People will look back at the 2014 season and see that the Montreal Alouettes have reached the playoffs for the 19th consecutive year. What that won’t necessarily tell you is the path it took to get there.
The Alouettes looked like a team that would struggle to gain even the slightest hint of respectability. They put an offensive system in place after training camp had started because they fired their offensive coordinator before even the first pre-season game.
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They went games – not quarters – without scoring offensive touchdowns. Even field goals were hard to come by. The team, known for its success was quickly losing the battle on the field and off.
But there was always one thing on their side: They had talent. Sure, they had question marks at quarterback but you would have a hard time finding an offence – any offence – that wouldn’t start Brandon Whitaker, Duron Carter and S.J. Green. The defence has Chip Cox, Kyries Hebert and John Bowman. Three of the best defensive players in the league. That doesn’t even start to talk about how Bear Woods, Brandon London and – recently – Tyrell Sutton emerged.
However, they couldn’t get anything going. They benched the supposed saviour – Troy Smith – and then released him,
That opened the door to a quarterback that wasn’t even on the radar in training camp, because he was with another team: Jonathan Crompton. Crompton has become a leader for this offence. His enthusiasm has brought life to this offence. He is often one of the most emotional players on the field.Montreal Alouettes / Rogerio Barbosa
Crompton isn’t Ricky Ray, Bo Levi Mitchell or even Mike Reilly. He isn’t going to put up huge numbers. He may just be the definition of a game manager, but with a twist. With the Alouettes offensive weapons, there are opportunities for Crompton to make big plays.
Crompton is not perfect. There will be, like there were on Sunday, balls where you’re not sure who the intended target was. And, well, the best thrown ball of the entire game may have been S.J. Green’s reverse throw that Carter just couldn’t haul in. However, he moves the ball, keeps the offence on the field and limits turnovers.
He isn’t and will never be Anthony Calvillo. However, the Alouettes are fine with Crompton. The strides he has made under Jeff Garcia and Ryan Dinwiddie and the rest of the coaching staff is not to be denied. He has improved and is a big part of this winning streak.
The Alouettes didn’t need a Heisman trophy winner or a top quarterback on the market this offseason. They needed a leader for their group who can help them win games. They needed their Shane Falco. Crompton appears to be the perfect guy for the job.
Montreal is now a game away from clinching the East Division against a team they feel slighted against. It was only a few weeks ago that John Bowman mentioned the media was crowning Hamilton as champions. You can imagine that defence and the rest of the team will want to put all that talk to rest.
They have fought through adversity and now have one thing left to prove: They are the best team in the East.