We have re-signed Karikari; we have signed Brady as Calvillo's backup.
What should be the next priority for the team to address?
I'll lead off by suggesting that Matthews and Almondo Curry kiss and make up (and Karikari too if need be). That will solidify one corner and the safety; so we need two more HBs...Durden is gone and Malveaux should be.......Next we should be looking at MLB.....Johnson had a bad year and Garrison did not overly impress me; personally I'd see if Megna would like to come back and try out at MLB........
Megna should have been tried as a LB last season prior to being released. That is his natural position anyways. Now, he won't come back to try it out.
Call me crazy if you like, but this year, I'd like to see Philipp Gauthier get a true shot at being either a starter or our first back-up LB. He's better that Botterril and possibly Garrison. Maybe we could try switching Strickland to MLB and have Gauthier play the outside. We could also try with Butler as MLB, but that guy is a better pass rusher than Strickland, so I'd prefer have Butler rush the QB and Strickland roam the middle of the field than the opposite. And, Strickland being a former safety, he surely can adapt to a role as wide as MLB. Safety and MLB are the two most difficult positions to play on defense.
What do you think?
The linebackers are one of my priorities.
Then, we obvisously got to do something with the defensive line. We've got one of our top warriors in Ed Philion and the most versatile Anwar Stewart. And then... Hmmm... good question. I was not overly impressed with Mawuko Tugbenyoh. Seemed pretty poor when defending the run. And to fill in for Brown, who do we have? Brown's specialty was to take care of two o-linemen at once. Not too many guys can do that.
I wish Alain Kashama was released from the NFL. In the meantime, could Phil Gibson do the job?
And, obviously, you stated another one of our priorities: a CB and a DB. I don't want us to rely on inconsistent Malveaux or incapable Crutchfield. I believe, however, that Matthieu Proulx could possibly fill in for Durden. Your take on this?
Third, I'm sure Megna won't come back, but it was a thought I had and I really wish we could have seen that, it might have worked out (same as I don't understand why Hamilton doesn't try Hitchcock at MLB, he seems a natural for that spot it seems to me).
I would not accuse you of being crazy for wanting to see more of Gauthier...I have never been impressed with Botterril at all, so sure bring him on. I found it unusual in the offseason that Barrin Simpson said he wouldn't go to Calgary or Montreal because of depth at LB; Calgary with their great foursome I understand (and they run a 3/4 defence which apparently Simpson doesn't like...but then so does Toronto so why didn't he rule them out too??)...but Montreal? We run a 4/3 which he wants, and we have depth at MLB? I don't think so....Johnson had a bad year and was released, and Garrison was unimpressive.
The idea of moving either Butler or Strickland inside....Butler as you say is way too valuable blitzing off the edge, so leave him out there (as long as we go back to the pressure defence; Butler is a bit weak dropping back in coverage, which is why Hamilton let him go in the first place). As for Strickland inside, the idea is interesting but I'd be concerned about his lack of size. Maybe we could audition Anwar Stewart there..........
I expect that we'll see more of Wayne at DT with Brown gone, but I agree I would like to see Gibson get a shot there....liked him the first time we had him, and not so sure he can make the transition to the offensive line and don't think we need him there anyway.
If we get Curry back playing first string on one corner, if the trade pans out we have Sanchez on the other corner so we should be okay there (at least improved from last year anyway; the less I see of Crutchfield and Malveaux the better). Karikari at safety we're fine there, so what we really need are a shutdown HB or two.....the idea of shifting Proulx might we worth a look see, especially if we draft another defensive back out of college to understudy at safety as Proulx did this year.
Hey, I kinda forgot John Nix when I wrote all that yesterday... I really like Nix aggressiveness when last season started. It seemed however as he lost some of it as weeks went by. Should he find back the fury in him, he could be a fitted replacement for Brown, no? At least, he, Wayne and Gibson could challenge one another which would raise the bar.
Strickland can't play MLB. He's way too small. He's essentially a converted DB playing the outside LB position, which suits him because it's a mix of blitz and pass coverage. He's not built to stop the run.
I'm really not sure who will play MLB or the vacant nose tackle and rush end positions. We have some real question marks here and I'm surprised that Matthews hasn't yet addressed them. It won't matter how much our secondary improves if we can't pressure the quarterback.
Nix, Tugbenynoh and Gibson haven't really proven themselves to me. Nor has Garrison by a long shot.
Um, no one had ever heard of Ricky Ray until he came into Edmonton and took the starting QB job from Jason Maas. Apart from Alouette fans, no one had ever heard of Richard Karikari until he lead the team in interceptions last year, at which point your Bombers made a pitch for him. Casey Printers was unknown until two seasons ago. We made 1000-yard receivers out of Kerry Watkins, Dave Stala, and Thyrone Anderson, players who were definitely off the radar prior to their breakout performances with the Alouettes.
My point? No player comes fully equipped with a 'name' upon entry into the league. Every great player, at some point, was a no-namer.
The reason there are a lot of no-names in the Alouettes is because we tend to develop our players by ourselves instead of going after star free agents. You can't know players that never played here before (unless, of course, they're drug addicts kicked out by the NFL).
John Nix is a guy that was just supposed to be a body filler during the 2005 training camp. But he was performing so incredibly during that training camp that the Als kept him and gave him some playing time. It turned out his great performance in TC might have been the exception, not the rule. I'd expect to see him go soon, unless he can re-do what impressed the Als in the first place.
Phil Gibson is a guy we drafted a few years back, but we lost him because we were already stacked with starters. We re-signed him as a free agent last year, but then benched him agains. We even tried to move him to the o-line and he was so plssed I think he'll leave again whenever he can.
Jerremiah Garrison could be good. He's the one who got Kevin Johnson's job near the end of last season. And I think he splitted duty with a guy named Omari Hand, or Grant Steen. Anyways, we haven't seen much of him, so he could be a star, like he could be a bust.
Philipp Gauthier. Now that is a guy I'd like to see more of. He's a 2005 draftee. He was amazing the few times I've seen him. He played one half in preseason last year and got two sacks, a few tackles and put big pressure on the QB. His problem is he was only speaking French, and the Don speaks only English. So he had difficulty understanding the plays and stuff. But I met him in December last year and he said he was learning English. Hopefully, we'll see more of him soon.
Michael Botterrill is a guy who tries a lot, but is not at par with the CFL starters. I don't think he'll ever be a starter if everyone is healthy. I would not mind seeing him go. The reason he is still around is because he is a very good run-down tackler on special teams, and the Don likes players who plays like warriors on the special teams.