Rock Bottom

There is barely a pulse in this team.

4-5 years ago, during the Calvillo-Trestman years, this team was a not just a winner, it offered fans exciting football, and great performances by enthusiastic athletes. It’s OVER. The Alouettes have deteriorated for 3 consecutive seasons, the organization is in disarray, and the players have lost confidence in the coaches and in each other.

Ottawa has become a rising CFL power in HALF the time it took for the Alouettes to self-destruct.

Maybe it’s time for Mr. Wettenhall to call in the moving vans and do an overnight move out of Montreal - under cover of darkness. Take the Als to Moncton, to Medicine Hat, or Mexico - anywhere but Montreal.

Let’s sit out a few years, formulate a new ownership group, and apply for a CFL expansion franchise. It JUST MIGHT BE a faster way to bring entertaining, winning football back to the city of Montreal.

A loss. Is a loss. It sucks but two road fames in 4 days. I am not going to throw stones. It sucks worse for the players than us.

I like that plan.

Now quickly, tell me what the the riders and bombers should do :slight_smile:

Je n'abandonnerai pas maintenant à cause de ces deux défaites. Mais je vais réduire mon support à l'équipe. J'avais dit cet hiver que je voulais voir de la progression et je ne vois pas de progression. Je vois même un recul au niveau défensif. La seule progression qui persiste est celle sur les unités spéciales.

Je trouve que cette équipe, à commencer par Bob Wettenhall et Jim Popp, doit se regarder dans le miroir et se commettre à faire mieux dans toutes les facettes de leur responsabilité. Jim Popp n'est pas un entraîneur-chef et il doit en trouver un, un vrai. Dinwiddie et Calvillo ne sont pas des coordonnateurs à l'attaque, aussi Jim Popp doit en trouver un, un vrai. Rakeem Cato est peut-être un quart-arrière partant, mais il devra être bien entraîné et diriger une attaque qui se calque sur ses qualités. Il devra également mettre l'effort pour devenir un quart-arrière partant. C'est la vraie vie pour lui maintenant. Ceci pour dire que Popp ne doit pas cesser sa quête pour les quarts-arrières parce que Cato a du talent. Printers avait beaucoup de talent. Un pauvre leadership, une éthique de travail questionnable, mais beaucoup de talent. Ça n'a pas fait de lui un bon quart-arrière partant, sauf pour cette saison avec les Lions. Jim Popp doit regarnir le personnel de receveurs et il est capable de le faire. Nos receveurs peinent à se démarquer. Peut-être y a-t-il une partie de ça qui revient aux jeux qu'ils doivent exécuter, mais il y a aussi une partie de ça qui revient aux receveurs eux-mêmes. Je pense cependant qu'il devrait se poser des questions sur la qualité de son équipe de dépistage. Il y a des positions où les Alouettes peinent à identifier les bons candidats et à les recruter. Je pense à la ligne défensive et aux demis défensifs. Je pense un peu aux receveurs, mais c'est un cas plus discutable, j'en conviens.

Ça fait 2 ans que Calvillo est tombé au combat, et on dirait que depuis ce temps, les Alouettes ressemblent de moins en moins à une équipe de football. Ils ressemblent aux Timinous d'après 2001. Dur à battre au royaume de la médiocrité! Une équipe sportive ne peut dominer perpétuellement, mais elle peut être capable de ne pas courir à fond de train vers la médiocrité non plus. Je n'achèterai pas de billet de saison pour la saison prochaine, à moins d'un spectaculaire revirement d'ici la fin de la saison. Que Popp et ses contacts me ramènent une équipe de football, à commencer par les entraîneurs, et j'en rachèterai, mais là, je suis rendu à la protestation.

See… When the moderate fans have had enough an org is in big trouble and it takes a long time in a CAP league to fix things.

I’m not going to hit out at Popp for discussing the problems with the defense. Second and long conversion has been a problem as long as Thorpe has been around. Every defense has a weakness and this is Thorpe’s. Thorpe was also involved with pushing Bowman out. There is no way Higgins would have done what he did bypassing his Coordinator and position coach.

Off season will be interesting and how that is handled will determine if the team heads the other way. They have a lot of money tied up in veterans and relatively next to nothing at the QB position so if handled right, this team can start heading the other way next season.

I don’t see Thorpe as a HC candidate and I don’t think Calvillo is ready to be an OC and he may never be. At this stage with a mentor like Trestman, Austin or Huf he would make a fantastic QB coach but nothing more.

So a huge amount of “controlled demolition” will need to occur but its an art and I’m not convinced Wetenhall won’t inject politics in the way.

The product on the field is a direct result of the leadership system implemented by the ownership of the team. The owners put up the bucks, define the goals and expectations, and then staff the club with managers, coaches and players - with EVERYONE 100% aligned with the goals and strategies. That's how it's supposed to work.

Well, in the case of the Alouettes it's BROKEN, and this dysfunction has persisted for 3 seasons - with no end in sight.

