...On the Cusp

I LOVE science fiction
I love reading it, watching it
Hopefully one day writing it.

One of the most commonly used devices in scifi is the Parallel Universe.
It serves as a tool to imagine our world
if one (or more) historical events had gone another way
Or it can be a warning...against a decision that might take us in an undesirable direction

To this end...I've tried to briefly imagine the possible directions this team might take this year
And into the future
(Naturally...as in all "what if" scenarios...only one element is the fulcrum of all change. That factor is Anthony Calvillo...and his possible succession)

I'd like to list these scenarios...in descending order of likelihood
whether that's the likelihood of premise or conclusion I leave up to you

  1. Anthony Calvillo plays/starts every significant game this season.
    He continues to have magnificent performances...at times
    These performances continue to bolster the confidence of his ardent supporters
    Unfortunately...the 2012 season is in reality marked by increasingly inconsistent performances by our 40 year old quarterback.

The team makes the playoffs, but not in 1st place.
They lose at some point in the playoffs
While there will continue to be grumblings about AC's declining abilities (and increasing vulnerabilities)...his supporters will again put most (if not all) the blame on Special Teams and the Defence.

Ignored and frustrated...Adrian McPherson leaves the Alouettes and signs on with another team.
Calvillo attempts another season/s but is injured and never fully recovers to game shape.
The Alouettes spend several years trying different quarterbacks...with varying degrees of successs
In the meantime attendance continues to drop...sometimes to frightening levels
Before they can find any answer to their QB dilemma, the team goes belly up (3rd time's a charm)
And is packed off to Ottawa

  1. Anthony Calvillo plays/starts every significant game this season.
    He continues to have magnificent performances...most games.
    These performances continue to bolster the confidence of his ardent supporters
    The 2012 season is in marked by miraculously consistent performances by our 40 year old quarterback.

The team makes the playoffs, in 1st place
They win the East Final and go on to play in the Grey Cup
There is little if any discussion of AC's declining abilities (and increasing vulnerabilities)...and no one will care about Special Teams and the Defence.

Ignored and frustrated...Adrian McPherson leaves the Alouettes and signs on with another team.
Calvillo attempts another season/s but is injured and never fully recovers to game shape.
The Alouettes spend several years trying different quarterbacks...with varying degrees of successs
In the meantime attendance continues to drop...sometimes to frightening levels
Before they can find any answer to their QB dilemma, the team goes belly up (3rd time's a charm)
And is packed off to Ottawa

  1. Calvillo and McPherson share games/starts this season
    AC continues to have magnificent performances...at times...and when he's off McPherson takes over...brilliantly.
    Calvillo's ardent supporters and detractors are thrilled to see what amounts to the best quarterback duo since the Eskimos won 5 straight Grey Cups under Wilkinson/Moon
    The 2012 season is marked by amazing performances by both quarterbacks...defenses have no answer to the Alouettes Dynamic Duo

The team makes the playoffs, in 1st place
They win the East Final and go on to win the Grey Cup (and many more)
There is no mention of AC's declining abilities (and increasing vulnerabilities)...when AC is having an "off" game we answer with AD.

His dreams finally realised...Adrian McPherson leads the Alouettes eventually and goes on to a long and brilliant career.
Calvillo spends several more years with the Alouettes. He eventually retires...sain et sauf.
The Alouettes have unparalleled success with the two quarterbacks at the helm...eventually breaking the record of Edmonton's GC Dynasty.
In the meantime attendance continues to rise. So much so that the Alouettes feel increasing pressure to use the Olympic Stadium as a venue (much to the chagrin of many purists and die-hard football lovers)
Eventually Adrian McPherson reaches the end of a long career...a new and exciting quarterback rides into town...and i have to write this thing all over again.
And Ottawa never gets off the ground

I've spent the last few years supporting Adrian McPherson
When I started...there were few who had any confidence he'd amount to much.
And...by way of apology...I have to admit that when I DID start touting AD, Calvillo had only won one Grey Cup and his career was marred by unremarkable and dissapointing failures. He's since redeemed himself in that respect...and has mine.

All good things come to an end, however.
And while it was going on...even the most fervent Calvillo supporters were calling for AC to be yanked from last week's game.
Honestly...the number of two and outs...the increasing strain it put on the defense...
AC didn't so much pull out a miraculous victory
As Kevin Glenn and the Stamps handed us the win on a silver platter

Don't get me wrong...I'm glad we won
But it's now 2 out of 3 games where AC looked pretty bad
And last game he looked like a broken toy EVERY time he got up from a hit

The fact that I listed the most successful scenario as 3rd isn't because it's the least likely to be successful
It's simply because...regardless of the fact that it's our BEST recipe for success
For some reason...it's the least likely to ever be adopted.

