I read the posts about the loss to Calgary in the forum and there seems to be a lot of concern over the ALS play last night.

While the ALS were clearly not ready to play a REG season game, I believe I have a few observations and notes to share. I follow the ALS and all CFL teams very closely and would like to share my thoughts.

Putting things into PERSPECTIVE here, the ALS are one of the TOP teams of the past 5 years. They were peaking 2 seasons ago and have lost some PLAYERS that just cannot be replaced- CHUI, Watkins, Duval punting which were good, Return Man of Hawkins, Maypray-- BEN CAHOON was a huge loss, PROULX a smart safety another loss, and also Guzman Boulay are losses none the less.

I thought about this and then thought that the ALS are obviously not going to be as strong as YEARS past, ESPECIALLY since for whatever reason THEY HAVE FAILED TO BRING IN SOLID RECRUITS to REPLACE the departed guys--

I am sorry but DESLAURIERS belongs in a TOUCH FOOTBALL LEAGUE_ He is fast long strider, big frame, but is not a TACKLE FOOTBALL PLAYER- He killed an early drive with a ridiculouos DROP on a seam pass from AC- THen he interfered with the attempted pass to BRATTON- THings like that make a QB lose confidence and its like playing with a MAN short on offense-

Brandon LONDON CLEARLY did not have his HEAD in the game last night-- The deep ball was an easy catch, and he short armed the ball like he has not caught a ball in 5 years? He looked like he wasnt really concentrating either to make the catch-

I have NOTICED since Marcus Howard Ko'd CALVILLO last season, that I thought that AC would be SCARED to take hits, Last night he LOOKED like he was scared and had HAPPY FEET-- He was looking to get rid of the ball and wasnt prepared to take the hits--- This is going to be a PROBLEM--

This is my thinking- AC is great for the franchise, but you cannot have a 40 year OLD QB who is more concerned about his family and POST FOOTBALL FUTURE_ Its clear that AC is more concerned about not getting hurt at this point in his career than he is about TAKING HARD HITS and winning games-- Makes sense as this point he is probably concerned about mortgages and his childrens education fund and other things in LIFE-

MARCUS BRADY- He couldn't read a DEFENSE when he was a QB in the CFL- he was just a runner with little football intelligence and now he is supposed to be OFFENSIVE coordinator- I find it hard to believe that this guy will be any help to the offense--

The return man i think his name is TRENT GUY-- He is really small with really small stride- SO he is Small and SLOW? Watch his returns he looked like a JOKE returing kicks, he has nothing at all to be a good returner--

Not a huge fan of REINBOLD- He doesent seem like he had his team prepared- CGY has been running the dump off passes to CORNISH and the fake hand off and roll out and pass to NIK LEWIS all last season- It was clear to me that I DOUBT it REINBOLD looked at any CGY GAME FILM from last season--
REINBOLD just looks like a guy to me who might not know what he is doing--

The ALS will not go anywhere this season if they do get some pass rushers and a good NOSE TACKLE- BOWMAN will be back but STEWART ANWAR was a huge loss- THey need to WIN the line of scrimmage- THey cannot use CIS guys at rush end and smallish guys--

Secondary looked athletic at least- Anderson Parker and BROWN look very solid--

SEAN WHYTE is not a CFL PUNTER_-- You will lose 10-20 yards every possession , every time-- MAYBE BRING BACK DUVAL, at least he could punt the ball 45 yards every time--

THe ALS offense is easy to stop, because all you have to do is DOUBLE COVER RICHARDSON and also keep an eye on SJ GREEN- When you use a linebacker to cover RICHARDSON underneath and then have deep coverage on him deep like CGY did on the BRANDON SMITH INTERCEPTION.
BRATTON does not scare anyone- LONDON is a JOKe out there, he looks really good but is not good, DESLAURIERS could not dominate in the CIS level- he is perhaps the biggest joke in the CFl as a receiver-

Eventually the ALS are going to have go through a REBUILD, but as we saw with EDMONTON and TORONTO this season and SASKATCHEWAN you can CHANGE a few KEY players and your team can be GOOD AGAIN--

If MONTREAL keeps AC and tries to keep this team together I can assure everyone that they will not be a CONTENDOR- They are getting worse and AC cannot last the entire season and is SCARED to get hit, so they will lose games this way-
They should make the transition to AD MACPERHSON or someone else- but they have to do it now-- LOOK AT CGY and HUFFNAGEL and BURRIS-
They released BURRIS because they knew he was FINISHED- I believe that BURRIS is finished also- he has the worst accuracy in the CFL and cannot read a defense still--
So the ALS must REBUILD and get rid of BRATTON, DESLAURIERS, AC, some of the D LIne and try to bring in new young players--