Although my thread opener (move the team) was said in a fit of frustration, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I definitely think new ownership, and a new invigorated management team will be required to engineer a turn-around, and win back fans who will soon be looking for an alternative hobby to occupy their time and money.

The only problem with that approach is that Montreal may never see a professional football team in this city ever again! Unless, of course, the NFL comes a-callin'! Likely? Nah!!!!

There have already been two football hiatuses in Montreal. After the second one, where the CFL failed to expand into the USA, we lucked in by getting an already winning and exciting team. Starting literally from scratch won't wash in Montreal. In any sport other than hockey, the team has to win - period! I have often lamented on this forum the lack of enthusiasm over football in this country. It's better out West, with only one real football town - Regina.

If any team folds, I predict that others would soon follow. Lest we forget, Ottawa - for years! - didn't have a team, and hardly anyone blinked. Hamilton nearly moved out of town over the Ivor Wynn stadium thing, and TO can't even draw 20,000! Sad! Very sad!

Football has gained some traction in Quebec with the emergence of Laval and U de M as football powerhouses in the CIS. Both universities have contributed quality players to the CFL.

I agree that it is time for a change, and that may mean wholesale change. Since the beginning of the season, I have mentioned that Chip Cox appears to have lost a step or two, as well as a few DHs. We have all discussed the need for good quality DEs and the ability to have a 4-man rush. On O? Where do I begin?

So, the Als may still back into a playoff spot, not because they deserve it, but because some other team is even lousier. No doubt about it, Post-Calvillo Era (PCE), Year Two is still under way and will continue into PCE III in 2016. My only hope is that Popp starts doing his regular job in the post-season and finds us:

  1. a great HC
  2. great position coaches
  3. a great QB and back-ups as required
  4. great DEs; and
  5. great DHs

A tall order you say? You bet!

I agree with all you say jkm. But especially this:

He sure has. He is not what he once was. That is not a knock on him; father time waits for no one.

But because we can all see it, that is what makes it puzzling to me why Thorpe keeps dropping him back into pass coverage, often switching with Marco. A CFL safety Cox is not and never will be. It's a recipe for disaster as has been demonstrated over and over this season. As I stated earlier, at this late stage of Cox's career, the only effective way to use him as I see it is to use him the way Matthews used Duane Butler. Close to the line, blitzing more often than not; but never dropping into deep pass coverage.

A potential owner for the Alouettes would have to have the following 3 qualities:

  1. A love of CFL football
  2. Very deep pockets
  3. A hole in their head

Unlike Hamilton or Ottawa for instance who own their own stadiums, the Als receive no additional revenue at Molson Stadium for putting on concerts, etc.

They are paying rent at 3 places - Big O for football offices, downtown for business, and Stade Hebert for practice.

And of course there is no big Grey Cup revenue windfall because of the Big O roof.

So it is probably the Wetenhalls or bust.

As far as managerial changes go, history has shown that if Popp is let go, instead of going after a John Murphy or Eric Tillman, we would probably see Jake Ireland as our next GM.

:lol: Thanks for that one Ideal !

Ce sont de bonnes observations.

Cela dit, je trouve que M. Wettenhall est un bon propriétaire, mais il devrait être un peu moins impliqué au niveau des embauches de personnel. Pas complètement absent, mais moins impliqué. Cela dit, je crois que Popp a une très grosse part de responsabilité dans la situation de l’équipe et il doit la redresser pour montrer qu’il est encore l’homme de la situation.

Cela dit, le temps presse. Popp sera l’an prochain à la dernière année de son contrat actuel, et il doit faire des vrais coups d’éclat pour remonter sa valeur vers celle de Hufnagel, Austin, Desjardins et même Barker. Cette fois, sa seule réputation ne suffira pas à s’éviter de légitimes critiques. Les temps des embauches bidon (Ahman Green, Dominic Rhodes, Nocatcho Johnson, Michael Sam) doit être terminé. Qu’on consacre des dollars à embaucher des vrais joueurs (comme Muamba, Hoffman ou Venable) sur qui bâtir et qu’on soit plus exigeant au niveau de l’évaluation des prospects. Calvillo n’est plus dans l’équipe et la récréation est terminée.


LOL! The Jake Ireland comment almost had me wetting my pants! Ha Ha

Your more serious comments about the economics of ownership in Montreal was very informative, and helpful. Sounds like a bizarre situation in which the team’s revenues are constrained, but it has higher costs due to maintaining 3 facilities.

If the team is that unattractive to potential new investors, then I would be concerned about the long-term viability of the franchise. If the option is “Wetenhall or Bust” as you indicated, it’s not a healthy situation. IF the Wetenhall’s are unwilling (or unable) to take charge and turn-around the team’s on-field performance, attendance will fall - and “bust” is a more likely outcome.

Thanks for your informative post!


We all need a little bit of humour in these tough days.

Mr.Wetenhall is still the best owner for the Alouettes. It takes a dedicated person to keep operating this franchise in these tough conditions/with these poor facilities. Unfortunately,he is not a billionaire. He can't compete with the Molsons/Bell and the Saputos. The day he will say good bye could spell the end for the Alouettes.

