The Montreal Alouettes season opened with a 29-8 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in their season opener yesterday afternoon at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.
I don’t think that the Alouettes are as bad as this game, however. First off, Calgary was the best team in the West Division last year with a 14-4 record. Second, 14 of Calgary’s points came directly off of blown coverage. Twice Alouettes defenders left a receiver wide open. This is something that can be corrected.
The CFL pre-season is only two weeks, which means it could take several weeks for players to get up to speed. Troy Smith wasn’t very good for the Alouettes. The quarterback was 18/41 for under 200 yards and routinely overthrew receivers. It was very windy in Calgary, and it seemed he had trouble adjusting. He also was only playing his second game of the year.
He has rust to shake off, and running with a new offensive coordinator makes for an adjustment. Don’t forget that Smith has spent less than a year in the Canadian Football League. He isn’t yet fully acclimated to the league.
I said last year that the Alouettes would improve as the year went on and then they fired their head coach, lost Anthony Calvillo and sent the season into a weird spin. This year, I will also say that they will improve and I don’t think that Tom Higgins will be going anywhere even if the team starts 0-5.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the worst game of the Alouettes season. They went a full 60 minutes without an offensive point as only a defensive penalty when the clock ran out gave them one chance from the 1-yard line to score their only touchdown.
There was some ugliness in this game. Marc-Olivier Brouillette left the game after a hard – but clean – block by Nik Lewis. The next play, Kyries Hebert was ejected for a clothesline hit on Calgary running back Jon Cornish. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Alouettes will host the B.C. Lions without both players – one for injury and one for disciplinary reasons.
Brandon Whitaker did have a good game, getting 59 yards on 12 carries. John Bowman had five tackles. Eric Deslauriers and Duron Carter led the team with four catches each. Chad Johnson had two catches in his first regular season CFL game.