Obviously...there's a certain amount of stylised sardonic humour involved here
I have my doubts the Alouettes will be trucked off to Ottawa...for instance

Still...I think that regardless of my advocacy, Adrian McPherson has one everyone's respect and confidence
Isn't it time we looked at things with open eyes and did what's best for this team?

I Hope So

Well some of that sounds a little pessissimistic, SAM, but football has definitely been a hard sell here in Montreal and elsewhere in the country. There were "experiments", too - remember the WLAF? A suitable acronym if ever there was one.

I am concerned about the hits AC has taken in the last few games and that at 40, the body doesn't recover as quickly. I have already posted that now that Marc Trestman has settled his contract, he needs to think of the future of the franchise. Where AM is concerned, it's now or never. Either he gets meaningful starts this season, or he's gone!

I doubt any of the scenarios you wrote exactly come to pass but I definitely agree that this team needs to start looking at its future and that future is macpherson. Given the state of the team overall I dont think Calvillo over MacPherson is going to make us a grey cup team so there's no point in riding a guy a year or two away from retirement and hope MacPherson remains patient when he could have a chance at being a starter elsewhere. It's entirely possible that at the end of this season both Calvillo and MacPherson leave, Calvillo to retirement and MacPherson because he got sick of waiting for Calvillo to retire and getting no meaningful reps at QB all season. Surely with a 4 year contract Trestman is going to want to start grooming his future QB he cant seriously think Calvillo will play for the next 4 years

[i]OH YEAH!!!!!

Johnny is in the house... And what does Johnny see first? A beautiful Prometheus, Blade Runner, 2001: A space Odyssey science fictiony rant by Senior ah me! Johnny loves it!

Good to be conversing with you Senior. Johnny wasn't sure it'd happen after the Gazette shut down the Als inside out website last month. That was Johnny's favorite place to commentary on the Als.

What happened to Als inside out anyway? Johnny will converse here, if he ain't booted off!
[/i]

Calvillo has played great QB in recent seasons and, will soon retire. What happens then? I remember back in the late 50's and early 60's when Sam Etcheverry was our star QB. After he left the team for the NFL, our team descended to near the bottom of the CFL for 9 long empty years. The reason for the demise was the lack of a competent QB. Lots of QB's followed Etcheverry such as Warren Rabb, Vernan Cole, Dave Grosz, George Bork and several others. The QB with the most hype was Sandy Stevens , an All American from the NCAA billed as our QB savior. He did not live up to is All American rating and, the team's losing string continued. Finally Sonny Wade, in 1970, led the team to a Grey Cup win. Wade helped the team to a couple of more wins before the team ran out of consumers and folded at the end of that decade. Let's hope that when Calvillo retires we will not have a repeat of those horrible years with non competent QB's.

Je crois qu'on est en général d'accord pour dire que si quelqu'un peut trouver un bon quart, c'est Jim Popp appuyé de Marc Trestman.

Il faut réaliser qu'on ne déniche pas un Calvillo à chaque jubilé. Nous voyons de très bons quarts qui ne le valent toujours pas (Ray, Burris), de bons quarts qui ne s'en rapprocheront jamais (Pierce, Porter, Glenn) et de jeunes quarts qui pourraient y arriver éventuellement (Durant, Tate, Lulay). Il y a également ces obscurs espoirs à qui il faudrait une vraie chance de se faire valoir pour voir où ils se situent (McPherson, Elliott, Reilly). Dans tous ces quarts que nous voyons actuellement, je ne crois pas qu'un Calvillo sommeille en eux.

Il nous faudra composer avec le fait que le successeur de Calvillo sera probablement moins bon que lui, et il importera alors de le comparer avec ses contemporains, et non avec la légende à qui il succèdera.

This is an excellent point. If we think we’re going to find a quarterback as good as the first-ballot Hall of Famer we currently have, pro football’s all-time passing leader, we are going to be disappointed. When a guy like Calvillo, or Cahoon, or (to take other teams) Stegall or (eventually) Geroy Simon retires, you don’t replace them. You find players to take their place, yes, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get the same consistently elite performance from the new players.