Yes,I am extremely disappointed with the season,although I understand given all the injuries,particularly at crucial positions. Wonder what other CFL teams record would be if their 3 QB's had been gone for the season for 1 and at least 6 games each for the other 2. Quite easy to say : Find us a good Hc,a good QB and good Coordinators. Can you tell where to find them? Even Jim Popp will listen. Can anyone name me a very good QB coming directly to the CFL after his College/University,in the last 5 years and being great in his first season? I can't.

One positive aspect of the Alouettes is that the Canadian talent is amongst the best in the CFL; furthermore, since the majority of higher and near the end paid veterans are International, lots of funds will be available for younger talent should these players be released. If a top QB becomes available/is found, funds will be available to pay him.


Some questionable decisions aside, Mr. Wetenhall has been an excellent owner.

However, at some point I would like to hear from Andrew and what his plans are, if he is going to be running the team in the future.

He's been very good opening his wallet but his meddling has been incredibly destructive.

The team in the last 2 weeks looks a lot like Popp coached teams in previous years. They are rudderless, unprepared and illdisciplined. To add to this they were obviously exhausted with only 4 days off. I really wish that Popp had lined up a replacement as interim coach and not indulged his deluded fantasy that he can coach. The Als are now going nowhere fast, the defence looks awful especially the secondary. Cato seems to have lost the ability to think on his feet and his touch in the last 2 games was awful. The whole offensive scheme needs a complete overhaul. I fear this entire year is quickly morphing into a joke.

Richard I agree with your support of Mr Wetenhall. I too believe he has been a very fine owner and has brought favorable results to football in his many years bankrolling the team. His one mistake was the Higgins fiasco. However in looking at that moment he was faced with Popp not deserving his trust and, Trestman’s departure. Not having trust in Popp he turned to someone older for his hiring Higgins which, as an older person myself, I can understand this. Popp wasn’t doing his job with any zest as he put his time and energy trying to get to the NFL.
The many extra costs associated with ownership in Montreal have been well stated in the above posts. It appears that the firing of Higgins and Shonert certainly did not help the team- the fiasco of the last 2 games is evident. Popp again proves he lacks the talent required of a HC and, Dinwiddie and Calvillo can’t be combined for one OC position. The action of these three have just further downgraded the franchise. Guess who pays the bills for all all this nonsense? Right it’s the owner, Mr. Wetenhall. His payroll still includes Higgins, Calvillo and Shonert, for how long?
Now Mr. Wetenhall agrees with Popp and gives Maumba a very extraordinary salary bonus of 100 000 with an additional payment of around 15 000 to play for the team’s remaining games plus a huge salary for the years to come. The owner has done what he always has done. which is, accepted the “wisdom” of his hirelings and, again forked out his money. Losing a great QB has happened before ( Wade and Etcheverry ) and it took the franchise years to recover from such a huge loss. We"re in the third year of Crisis. The team floundered for more than a decade after Etcheverry left and, after Wade finished being QB, the team was broke and it folded. Rakeem Cato is another NCAA player who went right to the CFL when his university days ended.
Richard, in answer to your question. When Collaros finished university he went to an NFL tryout camp, signed an NFL free agent contract and, a month later signed with the Argos. He was a relief to Ray for a time last season. He made a great impression on Kent Austin and was headed to an all star position with the TiCats before injuries sidelined him.There has been many QBs, over the years who have left the NCAA and have had great QB years in the CFL.

I do know that Rakeem Cato graduated in 2015 but he has not been great so far; yes,he had a few good games but has regressed in the past month and a half.

My question was: "Can anyone name me a QB coming directly from College/University,in the last 5 years, and who was great in his first year"?

Zach Collaros graduated in 2012; has been great this year but it's been 3 years.

Trevor Harris graduated in 2010. NFL tryouts and played in the AFL. Has been great in 2015 but it's been 5 years.

Jonathan Jenkins of BC looked good -much better than Cato= in his last 2 games. Graduated in 2014. NFL tryouts with Kansas City and Detroit; spent time with Green Bay. I don't consider him great,yet, but I would place him ahead of Cato/better than Cato.


Jeff Mathews. Another young QB with Hamilton. Graduated in 2014. NFL tryout with Atlanta. Practice roster of Indianapolis Colts; when released in September 2014, signed by Arizona Cardinals to their practice roster. Will he be good/great?

One thing we know,he did not come to the CFL directly from University.


From what I read, Mathews signed a free agent contract with Atlanta and was in the Falcon's camp until late August 2014 when he was cut; then he didn't last a week on the Indy practice squad and he was not signed after a tryout with New England. So essentially he didn't play football for about a year until he was signed by the Ti-Cats after his college coach, Kent Austin, took the head coaching job in Hamilton.

Cornell, playing in the Ivy League, won 14 games out of 40 in the 4 years Mathews was there and the coach gets promoted to CFL head coach? I know that Austin was a CFL QB but that cannot be the only criteria in judging his coaching expertise.