Popp in on Facebook now taking Questions

Tuesday 3pm Eastern. Not expecting anything new, but at least this is a chance to ask.


I read over the Jim Popp questions and answers on FB, with particular interest in the QB situation . What I found is somewhat disturbing.

First of all hiring a new offensive coordinator who just had to change the system provides the built in excuse to keep Crompton #1. According to Popp:

"First, we do have a new offensive coordinator in Turk Schonert and he is also a new QB coach, so there is a transition again. Second, Jonathan needs to continue to improve his accuracy. We are very happy with his leadership skills and his willingness to learn. Also, his win percentage is what matters."

The logic totally escapes me. Since when is a team's win percentage the basis for choosing a QB? Then we latch onto "leadership skills" as if truly successful QBs like LeFevour and Cato have not also demonstrated leadership. Then there is "willingness to learn" - I guess if you are not "rusty." Three downs require a QB with excellent passing accuracy and Crompton and Bridge just do not have that skill.

Several questions were aimed directly at Rakeem Cato's status and why he hasn't been given the opportunities to demonstrate his talent as a QB. Popp responds that the Als really like Cato but "Cato has missed half of training camp, so he is still learning our offensive system."

Cato missed three days of Rookie Camp and the first two days of Training Camp which he has already demonstrated that he didn't need. As for "still learning the system" that goes equally for LeFevour and Bridge and Marsh as well - none of which have played under Shonert's system.

The only shock I got was that Popp intends to carry all five QBs on the roster. "We plan to keep Cato and Marsh. We can only dress 3 QB's each game."

That gets me to my last observation about Bridge being the 3rd QB - which Popp did qualify as "for now." No logical reason was given as to why Popp says that he plans to keep Marsh and Cato but not a word about Bridge's special status. I got a kick out of the fan who observed that Bridge reminded him of Randall Cunningham, but I would add that Bridge doesn't have Randy Moss to catch his 50+ yard bombs. On the other hand, Rakeem and Randy are friends . . .

Lefevour has 3 years of CFL experience as for Bridge he has familiarity with 3 down football having played his HS ball and growing up playing football in Canada.

As much as Cato is my preferred QB of the group. He's been with the team a whole THREE WEEKS. Herd/Cato fans need to ask themselves where would Cato be on the depth chart of an NFL team after 3 weeks :wink:

I have been following CFL football since I was four years old sitting on my dad's lap on the family LazyBoy, that's 40 years. I can say with assurance, it is far better for Cato's chances of success, that the team takes its time with him rather than rush him onto the field like they did Tanner Marsh and many others. He looked great in pre-season but teams weren't blitzing and were using two basic cover packages. It is a far faster and more dangerous game when the season begins.

If one of Crompton or Lefevour looks good, it is likely that Cato will be asked to go on the six game injured list or the guys ahead of him may look bad or one be injured and he will go up the depth chart. But every week he spends seeing game plans and practices, his chances of long term success improve.

Cunningham was also a great punter which I have never heard of Bridge doing.

Here is a condensed version of the more important Q&A's for those who do not touch Facebook.

Q: How's our running game going to be this year, so crutial to let our young QB breed and keep longer drives alive?
A: Sutton is a pounder and Logan is a slasher. Rutley has a little of both. The OC has to call the plays. If we are playing behind, then normally we are not running as much. I agree with you. With a young QB and or an athletic QB like Lefevour, a running game will help

Q: When Cato will come back from the 1 game injured list,will he stay on the team if so will you Cut an other QB ? Same thing for Marsh ?
A: We plan to keep Cato and Marsh. We can only dress 3 QB's each game.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest barrier preventing the Als from beating the Ti-Cats?
A: The last two seasons has been tackling in the closing minutes. We have to make the plays at the critical moment.

Q: What do you think about Rakeem Cato and Canadian QB Brandon Bridge?
A: Both these young men have the IT factor. Lots of talent and so far it has translated in the Pro's as they did in College

Q: considérez-vous avoir suffisamment de profondeur sur la ligne offensive?
A: oui, nous sommes très heureux de la versatilité de notre ligne offensive

Q: Can Kareem Cato, Brandon Bridge, or Dan Lefevoeur be our starter?
A: Yes, all are good enough and will only get better

Q: Quels sont vos plans quant à l'utilisation de Dan LeFevour?
A: nous voulons le faire pratiquer le plus possible. Il a seulement pratiqué 3 semaines (suite à 10 mois d'absence dû à une blessure au genoux).

Q: I saw Rakem Cato played in college. I think is the real deal for the cfl. He runs a spread offense so i think he's the future for the alouette. What do you think ?
A: great observation! We feel the same!

Q: Brandon Bridge, he reminds me a little of Randall Cunningham, do you think if the other QBs don't produce that he can possibly start at some point this season ?
A: it's a process. I will continue to learn and we will have to see how the season goes

Q: etre la force principal de votre equipe ?
A: nos forces sont : les secondeurs, les joueurs de ligne offensive et les receveurs vétérans.