Is it me or does it seem like JIM POPP has taken the last 2 offseasons off and hasnt recruited anybody GOOD? Where are the new stars that POPP has recruited? The rest of the CFL has recruited much better players--- BC recruited amazing players from USA and won the GREY CUP with many really good players, CGY looks like they recruited some stars in BUTLER the Db, BENNET the DB, MCKOY the DL, TATE the QB, TORONTO and EDMONTON recruited many good defensive players like Marcus Howard, Rashad Jeanty, Derek Summer, BALL, Ahmad Carrol, Rod Williams, Jc Sherrit-

Its clear that POPP is SLACKING bigtime in the recruiting department, I mean to not replace the D Line and receivers with better receivers and to think that SEAN WHYTE is a CFL PUNTER is absurd---


Watkins was a huge loss- WATKINS was the STRETCH GUY in the offense- He would run deep and clear the INTERMEDIATE 15-17 yard area for RICHARDSON to run the deep outs and CORNER routes--

Now with BRATTON or LONDON it just does not give the same ability- BRATTON missed a deep ball on 1 occasion and LONDON has a big frame but does not look very PHYSICAL or like he really will DIVE or sell out for a BALL---

Deslauriers should not be an INSIDE receiver- DESLAURIERS is just not SAVY enough to UNDERSTAND where the soft spots are in a ZONE like a DAVE STALA is or a guy like FANTUZ can-- Deslauriers has the looks again but does not have the TALENT or toughness or anything for that matter--
Deslauriers should be WIDE SIDE RECEIVER and RUN THE HOOK much like BRETT RALPH used to run in CGY and BURRIS would find him--- Deslaruiers has no business playing INSIDE on this offense-- Deslauriers will NEVER beat PRESS coverage or a JAM by a linebacker, its clear he is a STRAIGHT AHEAD RUNNER with no ability to BEat a JAM by a DB or LB---

The CFL is quickly changing now-- There is a new GROUP of Recruits since the DEMISE OF THE UFL LEAGUE and now we have better younger defensive athletes also-- Its clear that the QB will now need to be MORE ATHLETIC- A big reason why BC won the GREY CUp was LULAY's running ability-- It appeared to me last night that the ALS were just not as BIG or as ATHLETIC as the CGY stampeders-- Als look small on the D LINE and at receiver they dont look like they can take hard hits and hang on to the ball--

Also Whittaker looked really slow last night and one thing I NOTICE in the CFL is that players can not TRAIN in the off season and just become SLOW in a matter of 1 year------- It happens to many kick returns in the CFL as they appear really fast in their rookie year and then next year they are much slower-- I guess this happens because they are longer away from college and all the hard training and ROIDS and top notch training- After a few seasons out of college only the real PROS will train hard and take care of their bodies-- This is why you see guys CUT after 1 or 2 good seasons in the CFL---

I think your observations are very sharp. In particular the position by position analysis and the inexpicable defensive game plan yesterday.

A couple things however.

Deslauriers never played in the CIS, he was a very productive receiver at Eastern Michigan.

Popp is not the one who wanted to bring in Sean Whyte. This was a DEMAND of the coaching staff. I don't think Jim has lost any of his ability or work ethics. I think when you have been so successful it is difficult to make change. I think the talent he's brought in this year is excellent but it needs to mature.

We have a first round pick who could probably improve our punting in Brody Mcknight but inexplicably he's sitting at home.

As for Calvillo. Due to his standing and his accomplishments until he proves he can't do it (as Burris did) or he walks away. I don't see the team taking his job away. If he loses four of five in a row. It may become a natural occurence. Also Adrian has not been able to outright shine in his opportunities. He was hit and miss. However most of us think he has all the tools to become a star QB in this league.

We need a punter, one WR and John Bowman to return. Anwar as a backup and rotation guy would also be helpful and we need an experienced and successful ST coach. At this point I would not be opposed to bringing back Noel Thorpe (and I don't like bringing back staff who walked away in any business).

I don't know what happened with Brandon yesterday. He worked hard during the off season, he's young and he's not injured. I don't think the Oline helped him very much.

I think if a player is released this week it will be London.

