Dave Stala And The Importance Of Non-Import Receivers


When the Montreal Alouettes signed receiver Dave Stala only one day after he was released by the Hamilton Tiger Cats, some people wondered why they would try and add someone whose best years are behind him. Stala had a limited role in the Tiger Cats offence as the year went on, and was expendable.

Stala still has great hands, and some of his key catches in the playoffs still proved that. Not only that, but Stala provides versatility to the team in two positions where the team needs it most.

Last year, with so many injuries to the offensive line, the Alouettes were forced to start Americans at a position where they usually have played only Canadians. What that meant, is that the Alouettes needed to find Canadians at other positions, and turned to Eric Deslauriers among others to play in place of Americans like Brandon London and Bo Bowling.

As teams like the Saskatchewan Roughriders have shown, depth at Canadian receiver can be a boon to a team. The Alouettes – even going back to the days of Ben Cahoon – have never had that depth.

In fact, the top Canadian receivers on the Alouettes since coming back could be named on both hands – if that: Cahoon, Pat Woodcock, Jock Climie, Sylvain Girard and Stala

Jim Popp prides himself on finding diamonds in the rough and bringing American receivers to the CFL. You just have to look at the current roster to see evidence of that. Duron Carter, Jamel Richardson* and S.J. Green are all examples of players Popp brought to the league. There’s also Terrence Edwards, Jermaine Copeland, and many others.

The other aspect of versatility that Stala brings is his foot. Stala was originally drafted as a kicker, and has punted at the CFL level. After Sean Whyte struggled with his punting last year, the team brought in Burke Dales who took up an additional roster spot for a team built around Whyte doing double duty.

Now, with Stala in the fold, he could technically be the full-time punter and they can potentially bring in another kicker to compete with Whyte without worrying if they could punt. Whyte’s field goal kicking down the stretch was a big question mark. This isn’t to say that Stala will be the full time punter but it gives the team options they didn’t have previously.

Jim Popp is always about building the best possible team and isn’t afraid to look at different options to do so. Avon Cobourne, remember, spent a year as a linebacker when he was returning kicks before becoming the team’s running back a few years later.

Stala fills an immediate need – non-import receiver – while potentially adding value in other ways as well. Stala is only two years removed from his best season as a CFL player. He might not get back to that form, but in a receiving corps including Carter, Richardson, Green and Arland Bruce he won’t need to.

* – It was brought to my attention that Richardson spent 2003-2006 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders before going to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 and then being brought to the Alouettes by Popp.