Mired in a CFL-worst 1-4 record, the Montreal Alouettes are looking for improvements in all facets of their game, including a bigger contribution on offence from Chad Johnson.
Alouettes head coach Tom Higgins didn't mince words regarding the high-profile receiver, who has just four receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown this season.
"We're getting closer to the end than we are of the beginning if we don't start having better output," Higgins told reporters on Thursday as the team prepared for Friday's home game against Edmonton.
Higgins' warning comes just a day after Johnson's agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN that the 36-year-old is still hopeful for an NFL return.
"If they did (call), he would jump for it," Rosenhaus told ESPN on Wednesday. "Of course, he would love it. But right now, he's operating as a Canadian Football League player. We will see what happens. It's not like we're holding our breath that he's going to play in the NFL. But he's trying. That's the goal."
Rosenhaus added that Johnson, who signed a one-year contract with the Alouettes in April, is enjoying his stay in Montreal and being able to play.
"He just loves playing football," he continued. "Chad is a guy that will play football until he's 50 if they let him.
"He loves the game. He's really very passionate. He's got to do something with football, it's just his life. It really is. All his Twitter followers are enjoying him in Canada just like they would in the NFL. It's nice to see."
Seriously? The only players to blame right now are the QB's. From all accounts Johnson has been the consummate pro since coming to Montreal. If anything this reflects very poorly on a 'veteran' coach trying to motivate his team.
Johnson is on the verge of being cut from the Als and yet is pursuing an NFL comeback?
[b]Reportedly, Johnson’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is looking for an NFL suitor.
“If they did [call], he would jump for it,? Rosenhaus told ESPN.com on Wednesday
"He would tell you that he could still do it better than anybody," Rosenhaus said of Johnson's age.
"He doesn't lack confidence or enthusiasm."[/b]
He's apparently been "resistant" (ie. refusing) to learning the waggle as well which is why they have used him pretty much exclusively on the outside so far. His effort on some plays has been called into question as well. He says the right things but hasn't really shown any initiative or leadership. Main reason he's there is because of he's been relatively open and approachable, though it seems like that's becoming less so as the season has gone on, and his name recognition has financial value for the Als in selling tickets and merchandise. He's not the problem in Montreal, just one of many.
I guess those closer to Montreal might know better on what's going on, but none of the receivers have had a stellar start. Perhaps he is causing some trouble, but the offence is more than 1 man, and this offence is pathetic. QB's have to be able to get a pass off or in the right place for a receiver to catch it.
He's getting a tax deduction since he's giving away his salary to charity. He gets to spend his summer in Montreal, who knows if he'll make it to winter. He gets a couple balls in his direction per game and he doesn't go full speed most of the time seemingly. What's there for him to face up to? He's getting what's most important to him - attention. It's on management and coaches to face up to that fact that he's not helping their team win. Even at his age he could still be a benefit to the Als IMO, but to me it certainly doesn't look like he's putting his all on the field and working to help out his QB.
At his age, the only way he would ever play in the NFL again is if he was extremely productive and/or offered leadership. Right now he doesn't offer either to a team so who would want him? Like you guys said, it's laughable for anyone to even think he has a chance to get back to the NFL. He wouldn't even make a Pop Warner team with what he's doing right now.
So Johnson is to blame for the Als play? Crazy. I was a the game last week and he was open often, but the QBs are AWFUL!!! Higgins must be looking for a scapegoat...nice work coach. Troy Smith is terrible...I am surprised how bad he is..but that's not Johnson's fault. Higgins flip flopped between QBs in the game v Toronto and took too many safeties toward the end of the game. Look in the mirror coach.
Johnson isn't the only problem. But he's still washed up.
Part of the problem is also with management. They fired their HC four games into last season. They fired their OC in the pre-season this year. They've now added three "consultants." The management and coaching is a mess, for sure.