The situation with Calvillo is a bit different from the situation with Burris. Burris lost his job over an 18-game season in which it became apparent that he was in serious decline. Anthony is coming off an excellent season in which he led the league in most QB categories. One bad game does not mean he's finished. IF this is to be Calvillo's last season, it has to happen naturally, as Hfx pointed out. With a starter of Anthony's caliber, you don't go to option 2 after one bad game. Hufnagel didn't do that either in Calgary. It wasn't until the end of the season that Tate took over. If Calvillo has four or five bad performances and it becomes clear that he, not anyone else on offense, is the main reason why we're not scoring points, then Adrian comes into play, and I think we'll all be fine with that if and when it happens. To hook Anthony after one lousy game in which pretty much every Als player (with the exception of the secondary) took turns being awful wouldn't be fair, or in the best interests of the franchise.

On the Deslauriers situation, I am shocked that the coaches gave him a starting position if this is how he played in camp. He doesn't win contested catches, and his technique isn't good enough for him to get separation on receivers in man press. As GG noted, he has no ability to find the soft spot in a zone. If someone blows coverage or plays him off in man and he's the fourth receiver, maybe he gets open and makes a catch, but he's not a starter in this league. I was earnestly hoping he'd prove me wrong this year, but his gaffes in Calgary illustrate precisely why he has been a backup during his whole CFL career.

I think the coaches made a big mistake not paying enough attention to Watkins's replacement. I wasn't always Kerry's biggest fan, but I cannot argue with the assessment that Kerry's ability to stretch the field is what cleared out all the underneath and intermediate zones for Jamel and S.J. Watkins was in decline last year and did the right thing retiring this offseason -- we, however, need a player who can do what Watkins was capable of doing a couple of years ago. Deslauriers isn't that player. Neither is London, judging from his awful performance against Calgary. Bratton is a competent but not game-breaking 4th receiver.

On the d-line, I read (possibly in Herb's blog?) that Popp wanted to bring Anwar back, but that the coaches were reluctant to go that route. If so, I am dumbfounded. Does Mike Sinclair have something against Anwar? You can't tell me that Stewart wouldn't improve the line as part of a rotation, particularly in Bowman's absence. Hunt had better man up against Winnipeg. He was brutal against the Stampeders, generated no pressure whatsoever.

Finally, it's easy to dogpile a franchise as successful as ours when we experience some turbulence, but lest we forget, even the great Wally Buono was struggling with his team a few years ago. BC crossed over in 2009 and got blown out by us in the EDF. In 2010, they went 0-5 to start the season and didn't even make it to the WSF. In 2011, they hoisted the Grey Cup. Hufnagel has also been through some rough times in Calgary since his initial Grey Cup win in 2008. It's not natural for a team to be on top all the time, nor is it warranted to start playing chicken little whenever things don't go our way. This isn't the era of the Eskimos and their five consecutive Grey Cups. The league has changed, parity is higher, and really, in all major team sports, there are no more dynasties. I can accept our growing pains this season if it means a better, stronger team in the long term.

Gridiron Guru you make some very well thought out theoretical arguments, only 2 of which I am ready to concede after only 1 game - we need a better punter, we need a receiver to stretch the field.

You could do a similar analysis on all the other teams and find an equal number of potential weaknesses. An over simplication is this is a QB driven league and the 2 best QBs appear to be Lulay and Tate, and thus BC and Calg. look to be the 2 top teams.

Let`s play 6 games and then revisit your Alouette points.

Lions started last season at 0-5 .... and the TiCats got off to an 0-3 start.

Hopefully the Als do not get off to those kind of starts but just goes to show what can be accomplished as the season goes on.

PR/KR should also be a big priority as well. DP has said it time and time again, how much longer can Bischoff be the coach of this unit that continues to struggle game in and game out to gain any yardage. The O is starting more often than not deep inside their own end. Every once in awhile it would be nice to be able to see the end zone without having to squint before taking the first snap! Heck, a PR taken to the house every now and then would be even better. But let's start with a nice return first. :smiley:

No question that has had an impact on the offense.

Coach Trestman's comments: 1- He did not prepare his team properly. I agree. I am not sure if he means the no contact training camp ? The lack of input from players? Or simply not overseeing or having a hand in his assistant's work. But it was clear that there was a clear lack of focus and intensity out of the gate and it set the tone for the entire game.

2- He says the team was physicaly beaten in every phase of the game. That is also very telling. I noticed it especially with our wide outs, our front seven and offensive line, special teams. We got crushed on second and short. Receivers not throwing any blocks on running plays, not pushing off defensive backs. Front seven was especially weak up the middle. Did not see one decent hit on special teams the entire game.

