national playoff vs Calagary with tons of pro talent and back to back vaniers vs Laval.

However it is is career and life and did what he was comfortable with and is still able to change his mind. If the Als are not really interested and someone else really is for the sake of the kid I hope they allow him to explore such an oppuritunty.

I am not sold on Demarco at all, again at least not yet. he definitely was not ready in his second pro season lastyear and it hurt the Lions IMHO. Ottawa may have drafted him, and it was a good decision ut I do not think he will automatically get the back up job.
Although Quilnlan would not get a number two spot there are more than one team that do not have there QB situation set.

Quinlan also has to be realistic and not worry about past Canadian QBs and if offered the 4th QB slot on the PR for a rookie it is not uncommon to start there.
If they really think he has a future he could sign a real contract and be placed on the 9 game IR if he cannot fit into one of the three roster spots.

Overlooked is the upcoming IFAF World football championship in 2015. Would love to see hime get a year in the CFL and then be lent out to team Canada to be their QB. It will give him a training camp with a lot of reps. The younger star of team Canada and team World u19 games Wil Finch will also be eligible for that team as well. This is for a whole different topic however.

All the best to Quinlan, I would think he has too much talent to not earn a spot somewhere on the CFL roster at qb.