Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Why Brian Bratton Will Make The Alouettes Offense More Dangerous

We’re approaching the halfway mark of the CFL offseason, as free agency moves forward, and teams are trying to forecast who their lineups will be for the 2012 season.

The Montreal Alouettes should feel confident knowing what their roster will look like in June.

But they could take more comfort on how blessed the most talented and deepest position group is in their receivers.

Throughout their time and most deservedly so, a lot of the attention has been on Jamel Richardson, S.J. Green, and the recently retired Kerry Watkins. But there is a forgotten man. There is one player who continues on like a stealth plane with a Shinobi mentality in Brian Bratton.

Arguably one of the classiest players in the CFL, Bratton has always been cordial in his dealings with the media. He is also articulate in many subjects on Twitter, for those who have yet to follow him, his handle is @brianbratton.

Bratton continues to be Mr. Consistent on the roster. He has been a consummate team player doing whatever is required of him whether it is downfield blocking, and when called upon to be the utility guy by playing every receiving position.

With the exception of his rookie season, Bratton has averaged 53 receptions, and 614 yards. But could this be the year where he finally cracks 1,000 receiving yards?

There is no denying the Alouettes offense has transformed from being a run team first during the Mike Pringle days to now a heavy pass offense. Since 2004, in four seasons, they have averaged at least three 1,000 yard receivers at the same time.

Of course this is a testament to quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, but he would certainly deflect the credit to his pass catchers for being wide open.

Richardson and Green have cemented their status as the best receiving duo in the CFL.

Bratton could join them and make it a trio. This year, he could conceivably reap the rewards of these two stars getting the extra attention from opposing defenses. Thus, it would enable him to have more big play opportunities.

With Watkins now retired, Bratton’s role will carry more weight on this roster. He will have the inside track to lockdown the third receiving spot in the starting lineup.

For those who forgot, he was an effective punt returner in his earlier days with the organization as he averaged close to 10 yards per return. At times during the 2011 season, the Alouettes did have some issues with their return game. Maybe Bratton’s number will be called again.

Bratton’s contributions have been valuable to the team’s cause. Many predict this will be the year he ascends as another toy weapon for Calvillo to call upon to go along with Richardson, Green, and Brandon Whitaker. This might force the opposition to play an honest defense against this lethal offense.

If there is one thing that is underappreciated with Bratton, is his ability to demonstrate a Lynn Swann ability in catching the football. For those who best remember the NFL hall of famer’s career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will vividly recall the aerial catches he made throughout his fantastic career.

Bratton has a penchant of making these difficult airborne receptions that has been known to show up on a few highlight packages.

In 2011, there was some angst amongst the Alouettes fans on who would replace Ben Cahoon’s production? Well their nerves were put to ease when Green was able to shoulder the load.

This year, the fans do not need to be on pins and needles with Watkins retirement. Bratton will seamlessly continue the strong tradition of Alouettes receivers, and could very well be on his way to hitting the 1,000 yards receiving mark.

The moment he reaches the exclusive 1,000 yard mark in a season, the once unknown receiver will be cement his status as true professional to the CFL game.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

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