What we have here is a confused bunch who also are reluctant to throw their body around. This has been goin on for a while now and if it continues. Some guys are going to lose their jobs and Coach is going to have to change his demeanor...

How many returners do you want to try? Devine and Guy are some of the best kick returners to come out of college in the last few years. There are no holes. Every time a returner catches the ball his blockers are going half speed or are standing still. No one is puttin their shoulder down heading downfield. The formations have no imagination. There is no motivation, energy or PRIDE . Just plain brutal to watch.

Petite observation comme ça, pourquoi nos bloqueurs sur les retours de bottés sont 30 verges en avant des retourneurs? Avec cette distance-là, les couvreurs adverses sont rendus au retourneur avant le ballon. Pourquoi ne pas les faire bloquer 15 verges avant le retourneur? Là, ils pourraient créer des ouvertures, non?

En tout cas, quelqu'un peut-il comprendre que Bischoff sur les unités spéciales, ça ne vaut pas de la chnoutte?

Hence the question should be, if the players do not want to lay their body out there to create holes, why are they on the ST unit? Is this Biscoff's call? Is it because of his schemes that the players are not buying in? Whatever the reason, this has been an issue since he took over. And you are correct, brutal to watch.

I say change the coach. This is the 3rd year we are being tortured with this. It will not improve. Special teams can be improved quickly with a new coach and new ideas and players who are caught on film repeatedly floating on ST. Should not dress. There is room in detention room for four guys a week… and we need a punter. Can’t keep giving up 8 to 20 yards on punt exchanges and 20 on kickoffs.

Dug up the ST tackles on Sunday

Dublanko 2
Ridgeway 1
Bedard 1
Townsend 1

The rest were made by starters

Of the 8 tackles. 7 are by Non imports.

You have your answer...

Lest we not forget that SUCCESS in the CFL can DEPEND on your CANADIAN players. If you look at a team the better canadians you have, the better ratio it allows you to play americans also.

I am not sure that the CANADIAN players on the ALS are that great this season. In years past they had better canadian players mixed in with the DOMINANT american players- Guys like Eric Lapointe, Woldu, Chiu,Boulay, Proulx were solid canadiens.

Now we are not seeing any DOMINANT Canadiens to help the ALS-- If you look at offense its all IMPORTS, AC and Jamal and SG and Watkins, Whittaker from years past. Even in years past the ALS had excellent canadien receivers like PAT WOODCOCK and SYLVAIN GERARD I think his name was-- The ALS at this point have not replaced the CANADIAN talent they used to have, they used to have really good canadiens on the team-
NOw they are rebuilding, so we will see how good the canadiens are on the team----

From the past 2 seasons they have questionable canadiens such as JEFF HECHT, Sean WHYTE as punter, DESLAURIERS as a KEY receiver in the offense-- This spells trouble as these guys are not SOLID canadian players.

It is hard to replace AC I agree as he is still probably top 3 in the league if not 2nd BEST qb in the leauge after LULAY. I would not think that guys like Burris or Glenn or Durant or Ray or Pierce are any better, in fact they are not in AC's league-

Give AC a top 3 defense and more receivers and you have a GREY CUP contendor---

If you remember BC was 1-7 last season and basically CUT about 5-7 players and replaced them with NEW players they had on their roster and VOILA they won the Grey CUP- They also had a few YOUNG receivers, GORE and FOSTER and brought in a new Canadien running back star in ANDREW HARRIS and they were amazing.

The ALS typically dont fare well vs WEST teams on the road, and with all new personnel and no real preseason action it was not a huge shock they lost last night----

Another factor why I think this loss doesent mean much is the AMEET PAL factor--- The ALS basically stole him from the STAMPS and the STAMPS were very upset about how they lost him to the ALS--

This made the STAMPS very upset and I can tell you first hand that CALGARY is nowhere near that physical on a weekly basis, or nowhere near that good also.

I think a lot of Calgary's success vs MTL was based on PURE ANGER due to the AMEET PAL situation--

So I think the ALS werent that bad, its just that CGY was really upset and FIRED UP, and the ALS were playing at the REGULAR CFL INTENSITY LEVEL--

Gridiron Guru writes: "BC was 1-7 last season and basically cut 5-7 players and replaced them with New"

Can you name me these players" I can't. The only veteran of note added was: Ted Kornegy. A few players may have been added,because of injuries, but that's it. Major change was defensively or going from 3-4 to 4-3.

Ameet Pall has nothing to do with the loss to Calgary. We did not sign Doug Flutie from Calgary. The Coaches and Players were outplayed/outperformed.

