I think people are being a little hard on the Als

So, we are 3 and 3 but most posts I see are saying get rid of Popp, get rid of Belfeuille, get rid of Cavillo. While it is true that the Als have not put together a 60 min game of great football, it boggles my mind that regardless of the final score, most prefer to put emphasis on the negative and completely ignore the positives.

Yes, the Als barely won their 3 games but they weren't exactly blown out in the ones they lost. Yes, Toronto was able to come back on them to nearly win the game but the defense came up really big when they had too. Yes, the offense is struggling (especially in the 2nd half) but how about that defense (10 of the 12 starters have 2 yrs or less experience)?

Now, are the Als as dominant in the East as they used to be? Of course not, but we all need to realize that we have been truly spoiled in the past. Yes, they have only one 1 Grey Cup but they have been to the big game 5 of the last 7 years (if memory serves). They must be doing something right.

So, go ahead and point out the flaws and the inneptitudes but let's show some support and point out some of the positive things as well.

people point out the flaws and negatives because for the past 6 games its been the exact same problems week after week. Chris Jones finally figured out how to best take advantage of the guys he has and get the most out of them.

People focus on wanting to get rid of Bellefieulle because he tried this strategy in saskatchewan and it got him fired and he has shown this year that he has not changed his thinking at all and the riders were never a great team with that scheme. Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results and that is exactly what we have in Bellfeuille.

People complain about Popp as coach because:

a) he has next to no pro football coaching experience

b) he didnt even look for an experienced head coach

c) he made bellefeuille the OC

These three combined lead to no changes made during halftimes which allows the opponents to come back or win games they shouldnt. To even the most casual observer it is obvious we are getting outcoached. Not ot mention I I have to listen to him say one more time how we COULD be 6-0 or 5-1 or other nonsense like that Im going to smack him. He coaches in a world of could haves and should haves instead of reality

Not to mention that it is SUCH a comedown to go from The Don to Jim Popp. Talk about night and day. Matthews was the master of halftime adjustments and knew his coaching inside out: when to challenge and when not to, when to gamble, when to go for points, when to try trick plays, etc. Popp has no idea that there is a time and place for all those things and that's why we are routinely outcoached by just about any team we play.

All valid points but are there no positives, no players to build on? Should Wettenhall just clean house and start from scratch?

As for my opinion on the coach, I admit that while I would rather have seen an experienced man for the job, I think that Popp should be given a chance.

Theres definitely players to build on and there are positive on this team but the weaknesses are so obvious it is hard ot get past them.

Offensively theres cahoon, watkins, davis and deslauriers who i think will combine for excellent yardage once we get proper offensive playcalling. CAlvillo is still a very good QB and given a proper offensive game plan and an offensive line built around skill as opposed to nationality can still play very well.

On defence Drew has drawn the toughest assignments in the league, has twice shutout stegall, blanketed Arland Bruce and has far exceded any expectations and should be a keeper. Cox hasnt missed a beat since last year the guy is still a ball hawk. Boulay is a headhunter of a safety and can catch decently well. On the front end Bowman, Romero and Stewart are quite intimidating.

None of this matter though if we dont have proper coaching. Im done with giving Popp chances hes had 6 games to fix the same 2 problems and hasnt. How much of a season needs to be sacrificed before admitting that Popp is in over his head at coaching

Thanks mada. That's what I am talking about. I think that it is safe to say that nearly everyone agrees on Popp and Bellefeuille (debate still open on AC it looks like). It is just nice to hear some positives about the rest of the team.
Anyway, as far as the coaching goes, Wettenhall is not the type of owner (at least imho), to sit back and let the team go down the tubes. If they are still struggling mid-way (yes, it may be too late by then to make a difference but this IS the East), we may see some major changes.

Theres been so many chances given already. We are not winning games convincingly and its only a matter of time before this kind of sloppy play catches up to us

Why should he be given a chance? That is not pro sports man ! The HC position is the most influential part of a football team and it takes 10 to 20 years of SUCCESSFUL coaching experience to earn the right to lead 60 men on to the field.

This is why I am upset. Popp used his success as a GM to hijack the HC position. Not only do the Als not have the best man possible for the job, for a third of the calendar year we have lost our best scout and player pitch guy.

So its a double hit for the org...

Positives ? I'll let you list them. I don't see them.

Positives. Okay:

  • improving secondary. I like the mix we have, it's more athletic than years past, although I hope Sanchez comes back soon. Boulay is a stud at safety. I love the way this kid plays the game and Drew has come out of nowhere to earn a starting spot.

  • Diamond Ferri is a keeper at OLB. He's making me say, "Duane who?"

  • Bowman is providing the youth and athleticism we need at the end position.

  • some promising receiver talent in Davis and Desriveaux.

  • Mike Imoh could be our Thomas Haskins v.2.0 once he's healthy.

  • Brian Bratton has made our return game dangerous again.

Popp was the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Director of Player Personnel and Wide Receivers Coach under Don Matthews in 1992-93. The Roughriders had two successful seasons while Popp was in Saskatchewan, appearing in the playoffs both years.

Before coming to the CFL, Popp helped to form the Professional Spring Football League in 1992 where he held the league title of Director of Player Personnel and worked and lived with former NFL Coach Walt Michaels. In 1991, he served as the wide receivers, special teams, and strength and conditioning coach for the Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks of the World League of American Football (now known as NFL Europa) under NFL great, Coach Roman Gabriel.