Adrian, ultimately, should be judged on his own terms, based on what he can do with his skill set and athleticism. Let’s say that Calvillo retires at the end of the season and Adrian becomes the man in Montreal. Do I expect him to post Calvillo-like numbers in 2013? Not at all. Look at Lulay’s first year and a half as the starter – nothing stellar there. Even this year, Lulay hasn’t been terribly consistent. And that’s normal, because he’s young. To play the way Anthony has played, with very few exceptions, week in and week out for the past 11 years, is just a unrealistic standard for his successor.

Personally, I feel that some fans have come to take what Calvillo does for granted. When he finally does retire, that’s when I think people will appreciate his hyper-elite consistency.

can someone tell me what became of DT #95 moton hopkins?

Out at least three months because of a blood clot in his lung.

Further to your point about accomplishments and being young, it took several years for AC to come into his own as well. He did not have stellar numbers when he broke in with the Las Vegas Posse and then with the TiCats. If memory serves correct, many had thought his time was done before he came to the Als in 98.

Exactly. And even when he finally took over from Ham in 2000, he wasn't lighting the league on fire. We were a run-first offense with Pringle getting the ball most of the time. It wasn't until Don Matthews transformed us into a pass-first team in 2002 that Anthony really started to shine.

And surprisingly since being with the Als, 2002 when they won the cup, he had his lowest att/comp percentage of just below 60%. He had one other season with lower percentage (again looking at his stats with the Als and not with the Posse or TiCats - they were all below 60%) was his first season with the Als in 98 with a 57%.

I think that's mostly because the league was different back when Anthony became the starter. It still had a bit of that sandlot football feel with QBs going for deep shots all the time. We were running a very different offense in the Matthews era, as well, one predicated on deep threats all over the field -- in at least one season, we had four receivers over 1000 yards (I believe it was 2004, the same season Anthony passed for over 6000 yards).

Trestman and Hufnagel really influenced how the game is being played today. Both coaches brought in lots of pre-snap motion to leverage the whole field, making it possible to build a coherent offense around shorter, high-percentage throws that led to lengthy drives and wore down other teams' defenses. Now everyone is doing it; back in 2002, the game was much more about the big / broken play.

good points. AC came close to 6000 yards in 2003 as well.

Trivia question. Who were the 4 receivers over the 1000 yard mark? I came up with Cahoon and Copeland after that without checking drawing a blank.

Kwame Cavil and Thyron Anderson. *shudder

To this day I don't understand how Casey Printers won the MOP over AC that year. Just like Mike Maurer winning the 2005 grey cup best canadian. double shudder. :frowning:

wonder how their names escaped me :wink:

Those guys were prime examples of how a good offense and elite QB can elevate average receivers into short-term stars.

The first question was already answered, but I’ll note that the team had four 1000 yard receivers the very next year (2005): Kerry Watkins, Terry Vaughn, Ben Cahoon and Dave Stala. I have to check again, but I think that had never happened before, especially with the high turnover of the personnel.

C'est vrai, mais Calvillo sortait alors des rangs universitaires. Il n'avait pas eu le luxe d'être formé pendant 2 ou 3 saisons au football canadien. Il a donc dû assumer le rôle de partant pratiquement à partir de zéro. Lorsqu'il s'est retrouvé à Hamilton, il a eu un peu plus de formation, mais n'ayant pas pu vraiment prendre le statut de partant, il est devenu disponible après 3 ans. Et c'est donc à Montréal qu'il a éclos.

Il arrivait dans un contexte plus favorable. Les Alouettes avaient un quart mobile dont la carrière commençait à décliner. Leur attaque était basée sur le jeu au sol, dont Pringle et Ham s'occupaient très bien. Les blessures à Ham ont permis à Calvillo de s'insérer dans une attaque qu'il pouvait plus facilement gérer que si elle était basée sur la passe. Ce n'est que lorsque Ham a confirmé sa retraite que les Alouettes se sont mis à bâtir une attaque autour des qualités propres à Calvillo, et ça a tout de même pris une ou deux saisons pour y arriver.

La situation du successeur de Calvillo sera plus difficile, car même s'il s'agissait d'un quart qui est d'abord un passeur, il arrivera après LE meilleur passeur du football. J'en suis à souhaiter pour lui qu'il soit un quart mobile appuyé d'un solide porteur de ballon. Cette différence lui permettrait d'un peu se soustraire de la comparaison. Mais s'il devait ne pas faire que l'équipe se démarque, les comparaisons reviendront de toute façon. Ce gars-là aura le poste le plus empoisonné du football professionnel.