Als in 2008?

A lot of guys on the CFL forum are predicting the Als will finish third, and even fourth in the east division… Behind Hamilton! (they have Bellefeuille). With training camp about 2 weeks away, what do you guys think? I myself am very unsure. I believe the Als have a lot of talent. They signed most of their new players in November and December (as opposed to a lot of teams who are signing guys NOW). If guys are good, they are taken up fast…

The BIG unknown is the coaching staff. A lot of people are sure Trestmann will fail because he has no CFL experience. I thought this to for a while. I am now willing to give the guy a fair shake. He is a football guru; so, if he can manage people, he should be a great coach. I think he should be better than Popp (I mean Popp the coach, not Popp the great GM). He also hired a bunch of new guys for his coaching staff. Look up the recievers coach; he has a lot of upside.

I look forward to the 2008 season. I think the Als might actually surprise a few people.

They predict that ever year

Yes most predict the Als to finish 3rd or 4th and, eventhoug I am an "ardent" fan, I don't see how they could be better than 3rd, at least based on announced signings to date.

This 2007-2008 off-season-like we say in French" saison morte" with emphasis on morte- has been the most quiet yet, from a signing point of view; the last player signing-Jamel Richarson- was March 18,2008 or 2 months ago. At the beginning of November, we had a roster of 67 players, including injured and practice rosters. From then until now, 9 players leaved or were released or retired,-most notable being Boulay,Romero and Strickland- while 11 have been added or signed.-most notable Hunt and Richardson as free agents and Dede and Sandidge as CFL rookies. Excluding draft choices, we have a roster of 69 players.-75 can be signed before beginning of main training camp or June 1st. I expect a minimum further signings of no less than 10 players and as much of 15,meaning that some players on the current roster will be released in the next 10 days.

With a team that finished 8-10 and which ranked 5th on defence, I don't see the major improvements. We keep hearing about offensive signings-Holmes,Rogers and Warrick- yet our problem is defensively, particularly on the D.L. and M.L.B. We need a Doug Brown, an Aaron Hunt or Tyrone Williams as D.T., a Jonathan Brown,a Tom Canada, a Cameron Wake or Bret Johnson as a D.E. and a Zeke Moreno,a Mike O'shea or Barrin Simpson as a M.L.B.

For the past ten years, the Als or Mr. Popp has never been able to recruit a top D.T., a top D.E. and a top M.L.B.; while he's had success at other positions, it's been a failure as D.T.,D.E. and M.L.B. Possibly he recruited as per the Head Coach requests, but let's hope that it will be didderent this year.

I hope that Mr. Popp proves me wrong but,presently, we are not better than a 3rd place team.

Richard

For me the questions are a little different. I think the Als did a great job in the off season. Here is a recap

Cleaned House with Coaching Staff: Popp was pulled as HC, Bellefeuille was told to look for work, we lost Jones and our ST coach to Western teams. I don't really mind that they left. This whole staff was disfunctional last season. Obviously Popp was a rookie HC but his staff was indifferent to outwright negative.

I was ok with Trestman however his decision to live down south and work as a personal coach to NFL draft prospects in April dosen't impress me. I mean for 400 to 500k I would expect more considering the learning curve and the challenge at hand, he better impress is all I have to say. I have high hope that Vince Martino will help turn the oline around. In any case if they work "together" they will still be ahead of last season.

Recruiting: While there are still holes to fill and we don't have the complete list of players attending camp. I like that the Als have chosen character individuals. Emry, Dede, Hunt, Keeping are all top notch individuals. As far as Richardson and Rogers well they are the reclaim projects this season. They aren't the first and are worth a shot. I think after 3 days of camp we'll know where we stand with these guys.

Overall when you look at how many questions we had at the end of last season. I am happy the Als did the best they could. Jim Popp stuck around, Desjardins was added, they built a new coaching staff and made personel changes that look very good and retained most of their talent with the exception of Boulay trying out in the NFL and Romero moving home. NOT BAD!

Questions for me going in to camp:

Anthony Calvillo: Bigger better stronger? Or is it time to share duties and groom?

Bryan Chiu: Can he refocus and give his carreer another stretch or is he done? I don't think there will be any in between here.

Dave Stala: Is he healthy?

Kerry Watkins: Will he be ALLOWED to remain an Al? I hope so. I like Kerry Watkins. Honnest, hard worker. Plays his position very well.

Can we run the ball? Personel? Oline? Scheme? If not lets go with a heavy running game with Kerry Carter and use the import spot elsewhere.

3-4 or 4-3? What formation are the Als looking at using mainly on D? Looking at personnel a 3-4 looks possible.

The Als can compete with any team in the East. It always looks greener in the neighbours yard but every team has issues and question marks.

For the Als to finish fourth the Oline would have to burn and the coaching staff be completely clueless about the CFL game and Hamilton would have to improve 170 point differential with the Als.

If everyone does THEIR job and let others do their thing. The Als could own the division. If Calvillo has a noodle arm an bum shoulder and hip and the Oline is done, the coaching staff inept the Als could tank to the bottom. I think it is unlikely just plain too much at stake for everyone.

The Als will struggle to make the playoffs in the east-The Argos will improve with Kerry Joseph and the Ti Cats have to be more competitive with Printers and the young Canadians they have been able to draft in the past two years.

There has to be concern re the QB's and the offensive line. The group of receivers in 07 were below par and have to be replaced. Ashlan Davis, Brian Bratton and little Danny D. were ineffective in 07. Dave Stala is a question mark! Can he regain his earlier form and compete as a starter? Deslauriers remains to be tested. I was surprised the team did not draft Sam Giguere- my guess is that the team saw him as NFL materal.

The team had two great players in Romero and E Boulay. This will hurt. I am not optimistic- too many holes to fill.

Man, I haven't been this uncertain about the season since they tanked in 2001 and made all those sweeping changes for 2002. We all remember what a disaster that season was. :lol:

My biggest question is how many people will be hurting their ankles jumping on and off the bandwagon? :roll:

Seriously though, I am very much in a "wait and see" mode. I think Popp going back to what he does best and Bellefeuille leaving is going to do wonders for this team.