Popp coached at the collegiate level for five seasons: The Citadel (1988-90) under Charlie Taaffe; North Carolina (1987) under Dick Crum; and Michigan State (1986) under George Perles. He played college football for three seasons at Michigan State (1983-85) under Perles, as a wide receiver and defensive back. Popp’s position coaches at Michigan State were Nick Saban (head coach at University of Alabama and former head coach of the Miami Dolphins) and Charlie Baggett (former assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins and now at the University of Washington).

Ro, all that experience was over 14 years ago. There is no way a guy with those qualifications would have earned a HC job in the CFL under normal circumstances. If Popp were screening candidates and he saw a coach with his own credentials, then compared them to the CVs of available coaches at the time -- Taaffe, Chapdelaine, Buratto, or even Chris Jones -- he wouldn't have given the candidate a second look.

This is Popp's ego clouding what's best for the team.

I am not denying his choice of HC was questionable. I am only trying to point out that his has more experience than people give him credit for.

No, ro, I think we all know that he had SOME head coaching experience a long time ago. But discipline's point remains.

If any CFL Gm was looking to hire a new head coach, and someone named John Doe sent in a resume that looked exactly like Popp's, he wouldn't even have gotten an interview, let alone be hired.

Let me ask you this.
How much HC experience did Berry have before last year? How about Austin before this year? Pinball before he took over the Argonauts?

My point is, no one has experience, untill they get experience.

I do admit Popp used ego over logic when he hired himself but he has experience and is building upon it as well.

Again.....let's say you're the GM of a team, and you get three resumes from Doug Berry, Kent Austin, and John Doe (with Popp's resume). Who would you interview? Correct answer would be Berry and Austin; you wouldn't bother with John Doe unless you happened to BE John Doe, which is exactly what happened here.

Now if you were right that Popp is building on his experience I might not have as a big a problem as I do, but I don't think you're right, because I don't see him building or growing in the role.

I still think he's an excellent GM.....he found us Bratton, Imoh, Dree, Ferri and Hill this year alone. He saw that Truluck wasn't performing so he replaced him with Bowman. His GM moves have been, as usual, excellent.

But his coaching moves? Sorry don't see it. We seem to make NO halftime adjustments and as a result we are horrid after halftime because the other team does make adjustments. He keeps MB as O/C, and we all know what this offence looks like (dreadful; if we weren't as talented as we are we'd be winless. I think we're 3-3 IN SPITE of the offensive scheme, as opposed to because of it).

And his in-game decisions? Remember when we were down 1 point to Winnipeg and went for it on third on goal, after having come up empty on 1st and 2nd downs? Come on, it's a no-brainer to take the field goal and have the lead....had we done that we wouldn't have had to worry later in the same game about having to try a 2 point convert (which failed). In my books that's poor coaching. In that situation even a riverboat gambler like the Don would have taken the field goal.

And, finally, any head coach worth his salt would see that our offensive scheme is inadequate. The only running play is up the middle; no pitchouts, no draws, no traps, no sweeps. Our passing game is built around 3 yard passes when we need 5 yards, 7 yard curls when we need 9 yards, and so on. Sure all that should be laid at the feet of the offensive coordinator, but he's head coach so the buck stops there.

And on second thought, I'll downgrade his GM performance to good from excellent. Bad move hiring (and continuing to stand by) Bellefeuille when it's obvious to all but a blind man that the offensive scheme isn't working. Bad move to have a dreadful offensive line and doing nothing (so far) to remedy it. The only major O-line move he made this year was to 'retire' Okeke and move Mudge over to left tackle, and we've all seen how that's turned out (atrocious)....not saying we should have kept Okeke, but Mudge has been like a fish out of water there and should either be sent back to right tackle or benched.

I cant argue with that!

You guys both made some good points. Popp does have some legit coaching experience but at the time of the decision, I agree that he did not hire the most qualified person available. Not only that, but the person he chose was himself (which really makes it look like it was all ego).

I am just curious to see what happens if the Als regress and have a poor season (although it looks like even a struggling team from the East may be able to make it to the Grey Cup) if anything will be done by the owner. With stadium expansion around the corner, I don't think Wetenhall will take to kindly to finishing poorly the season before.

Popp must have done some really strong convincing that he, and not say Taffe, would be the best person for the job. However, knowing the type of owner Wettenhall is, I would very surprised if Popp is not replaced should this season not turn out very well.

I just hope that Larry Smith has the guts to do what must be done if this team tanks, which is one of two things:

  • fire Popp in both capacities
  • relieve Popp of coaching duties and instruct Popp to hire a qualified head coach who can then pick his own staff

I'm with you there, although I strongly prefer your second option. Popp has been an excellent acquirer of talent, so I would not want to lose that. Keep him as GM.

But, 'fire' him as coach, fire Bellefeuille as O/C, and then hire a qualified head coach who can then hire his own staff....top candidates I think would be Richie Hall in Sask, Jacques Chapdelaine in Edmonton, Greg Marshall in Winnipeg, Jim Barker in Calgary, and our own Chris Jones.

Agreed with all those candidates.