Q: I really enjoyed watching the emergence of Jonathan Crompton last year. But so far he has shown some struggle in the young 2015 year. What do you see being the biggest factor he needs to work on to become the undoubted #1 behind centre?
A: First, we do have a new offensive coordinator in Turk Schonert and he is also a new QB coach, so there is a transition again. Second, Jonathan needs to continue to improve his accuracy. We are very happy with his leadership skills and his willingness to learn. Also, his win percentage is what matters.

Q:Hakeem Cato n'as t'il pas été suffisamment bon pour mérité un poste de partant car Crompton n'est pas solide jusqu'à maintenant même l'an passer c'est la défense qui lui as donner une si belle fiche?
A: Cato a manqué la moitié du camp d'entraînement, donc il apprend encore notre système offensif.

Q: Is Sam ever coming back ?
A: Let's hope so. Would like to see him back on the field.

Q: Ben Cahoon was a receivers coach in BYU... And since you got Anthony Calvillo in a coaching position, why don't you later on in the years get Ben back with the All!!!!
A: I attempted to hire Ben a couple times. He has a great job and has a very active life back in Salt Lake City, Utah. As much as he would like to coach, timing isn't right for him.

Q: do you the quaterbacks situation.
A: We are very happy with all 5 QB's that we have under contract. Crompton, LeFevour, Marsh, along with the two rookies Bridge and Cato

Q: Would you feel comfortable carrying 5 quarterbacks the whole season?
A: Yes. We will continue to develop

Q: How are you going to separate the task between Bede and White is one going to do field goals and the other punts?
A: it will be a game time decision each week. We might go with one of them or both.

Q: Who gonna start thursday against Ottawa Crompton or Lefevour?
A: It's Crompton's job. If he can't get it done, then you will see LeFevour.

Q: Has Nic Lewis lost some weight to get back into game shape
A: Nic is at the weight that he best feels he can be productive. I feel sorry for those who have to tackle him!

Q: Why telling you want to trade or release a player before doing so?
A: in the CFL, teams do not trade before deadline of cuts. If certain teams want a chance at a player, then their only choice is to trade. For example, Whitaker. Brandon was going to go to Toronto before he went anywhere else because he knows people. So if another team really wanted him, then they would have needed to trade to get him.

Q: what is the best asset of your team ?
A: The quality of people that make up our locker room.

Q: What's the biggest challenge the Alouettes are facing this year?
A: A couple answers: First, we need to find a way to generate more points. Second, we need to get off to a fast start, we play 3 of our first 4 games at home. Third, we want to see more fans at the stadium, we have an exciting team.

Q: Are u gonna be patient with jonathan crompton or not??
A: Crompton is the starting QB. It is his job to lose. We will need consistency at the position. All the matters is Jonathan finding a way to win, not stats

Q: Why has Tanner Marsh yet to get his fair chance as the number one QB?
A: The coaches last year didn't think Tanner was ready, even though he performed decent the year before. This year he had a great mini camp and training camp before the injury. We will see where we are, once he is cleared to return.

Q: Could you please clarify on the rumor (From Rock Moffa, Herb Z. Etc) that prior to being released, Brandon Whitaker had accepted a pay cut to remain with the team?
A: We had several talks. Brandon knew before the last preseason game that Sutton had won the starting job and that the only chance that he had to stick around would to be to adjust his contract. Though there was an adjustment, it still was an expensive contract, we really only moved numbers around. Once we realized how we would have to structure the team, we felt it was best to go in a different direction. Brandon is a great person and player. It was only fair to let him search for other opportunities at this stage of his career. We have National players Sutton, Logan, Rutley, and Hampton, and that doesn't include our International players.

Q: Whats the plan for Brandon Bridge ?
A: Development. We think he has a great upside. Maybe if we can take care of business, we will see him play sooner than later.

Q: Why was Khalif Mitchell cut? Did his reputation for having a bad attitude was a factor?
A: Khalif had a good camp but Corvey Irvin had a better camp. Tough decisions. We are also very happy with our National players Klassen and Joseph

Q: I cannot beleive that you let go one of pesky favorite runners and of all things Toronto picks him up!
A: anytime you let an 8 year vet go, there are going to be very unhappy people. Pringle, Edwards, Cobourne, Whitaker...maybe I missed someone. But as you can see, there was always another player that follows. New stars are born from season to season. Brandon unfortunately was injured 3 years in a row, Sutton took over, and his contract was hefty. Asking him to play a backup role at this stage didn't seem to be the logical answer, when we can develop the next guy behind Sutton. That is what we did with Sutton behind Whitaker. These are decision made to keep the team competitive every year, not just at the moment

Q: Que pense tu de l'équipe actuelle des Alouettes?
A: les Alouettes seront compétitifs cette année -- nous nous attendons à gagner dans la conférence de l'Est.

Thank you okie.