From the Sidelines:Parc Hebert

Thought I'd start a thread for whoever goes to Alouettes practise
OK...not exactly the sidelines
But in this "beauty" little're close enough to hear guys on the bench

I'm wondering what CFL rules are regarding other teams scouting your practise
The CBC news team was there and was permitted a 7 minute window in which to film
They managed to capture some intriguing stretching exercises
And a few solo qb/receiver reps
Then got shut down

As I'm no a complete football "illiterate"
I certainly spotted some interesting plays
That will no doubt be worked into Friday's game
But of course mum's the word
At least until Saturday

I can say that while I didn't go there expecting to key on any one player
I was interested to see Tim Maypray stumble and fall more than once during some of the drills
Not what you'd ecpect from your "skills" guy
No doubt it was just a bad practise
But the irony of it seemed pretty...ironic

Bo Bowling dropped a couple of passes
But one of them was a bullet from McPherson on a crossing pattern
And I'm sure receivers will have some work to do...adjusting to that kind of pace on the ball

I was impressed by Brandon London
He seemed to be the "feature" receiver for much of the practise
Just missed a beauty of a 30-yard leaping up cussing
You gotta like that kind of intensity in practise
DeLaurier got a lot of reps too
Didn't miss a catch, as far as I could tell

Richardson was on the field, but basically played ball-boy
No reps at all
He had what looked like a splint on one finger
And his knee was wrapped
So his playing time might be limited

Whitaker did all the reps with the first team
He seems ready to go

Sean Whyte got a lot of work in
His field goal kicking was pretty consistent
His punting wasn't so much...when practising alone
But in the game simulations he uncorked some beautiful spirals
He botched one kickoff
And then nailed the next one
Eliciting loud praise from several players
The team seems to be behind the young guy...all the way

DeAngelis did a lot of punting on the sidelines
A lot of work with his long snapper
Sandro uncorked some long drives
Looked pretty impressive

All in all...the practise seemed well orchestrated and efficient
As you'd expect from a Trestman practise

Kick coverage was one of the last things worked on
They seemed to spend a fair bit of time on it
But you can only simulate so much

Looking forward to see how all this pans out on the field
When we take on the Argos

Go Als Go!!!

Sure hope Richardson's ready for the Argos. I liked what I saw of London last week. If he can click at WR, life is going to be miserable for opposing defenses. I'd forgotten about Bowling -- is he still on the PR, or is he activated to the 46-man roster?

Richardson is a veteran
He might just have gotten the day off
I doubt he needs to practise much
Especially if he's a little banged up
On the other hand:
In his capacity as "ball boy"
ie: catching balls thrown back to the line of scrimmage etc
He made all of his catches one handed
For what that's worth

Not sure about Bowling's status
He mostly got second team reps
Except at the beginning of practise...
when the team went through the playbook repertoire for the Argos

I forgot to mention Kerry Watkins
He seemed a forgotten man
Skulking along the reps at all
Makes me wonder how a sinus problem keeps you out of practise altogether
But who knows?

On the other hand
Someone yelled out, "Are you playing this Friday?"
And he answered, "Not this Friday."
Which seems to suggest a change in the near future.

Brouillette was the only other Alouette who was so isolated
Aside from Sandro...that is
But he was mostly on the sidelines working on stretching exercises etc

Makes sense. No point giving Watkins reps if he's not going to play this week. And if we continue to have success in the passing game, Watkins might just remain on the IR until the full nine games are up so we can activate Brouillette early (assuming he's ready to go).

One final observation
Albeit a bit unconventional:

1st team offence against 1st team defence
For the most part that's how it went
While it's obvious the secondary was making an effort to break up passing plays
I'm sure it's understood that the emphasis is on the offence

But these guys are pretty prideful
I noticed Boulay in particular seemed pretty hopped up
But trying to defend against an Anthony Calvillo in practise
Seems like an exercise in futility
In any event...they broke up...nothing

I wonder if anyone ever switches things up
Sets the 1st string D-squad against the "b-team" offence
McPherson and Co. get invaluable practise against our elite defenders
And our secondary has a chance of building a little confidence
Certainly AC doesn't need the practise
1st team or 2nd team...he's going to complete those passes

It's just something that occurred to me while I was watching

According to Herb, Richardson won't play'; he will be replaced by Eric Deslauriers and Rodriguez will be the backup.


I sure hope that was not the result of the dirty hits we saw in Sask. Richardson is a key element of our O schemes. We have depth with receivers, but many of them don't have the experience. I hope that Bowling and Baker get in to some games; they could be great ones. London is already showing promise and that bodes well.

Where Deslauriers is concerned, the clock is ticking. He, like many other Als, doesn't have enough game experience, but when he did, he ran hot and cold over the years. He looked quite good in pre-season, but if he is going to be a legitimate receiver and be ready to step into the starting lineup some day, we need to see consistency from him. I need to see him pull down passes in traffic and hang on. I need to see him running intelligent routes, come back to the ball when the QB is in trouble, and generally make a big target for AC. For the rest - consistency, consistency, consistency!

I for one will be watching the play of the Argos' D. Against Sask, there were many head shots and I was disgusted by that. Dirty play is dirty play - period!! If I see more of the same I will be writing to the league; there is absolutely no place in sport for that kind of hooliganism, except perhaps for hockey, (which is why I no longer watch NHL games!).

On a purely physical level...Deslauriers is a bit off
Was it last year that he hyper-extended his knee and he was out for weeks?
In any event...he gives the impression of being a bit under-developed in the lower-leg area

It's partly the result of the baggy bermuda-type shorts they wear during practise...combined with the sort of long black "stockings".
never thought I'd be doing a fashion segment
But while all of our tall receivers look a bit thin in the calf region (except maybe Jamel) Deslauriers looks positively emaciated...especially since his upper body seems pretty well developed.