The number 1 problem of special teams is the Punter; also a problem on kickoffs. I don't care who the ST Coach is,until we have a better Punter the problems will remain.


Yes true re punting. But the Als have virtually no return game either which is equally a problem for the ST and Bischoff who has been the coach of this unit for the past couple of years.

Back to BC. Another important player added was Arland Bruce.

Beside Bruce and Kornegay, all other players on BC team that won the Grey Cup were with them in training camp.

As I wrote before, they went back to a 4-3 defence; a player such as Eric Taylor-DT- who was,for the first quarter of the season,a healthy scratch was now playing. Same with LB Bighill.


Dear GG
Thank you for the concise way you've encapsulated almost EVERY post I've made over the last couple years
That's not a knock...on the contrary
Neither I, nor anyone else has a patent on the truth
It's simply refreshing to read someone who's got their head somewhere other than what's been obvious (if somewhat reminiscent of a self-colonoscopy) around here for as long as I can remember

Now to the specifics:

You are BANG ON when you say:

ESPECIALLY since for whatever reason THEY HAVE FAILED TO BRING IN SOLID RECRUITS to REPLACE the departed guys
The Alouettes dominance had been on the strength of some REAL AllStars. It goes back to the loss of Keron Williams and Davis Sanchez. I remember how I was poo poo'ed when I raised concerns about such losses 3 years ago (4?).'s not the fact that you lose star players that affects your team. It's that Keron Williams was replaced by the likes of Jermaine McCelveen...and Sanchez arguably by D'Audra Dix. Larry Taylor is replaced by Tim Maypray...ugh Kerry Watkins...Brandon London...not even a decent slotback....certainly NOT a wide receiver or ANY kind of deep threat. The loss of Brian Chiu was met by shifting someone who barely had ANY experience at center And now the loss of Anwar Stewart...the team's all time leader in sacks...and is there a successor...I mean Bowman is THAT guy....but where's the line of succession going after that?

I understand and in some measure agree when you ask:

Is it me or does it seem like JIM POPP has taken the last 2 offseasons off and hasnt recruited anybody GOOD?
But it's also true that some pretty talented players have come and gone in this system. Players like Andrew Hawkins and Chad Owens. For whatever reason their innate talents have been ignored and they've left in frustration. So while Popp has failed to provide replacements at key positions...the times he HAS provided the talent required those players have sat on the bench and left in frustration. my the fault of those leading this team.
As far as I can tell Trestman not only has hitched his wagon to the Calvillo Express
He came in as a guy who "solved" the Calvillo dilemma.
This not only meant working on a playbook centered around AC's talents and limitations
But being devoted...heart and providing players that increasingly had the skills and talents...not necessarily to win....but to make AC look good. So a offensive line primed to protect the quarterback...but arguably who's pass-blocking abilities were an best. And receivers who....although ponderous and lumbering...have the size and physicality to go up and get an increasingly innacurately thrown ball...and with distance shortened...year after year.

In fact...EVERYTHING but the AC offence seems an afterthought.
Punting...kick coverage...kick returns
Hell...even the defence is...despite the supposed focus it's received over the "experiment" and "work in progress."
In short...who needs defence with 40-50 offensive points scored per.

However...while the quick release..."west coast hybrid" offence introduced to the league 4-5 years ago WAS effective THEN...especially when AC was quick releasing to the likes of Ben Cahoon and Kerry Watkins...defending it is NOW old hat. Not only are we not fooling anyone....with the increase in physicality and athleticism overall in the league it's not surprising that the majority of teams rely on physical and athletic pivots. The days of the dropback QB in the CFL will be over when AC and Ricky Ray least for a while.

And it's this athleticism and physicality that's increasingly making Calvillo look like a fish out of water.
His athletic shortcomings are no longer merely something other teams exploit in Grey Cup games....but a daily embarrassment. The old man has no longer confined his "tiara wearing" to his daughters' company.
It's no way to lead an army.
Cowardice in the commander IS defeat on the battlefield.

Eventually the ALS are going to have go through a REBUILD, but as we saw with EDMONTON and TORONTO this season and SASKATCHEWAN you can CHANGE a few KEY players and your team can be GOOD AGAIN-- If MONTREAL keeps AC and tries to keep this team together I can assure everyone that they will not be a CONTENDER- They are getting worse and AC cannot last the entire season and is SCARED to get hit, so they will lose games this way- They should make the transition to AD MCPHERHSON or someone else- but they have to do it now--
Sadly...I couldn't have put it better Hopefully someone will have the sense to listen....before it's too late.