As the Montreal Alouettes get ready for their home opener tonight against the B.C. Lions, fans and media have already started writing off the season.
The Alouettes are transitioning, if not outright rebuilding. They have now lost their start quarterback Anthony Calvillo after 15 seasons, and have never really recovered from losing Marc Trestman two years ago.
What the Alouettes need are patience. They usually get off to great starts. It wasn’t uncommon for the Alouettes to roll through the early part of their schedule. However, last year, they had a slow start and fired Dan Hawkins after only five games. This year, I imagine more patience will be given to Tom Higgins, but probably not with Troy Smith.
Smith has started four Canadian Football League games. He was signed last August. He has already worked with four offensive coaches – Mike Miller, Doug Berry, Rick Worman and now Ryan Dinwiddie. Why are people surprised he has struggled?
Now, the Alouettes aren’t *that* bad. I mean, they have made the playoffs every year since returning in 1996. Now, the Eastern Division has never been the strongest division, but Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and Hamilton have all had lower valleys than Montreal.
The main thing is that there has been so much structure and discipline around this team that when it’s in transition, people jump off the deep end. The success the Alouettes have had have soured people on the quickest down turn.
It was never going to be easy to move on from Trestman and Calvillo, two of the brightest minds the league has seen in the last 30 years.
For me, I’m not willing to throw in the towel on this Alouettes team. Yes, the offence has struggled and scored one touchdown in the last two games. But you know what this Alouettes team needs? Time. I said that last year and the entire season went into a flux.
If the Alouettes are able to have the time they need, I actually like the talent they have on their team. If the offence can lessen some of the burden on their great defence, it may get even better.
Things don’t look good right now. But, Calgary and B.C. are good teams. There’s no shame in being 0-2 – if they even lose today. But as long as the Alouettes get better every week, they will continue their streak of making the playoffs.
After all, at 0-1, they are tied for first place in the Eastern Division.
GAME NOTES: Duron Carter, Jermaine McElveen and Mike Edem were added to the 1-game injured list and will miss tonight’s game. Brandon London is slotted to start in place of Carter. Edem was the backup to Marc-Olivier Brouillette at Safety in Week One. McElveen was in the defensive line rotation.
Kyle Graves and Michael Carter were activated from the 1-game injured list and on the 46 man roster. There are still two players who will be scratched prior to the game.
Kick off is at 7:00 p.m. at Percival Molson Stadium.