I know it's the model for shiftiness and quickness as a "big man". McPherson is candid about that.
But there are limits...and it appears to me Delauriers is well past them
Some work in the gym might prevent one of his main "knocks"
That is: being injury prone

As for Baker...he's started both games...and was pretty much invisible
I've seen bursts of speed...but he seems to let smaller d--backs get away with interference
When he could easily use his massive size advantage to prevent it

Officials have been told (obviously) to let more go than last year
A move I positively applaud
But it's up to the receivers to realise this, and use their hands, legs and heads to even things up.
C'mon Dallas Baker (or Dylan Baker as the brainiacs on TSN called him)'s time to step up

Well you could activate one now and the other for the 10th. game.

Another thing, Senior, is that the Als' route running is positively mind boggling and extremely complex. It also takes time to get in synch with AC, as he often throws to a zone where he expects the receiver to be. So, there is a rather steep learning curve, and they don't have the luxury of time. Depending on how things go this season (although he appears to be able to go a couple more), AC, after having shattered CFL records that may never be beaten, may very well hang 'em up after this season!

I believe that London is beginning to fit in quite well, and will be a good target for AC. I believe Baker can do that as well, but I quite agree that he will have to use the size advantage that he obviously has. Incidental contact is allowed, and he will have to learn to do his share to get to the ball. He has to realize that he has a big advantage (and I don't mean just size!) over the DH, and that is that he knows the route. So, better route running, hanging on to the ball, hauling it down in traffic - and we have another receiving star in the making.

I'm still upset about the Jamel situation. I didn't see today's Gazoo - did Herb say that he was definitely out for the Argo game? If so, Eric and co. - it's time to man up and show us what you have!

According to Radio-Canada, Watkins is progressing well and Trestman anticipates his being ready July 24 - Sask. or July 29 -Ham.

They are also saying Sask. safety Butler fined for leading with his helmet on S.J.Green.

If Jamel has to miss more than Friday's game, we may well need Kerry to come off the IR early.

They are also saying Sask. safety Butler fined for leading with his helmet on S.J.Green.
I hope so. And the officials deserve a black mark for not calling Butler on any of his flagrant helmet-to-helmet hits during that game.

Jamel is definitely out
And I may have broken the story before Herb this once
although I was just guessing of course…

Bo Bowling would be a cool option to have
And Desriveaux looked pretty good running his routes
Although he too is on the 9-game IR
Great speed, great shiftiness
My first look at him and I was impressed


I think the Alouettes were counting on several things in this Argos game:

  1. At the beginning of practise...the Alouettes went through whatever plays they expected to be running...from their massive playbook . This "drill" had Calvillo running the plays, as normal...but without the ball.
    Just about every play culminated in a checkdown to Whitaker. seems obvious that the checkdown would be last option for AC after he'd eliminates his reads
    But the whole thing caught my attention...was somehow more deliberate
    And in was a large part of the night's strategy

  2. They worked a lot on running plays to Whitaker. Again expecting the Argos to focus on the pass.

  3. While I can't or shouldn't reveal the specifics involved...I think the Alouettes expected the game might end up closer than it actually did. That passing play to Bomben(?) out of the tight end position was one of 3 "trick" plays the Alouettes worked on. I'll let you know if/when the Alouettes work either of the other 2 into a game.
    Suffice it to say...they are pretty nifty.

I don't know if I'll ever get to another's a bit out of my way
But I found the experience pretty enlightening
And of course it was great to see all my close and accessible
Anyone who can get to Parc Hebert should definitely try it one time
It's well worth the effort
And adds a whole new dimension to the game

Makes sense that they'd work on the checkdowns and the running game. The passes to Whitaker sure looked crisp.

Toronto plays zone behind a 30 front. It's the kind of defense you can't really exploit with the deep ball. You have to control the clock, establish the run, and be willing to pile up the underneath yardage to move the ball down the field. Against most quarterbacks, it's a good defensive formula. Against AC? Rushing 3 is just a slow death instead of a quick death. :smiley:

Here's a partial post of my observations from yesterday's practise
hopefully I won't have occassion to post the rest

Richardson is no healthier than 80%-90% IMO
He's still limping around the field...missing catches
The Alouettes are down one main weapon...if you ask me

I'm starting to have my doubts about Bo Bowling
When I went to my 1st practise I saw Bowling make a couple obvious drops
It happened again yesterday
And while I feel the Als desperately need some diversity at receiver
I'm starting to question if Bowling is the answer

Speaking of answers to vexed questions
It was interesting to see Bratton back there
Fielding punts and kickoffs at Maypray's side
Whitaker even got a touch or two
It looks like the Diamond Ferri experiment is over
not surprising if you look at Ferri's return stats this year

The Alouettes worked hard on kick teams
By far the most time spent
Full downfield coverage this time
No messing about

Interestingly...Whyte and DeAngelis seemed to be about 50-50
On the kickoff and punting duties
Whyte continues to shank the occasional punt
And while DeAngelis' punting isn't that much more impressive
Every so often he uncorks a "beaut"

Could it be that Trestman is going a bit sour on Sean Whyte?

Hopefully MayPray experiment is over too.

I don't think so Tim and Bratton are part of the roster tonight as kick returners.

Well will take it as a positive that Bratton may be in there for some of the returns. :slight_smile:

Frustrating to see the coaches not making changes that are clearly needed.